Mt Buller Ski Report - 25/26 August 2012

Mt Buller - Little Buller Spur - 25 August
We made our way up to Mount Buller for the first time this snow season on the weekend of 25 and 26 August.

Its no secret that Buller has sadly struggled this year while Falls Creek and Mt Hotham have had bumper snowfalls.

A lot of the weather systems this year have dropped snow but only to higher altitudes, and Buller missed out on a number of opportunities and got rain instead.

A few stronger weather systems over the past few weeks have really kicked off Mt Buller's season. More lifts started turning and lots more runs were available away from the snowmaking areas, i.e. natural snow cover.

Mt Buller - View from Summit Chair - 26 August

We stayed for the weekend in a cottage near Mansfield overlooking part of the Eildon lakes with views around the surrounding countryside. The lovely cottages at Burnt Creek Cottages are pretty special to come back to with the fire roaring and the huge spa bubbling while your dinner is cooking away.

I love a log fire and got to work getting that going in the evenings! At only a bit over two hours from Essendon the comparatively short drive made a nice change from the drive up to Hotham.

Saturday was fairly cloudy and there was a little drizzle around early, but it cleared later. Sunday was a lovely, sunny day.

We were keen to check out the new Bonza Chair to see what the lift's installation has done to the Burnt Hut area.

While there is no new terrain there, the realignment has made it easier to see the lines and runs that can be taken through the trees in the Telecom area. Quite a lot of different ways down can be taken, even by starting out at the top of Chalet Creek. Good fun!

The Summit was pretty icy in the mornings, but Standard and Wombat were a good place to start each day. As the mountain softened up, people would move to different areas, with Wood Run being very popular.


Snow Report 22 August 2012 - Australia & New Zealand


Half a metre of snow in a great storm towards the end of last week brought fantastic skiing to Falls, Hotham AND Buller. Falls and Hotham in particular are having their best ski season since 2000!

There is some warm weather currently midweek before a return to snow again. Looks like there could be some fantastic weekend skiing again if the winds hold off!

Mt Hotham
Natural Snow Depth: 165-188cms
As predicted in last week's report, the wonderful Blue Ribbon area opened providing a wealth of new terrain to explore. See my trip report for more on Hotham.

Falls Creek
Natural Snow Depth: 153-165cms
All lifts open and all terrain open - see my trip report for more on Falls.

Mt Buller
Natural Snow Depth: 94cms
There has been a progressive opening of new areas although snow is pretty thin low down still. We'll check out Buller this weekend and report back next week.


The Canterbury and Mackenzie fields in the centre of the South Island continue to get top-ups of snow, while the skifields in Wanaka and Queenstown get a measly few dustings. Hopefully the weather patterns will improve soon for a run of snowfalls. Snow is forecast for this weekend ... lets hope it delivers!

North Canterbury

Rainbow (45-90cms) and Mt Lyford (150-200cms). Both skifields are fully open.

Mt Hutt 22 August [Source: Mt Hutt Facebook Page]

Porters (70-150cms) is having a promising year. Continued snowfalls will keep it skiing well into Spetember. Mt Hutt (200-210cms) continues to shine with its good snow base and is currently skiing really well.

The Mackenzie

Ohau (100-160cms) is still looking great with full cover. Mt Dobson has 220-260cms.


Treble Cone (91-114cms) and Cardrona (70-100cms) have some good cover up top but lower down is a bit of a worry. Valley View at Cardrona has not been able to reopen and the lower Home Basin at Treble Cone looks very green.


In Queenstown, more snow is needed at both Coronet Peak (30-70cms) and the Remarkables (66-86cms).


Falls Creek/Mt Hotham Ski Report - 18/19 August 2012

Around half a metre of snow fell on the Thursday and Friday before the weekend of 18/19 August, generating a rush of excitement as snowsports enthusiasts scrambled to get up their hill of choice as soon as possible!

Mount Beauty from Tawonga Gap
This unfortunately caused chaos during Friday at Hotham as accidents on the mountain road blocked it for hours, with people stuck in their cars in the snowdrifts.

It was snowing lightly in Harrietville at dawn on Saturday 18th, a pretty sight to start our weekend! Heading to Falls Creek, we drove over the Tawonga Gap where a few centimetres of snow had settled ... and it was still snowing.

On the Falls Creek road the snow had fallen down to Bogong Village. Chains were being fitted to cars quite early on - up above the Kiewa River - but the road had been well prepared by the snow-clearers.

It was still snowing, quite windy, and cloudy on Saturday morning, but the cover at Falls Creek looked fantastic as we rode the Express up above the Milky Way.

The Orchard and Extreme Zone viewed from Spargos
While the fresh snow certainly looked nice, it was a bit heavy and hard to turn in around Quartz Ridge. Over in the Village Bowl and The Maze some nice turns could be found in the deep fresh snow on the steeper runs. Unfortunately, the winds had ridged snow across the International poma line and it had to be groomed again. That wait, coupled with Summit chairlift breaking down, made for a bit of a frustrating morning.

