Snow Report 1 January 2014 - French & Italian Alps

Neve, neve, neve ... neige, neige, neige!

Finally the long-awaited snows arrived like a big, white, blanketing Christmas present.

On Christmas Eve the southern French Alps and western Italian Alps got a nice dump of 20-40cms.

Elsewhere the temperature dropped and the snow arrived for the rest on Christmas Day. Nice pressie!

At Chamonix, we received around 30-50cms in the ski areas and 10-15cms in the valley towns. While this only partially covered all the rocks, it did make the pistes a lot better.

During the storm, we skied at Saint-Gervais and Megeve where the visibility was better because of the forests. There was some good, soft powder early on, but it was too early for the resorts to open new runs so things were a bit limited.

At Chamonix after it cleared we had a great morning at Balme, which is right up near the border with Switzerland. Stunning views, including back down the Chamonix valley. There were lots of great freshies to be had from the Tete de Balme.

Further east the snow continued, with places like Monte Rosa and Madonna Di Campiglio scoring around one metre from the dump over two days. Madesimo got a whopping two metres!

A follow-up front on the 28th December brought another 10-30cms across the region. Nice to be getting regular falls again after that crazy December drought.

The powder was lots of fun as the clouds began to clear and the sun peeped out again. We were at little Piano Di Bobbio near Lecco in Italy and had some great skiing in the new snow off the peak.

A run of beautiful, clear and sunny days has followed. Don't think that means another warm spell though: temperatures have been seasonally cold - we arrived at Corvatsch on the 30th December where it was -13c in the car park!

The weather is changing again, which promises to refresh the tracked out powder and make the pistes nice and chalky again.

Showers are forecast for the 2nd January, and then a bigger storm may arrive in the Alps on the weekend which could bring another half a metre or more.

A selection of much healthier looking snow depths from around the French and Italian Alps today:

Val D'Isere: 62cms@1850m; 103cms@2500m; and 66/79 pistes now open

Val Thorens: 90cms@2300m; 135cms@3200m

Megeve: 20cms@1151m; 90cms@2014m

Chamonix: 10cms in town; 120cms midway up the Grand Montets; but still only 48cms@2000-2500m in sunny Brevent and Balme.

Monte Rosa: 90/200cms
Madesimo: 210/290cms
Piani Di Bobbio: 130/160cms
Corvatsch: 86/132cms
Madonna Di Campoglio: 120/170cms
Val Gardena: 45/140cms

As you can see, the Italian Alps have certainly done incredibly well over the past week, but nice to see everywhere fully open for January.

Happy New Year! Buon Anno! Bonne Annee!


Snow Report 24 December 2013 - French & Italian Alps

Merry Christmas from the Chamonix Valley in the French Alps where we are anxiously awaiting the snowfall that could bring a glorious white Christmas!

At the ski stations in the northern French Alps there is very little snow below 2000m except on runs with snowmaking. Even then, we've had to be on the lookout for rocks, and the warm temperatures have made the lower slopes solid.

I've heard things are better in the south, but nothing too exciting.

At Chamonix, a dusting of snow on the morning of the 23rd December freshened up the slopes at Les Grands Montets, which has the best skiing in the valley.

Anyway, this should be all beside the point when the superstorm arrives tonight. The massive low pressure system covering half of Europe will bring snow everywhere - the only question will be how much, as locally there could be lots of variation.

The southern French Alps and northern Italy look like they may get up to one metre of snow in the next couple of days. Bring it on (my car has snow tyres and I'm fed up with skiing on stones and ice)!

Check out a picture of the valley from the 3,842m summit of the Aigulle Du Midi.


Snow Report 18 December 2013 - Europe

Greetings from 3 Vallees in the French Alps, where they like to remind you that this is the biggest linked ski area in the world.

I tell you what - it is indeed flippin' huge. On our first day we tried to go from one end to the other and almost missed the last gondola home!

This incredible run of dry, sunny days continues for the French and Italian Alps. It's now 18 days since the last snowfall.

Sunny days are lovely and all that, but we need the white stuff to fall from the sky fairly regularly!

If you're going to ski this early in the season, then Val Thorens is a safe bet with the village at 2300m altitude. Snowmaking and some clever piste management/grooming has kept things fresh on the upper slopes ... even up until today.

Around the rest of 3 Vallees there has been some fine skiing up high especially in Les Menuires (what an incredible place this would be after a dump with its endless rolling off-piste) and the Mottaret part of Meribel.

No off-piste is available with the sun-affected snow. Lower slopes are either closed or very patchy. To be expected this early in the season.

Some pictures from around 3 Vallees today and yesterday are in this post.

Snow is in the forecast for the 19th and 20th December and should extend across the French and Italian Alps down to about 1000m. About 20-50cms is possible over the next few days. Bring it on!


