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Skiing Starts Across Australia With New Zealand Open Too

Mt Hutt in New Zealand opens on Friday with resorts in Australia firing up lifts on Saturday. However the ski state of Victoria in Australia is extending its lockdown to control the latest Covid-19 outbreak. Australia has see significant snow fall. UPDATED

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New Zealand

In New Zealand Mt Hutt opened on Friday, June 11th with more than 2,000 people turning out to make their first turns of the season.

There has been heavy snow in the last week and it reports a base of 30cm at resort level and 80cm at the top of the mountain.

The Mt Hutt operations manager, James Urquhart, said “I can’t wait … to go out for a ski” to local media.

All the groomed runs opened as well as the new 8-person chairlift, the Nor’West Express.

Preparations have been taking place all week.

Most of the other ski fields on the South Island in New Zealand are also expected to begin opening from late next week.

Cardrona has been forced to delay opening its slopes from this coming weekend to next week as there is not enough snow.

It has 15cm of snow but with colder temperatures next week the resort is now planning to open the slopes on Friday 18th June.

The resort itself will still open as planned this weekend for sightseeing, meals, shopping and hiking.

The mountain will close from Monday to Thursday next week while make snow and prepare the slopes.

Coronet Peak is due to open on June 19th, Porters Alpine Resort on June 25th,  and The Remarkables and Treble Cone from June 26th and the Craigieburn Valley Ski Area on July 17th.

Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand. Image © PlanetSKI.

Australia

In Australia Perisher opened its Front Valley run for skiing and snowboarding a week early on Friday 4th June.

This weekend more resorts open across the mountains.

Low temperatures have allowed snow making to take place and Mother Nature has provided a helping hand with large amounts of snow.

Australia is experiencing some of its coldest temperatures in decades as snow covers part of New South Wales and Victoria where the ski resorts are.

Sydney has seen its coldest day since 1984.

The low temperatures come as a pool of cool air comes from Antarctica.

“We are so pleased with the opportunity to open Perisher early for the 2021 snow season, especially given the late start last season, said Pete Brulisauer, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Vail Resorts, Perisher and Australia.

“For skiers and boarders who were unable to make it last year, there is tremendous enthusiasm to get back to the Snowy Mountains this winter, with Front Valley now open for skiing and boarding with the Village Eight Express.”

Perisher is operating within relevant government Covid-19 regulations.

Cleaning and safety protocols will be in place to protect guests, communities, and employees consistent with public health requirements.

Guests should expect to purchase products on-line and in advance, use QR check-in codes at indoor venues, and be strongly encouraged to wear face coverings, physically distance, and adopt good hygiene measures in the resorts.

In the state of Victoria the authorities have decided to continue the lockdown putting around 7 million people into their fourth lockdown since the virus first hit.

Those in the state capital Melbourne are being told they can leave home only for essential reasons.

However, outside Melbourne some restrictions are being eased with limited outdoor gatherings and restaurants re-opening.

The lockdown extension follows new cases of what was known as the Indian variant of the virus but has been renamed by the World Health Organisation as the Kappa variant.

“I know this is not the news that everybody wants to hear but given the cases we have… the government had no choice,” Acting Premier James Merlino said, according to the BBC.

“If we don’t do this [lockdown], this thing will get away. This variant of concern will become uncontrollable and people will die.”

The restrictions are now due to end at midnight on Thursday 10th June but Melbourne residents will still face limits on their movements.

The state’s ski resorts are scheduled to open on Saturday 12th June – it’s traditional for the opening weekend to coincide with the Queen’s official birthday, snow conditions allowing.

Preparations are continuing at Victoria’s ski areas with fingers crossed that the restrictions are not extended further.

Mt Hotham has announced that it will be opening as planned this weekend.

“We are pleased to advise that the 2021 snow season at Mt Hotham will commence as planned on Saturday 12 June (Queen’s Birthday weekend),” the resort announced. –

“While we are disappointed that at this stage it looks like we will not be able to welcome our friends and guests from metropolitan Melbourne, we understand the extension to keep all Victorians COVIDSafe and healthy.

“We look forward to welcoming regional Victorians to the resort. There will be no restrictions on the number of people who can enter the resort, however attendance at indoor venues will be limited as per the public health guidelines. For up-to-date information, visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

“We have postponed our season opening festivities until a later date when all Victorians are able to come and celebrate the 2021 season with us. Further information will be provided when these plans are finalised.

“We can confirm that the lifts will be turning and the toboggan slope will be operating for Queen’s Birthday weekend  – subject to available snow.”

The Victorian state government has agreed extra financial help for the alpine industry.

Australian media report it will receive AUS $4.4mof a $32.2 million tourism package.

On-mountain operators will be eligible for grants of up to $15,000 and off-mountain operators can access grants of $5,000, which will help start-up costs and preparations for the opening weekend.

Mt Hotham Chamber of Commerce President Steve Belli told ABC News that the money was ‘a big deal’ as bookings had gone down from 100% to around 25 to 35%.

“Hopefully we see a few more interstate and regional people come up and enjoy the opening weekend,” he said.

“We had four days of trade in 2020 — there are not many businesses around Australia that have suffered that badly.”

Victoria’s other ski areas area are continuing to get ready for the start of the winter season.

Mt Buller

Mt Buller, Image © PlanetSKI

Mt Buller has been making snow, hoping to fire up the lifts on 12th June.

The resort has warned that businesses “can’t afford to have a repeat of last year”.

See those snow piles? 🐳 We make snow at any temperature with our @technoalpin Snow Factories. That’s how we guarantee skiing and boarding until 3 October. 📷 @georgesskihire IG

Posted by Mt Buller on Friday, 28 May 2021

At Falls Creek, festivities marking the start of the southern hemisphere winter on Monday 1st June were cancelled.

It’s the second year running that the charity fundraiser, the Falls Creek Ice Plunge, has been called off due to the pandemic.

The resort decided to to make the best of it on its social media.

It's the first day of Winter and today we'd normally be jumping into Rocky Valley Lake at the Falls Creek Ice Plunge to…

Posted by Falls Creek Resort on Monday, 31 May 2021

 

There is some optimism that this winter will be better than the last one with Australians desperate to get on the slopes.

“Everyone’s talking about a busy season and the way things are all booked up at the resorts, it sounds like we’re going to be, ” Justin Rees, who runs Ski Co, an equipment hire outlet in Cooma, New South Wales, told the Australian Associated Press.

“Put it this way, it’s looking a hell of a lot better than last year.”

Skiing in Australia

Skiing in Australia. Image © PlanetSKI

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