The afternoon was far better. The wind dropped, the sun came out occasionally, and all the lifts were working! There were some fun runs through The Maze and on the Summit in the deep snow. The Ys was great and Ruined Castle was nice.

Sunday morning brought clear skies and sunshine aplenty! The drive up to Mt Hotham was absolutely stunning with sparkling snow still on all the trees framed on a deep blue sky. Chains were being fitted down before the entry gate and there was solid snow on the road up to Hotham Heights.

In the trees on Twirlygig
We parked at the Loch car park and had a few fast groomed runs on Heavenly Valley before heading over to The Orchard.

The snow was great around The Orchard in the sun. There is full snow cover over all the runs there now. The little "orchard" trees have almost disappeared in places!

We headed back to the village via the steep run with nice views of the rest of the ski area, a run named Spargos.

Skiing the Blue Ribbon area for the first time this season was a thrill! Its such a great area and Hotham really benefits in the year that its open. Wood Run was a lot of fun in the softened snow, but tright down the bottom is still a little patchy with a few rocks oking through.

We decided to head back to The Orchard to finish off a great day with some really enjoyable Twirlygig runs in the trees. The Orchard at its best!


Snow Report 15 August 2012 - Australia & New Zealand


A few cheeky snowfalls during this past week have kept snow conditions lovely, nice and fresh at the Aussie ski resorts. Conditions are at their peak for season 2012, so go skiing! That's right, go skiing now!

Yet another fantastic winter storm cycle is coming through in the lead-up to this weekend. There is some uncertainty about what it will bring - potentially (and hopefully) another big dump in time for some fantastic weekend skiing!

Mt Hotham 14 August [Source: Hotham Facebook Page]
Do I need to tell you again that you need to go skiing now?

Mt Hotham
Natural Snow Depth: 128-136cms
Parts of the Blue Ribbon area have opened since last week. This has provided access to the top parts of the runs above the Davenport access trail.

Another dump on Friday might see the lift turning for the first time this year. Meanwhile, the Extreme area reopened for skiing.

Mt Buller 10 August [Source: Mt Buller Facebook Page]
Falls Creek
Natural Snow Depth: 113-120cms
All lifts open and all terrain open - what more is there to say?

Mt Buller
Natural Snow Depth: 71cms
More snow at Buller has seem more lifts operational. This includes Bull Run (giving access to Standard run) and Grimus (linking Horse Hill to the Summit area). Some more snow would continue this progressive opening of new areas ... we hope!


Bang! More mid-August snow for New Zealand, in particular for the Canterbury and Mackenzie fields in the centre of the South Island. These areas now have deeper snow than this time last year, a vast improvement ... and its looking great for spring.

North Canterbury and Nelson

Lovely little Rainbow (40-80cms) is doing OK, but Mt Lyford (140-190cms) is the standout in the north as it has added about 65cms in the past week thanks to the easterly nature of some of the weather.


Mt Hutt 15 August [Source:  http://www.facebook.com/mthutt ]
Its all systems go at Porters (70-150cms). Nearby Mt Hutt (190-200cms) has added almost a metre in the last week, but has struggled to stay open in the difficult conditions and has also suffered from wet lower slopes again.

The Mackenzie

Ohau (100-160cms) I love to ski ... and ski you will with a trip to Ohau. At the other end of the Mackenzie, Mt Dobson has reported 220-260cms!


Treble Cone (92-110cms) and Cardrona (70-95cms) are doing just fine thank you and the conditions are nice in the Southern Lakes.


In Queenstown, things are OK but some more snow would be welcome at both Coronet Peak (45-85cms) and the Remarkables (66-86cms).


Snow Report 8 August 2012 - Australia & New Zealand


Mt Hotham 7th August [Source: Mt Hotham Facebook page]
Now we're talking! The forecasted storm system has arrived today (as people in Melbourne would have noticed!) and will continue to bring snow to the Victorian ski resorts over the next couple of days ...even Mt Buller!

It is looking very promising for great skiing and boarding throughout the rest of August 2012 and enough snow has fallen in recent weeks to keep the ski resorts open throughout September.

Mt Hotham
Natural Snow Depth: 116-121cms
Mt Hotham has been skiing well in recent days and sustained snowfalls have opened up more of The Orchard area - an area so important to the resort. The runs skier's right of the skilift are now fully open and the creek back to the lift is properly filled in. The Davenport access trail has reopened and another good dump (or even a sustained snowfall in the next 48 hours) would get the wonderful Blue Ribbon area open. Here's hoping!

Falls Creek 8th August [Source: Falls Creek Facebook page]
Falls Creek
Natural Snow Depth: 95-104cms
With the best snow of the season to date on the ground this week, Falls Creek is having a great year with all its lifts open and much better cover over some of the advanced areas around International and The Maze. You can imagine much more of The Maze will be open now, particularly this weekend so we should be going to check it out next weekend.

