Conditions at ski areas across New Zealand are reported to be the best of the season so far, with some claiming Wednesday 2nd September was the best ski day in the past five years.

There were blue sky conditions after the country’s ski areas reported between 20 and 42cm of light powder snowfall in the previous 48 hours.

The Remarkables is pictured top, Mt Dobson below.

The great conditions did however cause issues at a number of areas as large numbers of skiers attempted to reach the slopes whilst New Zealand remains under COVID-19 Level 2 pandemic restrictions which limited the numbers on the mountain.  Car parks at several areas were full by 9am.

With queues of up to 5km (3 miles) developing at one area, resort management suggested more skiers carpool, although that seems to contradict virus-spread-prevention advice issued at other ski areas against carpooling.

The great conditions this week are in contrast to more mixed conditions during the first 2-3months of New Zealand’s 2020 ski season to date.  Although the country’s commercial areas with snowmaking have been able to open throughout, smaller ‘cl;ub fields’ without snowmaking have been closed due to inadequate snowcover for large parts of the season.

One reported that looking back through more than 70 years of snow records, 2020 was the second worst season they’d had. 

“The snow has actually been a bigger issue for us than any Covid,” the manager of another small ski area told local media.

Temple Basin, which is yet to open for 2020, has announced it now will almost certainly not open this season due to inadequate snow – it did not do so well in the recent storms. This has only previously happened in one other season in past 50 years, 2007.