New Zealand's 2022 ski season is expected to get properly underway this weekend as a major 'Antarctic Blast' hits the country's ski areas.
Earlier in the week, Mt Hutt, which had been due to open first, on Friday, announced its opening day was a "moving target" but that it wouldn't now be until some time next week due to, "strong winds and blizzard conditions in the weekend forecast."
However Cardrona ski area announced on Friday that it is going ahead with its planned weekend opening this Saturday, albeit with limited terrain initially,
"Cardrona is opening tomorrow with the Beginners' Area, our Base Area cafés, Snow Sports School, and some terrain park features! We're about to be back in the eye of the storm with more snow on the way, so we're looking to open the McDougall's Chondola next week once the storm has passed," a spokesperson said.
The resort also supplied the enclosed image of how the centre looks ahead of opening.
In fact New Zealand's Whakapapa ski area on Mt Ruapehu opened its own Happy Valley beginners area at the start of the week, so is technically the first to open in the country, but it does not attempt to open full ski runs until July.
While Australia has had massive pre-season snowfalls New Zealand had been suffering from above average temperatures and little natural snowfall or cold enough weather for snowmaking until earlier this week. Snow started falling on Wednesday and some resorts had reported at least 40cm (a foot) of snow by Friday afternoon, with the most optimistic forecasts predicting up to a metre of snowfall possible by next week from the building snow storm.