Mt Buller
Natural Snow Depth: 43cms
Finally some breaks for Mt Buller. This storm should enable the ski resort to progressively open more terrain and lifts. Southside is already turning, and you'd imagine other areas could come online with some sustained snowfalls.


Finally, New Zealand gets some regular snowfalls! And when it snows in New Zealand ... it snowswell! Many skifields across the country have doubled their snow depths over the last week or so. The season is saved and some excellent skiing across the South Island can now be found.

As forecast last week, the Canterbury and the Mackenzie fields have done best out of these storms with it still snowing across the northern part of the South Island.

North Canterbury and Nelson

Sadly Rainbow (25-65cms) had to close again after some warm weather, but the current snowfalls will; fix that quickly. Mt Lyford (95-135cms) is continuing to get pelted and is having a fantastic season to date.


Ohau 4th August [Source: Ohau Facebook page]
Porters (50-90cms) is now sitting pretty and is experiencing its best conditions of the season. Mt Hutt (110-120cms) is again shut while it waits out another storm - lucky days for the people there when it reopens!

The Mackenzie

Ohau (84-135cms) will have great skiing through August and into September and is one of the places to be at the moment in New Zealand.


Treble Cone (92-100cms) is looking fantastic again, which must be a relief for the marketing people who were so concerned earlier in the season when things weren't quite so rosy! Cardrona (70-80cms) must be close to reopening the Valley View lift.


Coronet Peak (42-82cms) has had to do a lot of work to recover from the warm weather with its lower altitude. The Remarkables is skiing better right now with a snow depth of 66-86cms.


Snow Report 1 August 2012 - Australia & New Zealand


A little snow this past weekend was oh-so welcome, but has sadly not really added a lot to the skiable terrain at the Victorian ski resorts. What snow did fall has, however, done a good job at keeping some marginal areas of the resorts open and available to ski. Not a lot of snow is forecast in Australia until a possible storm sometime in the middle of next week. Cooler conditions will keep the snow from melting in the meantime. Look - you can't really complain, its just sad that the weather didn't carry on with it and deliver a bumper year for us all!

Mt Hotham
Natural Snow Depth: 95-109cms
The fresh snowfalls have kept The Orchard open which is essential in peak season to prevent overcrowding, although the lack of snowmaking over there is a concern. Cold nights all this week must be helping generate lorry-loads of manmade snow ... but the areas we really want to ski at Hotham don't have snowmaking! Fortunately Heavenly Valley doesn't look like suffering and will no doubt be skiable for the rest of the season.

The Summit at Falls Creek [Source: Falls Creek Facebook page]
Falls Creek
Natural Snow Depth: 76-86cms
Falls Creek is interesting, with all its lifts open but very patchy cover in the sun-exposed International and Last Hoot areas. As you would expect with the snow depth, all the intermediate areas from Tower's to Ruined Castle have great snow cover making it the best choice in Victoria for intermediate skiing.

Mt Buller
Natural Snow Depth: 33cms
Buller only has natural snow cover thanks to the recent snowfall. Snowmaking areas like Bourke Street, Summit and Wombat make up the bulk of the skiing.


At long bloody last - the drought is over, the sun has buggered off, and some snow has fallen transforming all the New Zealand skifields into a winter wonderland!

It was really getting desparate, but now there are smiles all round again with the return to winter conditions. The storms over the past few days have brought lots of snow. Its not powder really at resort level, apparently it was quite wet snow. But thats perfect to get started on building the bases again and adding more.

More snow is forecast for Canterbury and the Mackenzie this week, while the weather has cleared in the Southern Lakes. Note, the snow depths below are likely to be revised upwards in the next day or two as the fields open again.
Porters [Source: Porters Facebook page]

North Canterbury and Nelson

Rainbow (20-60cms) has fixed its road and the snowfalls have reopened the pretty little skifeield; while Hanmer Springs (5-85cms) is hoping to reopen soon. Mt Lyford (80-120cms) has received 65cms of snow in the past 48 hours.


Porters (40-80cms) has got a welcome dump and it is still snowing. Mt Hutt (75-80cms) is shut while it waits out the storm that has already brought 60cms of new snow in 48 hours. Cheeseman and Mt Olympus now have a metre of snow up high.

The Mackenzie

Ohau (70-100cms) is in business again. Roundhill (40-60cms) has opened and I've been caught off-guard as I read they have a new T-Bar!

Cardrona [Source: Cardrona Facebook page]

Treble Cone (79-80cms) has opened the Motatapu Chutes for the first time this season, and skiing will be excellent in the Saddle Basin. Cardrona (70-75cms) looks beautiful again with up to 30cms new snow.


Coronet Peak (40-80cms) could still do with some more natural snow, such was the lack of snow before this storm. The Remarkables is now in a vastly improved state thanks to a snow depth of 60-80cms.