You know how it is, Murphy’s law. Announce season extensions then expect rain to wash away the snow. Decide to close early and watch big snowfalls head your way.
Australian resorts are seeing a decline in snow depths with just over two weeks to go until the end of the season. New Zealand resorts have some big snow numbers heading their way.
You take what you can get and the week ahead is offering up some ‘interesting’ weather for both Australia and New Zealand.
Australia’s sunny spring ahead
There was a rapid decline in snow depths across the Australia resorts during mid September with well above average temperatures and periods of rain. This decline was halted early this week with the arrival of colder air and snow falls on Monday.
A large high pressure system moved over southeastern Australia during Tuesday and will provide clear skies and lighter winds through Wednesday, so it looks like a good day for school holiday skiers and boarders.
Similar conditions should persist through Thursday, with mostly clear skies and light to moderate winds from the northwest. After a cold start, temperatures will warm into the afternoon, creating soft snow conditions.
Relatively warm winds from the northwest will strengthen on Friday with the approach of a cold front from the west. Cloud will also increase during the day as this front draws near. It should still be an okay day for skiing and boarding despite the windier and warmer conditions.
The front may bring some light snow showers to the higher slopes of the mainland resorts on Friday evening as it clips Victoria and southern NSW. Skies should clear for most resorts on Saturday as a ridge of high pressure becomes re-established over southeastern Australia, so this looks like a nice day for spring skiing and boarding.
Similar conditions should persist for Sunday, although an increase in cloud is possible during the day as a front crosses Tasmania.
This front is not expected to bring any significant precipitation to the resorts, but partly cloudy skies will probably persist through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as the atmosphere remains a little unstable.
Very warm conditions are a risk late next week, with the potential for maximum temperatures in the teens at the top of most resorts.
A warming trend will probably occur through this period, so snow conditions will become progressively softer.
New Zealand, prepare for spring snowfalls
It’s going to be a snowy spring week for New Zealand’s ski fields with a series of powerful cold fronts set to sweep across the nation. The first of these fronts is surging northwards today, bringing strong southwest winds and snow falls.
On Ruapehu, only Happy Valley is open today, with the strong winds and snow creating poor visibility higher up. Snow is expected to fall to low levels over the South Island, with even Queenstown (310 metres above sea level) a chance to see some flurries.
Widespread 5-15cm falls are expected for the South Island resorts between today and Thursday morning, with more substantial accumulations possible on the higher runs of Cardrona and The Remarkables.
30-50cm is likely for Ruapehu through this period and additional falls should continue on Thursday and Friday as strong southwest winds continue. Isolated snow showers and strong southwest winds will also continue for the Southern Alps on Thursday, with a renewal in activity during the afternoon and evening.
Snowfalls are expected to ease on Friday and retreat to higher elevations as strong winds tend towards the northwest ahead of another front.
Warmer than average conditions are a risk across New Zealand on Saturday, if the front stalls and winds persist from the northwest. Rain may fall over the lower slopes of the Queenstown and Wanaka ski fields but snow is possible at higher elevations.
Ruapehu should get a temporary reprieve from the strong winds, so this looks like the pick of the weekend. Strong to gale force winds may return to Ruapehu on Sunday as a developing low pressure system moves closer to the North Island. Rain is also a risk through the afternoon and evening.
Colder air should edge over southern parts of the South Island on Sunday, and winds may ease, so this looks like a reasonable day for Cardrona, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.
Yet another significant surge of cold and snowy weather is expected for New Zealand early to mid next week, so the 2019 season looks like finishing off on a strong note.