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ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

Winter is finally kicking into gear at Wanaka’s Snow Farm, where at least 20cm of snow has fallen in the past week, providing some of the best conditions so far this season.

Snow Farm was among the skifields celebrating the recent cold front, which brought 20cm of snow to the slopes overnight on Wednesday, last week.

That significant snowfall was followed by 10cm, 5cm and 3cm over consecutive nights from Friday.

That snow gave the slopes some near perfect conditions in the lead up to Snow Farm’s 30th celebrations, which were hosted over the weekend, sales manager Pip Gillespie said.

“We believe that from the weekend just gone, we’ve got the best skiing of the season.”

The celebrations were attended by more than 500 people, who took part in a range of activities, including a biathlon demonstration, which is a combination of Nordic skiing and target practice.

Visitors were also treated to a display by Aspiring Avalanche Dogs, speeches and a buffet lunch.

A range of racing events provided further entertainment, including a chocolate fish race, which required participants to ski cross-country before eating a chocolate fish without using their hands, similar to a bobbing apple race.

“It’s awesome to see so many families up here today not only enjoying our 30th anniversary celebrations, but also the wonderfully fluffy snow that’s laid the past few days,” Mrs Gillespie said, during the celebrations.

Guest services assistant Jen Coombes was among those who enjoyed the festivities.

“The event has been so fun with so many fun activities.”

Communications support Abby Costen was also making the most of the celebrations and the great snow conditions on offer.

“Snow Farm NZ is rocking and rolling today. It’s a delight to feel the happy vibes and see so many lovely smiling faces,” she said.

Janelle Fletcher, who ventured to Snow Farm for the occasion, said she was impressed by the festivities.

“We had a fabulous time.”

Snow Farm has about 30cm of snow on some of its trails, while other areas had more than 1m snowdrifts, which was great for the skifield, Mrs Gillespie said.

“We don’t need the amount of snow that other alpine skifields need because we don’t have the gradient or steepness.”

She said snow was still forecast over the next few days to help add to its base.

Cardrona Alpine Resort has also been enjoying lots of snow over the past week.

As of Monday afternoon, the skifield had received 51cm of snow in the past week.

Communications executive Jen Houltham said that meant the upper mountain base had increased to 125cm and mid-mountain to 115cm.

“Everyone’s been stoked to ski and snowboard fresh snow this last week. It’s a great top-up for us. We’re shaping up for a fantastic August with Winter Games NZ kicking off at the end of the month.”

More than 50cm of new snow has also landed on Treble Cone over the past week, giving skiers and snowboarders their first couple of “real powder days” this winter, brand manager Richard Birkby said.

“With the cold temperatures we’ve seen, we’ve also been able to augment that through snowmaking and the mountain is now fully open, including the famed Motatapu Chutes area.”

He said conditions were excellent.

“As a consequence we’ve definitely seen an increase in visitor numbers with visiting guests from across New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan all enjoying the fresh snow. It’s classic Treble Cone – great snow, no crowds or queues and that fun, friendly vibe you get when lots of people are enjoying themselves.”

He said, as of Tuesday morning, the forecast was for more cold temperatures and possibly more snow in the coming days.

“As a consequence we’re looking forward to some great riding and skiing through August and September.

“I think it’s noteworthy that August and September usually offer the best conditions of the winter – the days are longer, we get regular snow and the weather is fine.”