Snow Report 11 December 2013 - Europe

Orelle 3 Vallees 10 December 2013 [Source: Orelle FB page]
It has been a dry and sunny week, warm at times. No snow to report for the French and Italian Alps and not much in the forecast either.

So the last snowfalls were back in November. We need a top-up to get things refreshed again. The higher resorts will have been able to maintain snow quality. Lower down it will be sun-affected, maybe hard, and maybe some snow loss below 1800m

The good news is that a bunch of ski resorts had openings on the weekend, including Les Menuires, Meribel, and Val Gardena in the Dolomites.

No snow forecast for the rest of this week or this weekend, but there is a chance of some on the horizon. Here's hoping!

Here are current conditions at selected French and Italian ski resorts:

Val Thorens - There is still 65cms in Val Thorens village (2300m) and more than 105cms on the upper slopes (3200m). There are 54 lifts open across the 3 Vallees ski area, with the lower slopes with just 30cms.

Val D'Isere - 40cms@1850m, 76cms@2500m, 72% of pistes open.

St-Gervais 10 December 2013 [Source: St-Gervais FB page]
Megeve - CLOSED, opening 21st December
Les Contamines - CLOSED, opening 20th December

Chamonix (Grands Montets) - 40cms@1972m, 120cms above 2765m.
Chamonix (Brevent/Flegere) - partial opening 14th December, total 21st December

Monte Rosa - OPEN, 24 lifts running this weekend , 70cms/150cms at Gressoney-La-Trinite.

Piani Di Bobbio - 30/40cms.
Monte Rosa 8 December 2013 [Source: Monte Rosa FB page]

Valchiavenna - 20cms in the village of Madesimo (1550m) to 80cms on the summit (2900m)

St Moritz (Corvatsch) - 5 lifts running

Madonna di Campoglio - 15cms@1500m and 60cms@2250m

Val Gardena - 10cms in town and 40cms up the mountain.


Snow Report 1 December 2013 - Europe

Orelle 1 December 2013 [Source: Orelle FB page]
Its always incredibly exciting at the beginning of a new season - whats new on the slopes, when are the resorts opening, and how will the snow be this year?

While I don't have a crystal ball, I can share with you a little of whats going on ... and some of my excitement about the coming snow season!

It has been a nice, solid, snowy start to the season in the French and Italian Alps. The past week was fine and sunny, followed by a few centimetres of snow on Friday night into Saturday morning.

The mountain towns are looking nice and white and busy preparing for the busy christmas period. Expect lots of christmas lights and celebtations planned! There is 10 centimetres on the ground in the village at Chamonix, a good sign for a white christmas!

Grands Montets 1 December 2013 [ Source: Chamonix FB page]
It looks like another fine and sunny start to the week. In fact somewhat unseasonably warm, before it gets cooler again around Thursday and Friday.

A chance of snow arriving next weekend. By then it will be welcome and much needed so that the lower resorts can keep their return pistes open.

Here is the current status and snow depth at selected French and Italian ski resorts:

Val Thorens - OPEN - There is 70cms in Val Thorens village (2300m) and more than 110cms on the peaks (3200m). The link from Orelle opened this weekend. The links to Les Menuires and Meribel aren't open yet as these two resorts, part of 3 Vallees, don't open until 7th December. Val Thorens has 18 lifts open.

Val D'Isere - OPEN, 50cms@1850m, 130cms@2500m, 26 of 46 lifts running this weekend.

Megeve - CLOSED, opening 21st December
Les Contamines - CLOSED, opening 20th December

Chamonix (Grands Montets) - OPEN, the Grands Montets has opened a week earlier than planned, with five of the nine lifts spinning this weekend. 50cms@1972m, 150cms above 2765m.
Monte Rosa 30 November 2013 [Source: Monte Rosa FB page]
Chamonix (Brevent/Flegere) - CLOSED,  partial opening 14th December, total 21st December

Monte Rosa - OPEN, 24 lifts running this weekend , 70cms/100cms

Piani Di Bobbio - OPEN, with six lifts running and about half a metre of snow.

Valchiavenna - OPEN, 20cms in the village of Madesimo (1550m) to 80cms on the summit (2900m)

St Moritz (Corvatsch) - OPEN, 4 lifts running

Madonna di Campoglio - OPEN, opened a week earlier than planned with 35cms@1500m and 60cms@2250m

Val Gardena - CLOSED, opening 7th December, 15cms in town and 40cms up the mountain.


Snow Report 24 November 2013 - Europe

Les Contamines 22 Dec. 2013 [Source: Les Contamines FB page]
Welcome to the 2013-14 ski season!

Winter has arrived in Europe with a cold blast across the continent. The Alps have seen some good snowfalls in the last week. Down to low levels as well - Chamonix village, for example.

