Long wait for a big chill is on
Ah, seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness . . .
When he penned To Autumn, English poet John Keats was no doubt thinking about the lovely image of ripening fruit.
However, for Wanaka ski field operators, snow is the only crop on their minds, as they prepare for the 2014 winter season, with Cardrona Alpine Resort opening this Friday, the Snow Farm on Saturday and Treble Cone next Thursday.
And according to the Met Service, the good news is that snow may be on the way this week, with the weather changing to a cooler showery, southerly flow.
This will be a welcome change from Keats’ mist; that’s the Inversion Layer, the dreaded grey-white lid hanging over Wanaka in the last week, which everyone’s been complaining about.
This ‘‘anticyclonic gloom’’ is caused by descending air beneath an area of high atmospheric pressure, Met Service meteorologist John Law says.
So if you’ve been having bad driving days, Law says it’s reasonable to blame the inversion layer, because fog will definitely reduce visibility, and the associated high humidity can cause bad hair days too.
It’s been making ski field operators cranky as well, because the mountains were unlikely to see any useful fresh snow until the area of high pressure, and with it the inversion, shifted away.
Its impact on the ski fields is a bit of a two-edged sword, Treble Cone marketing manager Nick Noble says.
‘‘It can be quite positive because people head up the mountain to get away from it,’’ Noble says.
Treble Cone’s been all snow- guns blazing for the last two weeks, with good coverage on the saddle and home basins for its opening on June 26, marketing manager Nick Noble says.
Cardrona is expecting a big snow storm to hit, which could turn snow conditions from ‘‘zero to hero’’ for its opening this Friday.
Next door on the Pisa Ranges, the cross-country ski facility Snow Farm is scheduled to open on Saturday, weather permitting.
Let it snow: Wanaka’s Highland Saddle and Middle Peak near Wanaka, rise majestically above the Inversion Layer. But where’s the snow? Hopefully, it will arrive in the back country in the next few days, to provide good coverage for the ski fields’ opening in the next week.