14 Aug 2010

Mt Hutt skifield open again

2:42 pm on 14 August 2010

Mt Hutt skifield reopened on Saturday. Winds are now much lighter than those which closed the field on Thursday and Friday.

Winds gusting up to 200km per hour caused the closure of the access road to the skifield at midday on Thursday.

About 1200 people - skiers, skifield personnel, school children, teachers and parents - spent the night on the mountain in the base building there.

The wind died down enough to reopen the road just before 10am on Friday, giving a weather window of about two hours to bring everyone down.

MetService says the winds were caused by two conflicting weather patterns combining and forcing gusts through gaps on the mountain.

Mt Hutt Ski manager David Wilson says there is a light wind on the lower slopes on Saturday morning and a stronger wind, measuring about 60km per hour at the top of the skifield, which is forecast to ease.

At 6.30am, the skies over Mt Hutt were clear and sunshine was predicted for later in the day.

Mr Wilson says most of the cleaning up from the unexpected sleepover was done on Friday and now it is business as usual.

Groomers were out on the snow on Friday night to make sure the skifield was prepared for Saturday.