There are already some ski resorts open in France and Italy, including Tignes, Alpe D'Huez and Val Thorens.

In Italy, Valchiavenna is open for this weekend, and skiing is also available in nearby St Moritz.

The next three or four days look sunny and fine across the French and Italian Alps.

Monte Rosa 22 Dec. 2013 [Source: Monte Rosa FB page]
We await the next snowfall with anticipation and look forward to more resort openings next weekend (among them Val D'Isere, Monte Rosa and Piani Di Bobbio).

Here is the current status and snow depth at selected French and Italian ski resorts:

Val Thorens - OPEN - 75cms in Val Thorens village (2300m) to 110cms on the peaks (3200m)
Val D'Isere - CLOSED, opening 30th November (but Tignes is already OPEN)
Megeve - CLOSED, opening 21st December
Les Contamines - CLOSED, opening 20th December
Chamonix (Grands Montets) - CLOSED, opening 7th December
Chamonix (Brevent/Flegere) - CLOSED,  partial opening 14th December, total 21st December

Val Gardena 22 Dec. 2013 [Source: Val Gardena FB page]
Monte Rosa - CLOSED, opening 30th November
Piani Di Bobbio - CLOSED, opening 30th November
Valchiavenna - OPEN, 23rd November two lifts for the weekend only 20cms in the village of Madesimo (1550m) to 80cms on the summit (2900m)
St Moritz (Corvatsch) - OPEN on 23rd November, 4 lifts open
Madonna di Campoglio - CLOSED, opening 7th December
Val Gardena - CLOSED, opening 7th December


Snow Report 9 November 2013 - Europe

Les Contamines 7 November 2013 [Source: SECMH FB page]
Summer is fast approaching down under, triathlon season is here and the surfers are heading for the coast. It's been almost two months since we last waxed our skis.

But in the northern hemisphere thoughts are turning to snowsports again, and many of us in the antipodes have already organised our trips to North America, Europe or Japan.

This year I'll be focusing my snow reports on Europe, and the French and Italian Alps in particular. The reasons will be come clearer next month.

There have already been a couple of snowfalls in the Alps, with a good one over the last few days. There is now a solid base of snow on the peaks. Down lower though the weather has still a lot of work to do!

Monte Rosa 8 November 2013 [Source: Monte Rose FB page]
Here are some planned opening dates (snow-dependent):

Val Thorens - 23rd November
Val D'Isere - 30th November
Megeve - 21st December
Les Contamines - 20th December
Chamonix (Grands Montets) - 7th December
Chamonix (Brevent/Flegere) - partial 14th December, total 21st December

Monte Rosa - 30th November
Valchiavenna - 23rd November
St Moritz (Corvatsch) - 23rd November
Madonna di Campoglio - 7th December
Val Gardena - 7th December

I'll be back with a snow report at the end of the month ... hopefully there are lots of snowy opening days to report! Ciao!


Ski New Zealand 2013

This springtime ski trip to New Zealand was our second visit to the South Island of this wonderful country this season, with early July providing the better conditions for skiing. Nevertheless, there was still lots of fun snow to be found at the tail-end of the 2013 season.
Moon over Bob's Knob @Mt Hutt 14 Sep 2013

For those lucky enough to still be on the South Island, there has still been skiing this weekend at Mt Hutt, Mt Dobson, Ohau, Cardrona and The Remarkables. The rest of the South Island skifields closed last weekend.


Flying into Christchurch, we arrived in the Canterbury region a day after terrifying winds had brought trees down across the area and a little snow. The weather had stabilized since, bringing day after sunny day with no wind.

Methven is a neat, small town at the base of Mt Hutt, the biggest ski area in this part of the South Island. We stayed in an apartment attached to a house belonging to local artists. Sheep and alpacas in the field in front of the house looked up inquisitively every time we arrived or departed.

The road to Mt Olympus
First off was a beautiful sunny day spent skiing at Mt Hutt, nice on-piste but the more interesting terrain took forever to soften up and become skiable.

Runs down International required a wait for the Hagglund all-terrain vehicles to take us back up to the base area and ski lifts.

At 3pm I managed a few runs off the Virgin Mile, when it finally opened, and the cover was quite good along to Bob's Knob. The Virgin Mile affords spectacular views in all directions, to Porter Heights, over the skifield, and down the sheer northeastern face of Mt Hutt to the Rakaia River and gorge.

The next day, in search of better snow quality, we headed to the remote club field at Mt Olympus. It was our first time at this skifield in the many years of visiting the South Island. As the scenery became more dramatic the road goes from sealed to gravel track to narrow, twisting 4WD track.

