What’s ahead on the snow radar for Australia and New Zealand

Photo credit: Grindi/Shutterstock

SnowsBest meteorologist, Alex Zadnik, is back again with his weekly outlook for what’s on the snow radar ahead.

Saturday looks like being the best day of the weekend at the New South Wales resorts. There are no big snow systems on the horizons and temperatures look like climbing quite a bit on Sunday and again late next week.

New Zealand ski fields should see a few pulses of fresh snow over the next week ahead.

Stand by for Monday/Tuesday, which holds the most promise for a big dump.

Australian Outlook

A low pressure system delivered high quality powder snow to the Australian resorts on the weekend, with excellent conditions persisting into the start of this week as skies cleared and winds eased.

The Australian resorts are now under the influence of a large high pressure system, which will keep skies mostly clear through Wednesday. The temperature has risen above zero this morning, so snow conditions will become slower and softer as the day progresses.

The warming trend will continue into Thursday, with increasing northwest winds and cloud cover ahead of a cold front.  The morning will probably be the best time to get out and hit the groomers at the New South Wales resorts.

A surge of colder air will sweep across Victoria and southern New South Wales on Friday, delivering around 5cm of fresh snow to most resorts.

The upper slopes of Thredbo and Perisher could do a little better.

Saturday looks like a great day to hit the mountains, with easing winds and clearing skies in the wake of the front. The groomers will probably be the best bet once again, with variable conditions off piste.

The approach of another cold front from the west will bring stronger northwest winds to the New South Wales resorts on Sunday and cloud cover is likely to increase through the day. There is a risk of some lifts going on wind hold during the day.

Snow conditions will become quite soft and slushy into the afternoon as temperatures rise well above zero. So if you can, make the most of the nicer conditions on Saturday rather than waiting for Sunday.

Rain may develop from late Sunday night into early Monday morning, but then snow is likely (above 1500m) as colder air behind the next front moves through.

Another 5-10cm is possible for the higher slopes of Thredbo and Perisher.

Tuesday morning should see a temporary easing of winds, so this is looking like a good time to get out on the slopes. Cloud and wind may start to increase again late in the day.

Very warm and windy conditions are likely to return on Wednesday (2nd September) and there may be some rain at night and into Thursday. There is the risk of more rain on Friday morning as relatively warm winds continue from the northwest.

Snow may develop on Friday night as the front moves through, but at this stage it does not look too promising for significant falls. A high will probably move into place for the weekend of 5th and 6th September, so this should create nice spring skiing conditions.

Check in with the full detailed 7 day resort reports.

New Zealand outlook

The New Zealand ski fields finally saw a return of colder conditions and snow falls earlier this week, after a run of relatively mild and wet weather. The South Island ski fields only received a few centimetres, while Ruapehu picked up 5-10cm during Tuesday night.

Cold southwest winds and isolated snow showers will persist across the ski fields of New Zealand on Wednesday. The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone should accumulate 5-10cm of fresh snow by Thursday morning.

Mt Hutt and Ruapehu should also collect similar amounts through Thursday. Visibility may be hampered at times on Thursday, but it will still be a good day for skiing and boarding as winds gradually moderate.

Friday will see a restrengthening of winds from the northwest ahead of a cold front, particularly across the Southern Alps. Cloud will also increase as this frontal system approaches from the Tasman Sea, so visibility may be reduced at times through the day.

The frontal system will weaken as it crosses New Zealand over the weekend, but it may still deliver 10-20cm of fresh snow to New Zealand’s ski fields during Saturday. Ruapehu may do a little better out of this system, depending on how it evolves.

Sunday is looking like the best day for skiing at Turoa and Whakapapa, with easing winds and fresh snow on the ground. The Queenstown and Wanaka ski fields are likely to see a restrengthening of winds on Sunday with the approach of another cold front, so Saturday is probably the pick of the weekend for the South Island.

The next frontal system will cross New Zealand on Monday and Tuesday, bringing cold air and significant snowfalls.

It is a little too early to be sure of totals, but there is the potential for a healthy dump of fresh snow across these two days. Therefore it is probably worth penciling in mid next week for a ski or board.

Check in with the full detailed 7 day resort reports.


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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.