Snow forecast for the week ahead for Australia and New Zealand

Hotham Alpine Resort spring
Spring at Hotham

It is far from over with snow forecast ahead for Australia and New Zealand ski resorts in the week ahead.

Our meteorologist, Alex Zadnik, reveals his outlook for the next seven days.

Don’t put those skis and snowbirds away just yet.

Warm then cold, rain then snow for Australia

It’s been a warm start to September through southeastern Australia, with well above zero daytime temperatures at the New South Wales and Victorian ski resorts. Hotham, Falls Creek and Buller all had a maximum of 9 degrees on Tuesday, while Thredbo Top Station reached 5 degrees. Down in Thredbo Village it was a balmy 13 degrees. 

Warm conditions are expected again through Wednesday, but increasing cloud cover should prevent temperatures rising as high as was experienced on Tuesday. The increasing cloud is related to a developing low pressure system over the Great Australian Bight.

This low will move closer to the Victorian and New South Wales ski resorts on Thursday, bringing light to moderate rain. It probably won’t be a pleasant day on the slopes with the rain, but the wind won’t be too strong if you are super keen.

Rain will become heavier for the resorts through the early hours of Friday morning as the low moves across southeastern Australia. It will then tend to snow mid morning as colder air moves in. Winds will also strengthen through Friday as the low moves through, so visibility is probably going to be poor.

Around 10-20cm of fresh snow is expected from Friday into Saturday morning, but higher peaks may see more. 

Isolated snow showers should continue on Saturday in the wake of the low, but a slight warming of the atmosphere means that this snow will be a little damp and heavy. Strong southwest winds will back off gradually through the day, so visibility should improve a little compared with Friday.

Stronger westerly winds look like redeveloping during Sunday with the approach of a cold front. Isolated snow showers should also increase in frequency through the afternoon and evening. The morning might be the best time to ski or board before visibility deteriorates. Around 5-15cm of fresh snow is expected from Sunday into Monday morning.

Isolated snow showers will continue on Monday while strong southwest winds should ease. This looks like a decent day to hit the slopes with the morning offering the coldest conditions and fresh tracks. 

A large high pressure system should bring clearer skies and lighter winds to the resorts for Tuesday, so this looks like a nice day for spring skiing. Similar conditions will probably persist into Wednesday.  

Full 7 day forecasts here. 

Snow on Friday, ski on Saturday in New Zealand

A deep low pressure system will bring heavy rain and gale-force winds to the North Island through today, with very poor conditions at Ruapehu. Only the Happy Valley beginners area was open on Wednesday morning.

Rain is also likely at Mt Hutt through today, but snow is possible at the top of the mountain. The Queenstown and Wanaka resorts will be spared from the worst of the weather on Wednesday, although some rain is possible this evening.  

A new frontal system will move northwards across New Zealand during Thursday and Friday, bringing a surge of colder air, strong southwest winds and snow falls to lower levels. The snow level will drop most significantly on Friday, with some rain still possible for the lower slopes of New Zealand’s ski fields on Thursday.

Mt Hutt and Ruapehu may see 30-40cm of fresh snow by the end of the working week, while totals at The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone will be in the 5-15cm range. 

Saturday should provide a window of less extreme weather to take advantage of the fresh snow falls on the South Island.

There is the risk of winds remaining strong  to gale force for Turoa and Whakapapa, so check the latest forecasts and warnings closer to the day before heading up.

Sunday looks like another perfect spring day for skiing around Queenstown and Wanaka. Conditions should also be decent at Mt Hutt. It’s likely to be a different story on the North Island, with a low pressure system expected to generate gale-force winds and heavy precipitation (snow above about 1800m and rain below this elevation).

Monday looks calmer across the nation at this stage, with a ridge of high pressure moving over New Zealand. Therefore weather conditions should be decent for the majority of the ski fields. 

There is some promise of more significant frontal activity for New Zealand through the middle part of next week, which could bring decent fresh snow falls to all ski fields. It is a little too early to be sure of amounts and timings, so more on this in next week’s update. 

Full 7 day forecasts here. 

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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.