Buller brings variety

This late July weekend produced an exciting variety of skiing conditions at Mt Buller. The early evening drive to Mansfield was quick thanks to lively conversation in a full car and the shorter trip time than the other resorts.

Banjo's Mansfield provided the accommodation for our trip and the unit with full kitchen was spacious and perfect for four.

Saturday 23 July was a stunning, blue-sky Alpine day that temptingly invited us on a tour of the whole mountain from lift to lift and run to run.

The panoramas were stunningly clear, the sun warm, the skiing relaxed and the tour went on and on. A rest on a sun lounger was irresistible. A bit of sunburn was inevitable. Cold drinks rather than hot ones were needed.

Almost all of Mt Buller is now open for skiing except for the bottom of Federation.

Sunday 24 July we awoke to light rain in Mansfield and snow chains being fitted halfway up the mountain ... for 8kms of tarmac driving and 100m of snow on the road in the Horse Hill car park. A little frustrating after driving in snow for weeks in Japan.

But who cared when it snowed all day and despite the cloud there was some good skiing in different but fun conditions.

Early morning fresh snow around the Summit was a lot of fun and we scored great runs thanks to our knowledge of the mountain. About 10cms fell through the day and we got to see even more of Mt Buller.

As I said, Mt Buller now has almost full cover with Mt Hotham and Falls Creek having all terrain open at 1m snowdepth.

Forecast is for snow throughout next week, possibly setting up a good weekend at Mt Hotham and 1.5m!


The long wait is over

Ski Season 2011 got real on Saturday 16th July with a relaxed drive up to Mt Beauty, stopping off at the famous Milawa Cheese Factory for various provisions ... mostly, unembarrassingly it has to be said, cheese-related provisions.

Saturday was a glorious day and it was exciting to cruise over the hill at Glenrowan and see snow on the tops of Mt Buffalo and Mt Hotham from the freeway. The Kiewa Valley was even more impressive with Victoria's highest mountain Mt Bogong majestic in the late afternoon sun.

This time the accommodation was the trusty Allamar Motel in Tawonga South with great views overlooking the town of Mt Beauty. The room had been heated before arrival and much cheese and wine was consumed, resulting in a slightly restless sleep in the comfy, warm bed.

Cloud and drizzle arrived in the morning and this turned to light snow on arrival at Falls Creek. The cloud never really lifted and visibility on the mountain was limited. Knowing the mountain is a huge advantage in these conditions! Many people looked a little lost!

Early on the snow was extremely good, and finding the right spots led to great rewards - Powderkeg, International. Its very impressive to see so much of the mountain open this early in winter. Tree-line skiing provided some entertainment and energetic first-day exercise (and aches on Monday!), but the drizzle arrived at lunchtime and things got decidedly damp by the early afternoon.

Not a bad introduction to the new season and, thinking longer-term, the change in weather means more snow arriving this week to build on the fantastic snow-depth.

Its Buller this weekend and we are a party of four travelling up there on Friday. The next trip will be the weekend of 6/7 August and we will be going up to Mt Hotham if anyone is interested in a ski trip! Let me know!


And on the seventh day ...

... there was snow galore, and all the ski bunnies did celebrate and shred up the mountains!

The storm lasted for a week and dumped snow across Southeastern Australia. Snowfalls were remarkable.

By the weekend, Hotham and Falls Creek had opened up all their ski lifts and the whole of each mountain is now skiable with over 1m snow depth. We will be driving up to Mount Beauty on Saturday to ski Falls this Sunday.

Mt Buller suffered a little with the wind direction, not copping the dumps that hit the northern ski resorts. However, snow up there is great and all that is really left to open is Federation and Lower Tirol.

NZ has finally got off the mark with the storms hitting there a few days after Australia. While the exposed situation of most NZ skifields combined with a lack of preparation has meant they have not been able to open during the storm, those that haven't yet should all be open in a day or two when the westerlies subside. And they'll open with a heap of snow!

We're heading up to Buller on the weekend of 22/23 July and there are beds available if anyone is interested. The two weekends after we may make a trip also, so if any of our friends are interested please let us know.


This is what I'm talking about

Snow is forecast for the Victorian and NSW ski resorts for the next seven days! The heaviest snowfalls are beginning tonight and will persist into Wednesday. Snow showers will continue through the rest of the week.

Forecasters are predicting between 40-60cms. That's enough snow to get a good deal of each ski resort open for sliding - which is good news as its fairly basic right now. At the higher predictions it could even see parts of the Summit at Falls Creek, and Orchard at Mt Hotham close to opening. A follow-up snowfall of 20-30cms would open most of every ski resort with more than 1m snowdepth.

Its starting now ... long may it continue. Break out the ski racks and load 'em onto the car!