Main Face @Mt Olympus 15 Sep 2013
Mt Olympus doesn't have chairlifts, only rope tows which require you to wear a belt with a contraption called a nutcracker that you hook onto the rope to drag you up the tow.

Three rope tows take you from the Mt Olympus bottom car park at 1430m to an altitude of 1880m.

It took me some practice and getting used to but in the end I got there and was rewarded with some fantastic skiing under sunny skies. The aches the next day from the effort of trying to hang on to the tows weren't so rewarding!

This friendly skifield has a community and family feeling, while also being for people who are really into their sport. There is a lot of hiking from the top tow to the mountain peaks to find pristine powder runs. On the day we were there, three paraskiers were launching into the air off the rocky ridges (you can spot one in the picture below).

Paraskier @Mt Olympus 15 Sep 2013
On the drive back we hit a huge pothole and suffered a blowout. Having to change a 4WD tyre on the hire car as the sun was beginning to set was not the ideal end to an exciting day!

The next morning we left Methven to head southwest through the plains and then up into the Mackenzie District.

Its only about two hours to drive to Lake Tekapo Village from Methven and the town can make a nice stop if you don't want to drive all the way to Queenstown or Wanaka in one go.


On the way to Lake Tekapo of course we stopped off at Mt Dobson for a ski.

Dobbo always looks glorious on a sunny day, and this day was no exception. Conditions were spring-like on part of the mountain where the T-bar is. The snowdepth was noticeably less than last year, with many more rocks showing.
Mt Dobson 16 Sep 2013

When the three-seater chairlift opened up later in the morning (it often has a delayed opening), it looked like we were going to be in for a firm off-piste, but surprisingly the cooler temperatures after the storm had kept the snow in pretty good shape.

Chalky runs on good quality snow were to be had in and around the natural halfpipe off and under the chairlift.

Later in the day, the higher runs in the sun off the T-bar softened up allowing some variation.

This was to be our only stop at Mt Dobson this year as it remained closed on week days on our way back to Methven.

The reward after a day's skiing when you're staying at Lake Tekapo is a soak at the brilliant Hot Springs. The setting is beautiful, tucked in to a larch forest by the shores of the lake with views back towards Mt Dobson. At sunset, the colours are glorious: at night the stars come out.

Ohau 17 Sep 2013
Ohau skifield is about an hour's drive from Lake Tekapo. You pass the vivid blue glacial lake, Lake Pukaki, on the way there.

It was another stunning, if cool, sunny spring day and the tan was starting to appear on our faces after this run of clear days!

Here again, the snow was variable with firm sun-affected areas softening early in the sun, while elsewhere there was still dry, chalky, winter snow.

For those willing to hike, there was still powder on the ridge runs worth the effort. It was good to be able to ski both sides of the mountain as often this time of year one half won't soften up. A very good day's skiing.

These clear skies were incredible, even in Lake Tekapo which is famous for clear night skies. Above the Hot Springs is a small, round mountain called Mt John, and on top of that mountain sits a world-renowned observatory where telescopes scan the night skies.

Mt John Lake Tekapo Walkway
After skiing (and before the Hot Springs) we took a trek up the steep zig-zagging path to the top of Mt John.

Coming out of the larch forest after the climb, you see the observatory buildings as you circle the complex on a narrow path that winds across the tussock.

There are great views of the surrounding mountains and lakes all the way to the mighty Mt Cook and, as you round the mountain, back to the village of Lake Tekapo itself.

A ski and a hike in one day - we certainly deserved our hot springs soak and Alpine salmon roast dinner that night!

The next morning we left Lake Tekapo after our two-day stop, heading south again into Otago. Wanaka is about a couple of hours drive from Lake Tekapo passing the Ohau turn-off and over the incredible landscapes around Lindis Pass.

Captains Basin @Cardrona 18 Sep 2013

On the way to Wanaka we head just a short drive away to go for a ski at the always reliable Cardrona where, surprise surprise, its a warm and sunny day again!

There was good snow cover all over the mountain at Cardrona for this time of year, and the terrain served by Valley View Quad chairlift (the lowest part of the mountain) was still in operation for some nice, long warm-up runs in the morning.

This is the first time we have skied Valley View in September, but back in July we were skiing the off-piste around there also. It shows how little snow they had in New Zealand after July - maybe just one decent snowfall in almost two weeks.

Over the next week of our visit, a combination of rain and sun threatened to melt all the snow, but Cardrona skifield did well to last all the way through to ... well, through to today!

Lake Wanaka
As the week progressed, it became harder to ski around the challenging Arcadia Basin due to lack of snow, which was a fun place to try out on this first day.

It always feels so good to arrive back in Wanaka. There's something about the place - sitting by the lake surrounded by mountains - that truly makes you feel invigorated and right at home.

