Boom. Just like that, the sky popped open and we were in full vis. This is skiers-right ridge of Marys, and skiers-left ridge in the background. Cover was consistent and with high vis the boys ran their wild horses.
Mountainwatch | Mark Tsukasov
It has been a good week in the mountains with minimal mid-week crowds, fresh snow and wind-blown drifts of soft snow thanks to moderate WNW winds. The resorts all fared pretty well, with 15 to 30cm of snow courtesy of decent snowfalls on both Sunday and Tuesday night.
The best days in Mount Hotham were on Monday and Wednesday, both days having around 15cms of fresh snow in the morning. The snow wasn’t deep, but it was soft and smooth and, as these photos from Mark Tsukasov show, it was pretty good.
Monday morning – Tom Costa dropping Gotcha Ridge – After a brief encounter with Ski Patrol doing their morning rounds we got into it. We skipped Heavenly Valley, traversed from Loch carpark to get ahead of the crowds. Seriously, who wastes a head start on the hordes? Not TC. As you can see, the trenches weren’t super deep but the fresh was definitely flying. It felt like it had been averaged out by the considerable wind, which was still blowing hard at the top of the ridges, like a classic wind-blown Thredbo day when the wind powers in from the west over the Main Range, reloading skied-out terrain at the upper elevations.
Tom Costa below Gotcha Ridge, getting closer to Lindsay’s. The vis cleared as we descended and the consistency of cover improved too.
Gotcha chair wasn’t running yet, and we wanted to stay ahead of the crowds who were most likely still hitting HV. Heath and Ben, two Bright locals, joined us in our pursuit. You can see a rather large, exposed, icy blowout during our high traverse toward skiers-right ridge of Mary’s slide and Chute. These were scattered about the tops of ridges on Monday, but by Wednesday they weren’t as much of an issue.
Tom Costa off Lindsay’s cliff.
Billy Loyd-Blainey (or as Tommy calls him, “Captain Aggressive”) getting airborne beside Hacker’s. Basically, it’s all on. And even when it isn’t, Billy still is. This dude charges no matter what. So good to see!
Variable cover, variable vis. Tom Costa flowing somewhere below Gotcha Ridge.
Tom Costa on Mary’s.
Tom Costa, in a sneaky squirrel at lower elevation.
On the other side of Planet Hoth, Drew Jolowicz grabbed a big, smokey line in Avy Gully during a revealing moody-blue pop. It didn’t last long, maybe 30 minutes from memory. Aussie Drift in the background tells the story regarding conditions. Some bits were great, other bits were diabolically icy.
Drew Jolowicz, digging trenches and throwing buckets in Avy Gully. Wednesday in Avy was the pick of the storm. So, so good, and only a handful of peeps in there. It was August now. We took our time. Boot packing was easy. Life was good. Eight weeks of Season 2018 to go. Pass the popcorn.
Drew ripping another big turn lower down Avy Gully. You can see exposed icy blowouts above the Drift Cliffs in the upper background, smokey heaven in the lower foreground. Not a good day to drop the cliffs. A great day to drop Avy.
By lunchtime Wednesday the cover was losing it’s smokey texture, rapidly turning to splatter-goo. Still, it didn’t ride like crud, just looked a bit chunkier in the air. Drew in Avy, with the Summit lift in the background. So that is the storm that was. For now. More weather on Sunday. If it’s big there’ll be a word for it. Something-magedon. Snow-ma-something. I want a Panadol.