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Mt Dobson ski area has had the best 30th birthday present it could get - an early start to the season thanks to fantastic snow conditions.
The family-owned ski area is celebrating by giving away free lift passes on its grand opening day on Saturday 13 June, three weeks ahead of schedule.
Following the opening, Mt Dobson, located in the heart of the Mt Cook Mackenzie region, will be open every weekend until 4 July, when it will open fully through to October.
With forecasters predicting even better snow conditions than last year, owner Peter Foote has brought in extra mountain staff and qualified instructors to make sure everything is ready for the early start.
Mt Dobson caters for all levels of skiers and boarders with 400ha of skiable terrain - 25% beginner, 50% intermediate and 25% advanced. Terrain ranges from the largest learning slope in southern New Zealand through to challenging off-piste powder runs, a powder basin and a natural half pipe for the more advanced.
An international team of qualified instructors is on hand to help those keen to improve their skills.
Mr Foote says people really enjoy the laidback, friendly atmosphere at Mt Dobson and keep coming back.
“We’re expecting a large turnout on Saturday from mid and south Canterbury and lots of people are coming from Christchurch and Otago.
“We’ve had a couple of huge dumps of snow recently and have a 90cm base which is great for this time of the year. It’s given us fantastic snow cover and means we can open the entire mountain on our first day.
“The team is absolutely buzzing and can’t wait to get the show on the road,” he says.
Mt Dobson has been owned and run by the Foote family since 1979. They have developed it from a tractor-powered rope-tow into one of the South Island’s most popular ski resorts.
Peter Foote has made sure Mt Dobson has maintained its family roots throughout the past 30 years.
Mt Dobson is 2½ hours drive from Christchurch, 11km west of the beautiful rural town of Fairlie and 18km east of Lake Tekapo. The 40 minute drive from Lake Tekapo is considered one of the best alpine roads in New Zealand.
On-mountain facilities include a full range of rental gear, a café and plenty of parking. Mountain transport shuttles will run on the weekends from Binney’s Café at the Fairlie Museum, and will possibly extend to weekdays, depending on demand.
Daily snow reports are available on www.dobson.co.nz, as well as details about special beginners’ and multi-day packages.