Aussie and NZ snow forecasts for this opening weekend

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Mt Buller. Pic: Jordan Mountain
And he’s back, Alex Zadnik, our meteorologist will be filing his weekly snow forecasts every Wednesday right here, in time for the weekend ahead.
 
Bookmark our Australia and New Zealand Forecasts weekly blog page for his posts and our 7 day detailed forecasts page for full up to date weather forecasts for your favourite resort.
 
Let’s get this season forecast party. Over to you, Alex.

Australia

It’s going to be an opening weekend to remember this year, with the best natural snow depths on offer since the year 2000.
 
Heavy snowfalls of over 50cm occurred in late May and were topped up by additional 15-30cm in recent days, so the base should be ample for the main groomed runs. Given the improvements in snow making coverage in the last 19 years, there may even be more lifts open than there was in that memorable year.
 
Falls Creek has already announced seven lifts to open this weekend, two more than they opened in their record opening weekend of 2000.
 
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High pressure, freeze and melt ahead

A large high pressure system will settle in over the Victorian and New South Wales resorts for the end of the working week. Clear skies and light winds associated with the high should bring a string of cold nights for additional snow making prior to Saturday.
 
Day time temperatures are going to edge above zero on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so there is likely to be a bit of a freeze and melt cycle. This points to the groomed runs being the best bet over the opening weekend.
 

Best pick of the long weekend days

In terms of weather conditions, Saturday looks like being the pick of the days, with generally clear skies and not too much wind. Winds may increase a little into Sunday, whilst cloudier skies are likely, particularly on the NSW side of the border. However, it still looks like a decent day for getting out on the slopes.
 
Monday isn’t looking perfect at this stage, with the risk of strengthening winds, increasing cloud and maybe rain during the day. However, some of the numerical weather prediction models are holding the worst of the weather off until Tuesday, so it might still be an okay day to get out on the slopes.
 
Rain is a risk early to mid next week due to the approach of a frontal system from the west, so do make the most of this long weekend if you can.

New Zealand

Winter is off to a great start in New Zealand, with heavy snowfalls occuring in the past week, particularly across Canterbury.
 
Mt Hutt is reporting snow depths of between 50-100cm, putting it in good shape ahead of its scheduled opening on 7th June.
 
Other ski areas that are opening soon (listed as 8th June) include the Remarkables but please double check with the the operators for any changes. The Happy Valley beginners area on the North Island officially opened on 1st June.

Gale force winds and the R word

The North Island is in for some horrendous weather through the middle part of this week. A deep low pressure system that formed off Sydney on Tuesday will track across the North Island during Wednesday and Thursday. This will bring torrential rain and gale force winds. Rain will fall as snow above 1600-1800m through this period, but the mountains should be avoided.
 
The North Island should also pick up good snowfalls later this week, with the snow level dropping to 1000 metres at Ruapehu on Friday and Saturday as the cold front moves through.
 
A high should help winds and snowfalls to ease there as well on Sunday.  

Southern snow

The South Island will get off relatively unscathed from this first low pressure system, and should receive 15-30cm of fresh snow on Thursday as a strong cold front moves through. Strong to gale force winds are likely on Thursday creating near blizzard conditions for a time, but these should gradually abate during Friday as snowfalls also ease.
 
Cold southerly winds and snowfalls will probably develop into Saturday as another front moves through the Southern Alps. Weather conditions should moderate on Sunday for those wanting to ski or board with more pleasant weather.
 
This week’s weekly weather forecast blog is brought to you by Lotte Arai, Japan’s best free ride resort.
 
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Alex Zadnik is a complete weather nerd and proud of it. A keen skier who chases the powder globally, he is the resident meteorologist for MetraWeather and has an impressive weather pedigree providing commentary for Australia's leading radio and television weather networks and now SnowsBest.com.