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Snow guns crank into action for Mt Hutt and Coronet Peak

A snowgun firing at
Mt Hutt looking up Broadway
A snowgun firing at Mt Hutt looking up Broadway

Media release from NZSki
23 May 2012

Snow guns crank into action for Mt Hutt and Coronet Peak 2013 winter season

The start of snowmaking today (Thursday May 23) at Mt Hutt in Methven and early this morning at Coronet Peak in Queenstown signals the impending opening of two of New Zealand’s most popular ski fields.

Ski area staff from Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt have been closely monitoring systems this week to ensure snowmakers were ready when temperatures dropped to optimal snowmaking levels.

Mt Hutt also received 8cm of snow overnight as a cold front passed up the country.

Mt Hutt Ski Area Manager James McKenzie said that with recent forecasts, the snowmaking team had been on standby.

“As the temperatures have been dropping, the team has been checking systems and following weather predictions,” he said.

“We’ve been amped, and are stoked to start firing today.”

Mt Hutt’s season opening is always subject to conditions as ground and air temperatures have to be right.

“Thanks to a cool autumn with two snow falls, the mountain has maintained snow coverage but we needed to establish a good base at altitudes below 1800m ahead of our scheduled opening day,” said Mr McKenzie.

“We’ve had eight guns making snow in the base area today with two more making snow at the top of the Quad chair.”

A total of 87 guns are available for initial snowmaking on three main runs including Highway 72, Broadway and Morning Glory, as well as around the base area and on International.

Mr McKenzie said this would ensure that a range of beginner to intermediate trails would be available for opening day.

In Queenstown, 20 of Coronet Peak’s 213 snow guns last night automatically switched on as temperature and weather conditions were at optimal levels between 5am and 11am.

Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland was confident that over the coming weeks conditions would enable regular top ups to ensure a good base.

Both Mt Hutt and Coronet Peak staff have been finalising other operational logistics ahead of opening, including completion of summer maintenance and employment of seasonal staff.

“All of this happens behind the scenes, so when we start making snow it’s the sign that the season is upon us which creates a real sense of excitement,” said Mr Copland.

“That’s when the buzz and excitement starts, and when businesses in Queenstown and Methven start to gear up for the season.”

Mt Hutt ski area is scheduled to open on June 15, subject to conditions, while Coronet Peak is scheduled to open on June 8. For more information go to


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