Our eyes lit up as we awoke to snowflakes falling last week! Wanaka is beautiful all year round, but undoubtably, nothing makes getting up on a cold morning more rewarding than noticing Roys Peak transformed by snow!

The chatter in town is focused on the upcoming winter season, the quiet days are numbered as more seasonal workers pile off buses in search of jobs, homes and fresh powder. We are now counting down the days. “Did you buy your pass already” the most popular conversation starter as the Wanaka locals debate their favourite slope.

And this year brings something different, New Zealands first cabin/chairlift combo – the chondola – will be carrying sightseers, skiiers and snowboarders up Cardrona from June 10th. Personally I can’t wait, faceplanting from the chairlift has never been my favourite past time  and now I can ride in comfort, daydreaming of the cool ride down as I gaze from the warmth of the cabin.

The chondola will give us more time to ride as it reduces queues, increasing resort capacity by 30%. Even better the chairlift won’t constantly be slowed down as novice riders cling to the edge bracing themselves for a hard fall.

The cold nights mean that the snow makers are already working hard but whats more, weather predictions are indicating that we have a moderate chance of an El Nino developing  which is  excellent news for Wanaka locals, tourists and all die hard powder fans.

As I drive home my nose picks up the smell of smoke wafting from my neighbours fire, the air is fresh, winter is here and it feels good!