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Image: Record Breaking Snowfall Blankets Ruapehu

Photo caption: Heavy cloud cleared just long enough for a photo of the Grand Chateau blanketed in snow today.

Media Release 19July 2001

RECORD BREAKING SNOWFALL BLANKETS MT RUAPEHU

Massive volumes of snow have been falling at Mt Ruapehu for the past five days, the largest snowfall in the smallest period of time that Whakapapa has experienced for 15 years.

More than 1.10m of snow has fallen on the mountain since the weekend, bringing snow depths in line with snow levels Mt Ruapehu experienced during the big snow years of the early 1990's.

Whakapapa now has a snow base of 1.65 metres and Turoa has a snow base of 1.35 metres.

At the base of the mountain, 10-20cms of snow has fallen, covering Whakapapa Village and The Grand Chateau in a scenic blanket of white.

The huge amount of snow, with more expected in the next 48 hours, has set the region alight with promises of a ski season to rival the legendary seasons of the past.

So much snow means that Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) will be busy carrying out avalanche and maintenance work once the snow stops. The company expects to be able to open the majority of its facilities as conditions permit.

Dave Mazey, General Manager of RAL, says the snow is a huge relief for businesses in the area who have been waiting some years for a good season.

"Our 700 staff can now look forward to a busy season, local businesses are in high spirits and skiers and boarders can look forward to magic skiing on Mt Ruapehu.

"The recent weather patterns and the upcoming forecast are in our favor and we're looking forward to an excellent season."

CONTACT: Kristie Penwarden Phone: (09) 979 2026 Mobile: 025 374 524



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