What's New at the Skifields - New Zealand & Australia 2012

Well, well, well! Welcome to Season 2012. May it be cold, snow-filled, and not too windy!

The official starts to the ski seasons in New Zealand and Australia are only about one month away, so it is as good a time as any to round up what's new for 2012 in the way of ski lifts and terrain.

Hanmer Springs skifield [Source: Hanmer Springs Ski Area website]
The short answer is not a whole lot! But there are a couple of interesting novelties to get excited about this year.

New Zealand

In the far north of the South Island, little Hanmer Springs has been installing a new beginner's rope tow to add to its main poma and the Shirtfront Rope Tow.

I've not skied at Hanmer, which is a couple of hours north of Christchurch, as it tends to close by early Spring, but it looks like a fun little area. I've heard the access road is a bit hairy though! Bring it on!

Travelling much further south from Christchurch into the Mackenzie, we have lovely Ohau which has purchased a new chairlift. Great going Ohau! The new lift line will go up to the ridge and open up a whole lot of new lifted terrain.

But don't get too excited just yet - work on the new development won't begin until summer 2012, so its really something to look forward to for season 2013.

New Mt Buller Chairlift [Source: Mt Buller Website]

At Mt Buller, a new chairlift is replacing the Burnt Hut lift which ironically burned down a few years back.

The awfully named Bonza Chair at Horse Hill/Burnt Hut has been put in at a slightly different line from the old Burnt Hut lift. You can see the new lift line in the picture.

This realignment is promising to open up some more of the intermediate tree runs that can be found in the Telecom area. It will be interesting to see what new terrain is available here and how the top station of the lift improves access to the rest of the mountain for day visitors.

I'll update with some snow conditions and outlooks in the next week or so. May you have a great Season 2012!

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