Our last snow outlook for the end of the Aussie ski season

Photo: Perisher groomers

This is our meteorologist, Alex Zadnik’s final blog for the 2020 southern winter, and what a crazy winter it’s been with a mixed bag of weather, some snow and a ton of closures due to Covid.

There’s still some turns to be had, at least until Monday, the last day for Perisher (the only resort still open in Australia).

Meanwhile New Zealand is still hanging in there.

Australian Snow Outlook. Issued Wednesday 30th September.

A strong cold front delivered 35-45cm of fresh snow to the Victorian and NSW resorts during Friday and Saturday, creating excellent late season conditions across the weekend and into Monday. Perisher remains the only resort in operation, with a scheduled close date at the end of Monday 5th October.

Thank You For Keeping Our Season Safe 🥰

As we enter our final week of the season, we wanted to say THANK YOU! 🙌 From all of us at Perisher thank you for keeping our season safe. 🥰 We can’t wait to see you on the slopes soon. Sound on 🔊 Our letter to you: Bit.ly/PerisherThankYou

Posted by Perisher on Saturday, 26 September 2020

 

A warmer and windier weather pattern is now developing across Victoria and NSW, with rain expected to fall during Wednesday. Winds will be strong to gale-force through the day, so it doesn’t look like a pleasant day to be out on the slopes.

Winds will ease on Thursday and isolated showers (potentially falling as snow on the peaks) will become less frequent during the day. Conditions should be okay for skiing and boarding, but visibility may be reduced at times with lingering cloud.

Mostly sunny skies are expected on both Friday and Saturday, with cold starts giving way to very warm afternoons. The mornings will be the best time to hit the groomers, before conditions become soft and slushy each afternoon.

Friday is looking like the pick of the days, with stronger north/northwest winds developing through Saturday.

Snow melt will be significant during Saturday afternoon, due to the evaporative effects of the strong winds and relatively high temperatures. It will be a similar story on Sunday, with very warm and windy conditions throughout the day. Maximum temperatures are expected to reach the mid teens in the mountains on both Saturday and Sunday.

A slow moving frontal system will approach alpine areas of Victoria and NSW on Monday, bringing an increase in cloud and the risk of rain, particularly during the afternoon. Very warm conditions will continue, so it will be a slushy end to the last day of the season at Perisher.

Further rain is a risk in the days that follow, so the snow base is likely to deteriorate further for those considering backcountry activities once the official season ends.

New Zealand Snow Outlook. Issued Wednesday 30th September

New Zealand felt the full brunt of a powerful cold front earlier this week, with many ski fields in the Southern Alps recording more than 40cm of fresh snow. Operations have now ceased at Treble Cone and Coronet Peak, but there is great skiing to be had at The Remarkables and Cardrona today with cold conditions and easing winds.

Mount Hutt also has favourable weather today, after 10cm of fresh snow earlier in the week. On the North Island, the upper slopes of Ruapehu received 30cm of fresh snow over the past 48 hours and weather conditions are moderating today as a ridge of high pressure moves in from the west.

The high pressure system will bring settled conditions to New Zealand on Thursday, with relatively light winds and most clear skies. Therefore it looks like a great day for skiing and boarding for all open ski fields.

It will be a similar story for the North Island on Friday, while the South Island will see strengthening winds and increasing cloud cover ahead of a cold front. Rain will also develop for The Remarkables and Cardrona during the day and increase into the evening.

A warm and gusty northwesterly airflow will continue for the South Island over the weekend and rain showers will again be a risk for these ski fields, particularly during Saturday afternoon. Mt Hutt and Ruapehu should remain mostly dry across the weekend, as the high pressure system remains centred near the North Island. There will be little change to this pattern on Monday.

Early indications are that a cold front will cross New Zealand during Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th October, which will initially generate rain before the atmosphere cools enough for snow.

This system could provide 10-20cm of fresh snow to New Zealand’s ski fields by Wednesday night, with the top of this range most likely on the higher slopes.

A large, slow moving high pressure system should bring a return of settled weather conditions to New Zealand late next week.

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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.