A period of warm and wet weather over the past fortnight has unfortunately had a significant impact on the country’s 20-22 ski season.

The small family-run field of Mt Lyford announced on Friday that they were “Gutted” to have to announce they were ending their 2022 season after warm, wet weather severely impacted the previously excellent snowpack.  The resort noted that hoped for colder temperatures and fresh snowfall had not been adequate to turn things around over the past week as they had hoped.

Elsewhere most of the larger commercial fields on the South Island are operating, albeit with more limited terrain and warmer temperatures than previously. Treble Cone noted that a high danger of heavy slab avalanches (as pictured top) means it has had to close some of its most popular terrain, but stressed conditions were good elsewhere on the mountain.

The country’s largest and highest ski resort, Mt Ruapehu on the North Island has had a particularly tough time. The season here typically starts later than the South Island but usually continues to late October or early November and is frequently the last to close in the entire southern hemisphere.

This winter though the resort started with an eruption danger waning for Ruapehu and then challenges from warm temperatures and limited snow which, three months on has turned into one of the warmest, most humid and wettest on record.

Things appeared to be gradually improving with bases building in the first half of August but the recent warm spell has let to a temporary closure of their Tūroa base while Whakapapa currently has only their access gondola, The Valley and Knoll T-Bars open. Resort operator Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Ltd (RAL) say they’ll need to let about a third of their 405 staff go as of Monday and that they’ll seek to help all find alternative employment.

RAL executive officer Jono Dean noted that the resort still had more than half of its “anticipated season left” and said they intended to operate both ski areas, as conditions allow and stressed that, “Late snowfall and excellent spring skiing are what Mt Ruapehu is known for.”