A small club at the back of Hanmer Springs Village has become the first ski field to open this season after severe weather brought a big dumping of snow.
President of the Amuri Ski Club at Hanmer Springs Ski Area Sarah Sleight told the Herald it was the first time they have been open for Queens Birthday since they first opened 64 years ago.
Between 20-60cm of snow has fallen at the field this week.
"We're just a little club field. We've got a rope tow and a bomber," she said.
Sleight said they had a look at the ski field on Wednesday "and we said we're gonna get us open."
The field was first opened by a group of North Canterbury farmers in 1957.
It is driven by club members and volunteer work, Sleight said.
"During the season we have a couple of staff running things. Hopefully, with subs from members, we can get through to get diesel in tanks and get things going."
Sleight said there has been a huge celebration at the ski field since the opening.
"We've never been the first field to be open, definitely not before commercial fields.
"We don't have snowmaking so it is a big bonus to be able to say hey look we've got enough snow, let's do it."
Howard Buchanan was the first skier down the mountain on Thursday morning.
"It's a pretty amazing experience, pretty unique.
"The last time I was here about 40 years ago, I was driving a 1969 Volkswagen," he said.
Buchanan said he has a lot of memories of the ski field from when he was there as a student.
"Look at that mountain, it's incredible."
He had no idea he would be skiing until 7pm on Wednesday night.
He saw a post on Facebook about the opening and messaged Sleight who he knows from "way back."
"I said is this a joke? Are we going skiing tomorrow? She replied yay, we're on.
"So I got up at 5.30am and hit the road from Christchurch."