Strong winds and snow drifts forced Mt Dobson skifield to close its access road on Thursday.

Strong winds and snow drifts forced Mt Dobson skifield to close its access road on Thursday.
It was a "frustrating" morning for Mt Dobson ski field on Thursday after the excitement of 40 centimetres of snow in 36 hours was dampened by strong winds and snow drifts forced the closure of its access road.

"I felt so bad because we did that Facebook post yesterday [saying the snow had arrived] and so many people were sending messages saying 'I'm invoking my powder clause and taking the day off work'," sales and marketing manager Mike Smith said.

"It's defeated us today but that's just life in the mountains unfortunately."


Mt Dobson received 40cm of snow this week but couldn't open because of high winds.

Mt Dobson received 40cm of snow this week but couldn't open because of high winds.
Smith said there was "nice and light and dry and fluffy snow so it should be really good to ski on" and with a few more fronts expected they would "take each day as it comes".

A couple of school groups, including Mackenzie College, have been unable to ski as planned due to the weather but Smith said the majority of school activity will begin next week.

This is Mt Dobson's third year promoting itself as a ski race training destination and it is starting to get "bigger and more international world class athletes" training there.

"We've got a lot of international race teams coming and we've had quite a few extras because fo the lack of snow in Queenstown, so the British junior team have been training this week and we've had New Zealand's top women's racers Alice Robinson and Eliza Grigg so some training with a whole other group of World Cup Women."

Tekapo's Roundhill ski-field received a 50cm dump of snow on Wednesday leading the team to predict an "awesome" day for skiing on Thursday.

All lifts except the Heritage Express Rope Tow were open but visitors were warned that chains were required for two wheel drive vehicles on the access road.

Chains were also required to access the Ohau snow field which reported about 30cm snowfall on Tuesday on top of what was already a healthy base layer.

"We've had a good cover all the way through with our snow making," ski-field owner-operator Mike Neilson said

He said that footfall had been normal for the season and although there was an anticipated drop off after the school holidays they were now gearing up for international teams from the US, Switzerland and Sweden coming over for race training.

Neilson said it felt great to be on the map for international teams.

Source: The Timaru Herald