New Zealand Sees Heavy Snow as Country Goes into Lockdown
17th August 2021
Last modified on August 19th, 2021
The country has gone into a snap lockdown so it will be a few days before people can enjoy the conditions. It follows heavy snow last week and there are set to be some of the best conditions of the winter. UPDATED
Police in Queenstown on the south island have been dealing with a handful of people who have gone skiing despite the lockdown restrictions.
They were in an area 45-minutes from the town according to reports in local media.
Some were snowboarding, others sledding or playing in the snow
All New Zealanders have been instructed to “stay at home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement”.
“Safe recreational activity” is allowed in a local area.
People are also being urged to stay away from some parts as resorts close and avalanche prevention work is carried out.
The avalanche warning comes from the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council after significant snowfall.
There are 12 avalanche forecasting regions on the South Island and 8 are describing the threat as “high”.
The 8 are Arthur’s Pass, Craigieburn Range, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Ohau, Queenstown, Wanaka, Fiordland and Nelson Lakes.
The risk in the other four areas, including Mt Hutt, are rated as “considerable”.
Mt Hutt was open until the new lockdown came into force.
The slopes remain out of bounds as New Zealand has gone into a snap lockdown as we have reported in PlanetSKI’s Skiing Snippets.
A man has tested positive fro Covid-19 in Auckland and the city will be in lockdown for a week, while the rest of the country will be in lockdown for three days.
It is the first positive case in 6-months, and it is assumed it is the Delta variant.
“I want to assure New Zealand that we have planned for this eventuality. Going hard and early has worked for us before,” said the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
“We have seen what can happen elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it. We only get one chance,” Ms Ardern said in a national television.
She called the Delta strain “a game changer”.
Only 20% of the New Zealand population has been fully vaccinated.
Once the lockdown ends, the snow eases and the avalanche risk is reduced there should be some of the best condition of the winter.
It follows heavy snow last week as we reported at the time:
We’ve got 25cm of new snow today!! Visibility will come in and out but the turns will be amazing. There may be a slight delay on lifts this morning while we clear snow and get things set up. Willow’s may be subject to visibility holds. Chains are required on all vehicles.
— Cardrona NZ (@CardronaNZ) August 16, 2021
‘‘Significant overnight snowfalls, accompanied by strong winds, means many ski areas are closed or partially closed today to conduct avalanche control work,” said a statement from the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council.
‘‘This control work doesn’t occur in the back-country, so it needs even more time to settle and stabilise.’’
The snow has caused disruption to the transport network with some roads closed.
A busy morning on the Crown Range ❄
The Road Snowfall Warning wraps up at 1pm today but there’s another risk of snow on the road before the week is up.
— MetService (@MetService) August 17, 2021
Ski resorts in Australia have also been affected, with all ski areas closed in New South Wales and those in Victoria open to locals only.
Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this article so do check back…