27 May 2002
Kim Manunui (back) and Michelle McGill of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts take a slide down the road by the base area of Whakapapa.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts staff had "no option" but to stop work and enjoy the snow.
Heavy snow drifts of up to one metre gave Ruapehu Alpine Lifts staff the excuse they were looking for today to stop work
and go play in the snow.
Thanks to a cold South-West front sweeping the country, Mt Ruapehu ski area has received 40-50cms of new snow on the
upper mountain and 20-30cms has blanketed the lower areas of Happy Valley on Whakapapa and Alpine Meadow on Turoa.
Further snow is expected over the next 48 hours.
Mike Smith, Marketing Manager at Ruapehu Alpine Lifts says the snowfall is setting the mountain up for a good year.
"It's almost a year to the day that we got a similar heavy snowfall which set up the 2001 season. The snow we are
receiving now will pack down well and form an excellent snow base for the 2002 season.
"The snow has really set the region abuzz and we can't wait for opening day on June 21. While the storm has slowed
progress on major projects such as the Giant Cafe, Happy Valley chairlift and snowmaking installations at Whakapapa,
fine weather forecast mid week means work crews will be working hard to make up lost time.
"For now we just sit back, enjoy the snow and watch Mother Nature at her best."