By Reggae Elliss
Hiking for his freshies Michael Whipps at Falls Creek after 24cm of new snow and chilly temps (-6.8c) with a windchill temps of -17.7C. The resort opened yesterday (Friday 12th). The current snow base is an impressive 44cm. Photo: Hocking.
What difference a week can make!
This weekend is shaping up as one of the best early season weekend for a long time. All the resorts are opening more lifts and more terrain, so it will be good for a few early season turns.
While there is a base of 35 to 55cm across the resorts, the open terrain is limited to on piste areas.
Here are the lifts and terrain you can expect to find across Australian Alps this weekend.
Mount Buller – opening the Blue Bullet and Holden Express on Friday. Emirates Discovery chair, Summit, Howqua and Wombat open on Saturday. There is free skiing on Friday for those who buy a weekend pass.
Mt Baw Baw – all lifts and Cactus Black terrain park open this weekend.
Falls Creek– Falls Express, Towers and Drovers opening on Friday. Lift passes from $39 for adult; kids at $19.
Mount Hotham – The Summit, Big D, Road Runner and Upper Playground all open for the weekend. Lift tickets at $39 for adult; kids at $19
Perisher – Towers run on Mount Perisher; the Village Eight; Forester express to mid-station; happy valley, Lawsons and lifts at Smiggins.
Selwyn Snowfields – Township and New Chum chairs; the terrain park; the toboggan park.
Thredbo – Easy Does It quad, Cruiser Quad and probably Gun Barrell for skiing and boarding on Merritts, Friday Flat and High Noon.
Charlotte Pass – Closed.
Hiking for his turns Kieran McLaughlin launches an ollie in Falls Creek. Photo: Hocking
This time last week, the official opening of the snow season was a day away and there wasn’t a snowflake in sight. The forecast was looking good, but there is always an element of doubt this early in the season. Three days later there was no doubt, the storm had hit in a big way, dumping 15 to 20cms of snow across the mountain in the first 12 hours.
The snowfalls became heavier throughout Monday June 8 and by the end of the long weekend, the resorts were white, with a base of 30cms. The temps plummeted well below zero, allowing the snowmakers to work around the clock, building a base and lifts started to open.
The wet, drizzly weather of the previous two weeks was a not-so-distant memory.
The wind strengthened as the storm intensified with gusts up to 100 kms/hr early on Tuesday morning, leaving some deep drifts but exposed areas are wind-scoured.
There were periods of heavy snowfalls on Tuesday, particularly between 7 and 10pm on Tuesday night when it was absolutely dumping.
The result was 50cms of snow across the resorts and with the temps down to -7, it was high quality dry snow.
For a few locals the snow was too good to miss and the Falls Creek crew were rewarded with some mid-winter powder
June 10: Blasting some dry powder turns, ski pro Tom Costa at Falls creek. Photo: Chris Hocking
Perisher had the Front Valley up and running early, Hotham had the Summit open on Wednesday and Thredbo and Falls Creek opened lifts on Thursday. The smaller resorts didn’t miss out with Selwyn and Mount Baw Baw both opening two lifts as well. Buller held off until Friday, opening the Holden and Blue Bullet Chairs.
For a few locals the snow was too good to miss and many were out getting a few early turns in the beginner areas. In Falls Creek the more adventurous were rewarded with some mid-winter powder and according to Mountainwatch’s Steve Lee, the place was a buzzing with enthusiasm.
“As the mountain op’s crew work frantically to get all in order for a major opening of lifts Friday the Gully Chair copped a good work out from the locals. Cruising the village roads and Final muster are great for first timers, kids and snow cats, but gets a little mundane for the more advanced. However, a little hike and walk along the race line to the International, offers a decent length run and lots of freshies were had.” Steve said.