If you ski or snowboard in Australia then by now you would have heard the mainstream news. The season that began well in June has taken a weather tumble with July delivering warm temperatures and rain.
Translated? Snow is thin on the ground and conditions are tricky.
It’s time to bring out your best grapevine, doe-see-doe and paso doble and dance like Ken in Barbieland in the hope of impressing Ullr.
Weatherzone reports that the Snowy Mountains experienced temperatures two to three degrees warmer than average for July. But the sky has been blue and filled with sunshine, so there is that.
There’s also the fact that snow making was possible on different days and groomers have been able to push snow around and keep many runs skiable. Plus the higher elevation resorts are in a much better situation than those lower down.
It would appear the snow fortunes of New Zealand and Australia have flipped. A couple of weeks ago we were snow dancing for New Zealand’s less than stellar season. Then Canterbury got some snow and the Queenstown resorts didn’t. Until now, when a snow storm swept through this week dumping up to 70 much needed centimetres. It may have taken until August but it finally delivered to create a base.
Let’s start snow dancing for both countries to ensure both seasons make it through to the end and our beloved snow tourism operators remain alive.
So how bad is it, really?
Thanks to snow management there is snow still to ski on in all the major Aussie commercial resorts. Though some have more than others and conditions are definitely spring like in early August.
Poor Selwyn Snow Resort reopened for the first time since the 2020 bushfires this season only to close again last weekend until further notice. Meaning until the next snow dump arrives. But with temps hitting 8-9 degrees celcius over the next three days alone in Selwyn, it may be a couple of weeks yet.
However Pete ‘the frog’ Taylor from Snowatch is forecasting the next snow cycle to be August 17 to 18 with the potential for a second front around August 20.
Spencer’s Creek in New South Wales (the official snow depth gauge for Perisher and Thredbo) has the current snow depth at 110cms and both the higher resorts of Perisher and Thredbo have most of their lifts open.
The comparison chart below shows we were tracking ahead of last season in the first week of July before it took a turn.
Meanwhile in Victoria Mt Buller has their natural snow depth at 27cms and made at 68cms and Hotham at 54cms.
It’s definitely still worth a ski trip because any day on snow is worth it, right? And it sure beats a day in the office.
We have just come out of three La Nina seasons that were epic in terms of snow conditions and snow fall, even if many people couldn’t get to them during the pandemic lockdowns.
The Bureau of Meteorology is yet to commit to an El Nino classification, and is currently on El Nino alert with development considered likely. Should we officially go into El Nino then we’re in for warmer temps and drought like conditions.