Season Starter Storm Drops 80cms Of Snow
Mountainwatch | Reggae Elliss
What an awesome few days we’ve had in the mountains after the first big storm of the year dropped 70-100cms of snow across the Australian Alps in the past 6 days, Hotham topping the count with 102cms. The result is all resorts now have a number of lifts and terrain open, a far cry from the opening weekend, just over a week ago, when the open terrain was a limited machine-made cover with just one lift in Perisher, one in Buller and one in Baw Baw.
The Grasshopper first mentioned this storm as a “Season Starter” in his forecast on June 7, pointing to a series of cold fronts due to cross the mountains on June 11, 13 and 15:
“Next week looks promising guys and gals. A blocking high sitting off West Oz will send a bit of storm activity our way. Another frontal system crosses the Aussie Alps during Tuesday, this will be a touch colder with snowfalls making it to lower levels. Another front on Thursday should give us snow at higher elevations. Decent snowfalls could be on the cards during Friday or the weekend, as much colder heads our way, woohoo!”
That “Woohoo” was well-placed with significant snowfalls coming through around midnight on Thursday June 14. After a bit of a break in the morning the snow kicked in again on Friday afternoon, with consistent snowfalls down to low levels and many resorts had locked in another 20cms by midnight. The temps were hovering around -5, allowing the snowmakers to kick into overdrive and they ended up firing around the clock, the major resorts making snow for 48-60 hours straight.
The resorts are announcing new lifts daily with Buller now having the Summit open, Hotham have opened Heavenly and Falls opened its Summit area as well. Baw Baw has four lifts open, Selwyn two with more to open on the weekend. Thredbo’s High Noon for some top to bottom leg burners and it is most likely the Supertrail and possibly Antons will open for the weekend. Perisher is going hard and will have all four resorts open with 32 lifts spinning on Saturday June 23, which is awesome this early in the season.
The snow this past weekend was high quality with 20-30cms of fresh on both Saturday and Sunday morning, and with the temps down around -5 the snow was high quality. It’s not often I’ve skied powder on the first day of the season.
It is the first time in a long time that we’ve had a storm this big so early in the season and Bill Barker’s Hotham Mountainwatch snow report for Monday, June 18, said it all:
“16cm on the stakes this morning bringing our base up to 80cm! This is the biggest base we have had at this time of the season since ?? (It even surpasses the great start of winter 2000). Yesterday was as good as it gets for early season powder turns with all runs accessed from the Village chair giving plenty for people to smile about.”
It looks like mainly fine weather until the weekend when the Grasshopper reckons a weaker front could drop some snow over the weekend. As for when the next big storm will hit, we will just have wait and see. Just check the Grasshopper’s regular forecasts so you know when it’s time to hit your favourite resort: