It’s that time of the week again, Alex Zadnik’s weekly snow forecast for the seven days ahead. Our resident meteorologist makes sense of the weather charts so you can choose when and where to go skiing and snowboarding.
Big snow falls for the North Island of New Zealand and then improving weather conditions for the weekend. Excellent conditions continuing in Australia over coming days ahead of a brief rain interruption, mainly in New South Wales, over the coming weekend.
Substantial snow falls in the past week have now pushed the base at the higher Victorian and NSW resorts past the two metre mark for the second year in a row.
Snow conditions were excellent over the weekend, with an especially cold air mass delivering dry powder snow during Saturday and Sunday. Further small top ups of snow occurred during Monday night and Tuesday as a cold front glanced southeastern Australia.
Lighter winds are expected for the remainder of the week and there might be a few brief snow flurries on Wednesday and early Thursday as a small pocket of cold unstable air tracks across the alps. There should be more breaks in the cloud on Friday between weather systems. Snow conditions should remain great through this period, particularly on the groomers.
The weekend is looking a little dicey for the NSW resorts, with a developing low pressure system over that state bringing an increase in cloud and the risk of rain to the lower runs from Saturday afternoon into Sunday.
The Victorian resorts should stay drier (particularly Buller and Baw Baw), but Hotham and Falls Creek may pick up a little bit of wet weather from Saturday night into Sunday. That being said, there should still be some good skiing about early on Saturday.
Drier weather should return to the mountains for Monday as a high pressure system becomes established over Victoria and New South Wales A developing low pressure system may then bring further snow falls on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The longer range charts are hinting at some significant frontal activity towards the end of August and into early September, so there is still a lot of promise that the recent excellent conditions will extend into spring.
A complex low pressure system is going to hover over New Zealand for the remainder of the working week and deliver more than 70 centimetres of fresh snow to the Ruapehu ski fields of Turoa and Whakapapa.
Snow falls will generally be in the 5-15 centimetre range for the Wanaka and Queenstown ski fields, although the higher peaks and Treble Cone may see a little more depending on the movement of the low. The bulk of the snow falls are likely from today into Thursday before an easing trend on Friday.
Weather conditions will be challenging for Ruapehu through today, with strong westerly winds and heavy snowfalls reducing visibility. Thursday may see a slight reduction in wind strengths and improvement in visibility by it could be worth waiting for Friday or the weekend to take advantage of the fresh snow.
Visibility will also be down at times for the South Island ski fields through Wednesday and Thursday before an improvement late in the week and over the weekend.
Cold conditions and fresh southwest winds will continue across New Zealand on Friday in the wake of the low pressure system, but visibility should improve as snow falls ease. The weekend is looking excellent weather wise, with a high bringing mostly clear skies and lighter winds. Therefore it should be a great time to get out for a ski or board following the fresh falls.
There are no significant snow falls on the cards for next week, although a dusting is possible for the Wanaka and Queenstown ski fields on Monday as a weak cold front slides under the South Island. A period of rain is possible mid next week with the approach of another cold front from the Tasman.
The longer range charts look promising for a return of colder air and fresh snow through the first week of September but I’ll have more on this in next week’s update.