Who am I? Your own ski and snow expert (some say masquerading as a loveable rogue)!
There’s Snow Down South, Too…
A strong cold southerly delivered 9cm of snow to the Coronet Peak base building last night (May 9/10) with 10 to 15cm of windblown snow up top. Keen skiers determined to get ‘first tracks’ for the day slogged up to the summit to enjoy the powder, which was reported as knee-deep in places.
Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland said the mountain had a “great covering” of snow.
“It doesn’t get much better than this with two really good snowfalls in less than a week at this time of year,” he said. “The mountain’s looking really stunning, and the continued cold temperatures are the perfect reminder that winter’s well and truly on its way.”
Cold temperatures permitting, Coronet Peak’s 213 snow guns will fire up for the first time this year any time from May 18.
“There’s a real sense of excitement up the mountain as we’re reaching the point where we can start to look forward to welcoming our first guests,” said Mr Copland.
Coronet Peak is scheduled to open for the 2013 season on June 8, Mt Hutt on June 15, and The Remarkables on June 22.
With the first show sold out in 24 hours, Queenstown comedy fans have a second chance with an additional comedy gala show added to the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival programme. Tickets are now on sale for the new event which will be held at the Queenstown Memorial Centre on Monday 24 June, the night before the original sell-out gig.
Prices, seating, timing and the all-important line up are exactly the same, so get in quickly! Hit up the Winter festival website or call 0800 FESTIVAL for tickets.
Winter is settling in over Canterbury’s Mt Hutt ski area, which has just welcomed its second major snowfall in a fortnight. A cold snap and associated snowstorm over last weekend delivered 20cm of snow over the entire mountain. The ski area access road has been blocked for two days and yesterday (May 7th) was the first day Mt Hutt staff made it to the ski area car park, trudging the last 2.5km uphill on foot. A bulldozer is now working from the Rakaia Saddle to clear an access track to the base building car park so that the work of preparing for the imminent season can continue.
Mt Hutt Operations General Manager James Urquhart said the heavy snow had settled “absolutely everywhere” on the mountain, with no wind at the ski area to push it elsewhere.
“After our snowfall a couple of weeks ago it’s looking superb once again, and our head of snowmaking Blair James just couldn’t resist heading up the hill for some product testing,” he said. “The Mt Hutt snowmaking department will fire up the guns from mid next week, and hopefully these cool temperatures stick around and should make for some excellent conditions.”
Mr Urquhart said the ski field’s seasonal management team had started work at the beginning of this week, and 11 members of staff were being kept busy sorting through the deluge of applications for seasonal staff positions during the rapidly approaching new season. Mt Hutt is scheduled to open for the 2013 winter season on June 15.
Queenstown's Winter Festival has organized a star-studded line up for its annually popular comedy event this year, with a number of favourite Kiwi comedians set to perform in the New Zealand Comedy Gala on the 25th June. The bill includes well-known Kiwi comedians Brendhan Lovegrove, Paul Ego, Dai Henwood, Urzila Carlson, Ewen Gilmour and Jeremy Corbett.
No stranger to the Winter Festival, Jeremy Corbett looks forward to visiting Queenstown again, and notes two reasons why he loves the Festival: "It makes my Auckland friends very jealous, and the cold weather forces people indoors to watch our comedy. I love a captive audience."
It seems that Queenstown has a little too much to offer the popular comedian Dai Henwood.
"I love coming to Queenstown because I love the snow. However I have never seen it, because a good restaurant and a cocktail always gets in the way," says Dai.
As is usual each year at the Winter Festival, tickets for the comedy gala were in hot demand and have been snapped up fast by eager Queenstown comedy fans, with the Queenstown Memorial Centre venue already sold out. Lucky fans can look forward to nearly 3 hours of laughter on the night (assuming the comedians can be lured away from Queenstown's many temptations for long enough to perform the show). All is set for a hilarious night!
There's exciting news for music fans at the announcement that Kiwi music icon Dave Dobbyn will kick start the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival this year with a special one-off performance at the opening night of the Festival on Friday the 21st of June.
Dobbyn is sure to fire up thousands of festival-goers with his classic sing-along anthems such as 'Loyal', 'Welcome Home', and many more when he headlines the Festival's free opening party on Queenstown's waterfront. The evening's entertainment is set to begin early when Dobbyn and a few special guests hit the stage in Earnslaw Park to perform 'Slice of Heaven' shortly before the Festival officially opens at 7.00pm with a spectacular fireworks display. Following the pyrotechnics, Dave will return to the stage to perform his greatest hits.
Dobbyn needs no introduction to any Kiwi music fan – or perhaps to any Kiwi, full stop! He's amassed multi-platinum sales across seven studio albums and live projects, and his ballad 'Loyal' has been voted New Zealand's greatest ever song. He has also won more awards for songwriting than any other New Zealander, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from APRA (Australasia Performing Rights Association).
Winter Festival Manager Lisa Buckingham is clearly thrilled to have secured the living legend to kick the Festival celebrations off in such style. "It's going to be a real buzz for people to see Dave perform these Kiwi anthems live against the backdrop of our alpine scenery – I can't think of a more fitting way to celebrate winter in our little slice of heaven."
Popular Kiwi comedians Urzila Carlson and Paul Ego are also on the bill as MCs for the Festival's opening party. Both are in town for the festival's NZ Comedy Gala, which takes place on the 25th of June. Local acts will play to crowds from 5.30pm, including Wakatipu High rock band The Fletcherz, and the winners of recent Queenstown original song contest Songstars.
Tickets for the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival are now on sale online at www.winterfestival.co.nz and the full festival programme will be available from the 6th of May and is available to download at www.winterfestival.co.nz/programme/.
