Skiers hope for winter snow

Skiers hope for winter snow

Some ski fields in Canterbury and Otago are delaying their openings.

Normally, heading west towards the Canterbury foothills would provide a picturesque snow filled vista at this time of year. However, unseasonably warm conditions have left the mountains a little bare.

The July school holidays are just a few weeks away, but ski fields say they're not pushing the panic buttons just yet.

"If you look at autumn, we had out warmest autumn on record, and that's led in to a mild winter so far -- but it is only June so it's early days yet," says MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray.

It's made for a disrupted start to the ski season -- strong warm nor'west winds have kept Mt Hutt shut for the last two days, and will again tomorrow.

"It's an early part of the season and we can see it change in an instant in the mountains, so there's no cause for concern anywhere. We're just in our regular pattern -- we've got a couple of closed days and once the wind dies down we'll be back into it," says Mt Hutt Ski Area manager James McKenzie.

Mr McKenzie says temperatures will have to drop before they can get the fields snow making guns running again. And there are similar frustrations further north.

Here at Porter Heights they had to delay their opening, but a spokesman for the ski area says it's not panic stations yet. It's still a fortnight before the school holidays and that's when they'll really need the snow.

MetService isn't ruling out that some snow will fall before then.

"This week with the system coming over, Thursday should get a dusting of snow, but really this weekend is the best chance for snow and there should be some down right to about 800 metres," says Ms Murray.

And that's great news for skiers who've had just nine days skiing so far this year, and are desperate for the winter snow to arrive so they can get back on the slopes.