A mixed bag of snow lollies for the week ahead in Australia + NZ

Think of the week ahead as a bag of mixed lollies, the kind you used to get from the corner milk bar. Hand over your dollar and get 100 random lollies in return.

No one likes the yellow snakes, so they’re always left to last, everyone wants the freckles and the strawberry creams, milk bottles and bananas. The teeth? They’re the ultimate.

The good news is there is some sweetness ahead for Australia and New Zealand, the bad news is it’s akin to the yellow snakes with a bag of wind, rain and warm temperatures. There is some hope for snow, but more likely to be half a strawberry cream than a bag of teeth. 

Here’s our lollie god, meteorologist Alex Zadnik, with his outlook for the next seven days.

Australia’s Curly Wurly week ahead

It was a mixed start to the week for the Australian resorts. The Victorian resorts received substantial rainfall during Monday morning before a light dusting of snow in the evening. The New South Wales resorts faired better, with 5-10cm of fresh snow on Monday evening as cold air in the lower levels of the atmosphere undercut a mid-level cloudband. 

A ridge of high pressure formed over southeastern Australia during Tuesday and this should keep skies mostly clear through today. Winds should also be relatively light, making for a good day of spring skiing.

It is probably best to stick to the groomed runs through the morning following an overnight freeze. Off piste runs will become an option in the afternoon as the day warms up and the snow softens. 

Thursday will see warmer conditions through the mountains as winds increase in strength from the north. It should however be a decent morning for skiing on the groomed runs. The snow base will become very slow and slushy into the afternoon. 

The warming trend will continue into Friday, with maximum temperatures expected to exceed 10 degrees on the higher peaks of Victoria and southern New South Wales. Fresh to strong northerly winds are expected with the approach of a cold front from the west, so it will be blustery day in the mountains. Again the snow will become very soft and slow into the afternoon, so the morning is probably going to be the best time to ski or board.

Strong and warm northwest winds will give way to cooler westerly winds during Saturday as a front crosses southeastern Australia. Rain is expected on and off ahead of this change, so it probably won’t be the nicest day on the slopes.

There could be a late improvement though as colder air arrives and winds start to ease. There may be a few centimetres of fresh snow through Saturday evening, before a clearing trend on Sunday.

Sunday looks like the best day of the weekend with mostly clear skies and a break from the strong winds. 

Isolated snow showers are expected to increase during Monday as a weak frontal system crosses southeastern Australia. These snow showers should continue through the night before easing on Tuesday.

Tuesday should be a good day on the slopes with easing winds, clearing skies and cooler temperatures. Similar conditions are anticipated for Wednesday at this stage. 

Full 7 day forecasts.

New Zealand, a week of Pineapple Lumps

Relatively calm weather is expected for New Zealand between today and Friday due to the influence of a large high pressure system over the Tasman Sea.

This high will maintain a relatively cool southwest airstream across the nation, which will help to maintain firm spring snow conditions through this period. Skies should remain mostly clear for New Zealand’s ski fields, so it looks like a good week to be in the mountains. 

Saturday looks like another nice day to be in the mountains. The high will drift to the east of New Zealand on this day, directing warmer winds over the South Island. Therefore softer spring skiing is likely in the afternoon for the Queenstown and Wanaka ski fields. Ruapehu will see a continuation of lighter winds and cool spring weather. 

Warm northwest winds will strengthen over the South Island on Sunday, while temperatures will continue to rise. There may be some wind hold issues for lifts on the South Island, but check this closer to the day.

The North Island will see an increase in temperatures and winds during Sunday, but conditions should still be reasonable for those heading to Ruapehu. 

Rain looks like developing over the South Island during Sunday night and spreading north on Monday ahead of a cold front. This rain has the potential to be heavy at times. Rain will probably reach the North Island during Tuesday and could tend to snow at night.

Snow showers are possible for the South Island on Tuesday in the wake of the front, but overall this system looks like doing more harm than good to the snow pack.

The one exception might be Ruapehu due to its higher elevation. 

Cold and strong southwest winds are expected across New Zealand on Wednesday in the wake of the front. Isolated snow showers may also continue. Thursday may be a better day to hit the slopes as these winds start to ease. More on this in next week’s update. 

Full 7 day forecasts.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.