Mt Hutt reopens after 20-year storm

26th June 2013, by Abi Butcher

The ski area team setting off to heli-bomb the snow

The ski area team setting off to heli-bomb the snow

Mount Hutt in New Zealand opened again yesterday after a record-breaking storm dumped three metres of snow on the ski area late last week and over the weekend.

Conditions were “as good as it gets” according to Mt Hutt ski area manager James McKenzie, who worked with his team for days to literally dig out the ski area’s service building and lifts after the massive polar storm.

Snow records over the past 20 years show that the snow is the most the ski resort has received, and the earliest on record. There were drifts of up to six metres over the access roads to Mount Hutt and it took five days for staff to work around the clock to dig the service buildings out of the snow, clear the lifts and stabilise the snow.

On Sunday, a large avalanche severely damaged the bottom return station of the Triple Chair, which remained closed yesterday. It will take three or four weeks for a full assessment of the damage to be made.

But as skiers and boarders flocked to Mt Hutt for a bluebird day — the best in 20 years — ski area manager James McKenzie warned people to be careful and respect the conditions.

“It’s vital that everyone respects the ski area boundary that’s clearly marked around the slopes,” he said. “It would be absolute madness to cross any ropes out there given what we’ve seen in the last few days.

“Our crew have worked very hard to make it safe and we’d like to think everyone will respect all signs and ropes and stay within the patrolled ski area.”

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