Ruapehu is ready for a big sea­son

Taupo Times - - FRONT PAGE -

STEPHANIE RANGI The North Is­land’s main ski­field op­er­a­tor hopes to open both ma­jor ski ar­eas early this year.

Hopes are high for a record crowd for this week­end’s open­ing of the Happy Val­ley Snow Park and learn­ing area.

Last week’s snow has been sup­ple­mented by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts’ new snow mak­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive, Ross Co­p­land said it was shap­ing up to be a great sea­son.

‘‘With our snow­mak­ing tech­nol­ogy and a big boost from Mother Na­ture ... it should make for fan­tas­tic early sea­son skiing,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re not rul­ing out an early open­ing of Turoa as well if this weather keeps de­liv­er­ing the snow.’’

More than 2700 peo­ple were at the open­ing week­end last year which was a 10-year record.

‘‘We’re hop­ing to break last year’s open­ing week­end record, es­pe­cially with all the en­gage­ment around [last] week’s snow­fall and the lat­est re­ports from Met­ser­vice that this will be a bumper win­ter sea­son,’’ Co­p­land said.

Happy Val­ley will be the first area to open thanks to the snow mak­ing, which has been run­ning since April 3, and the re­cent dump of snow.

The snow mak­ing ma­chine has been pro­duc­ing about 210 cu­bic me­tres per day over the past 40 days.

Co­p­land said the early start meant skiers and snow­board­ers would ben­e­fit im­mensely.

‘‘[They] can pol­ish their skills and then move on to other parts of the moun­tain as the sea­son pro­gresses,’’ he said.

On open­ing day, there will be a ‘first chair’ com­pe­ti­tion for the first two skiers or snow­board­ers rid­ing the Dou­ble Happy Chair.

‘‘It is likely they will be the first in Aus­trala­sia to ride a chair­lift for the 2018 win­ter sea­son,’’ he said.

If all runs smoothly, RAL will open the Whakapa lower moun­tain on June 16 and the up­per moun­tain on June 30. Turoa is set to open on June 29.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.