Keen skiers and snowboarders came from near and far to help Wanaka’s beloved Treble Cone ski area celebrate the start of winter today (Saturday June 23).

Close to thirty riders arrived at the crack of dawn to ensure they were first on the Home Basin Express lift when the gates opened at 9am sharp.

The hardiest six – Mike Handford, Macca Wills and Phil Masack from Wanaka, Hailey Neutgens and Paul Rumore from Montana (United States) and James Cootes from Twizel – were rewarded with distinctive red ‘First on the Chair’ T-shirts.