The townhouse we stayed in was perfect, with a woodburner (not that we needed it in the warm weather), massive kitchen and cosy bedrooms.

As the weather changed finally and sunny skies were replaced by winds and rain on the peaks, we decided to do some hikes around the surrounding hills until the storm had passed. We had had a good run of ski days and there was no need to push it!

Rob Roy Stream @Mt Aspiring National Park
Often its dry and calmer in the valleys compared to on the skifields so it can be a good alternative to walk or mountain bike around the countryside. Kayaking is also an increasingly popular activity all year round.

Our first expedition into Mt Aspiring National Park revealed the spectacular beauty of this place. A trek up to the hanging Rob Roy Glacier through wet rainforest was hard work but well worth it.

The glacier finishes right on the edge of the mountain, sending water and ice down into the vallet below.

On another day we hiked up the mountain range that links Cardrona to the borders of the Wanaka township and were watched closely by a herd of cautious deer as we walked alongside their paddocks.

As the storm passed, a couple of trips to Treble Cone were fun, despite the lack of snow on the lower parts of the skifield and, oddly, no new snowfalls.

Queenstown from The Remarkables 24 Sep 2013
The area known as the Saddle Basin - a big basin served by one lift - provided good softening snow on one day for some fun off-piste runs.

Skiing at The Remarkables had been a highlight of our July trip over here. We made the trip to Queenstown for another go at this great skifield. While the snow cover was still reasonable, there was not quite the same quality.

We did manage to hike up to the top, however, to be rewarded with the stunning view down to Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. The sheer drop in front of you is about 1500m!

This is definitely one of the highlights of a day at this skifield. In Queenstown, this incredible range of mountains provides a dramatic backdrop wherever you go. To think, we were nestled on a rock right at the top, looking down on the town.

Ohau 26 Sep 2013
Back in Wanaka, we managed another day at Treble Cone and a hike up Rocky Mountain, but our time in Otago was coming to an end. From Wanaka, we headed back into the Mackenzie District and Lake Tekapo once more.


A quiet foggy morning the next day meant the sun was back again! The mists looked like a huge lake from the road. Then the real lake appeared and it was glorious, aquamarine, Mt Cook in the distance, reflections in the water - Lake Pukaki.

Little Ohau had lost a bit of snow since the last time we visited a week or so before! You make your own turns though, and I had my eye on a run that required a ten-minute hike uphill. Ended up doing it three times! It was beautifully pristine snow, soft in the sun, no tracks. Ohau was twice a highlight of this trip.

The road on race day

Back in Methven again and the last weekend of the trip was all about the Peak to Pub 2013, a multi-sport race I had registered for a few months earlier.

The race was postponed from the Saturday to the Sunday as there was rain and snow falling at Mt Hutt from Friday night through to Sunday morning.

This gave a good opportunity for a pretty rainforest walk on my rest day to loosen my legs for the race the next day!

The Peak to Pub race involves the following:
Race Instructions

  • Take the chairlift to the summit of Mt Hutt at 2086m ready for the pistol start
  • A 100m dash in ski boots to get into your skis
  • Negotiate a grand slalom ski race course to the base building descending about 500m altitude
  • Change your shoes and jump on a mountain bike and cycle 14kms down the gravel access road ... in the sleet
  • Dump the mountain bike and run 11kms to the Blue Pub in Methven
  • Easy, eh?
On the face it it doesn't sound that difficult to a regular runner or cyclist. But conditions and the design of the race combined to make it one hell of a challenge!

The first problem was the white-out conditions on the mountain for the G.S. race. Not ideal! Especially for someone who has never skied a slalom or any ski race ... ever! It was a little chaotic coming down the course.

I had thought, having driven up the Mt Hutt access road a number of times, it would be a cruisey ride down in the sunshine looking at the views to the Pacific Ocean. Sleet and grit coming off the road conspired to shatter that illusion, and I was unfamiliar with riding a mountain bike down a gravel road rutted by cars, the wind, ice and elements. I think I still had parts of the road in my eyes by the finish!

"Dry Creek"
I'm sure I could have gone faster down the road on the bike, but it was so cold and I was riding the brakes the whole way down almost. I had to ask someone to unclip my helmet at the next changeover, my fingers were icicles!

Getting to the bottom of the mountain was wonderful, almost, as I knew the run would be my easiest leg. For some reason I thought it would be a cheerful, nice run along the road to the pub. While the pub was the finish, the course was not quite the plain sailing I thought it would be.

The first section involved running up a creek bed called "Dry Creek" which happened to be a foot deep with water in places after the rain. You couldn't avoid running right down the middle of the creek for long periods. It got worse as it went on, with shingle turning into big New Zealand round rocks on the creek bed. I was just waiting for my ankle to roll. I went back and took some pictures the next (sunny) day.

