'Jyothi Jaffray on a glorious Southern Aspect just after dawn on the 23rd June. The night of the 22nd felt extremely cold, and as Buff Farnell pointed out on the day, the humidity was so low it actually sucked the moisture out of the overnight cover. Before we setup for this shot I grabbed the snow and couldn't hold it - it just fell out of my grip and barely formed a ball.' Image:: Mark Tsukasov
Snow Journal | Words, Reggae Elliss, Images, Mark Tsukasov, Steve Cuff and more...
There is something about the early season that gets the blood flowing, it's called anticipation. Early winter is exciting, the snow cover gradually improving every day and the anticipation of the next storm grows with it.
The storm 21-22 June storm was slow to arrive. We could see it a week out, the Mountainwatch models aiming high at 80-90cm, but as usual the Grasshopper, our guru forecaster, brought us back to reality with a more sober appraisal. However when I checked my inbox early one morning and he was calling an official snow alert, the excitement grew. Then Grasshopper was calling a more modest 30-45cm and, of course, he was correct. The snow started falling in Victoria just before dawn on Thursday then hit the Snowy Mountains 16 hours later at 9.30pm. And it dumped, 25cm at 1600 metres by Friday morning. It snowed off and on all day Friday and that, coupled with a stiff WNW wind, which blew in tonnes of snow, meant more lifts and terrain opened on Saturday. It was epic, 30cm of fresh, acres of windblown pow and it was light and dry, the temp staying cold all day.
Lapping through perfect snow in the Bluff, Snowgums trees and a few other secret gems doesn't happen very often in June. It was the same elsewhere, Perisher opened Guthega while those who were on the money with the opening of Eyre t-bar on Saturday arvo, scored some lush untracked snow.
Falls Creek 24 June. Image:: Falls Creek
It was the same south of the border, Hotham turning on some awesome powder, even on its legendary steeps, while Layla Lee, our snow reporter in Falls Creek, couldn't hide her excitement and here's her take on the storm:
"Looking outside the window at the moment makes me want to jump in the air slow mo style, and freeze frame with my legs sticking out on a right angle. Early on the 21st the fall began and gave us 51cm of fresh over a few days, so now with a 61cm base, in June, we're laughing! It does change the vibe in a village when the first big fall comes, it' like the unofficial opening of the season really. Everything kicks into gear and the energy levels lift for everyone. More people start to flood in and everyone's 100% happier, it has to be one of my favourite times of each season.
"Winning spots over the past few days have pretty much been anywhere that has been collecting the snow, so hit up Drovers Trees and find a few little slots down Home Trail. Also a Summit hike never hurt anyone, but the chair should be spinning soon because it is looking mighty fine. There'll be good stashes of fresh around for days so go and find them. I hope you're all walking like a Disney witch after a few days of solid riding and there's a lot more to come! "
The base has tripled across the resorts and we should see a run of good snowmaking nights before the next front hits on Friday. I know it's four days away, but the anticipation is building again, the Grasshopper calling 15-20cms at this stage. That, combined with cold temps and westerly winds means we're looking at another powder day this coming Saturday. If you missed out last weekend, don't make the same mistake. Get up here and get the good when they're on.
'Misty mountains and early season lines - Drew Jolowicz hiked Heavenly early on the 22nd June and found himself riding the best June cover he can remember. Here he is dropping through a cutting before the lifts opened. There were practically no obstacles to be found after 56cm fell. It was a fantastic morning.' Skier:: Drew Jolowicz Photo:: Mark Tsukasov
'A little further down the gully we found more soft light snow. It was very consistent for June cover. Actually, it was kind of amazing. Really cold, really misty and really rewarding. There were times I was honestly up to my thighs in it trying to find a good spot. Alas, my camera got "Factioned" by his spray. But it was worth it!' Skier:: Drew Jolowicz / Photo:: Mark Tsukasov
Thredbo pow 23 June. Image:: Steve Cuff
Thredbo 23 June. Image:: Steve Cuff