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Bikini Skiers


The first day of daylight saving brought fine, sunny weather to much of the country yesterday and spurred about 30 hardy souls to carve the slopes of Mt Ruapehu each dressed in a bikini as if they were heading for the beach.

But don't be fooled - while the sun was blazing, a cold front and fresh snow on the mountain saw temperatures plummet to minus 5 degrees celsius, with the wind chill generated by hurtling downhill making it feel more like minus 15C.

The skiers and snowboarders took part in the downhill race at Turoa to raise funds for Breast Cancer Research. About $3000 was raised.

Mt Ruapehu marketing manager Mike Smith said there were plenty of volunteers - mostly blokes - to collect donations and carry jackets to the bottom of the course.

"Those girls are pretty hardy," he said. "It was cold enough being fully clothed, to be honest."

Both Turoa and Whakapapa ski-fields have had record-breaking snow bases leading into the school holidays, which run this week and next week.

Yesterday saw the welcome return of the sun after a wet and windy week.

Wellington enjoyed clear skies and 14C temperatures. Napier recorded 15C and New Plymouth hit 17C.

But MetService forecaster Andy Downs said last week's changeable weather would return today, bringing gale-force winds.

"That will bring clouds in, and it will rain later in the afternoon or evening."

A cold southerly was expected tomorrow morning, he said.

And with the spring equinox last week, the days will now be longer than the nights.

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