Avoiding cow pats in the fields I was getting on a roll and passing people ... until my illusions of a relaxed finish were shattered by the canal crossing. not over a bridge, mind you.
The Canal

This irrigation canal was a good-sized waterway, and it was flowing like a mad thing after the recent rains. A sign next to it said: "Danger - Extreme Current - Stay Out - Stay Safe". So, of course, I have to cross this canal, this ice-cold canal, by diving in and hoping the current doesn't drag me away to the next farmer's field. Fortunately I clamber out, and - bonus - it washes all the road grit and mud off me as I run, sodden, the last 2kms to the finish ... and the pub ... and some beer!

The next day - which is sunny again - I am determined to ski at Mt Hutt. I try a few runs and my muscles ache from the day before. I have to give up ... the Peak to Pub has wasted me!

But not for too long ... on the last day of the trip ... the first day of October ... I enjoy a beautiful sunny day with softening snow across the skifield. The views are spectacular, the skiing smooth and soft ... but the best thing is that I know I have, if not mastered, I have survived the Peak to Pub and made my way from the top of this mountain to the town of Methven under my own steam in insanely challenging conditions. Yeah!


Snow Report 15 September 2013 - Australia & New Zealand


Kia ora from Methven, New Zealand. The sun has been out in the Canterbury skifields since Friday and this is set to continue until Thursday.

It was a little warm during the week, so the South Island saw a mix of rain and snow, plus some incredibly windy days that uprooted trees across Canterbury in particular.

Ohau and Dobson did pretty well out of the recent storm, with 50+ cms up high. The Remarks and Coronet Peak got nice top-ups also.

Mt Hutt was quiet on Saturday and off-piste took well into the afternoon to soften. When it did there was some fun skiing off the Virgin Mile.

We trekked to My Olympus today (Sunday). What an incredible place! Powder up high, with everyone hiking to find the best lines. Corn snow lower down in the afternoon.


Snow Report 7 September 2013 - Australia & New Zealand


Warm and windy days in the mountains, interspersed with rain, have seriously depleted the snow cover across the Australian skifields. Daytime temperatures reached into the teens at the resorts during one of the warmest winters on record.

The good times of late August are now a distant memory! However, the good snowfalls that fell then should at least maintain some decent snow cover at Perisher and Falls, especially if a little top-up comes along next week some time. Could be a good time to learn to ski with the discounted lift tickets that should be offered.

Mt Hotham - Natural Snow Depth: 56cms
The best weeks for Hotham were late August when the whole resort was open and skiing really well. Hotham has lost more than half a metre since last week's report. The Orchard and Blue Ribbon areas closed early on, and the best skiing is now limited to Heavenly Valley. However, even around and about Heavenly there are big patches showing now.

Falls Creek - Natural Snow Depth: 86cms
Perisher 7 Septmeber 2013 [Source: perisher.com.au]
A lot of snow cover lost with the great melt over the past week. Fortunately Falls Creek has a good base so should keep most of the back areas open for a few weeks more. International has closed and Summit can't be far off if this weather continues. As you'd expect in a poor year, Falls has had the best cover of the Victorian ski resorts.

Mt Buller - Natural Snow Depth: 8cms
The punishing warm days, followed by rain have wiped out Buller's natural snow cover. Skiing is now limited to groomed runs ... really only three of them: Bourke St/Baldy, Little Buller Spur/Wombat and Shakey Knees.

Perisher - Natural Snow Depth: Approx 25-125cms
Lots of melt across the resort and grass and rocks showing through now, especially in areas like Smiggins and Guthega. However, Perisher still has lots of terrain open and lifts running ... 35 of them this weekend.


A series of fronts is approaching the South Island of New Zealand and they could bring up to a metre of snow in the next week. That would set up some incredible Spring skiing!

Cardrona 5 September 2013 [Source: Cardrona FB page]
Conditions could return to those seen at the end of June and early July. All skifields should get big dumps, but winds in the weather forecasts could see some lifts on hold during the early parts of the coming week.

Its interesting how the best conditions for skiing in New Zealand will have been at the beginning and the end of the season this year. Just goes to show how you need to be flexible to get the best snow conditions!

North Canterbury and Nelson

Rainbow (60/40cms) is open but needs some more snow soon, while Mt Lyford (150cms) received another 45cms of new snow on Thursday and is skiing nicely into September.


Porters (150/40cms) got another 15cms on Thursday and will be right back in business after this week's storm, while Mt Cheeseman (100/40cms)looks good up top but needs (and will soon get) some snow around the base area. Mt Hutt (295/250cms) received another 30cms last week, and was in the news when hundreds of customers got stuck on the mountain well into the night when wild and windy weather came in and closed the access road.

