Turoa claims largest snow base ever

Mt Ruapehu is claiming the biggest snow base ever recorded for a New Zealand skifield with over 4.5m of snow on the ground.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, operator of Mt Ruapehu ski area, was celebrating what it called a major milestone today.

The snow measuring stake at Turoa previously only stood at 380cm so had to be extended to measure today's 455cm snow base.

The Whakapapa side of the mountain also had 350cm of snow, the biggest since 1995.

Mt Ruapehu marketing manager Mike Smith said the record-breaking snow base would be paradise for skiers and boarders, and with such large bases the season could potentially keep going into November.

But while the North Island field was claiming the record, southern skifield Cardrona, near Queenstown, was proclaiming the quality, not quantity, of its snow.

Geoff Wayatt, who runs the snow safety and ski patrol for Cardrona, said the snow measured 78cm at the base and about 110cm at the top station.

The weather patterns meant that the more northern fields could receive bigger snow falls, he said.

"They have got great terrain, we have got better snow. The further south you go the colder it gets and the better the snow quality."

Mt Hutt reported a 267cm snow base.

- NZPA

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