News and Events

Mt Hutt ‘all systems go’ for 40th season opening (13-Jun-13)
Immaculately groomed slopes and a genuinely warm welcome await avid skiers and snowboarders.....

Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski area first to open in Australasia (10-Jun-13)
Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski area today (June 8) celebrated in style as the first Australasian ski field to open for winter....

Coronet Peak first ski area in Australasia to open on Saturday (05-Jun-13)
Queenstown is officially open for winter as the 2013 season kicks off at Coronet Peak on Saturday (June 8).

Ski Areas Go Out With A Bang! (27-Sep-12)
Season extension and half price passes

Coronet Peak All Set To Make Snow (26-May-11)

As opening day approaches for Queenstown’s Coronet Peak...

As opening day approaches for Queenstown’s Coronet Peak, the ski area’s 211 snow guns are all set to crank into action for the first time this year this weekend (May 27-29).

A crew led by Head of Snowmaking Pete Deuart is ready to work day and night to have the guns pumping 24 tonnes of the white stuff across the mountain every minute in preparation for its scheduled opening on Saturday 4 June.

Mr Deuart said there were a number of weather factors dictating the start of snowmaking, but said he was positive the team would produce quality snow and plenty of it.

Coronet Peak Head of snowmaking Pete Deuart with one of his snow guns on the mountain

Coronet Peak Head of snowmaking Pete Deuart with one of his snow guns on the mountain 

“Obviously we’d like it ‘the colder the better’ temperature-wise, but currently we have a good average marginal temperature to work with. There’s also a few clear ‘bluebird’ days forecast which bodes well in terms of creating low humidity that’s great for producing dry snow.”

Coronet Peak needs at least 72 hours of continuous cold air temperatures and low humidity levels to make enough snow to open. The drier it is, the higher the temperature can be to make snow. At 100% humidity the ambient temperature needs to be -2C, while at 50% humidity the temperature can be 0C for snowmaking.

In the ultimate recycling move, last year’s snow is used to make this year’s machine snow. The snow guns are supplied from reservoirs on Coronet Peak which have collected water and snow melt all year, delivering it back to the guns via 20 kilometres of underground pipes.

Mr Deuart said he’d travelled to ski areas in Japan, USA, South Korea, China and Russia to look at snow guns and snow making technology, and that he was confident Coronet Peak’s system was among the top one per cent of world-class snowmaking.

It costs more than $10,000 to power the snow guns each day.

“These are high end expensive pieces of equipment that need to be monitored by the team, and thanks to the extensive snowmaking system here at Coronet Peak, and the ongoing investment into the technology, we’re the first mountain to open in New Zealand,” he said.

“The whole world turns, the world tilts and we’re going to get snow – that’s the nature of the world. We only need those few days of continuous cold temperatures to make enough snow to open.”

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