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Whakapapa Ski Area To Open This Weekend

27 June 2002

Snow falls on Mt Ruapehu this week will allow Whakapapa Ski Area to open for skiing, snowboarding and sightseeing from this Saturday, 30 June.

Whakapapa will open two lifts on Saturday, the Valley T-bar and Cinder Track Platter with further lifts to open as the snow base builds.

The opening has been delayed for a week after warm, wet conditions depleted early season snow falls. Turoa Ski Area opened on schedule last Friday.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) says repairs are progressing well on Whakapapa's Knoll Ridge T-bar which was damaged in the recent snow and ice storm. The company expects repairs to be completed in approximately four weeks.

Turoa, which opened with two chairlifts last Friday, is also looking to open the High Noon T-Bar in the next few days. Repairs to the Movenpick Chairlift have been completed and will it be fully operational from the weekend.

"We received further snow at higher elevations last weekend and early this week which has improved upper mountain conditions considerably," says RAL Marketing Manager Mike Smith.

"The Happy Valley snowmaking system is ready to operate and 18 snow guns are poised to cover the area with snow as soon as the ideal snowmaking combination of fine and frosty weather arrives."

Turoa had its first sustained snowmaking period on Monday producing snow for 15 hours on the Alpine Meadow beginners area. Both Turoa and Whakapapa require more snowmaking time before beginner facilities can open.

"We're confident that weather conditions for snowmaking are not far off and we're putting the cable on the new Happy Valley chairlift today in preparation," says Mike Smith.

"Last year we had 100 hours of snowmaking in June and 300 hours in July, so these weather patterns are unusual. There's further snow in the forecast from Sunday through to Wednesday, and we're confident that more facilities at both Ski Areas will be available from later next week."

Ends

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