Queenstown ski field Coronet Peak says there will be "lessons to learn" after skiers were forced to wait through severe road and lift delays to get to Thursday's big snow dump.
Thousands rushed to get to the mountain on Thursday morning after 50 centimetres of snow fell overnight.
Police eventually had to shut the ski field's access road after traffic started queuing back for eight kilometres. When the skiers did make it to the mountain, they were forced to wait in line with hundreds of others for the lifts.
The line heading up to the ski field (Andy Pedley / Facebook)
Sales and marketing manager Craig Douglas says crews had to repeatedly clear their car parks from snow as the white stuff continued to fall throughout the morning.
"Unfortunately we can't clear them if there's cars trying to park in them, so we have to hold the cars on the road until we've got it cleared," he says.
"The lifties worked very hard to get the lifts open. You've got to remember that's a lot of snow for us to receive in one short timeframe and it does have an impact on the lifts."
Snowboarder Jez Whitaker decided to turn around and leave after walking into a line of 600 people waiting for the mountains main lift at around 1pm. He says he didn't even get one run in, on one of the best powder days of the year.
"The whole world drove up there and it gridlocked...It's disappointing when a ski resort can't open when it snows.
"It's the biggest queue I've seen this season. It's quite annoying to drive all the way up there and find you can park but can't actually go skiing or boarding."
Mr Douglas admitted there were lessons to learn but appealed for understanding from the public.
"We created a bottleneck because they were all held on the road and we had people accumulate rather than arrive over a period of time," he says.
"It's an easy expectation to have when you don't actually understand all the complications that go in behind getting open. We have a very very limited window of time to get things done, because we can't work some of those jobs in the dark."
He's predicting a "fabulous" day tomorrow and through to the weekend, with no fresh snow to complicate the drive up and blue skies forecast.