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Snow dump traps New Zealand skiers

Some towns expected to run out of petrol


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27 Jul 11 - Huge snowfalls across the entire South Island and the southern half of the North Island have trapped hundreds of skiers and blocked main highways across the country.

The snow dump caught many by surprise, stranding 250 skiers at Mt Lyford, near Christchurch, up the mountain overnight, leaving them to sleep in the resort's cafeteria.

Some of the country's main roads have been closed due to snowfalls, and many others are coated in dangerous black ice, slowing traffic to a crawl.

Some towns are expected to run out of petrol after tankers could not make the trip.

The snow has not brought cheer to earthquake-ravaged Christchurch, where thousands of people are living in damaged homes or temporary accommodation.

The worst white-out in a decade is keeping residents indoors, but many are struggling in freezing conditions.

"We're very cold, feel a bit abandoned," one resident told Television New Zealand.

"No power and people are cold, just another horrendous nightmare added on top of it."

But for those in the tourism industry the news is great.

"It's absolutely awesome," said Destination Queenstown chief executive Tony Everitt. "We've had two really big dumps over the last 10 days so the ski fields are in great shape and the whole place is just a winter wonderland." 1226102702279
Thanks to Linda Binutti for this link

"Here in Australia we've enjoyed very early snow this year, says Linda. "The resorts have been open for a couple of months, and the snow is the deepest since 1990."



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