The 2012 winter season has been extended in New Zealand’s Central North Island, with the announcement that Turoa Ski Area on Mount Ruapehu will be open for skiing and snowboarding until 4 November.
Dave Mazey, Mt Ruapehu General Manager, announced on Friday that there would now be six additional weeks for skiers and boarders to relish spring. The decision has been made possible due to great snow conditions – plus strong market demand.
Turoa Ski Area Manager, Chris Thrupp, says the snow conditions are as good as it gets, with recent snow falls in September and current great weather conditions. “We have top to bottom riding, great snow cover and wide open trails of sun softened spring snow on offer.”
“Whether you are a seasoned pro, or a beginner I encourage you to come enjoy these magic conditions,” says Mr Thrupp.
“If you are not ready to ski or board yet, tobogganing, snow play, sightseeing chairlift rides or the breathtaking views at the Knoll Ridge Café (Whakapapa) or the Snowflake café (Turoa) are all amazing experiences.”
Whakapapa ski area, also located on Mount Ruapehu, is set to close as scheduled on Labour Weekend (22 October).
Whoo Hoo! We hear that Kiwis featured on the podium in all four of the freeride skiing and snowboarding events at the Mt Ruapehu Xtreme competition! A three-star qualification event for the Freeride World Tour, the Mount Ruapehu Xtreme was held at Whakapapa Ski Area in New Zealand's North Island last week and featured several high-profile international skiers and boarders.
But Wanaka's Sam Lee took out the top spot in the men's ski event, beating out Austrians Fabian Lentsch and Raphael Webhofer. And in the men's board event, the top two spots were secured by Kiwis Colin Boyd of Wanaka (first) and Jordan Decker of Warkworth (second), with and Raphael Bullet of Switzerland coming third.
Australian Nat Segal took out the women's ski event, but Kiwis Anna Smoothy (Wanaka) and Erica Prestige (Taupo) picked up second and third place. And, in the woman's board event, Wanaka's Maria Kuzma came second behind Swiss Ana Marea Zgraggen – and ahead of Malin Lindroos of Finland in third place.
Free Ride World Head Ski Judge Dion Newport commented on the important status of the event on the world stage: "We had a huge international field, and the level of talent from home-grown riders was a standout for this Xtreme event. I am always happy coming back to my home field to judge, and it's great to have an event of this status in the North Island," says Newport.
Dave Mazey, General Manager of Mt Ruapehu, was impressed by the standard of competition and proud of the Kiwi performance. "This year the competition has attracted some well-known international talent, as well as some of the top names in Kiwi freestyle skiing and boarding," says Mr Mazey. "I'm very impressed with the level of skiing and boarding showcased at Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa Ski Area."
If you thought the snow season was coming to end, fear not skiers and snowboarders. A late surge of fresh snow has given the ski season at Queenstown's Coronet Peak and The Remarkables in New Zealand's South Island a winter makeover and I don't know about you, but I can't think of being anywhere else.
And to top it off NZSki wants to party. So, they're offering half-price day passes for this weekend only (15 and 16 September), on Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.
"Just when you thought the season was over, winter has finally decided to make an appearance", said Craig Douglas, NZ Ski General Manager Sales & Marketing.
"Coronet Peak came in for some particularly harsh treatment from last week's spring storms, but thanks to good old Mother Nature, together with a little help from our extensive snowmaking system, we've seen a magical turnaround to true winter glory."
"We know it hasn't been the best of seasons for fresh snow on Queenstown's mountains, but we'll take this opportunity – and hope skiers and riders take it too – to enjoy the last of the winter conditions we haven't seen much of," he said.
"There's now fantastic skiing and riding conditions on both mountains so let's all spring into gear and welcome the winter that we have been waiting so patiently for!"
Since Saturday, Coronet Peak has received 56 centimetres of snow and The Remarkables has received 80 centimetres of fresh snow since the unsettled weather began last Friday allowing Homeward run to open for the first time this season.
"All trails are in really good winter condition with extensive coverage, so we've got everything 'crossed' it holds until the scheduled mountain closing date of October 7," said Mr Douglas.
Spring may have arrived but skiers and boarders will be pleased to know that snow is definitely still on the menu at Porters Ski Area in New Zealand's South Island. After some fairly full on (and warm) nor-west winds here in Canterbury, around 11am on Saturday it decided to cool down. With some moisture left in the storm system, Porters Ski Area received a decent snowfall. 25 centimetres of snow landed at car-park level with more up the mountain.
The ski area was back operating yesterday, but with moderate to strong winds persisting, the upper mountain had not opened. However, be sure to check the website because when it does, there is going to be some awesome spring skiing and snowboarding to relish.
Word is there is more snow in the forecast, with the weather gurus at MetService anticipating snow to 200 metres on the coast today. There's also more snow coming to the Southern Alps; keep your eye on the snow reports for the latest info.
This year the 2012 Freeski & Snowboard Junior National Championships will be running from 1 to 5 October at Cardrona Alpine Resort (in the first week of the school holidays).
To meet the needs of growing numbers of competitors and to better align age groups with other events internationally, Snow Sports NZ has created two further divisions for 2012. The age groups for 2012 with be based on the year of birth:
• Ruggies born 2005 – & under
• Grommets born 2003 – 2004
• Rippers born 2001 – 2002
• Shredders born 1999 - 2000
• Youth born 1997 – 1998
• Juniors born 1994 – 1996
To register for the event, competitors must be active financial members of Snow Sports NZ. Not a member? No worries. Just visit Snow Sports NZ and sign up. And an extra tip, if you're an unfinancial member take a second to ensure your membership is renewed for 2012.
Junior Nationals event registration is planned to open 5pm Friday 7th September.
Have fun and good luck to you all.