Fresh staff, fresh snow and new trails ready for open­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - By GRANT BRYANT

Three hun­dred and twenty freshly in­ducted staff at Coronet Peak are push­ing to­ward a spec­tac­u­lar open­ing of the first south­ern ski­field to open for busi­ness on Satur­day.

The staff were be­ing in­ducted to­day, and come from all points of the globe, with 60 per cent of them Ki­wis.

An­other 200 staff will be in­ducted once the snow sea­son hits full swing on June 16.

Ski area man­ager Ross Copeland said a whole sum­mer’s worth of prepa­ra­tion, in­no­va­tions and in­fra­struc­ture up­grades had gone into mak­ing the com­ing open­ing and sea­son a great ex­pe­ri­ence for snow fans.

‘‘We’ve got four new kilo­me­tres of trail that will be open for night ski­ing, made some great progress with our ter­rain park, and got some great stuff for the chil­dren’s area, and I can gen­uinely say to staff we’re in great shape for a great sea­son,’’ he said.

The ter­rain park was dou­ble the size of pre­vi­ous set-ups, and would be open on Fri­day and Satur­day nights for ‘Park Af­ter Dark’ ses­sions. A 4-me­tre high airbag mea­sur­ing 16m by 11m would en­sure tricks could be prac­ticed safely.

‘‘The airbag’s ba­si­cally the size of a small build­ing. We’ve also hired a ded­i­cated en­ter­tain­ment co-or­di­na­tor who will be en­sur­ing there’s great en­ter­tain­ment and mu­sic for our night skiers and board­ers,’’ Copeland said.

Snow-mak­ing on the moun­tain has also un­der­gone ma­jor changes, with a por­ta­ble gun added and more ‘‘fire­power’’ be­ing brought down to the lower slopes. A rene­go­ti­ated ar­range­ment with NZSki’s power sup­plier also means there is 20 per cent more power avail­able to the moun­tain.

‘‘It’s a huge dif­fer­ence, which means we can make snow solidly right through our cold pe­ri­ods.’’

Snow groom­ing will also have a big boost with two new groomers.

Photo: GRANT BRYANT/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Ready: Coronet Peak ski area man­ager Ross Copeland on the the slopes.

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