It was a mild and slightly damp weekend in the Australian Alps, however the unwelcome, clear watery precipitation that fell was thankfully light and not much damage was done to the deep snow cover ... at first. The warm weather affecting the whole of southern Australia continued into the week, however.
Strong winds during the working week put a lot of the ski lifts on hold at some resorts. Wild, wet and windy weather continued through the week with some significant snow loss in the lower areas of all the ski resorts.
But snow and very cold weather is arriving today and should continue into Friday - its just a question of how much snow we will get and whether it will make up for all the cover that has been lost this warm, windy week. The storm will clear through quickly with the weekend becoming fine.
We were up at Mt Hotham on the weekend where it rained on and off overnight from Friday into Saturday. Only the summit of the resort got some wet snow, but this was only a few centimetres by the morning.
The snow at Hotham was still in very good condition early on Saturday. All the Heavenly Valley runs were skiing well early in the morning despite the wetness making them a little heavy (or nice and forgiving when its your first weekend of the season!).
The Blue Ribbon area had a lot of cover for such a low area of the resort, maybe 40cms or so at the bottom and only a few rocks and shrubs peeking out, compared to the rock garden and shrubbery that is usually there. Perhaps that has changed through this week ...
The steeper runs of Heavenly and Village, like Twilight Zone and Lower Playground were best as the pistes softened and became heavier during the day as the rain arrived again during the afternoon.
The wet snow froze overnight Sunday making for some solid conditions early, quickly softening as the sun came out.
Timing was everything, as the runs that did soften up went from solid to wet and heavy in a short period.
In the last week Hotham (123/102cms) has lost about 35cms from its upper slopes, while Falls (171/123cms) says it has lost about 25cms.
We'll be checking out Mt Buller (104/85cms) this weekend, which is hopefully due a top-up after suffering in the rain and wind all this week. It is likely to do the best out of Friday's snow.
It was a mostly fine and sunny weekend in the South Island of New Zealand. The week has been mixed, however, with sun, wind, a little snow, lightning ... and all sorts of excitement on the mountains! The storms affected some lift operations during the middle of the week, and today there are very few skifields open across the South Island.
The snow conditions are looking a lot better in the south around Queenstown and Wanaka, while the skiing in Canterbury is still quite limited due to lack of snow.
The wind issues could hang around for a while with strong northwesterlies forecast to continue across the South Island well into the weekend before a cold change arrives. Here's hoping for not too much rain before the cooler weather comes - Canterbury looks more likely to escape the wet at the moment.
North Canterbury and Nelson
Hanmer Springs (10cms) has had to close again until more snow falls. Mt Lyford (50cms) was closed today. Rainbow (26cms) opened with limited skiing on snowmaking runs.
Porters (50/30cms) received 10cms of snow overnight, but is closed today. Mt Hutt (63/48cms) has struggled to open this week with the very strong winds across Canterbury.
Mt Dobson (30cms) has struggled in the winds this week. Roundhill (40cms) has main trails open, while Ohau (70/40cms) got a lot of snow on Thursday and will be great to ski when the winds die down.
Cardrona (75/50cms) received a fantastic 20cms of snow overnight into Thursday morning, but had to close today due to very strong winds. Treble Cone (69cms) has received some good snowfalls this week, with around 10cm into Tuesday, a little more the next day, and then another 20cms on the upper slopes into Thursday morning. All the snow has been up high so far. Unfortunately lightning
in the storms meant Treble Cone is yet to open after the new snow but should open on Friday.
At Coronet Peak (65/30cms) a little snow midweek freshened things up after some wild weather impacted operations. Nearby at The Remarkables (105/55cms) a few light snowfalls in the week, then a good fall of 13cms overnight into Thursday have kept things looking good across the ski area.