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The highly anticipated 2011 ski season gets underway at Cardrona Alpine Resort on Friday (July 8).

The ski area located in the Cardrona Valley, between Queenstown and Wanaka, has relied on snowmaking to open with limited beginner, novice and intermediate terrain. Cardrona Sales and Marketing Manager Nadia Ellis says this is the first time in the ski area’s history that they have relied solely on snowmaking to open.

“Cardrona’s high elevation and south facing aspect has traditionally meant we’ve always had reliable snowfall but this year’s warmer weather has meant we delayed opening by two weeks,” she says.

“The snowmaking team and grooming department have done a remarkable job preparing the pistes.”

“It’s fantastic to now be able to confirm an opening date and it looks likely that we will be assisted with some natural snow over the coming days.”

Cardrona provided its 400 workers with daily hot lunches and hosted a variety of organised activities in the local area whilst they waited for the ski area to open.

“It’s been very humbling to witness the support of the local community with many offers of help being extended to our staff,” Ms Ellis says.

“The whole team is thrilled to be starting work and can’t wait for the season to get underway.”

The open trails have a base of between 20cm to 35cm snow coverage, but terrain was limited and runs were narrower in some places than normal. Work will begin on freestyle features as soon as snowfall allows.

Lifts and trails opening include:

  • The new 165m long Learner Conveyor
  • Newly enlarged and improved learners slope
  • The McDougalls Quad
  • The Whitestar Express accessing Racecourse & All Nations trails.

Cardrona Alpine Resort services on offer will include rental, snowsports school, four kids centres,  Base Café, Noodle Bar, Mezz Café & Juice and Java, guest services, retail, snofoto and medical centre.

For further information, snow reports and web cams, visit www.cardrona.com