The Mackenzie
The Remarkables 5 September 2013 [Source: Remarks FB page]

Ohau (140/60cms) is delivering some snowy goodness for the spring season this year with another 35cms on Thursday. Roundhill (150/40cms) got 30cms and has decent cover for September, and Mt Dobson (100cms) also scored another 30cms snowfall and is looking good for spring.


The lower slopes at Treble Cone (298/0cms) need the snow thats coming this week, and will soon look very different with all the tussocks covered and top-to-bottom skiing. Cardrona got 20cms on Thursday and is set  to enjoy the outcome of this week's snow storms (130/55cms).


Coronet Peak (85/42cms) is looking OK while The Remarkables (135/85cms) look very nice and are set up for some fantastic weeks ahead.


Snow Report 29 August 2013 - Australia & New Zealand


Those of you who have been up at the skifields will know from experience that this has been the best period of 2013 for skiing in Victoria and New South Wales. Continual top-ups of snow during the last week have reinvigorated the ski season. Good times ... with great cover and all areas open!

Things have been warming up considerably: when the five-day forecast in Melbourne is 22-26c you know you're going to be getting some soft, spring skiing up in the mountains. That will mean freeze-thaw conditions with crunchy starts, and some loss of snow cover over the next week.

Not a lot of snow in the upcoming forecast, if any, over the next week. Lots of opportunity for sunny, t-shirt days however. Enjoy the spring skiing, but get up there soon!

Mt Hotham - Natural Snow Depth: 113cms
Falls Creek 29 August 2013 [Source: Falls FB page]
It finally happened! The Orchard opened early last week and has given people luck enough to be up there some great skiing at times when the snow was fresh. The runs over there have suffered a bit from icy conditions, but its been a good week for Hotham with the whole of the resort open.

Falls Creek - Natural Snow Depth: 135cms
Everything is open again at Falls Creek with great conditions over the past week. Falls will ski well into spring and has had a stand-out season with a good period of ski-in, ski-out, despite the unfortunate landslide that closed the road last weekend.

Mt Buller - Natural Snow Depth: 75cms
The storms of the past week have finally delivered Buller some snowy goodness. Lower trails have missed out a bit, but there is plenty of skiing to be had.

Perisher - Natural Snow Depth: Approx 75-175cms
Fantastic conditions across Perisher over the last few weeks. A great follow-up to last year's incredible ski season. The great news is that Perisher will be building a new quad chairlift at Guthega this summer. This lift is something to look forward to next year.

Mt Hutt 29 August 2013 [Source: Mt Hutt FB page]

Wow! That was a long wait. a few little top-ups over the past week were a teaser for the great snowfalls that arrived yesterday across the South Island. A long time coming! Things looks so much better now everything is refreshed.

Spring skiing is looking promising in NZ with a return to more variable weather systems. Lets hope there are continual systems coming across bringing new snow.

North Canterbury and Nelson

Rainbow (60/40cms) has got a nice new white coat, but Hanmer Springs has now closed for the season. Mt Lyford is looking good for when it reopens after 20cms of new snow fell yesterday.

Ohau 29 August [Source: Ohau FB page]

Wow, Porters (140/30cms) really needed that top-up and is looking so much more wintery after a 15cms snowfall. Mt Hutt (290/240cms) has retained its snowdepth form last week with a 25cms dump yesterday.

The Mackenzie

Ohau (110/55cms) scored the biggest fall of the last day with a whopping 40cms - they say it was the  - "biggest fall since June", while Roundhill (80cms) got 25cms, and Mt Dobson didn't miss out with a 15cms snowfall (100cms).

Treble Cone 29 August 2013 [Source: Treble Cone FB page]

A good little 10-15cms at Treble Cone (312/10cms) and Cardrona looks nice and white again to lower levels (130/55cms). Spring looks like being good in the Wanaka area!


Coronet Peak (85/42cms) and some fresh snow falling down to low levels last night. The Remarkables (115/70cms) is looking pretty good with 15cms powder overnight.


Snow Report 19 August 2013 - Australia & New Zealand


It has been good to see these winter weather systems crossing the high country areas of Victoria and New South Wales. Some rain, some sleet and some snow fell over the weekend. The higher resorts fared better but it was pretty touch-and-go all over.

The last week has seen many Australian ski resorts top the one-metre mark; something that was looking unlikely a month ago. This good August winter weather should set up some decent snow cover for late-August and well into September.

It became a lot colder today and snow is again falling, down to much lower levels than at the weekend. Snow is forecast through the week and then the forecast is for a lovely, fine weekend.

No photos this report as, well, nowhere in Australia or New Zealand has been particularly photogenic over the last week. Let the sun come out this weekend!

