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Snowy horror queues at Australian ski fields after gloomy ski forecast

Snowy horror queues at Australian ski fields after gloomy ski forecast

Little snow and a lot of skiers at Perisher Valley give a premonition for a hectic winter holidays at Southern Ski Fields. Photo / Tiktok, benjaminwild1

The southern snow season has got off to a halting start, with too many skiers flocking to see too little snow.

Gloomy forecasts did not stop snowsports enthusiasts turning up in force at New South Wales’ Perisher Valley this weekend.

Delayed openings and a rush to be first on the slopes led to huge queues at Australia’s largest alpine resort. Windy conditions further reduced the number of lifts in operation.

Footage posted to social media on Saturday showed “nightmare fuel” lines at the ski resort.

Operators confirmed that difficult snow conditions and winds were adding to the queues at the popular resort.

“Yesterday, we saw wind speeds of around 100km/h at the top of the mountain, which limited the number of lifts we could safely open,” operations director Michael Fearnside told news.com on Sunday.

“In certain weather conditions, it just isn’t safe to operate every lift,” he said.

The ski field hoped to have 27 out of 48 lifts ready to run by next week but, with the school holidays fast approaching, there will be plenty of ski trips giving their plans a check.

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“Drove up the mountain and turned straight around,” commented another unimpressed ski enthusiast.

Gloomy Kiwi and Aussie ski forecast for school holidays

Meteorologists’ forecasts for an El Niño hot, dry winter, come with warnings for one of the worst Southern ski seasons in decades.

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It’s not only Aussie ski fields which have had a disappointing start to the season.

Canterbury’s Mt Hutt which was the first to open for the 2023 season on June 10 was also first to close on Tuesday.

Thin runnings: Opening day at Mt Hutt skifield, 10 June, 2023. Photo / Nicole Hawke, Supplied
Thin runnings: Opening day at Mt Hutt skifield, 10 June, 2023. Photo / Nicole Hawke, Supplied

The ski field near Methven had already pushed back its opening date and was forced to close again, 10 days later on June 20.

Mt Hutt Ski Area’s manager said that the thin snowpack had taken “a real hiding” and would need to close until conditions improve.

A spokesperson for ski field operators NZ Ski told the Herald that there’s simply not enough snow on Mt Hutt. However, the Queenstown fields were running thanks to snowmakers keeping the slopes open.

As of this week, the Remarkables were open, with most lifts running as normal.

Only a single lift was serving Coronet Peak this Monday.

With 600,000 international arrivals expected over the Australian and New Zealand winter holidays next week, according to Christchurch newspaper The Press, there could be a lot of skiers competing for not a lot of runs.

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  • June 25, 2023