SNOW SEASON OUTLOOK 2013 – New Zealand

April 3rd, 2013
  


A slow start reminiscent of 2012 could mean the hordes will be waiting a while for turns like this, time will tell… Image:: The Remarkables

New Zealand Seasonal Snow Outlook | The Grasshopper

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I’m going to keep this short and sharp because I don’t like what I have to say, and I doubt you will either, but there’s also no point sugar-coating it. We’re in a neutral ENSO year, neither El Nino nor La Nina. But there’s a disturbing consensus among climate models for higher than average pressures south of New Zealand during the first half of winter.

That doesn’t bode at all well for South Island resorts because it means we’re less likely to see big north-westerly rain/snow events cruising through, and we’re more likely to have dry easterlies. For the North Island, the models suggest a slightly increased probability of rain, but this won’t necessarily have the cold air to go with it to create snow.


We’re in danger of seeing more weather patterns like this in early winter: A high pressure system sits east or south of the South Island and prevents cold fronts from coming through.

So for now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another slow start to the ski season. This would be much like last year for the Southern Lakes and North Island fields. It’s hard to see the Canterbury fields getting an early dump like last year, so I’m guessing they’ll end up struggling like everyone else.

But don’t fret. I still expect snow depths to gradually build through June and July to a quality base for August. And the great thing about pessimistic snow outlooks is that they have so many opportunities to be wrong – you just have to look at the early snow storm for Canterbury last year to see what a difference one big random event can make.

My advice for New Zealand this year, as always, is that the later in winter you can leave it the better your chances of hitting some good snow. If you book a holiday in early July then you’re flipping a coin.

I’m off to give myself an uppercut for writing such a grumpy outlook. If you’ve got better news then by all means get in touch and contradict me at grasshoppermw@gmail.com or join the discussion via Facebook by leaving a comment below.

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