Mt Hotham - Natural Snow Depth: 108cms
We skied at Hotham this weekend and there was fresh snow each morning but the snowline was pretty high. Saturday was the pick with 17cms fresh reported. The snow became heavy as you headed down the pistes. Some fun runs in the trees at Blue Ribbon, and Heavenly Valley was skiing nicely all day.

On Sunday morning it was very wet and it was a relief when the rain stopped and our clothes could dry out. High winds eventually left only Village and Blue Ribbon running. Lower Playground was the pick of the day. The snow was very wet and not really building depth once you get down to the bottom and that is one of the reasons The Orchard is not yet open, but expect it to open tomorrow or later this week.

Falls Creek - Natural Snow Depth: 128cms
Skiing at Falls Creek has been good with fantastic cover across the mountain. Winds played havoc on Sunday, closing just about every lift. Its set up for a great week once the wind eases this week, while occasional snowfalls top up the pistes with fresh.

Mt Buller - Natural Snow Depth: 54cms
Buller missed out on much of the snow due to marginal temperatures. Nevertheless, most lifts are open and there is plenty of skiing to be had. This week should bring some much-needed fresh falls - expect a good top-up tomorrow morning!

Perisher - Natural Snow Depth: Approx 50-125 cms
Rain early in the warm part of the storm cycle soon turned to good snowfalls at the end of this weekend. Perisher has great coverage and most lifts open.


The big dry is finally over with a few small snowfalls at various skifields over the last week. Nothing major, but enough to freshen things up and bring some off-psite skiing online once again.

This Thursday looks like bringing some good snowfalls across the South Island. Bring it on!

North Canterbury and Nelson

Rainbow (50/30cms) has finally got some fresh snow, but Hanmer Springs (75cms) has gone on hold due to the lack of snow cover. Mt Lyford - 145cms after a good snowfall yesterday.


Porters (140/30cms) is skiing OK on the upper part of the mountain but is suffering in the warm, wet conditions. Mt Hutt (290/240cms) has lost a bit of snow in recent days with some rain. Snow is in the forecast for later this week.

The Mackenzie

Ohau (110/55cms), Roundhill (80cms), Mt Dobson has wet snow but all lifts open (100cms).


Lower slopes are disappearing at Treble Cone (284/0cms) this week, but should get some top-ups later this week. Cardrona (120/45cms).


Coronet Peak (85/42cms) and limited off-piste. The Remarkables (105/70cms) is still looking OK in preparation for some good late-August falls.


Snow Report 10 August 2013 - Australia & New Zealand


Snow at the weekend, followed by a little rain, then a good fall of snow again that lingered later through the week than initially expected. Although the icing on the cake - a predicted 60cm dump on Friday - didn't eventuate, the resorts are looking pretty good.
Blue Ribbon @Hotham 9 August [Source: Hotham FB page]

This weekend looks like being one of the best of the season so far, so enjoy if you're up on the mountains!

Another system is due through early next week - let's hope that brings another foot of snow!

Mt Hotham - Natural Snow Depth: 77cms
The Drift opened during the week, followed by - to some surprise and pleasure - Blue Ribbon on Friday. More snow needed to open Keogh's and The Orchard. Hopefully that will happen this week.

Falls Creek - Natural Snow Depth: 91cms
Falls is looking very good with all lifts open for the first time this weekend. The two pomas - International and Lakeside - are now running. Multiple runs now groomed in the summit bowl.

Mt Buller - Natural Snow Depth: 46cms
Buller opened more terrain during the week, and today only the Tirol and Boggy Creek T-bars are not operating.

Perisher 10 August [Source: Perisher.com.au]
Perisher - Natural Snow Depth: Approx 35-95
New snow this week has refreshed Perisher, which is now looking in beautiful shape. 45/47 lifts open for those up there today.

Thredbo - Natural Snow Depth: Approx 20-90cms
All lifts open and groomed runs across the resort.


A little snow midweek and Friday freshened things up and is a foretaste of things to come.

August is looking like turning much more snowy, starting yesterday in the south and spreading across the South Island later in the weekend.

North Canterbury and Nelson

Rainbow (40/15cms).  Hanmer Springs (72cms) will reopen its poma lift tomorrow. Mt Lyford - 140cms with all lifts still open.

Mt Dobson 10 August 2013 [Source: mtdobson.co.nz]

Porters (160/40cms) looks great on the upper part of the mountain. Mt Hutt (315/265cms) has been having a great, busy year and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The Mackenzie

Ohau (100/55cms), Roundhill (80cms), Mt Dobson still has good cover across its slopes (100cms).


A couple of good snowfalls up high for Treble Cone (288/5cms) this week, but the area around the base needs a lot more to turn it white again. Cardrona (120/45cms).


Coronet Peak (80/40cms) and limited off-piste. The Remarkables (100/55cms).