Howdy everyone! Spring is just around the corner, and it certainly feels like its already arrived here in Melbourne with this run of warm, sunny days. While its a treat for the sun to be warmer and out and about more in the city, the mountains really could have done with a few more weeks of winter to keep the great snow cover we've had this year.
|Mt Hotham 23.08.14|
There haven't been any significant snowfalls in Australia for quite some time now, and the warm days and sunshine over the past couple of weeks has definitely affected the snow cover on the lower slopes at all ski resorts.
The good news is that there is still plenty of snow sticking around up high, and a good chance of a return to colder weather next week with some cool changes and colder, snow-bearing fronts arriving. That should keep us skiing well into September.
We were up at Mount Hotham (108/96cms) on the weekend staying in pretty little Harrietville.
Saturday turned out mostly sunny with a few clouds passing across Mt Feathertop and Mt Loch and little wind. On the drive up on Saturday morning it was amazing to see all the snow gone right up to the mountain summits on the sun-exposed faces.
A light freeze overnight meant the groomed runs on the sunny slopes provided the best skiing early.
|Mt Hotham 23.08.14|
Blue Ribbon lift was closed, and Lower Playground was very bushy! Compare this to my earlier report from Hotham.
But Heavenly Valley still has plenty of snow cover. The Orchard is starting to look patchy at the bottom, but it was good fun both on and off-piste on the cloudier Sunday as the snow held up well.
Falls Creek (105/90cms) still has great cover except for the lower parts of the mountain, like down at lower Wombats Ramble and the bottom of The Maze. But The Summit and the Sun Valley slopes still look great.
Mt Buller (101/57cms) is going OK but some lower slopes have had to close, including around Boggy Creek and Federation.
At Perisher (154/65cms) there are 45 of 48 lifts in operation and all areas are still open. The snow cover is holding up really well. At Thredbo all lifts are running. You'd expect it to be thin on the bottom slopes but there is plenty of snow up high.
Sunshine has been the order of the day over much of New Zealand after the great early August snowfalls. New Zealand has been under the big high pressure system also.
|Cardrona 27.08.14 [Source: Cardrona FB page]|
The challenging conditions continue in parts of Canterbury but there is some great skiing to be had down around Queenstown and Wanaka.
North Canterbury and Nelson
Hanmer Springs (10cms) looks unlikely to reopen unless there is a huge dump. Mt Lyford (25cms) was open today with a thin cover of spring snow. Although there hasn't been any snow for two weeks, Rainbow (70/50cms) is still looking pretty nice and its a place that really shines in the sun.
Porters (85/75cms) is open to the top of the mountain but skiing is mainly on groomed runs. Mt Hutt (85/70cms) has got great skiing on its groomed runs as usual and a little off-piste available on Towers.
|The Remarkables 24.08.14 [Source: Remarks FB page]|
Mt Dobson (45cms) has main runs open. Roundhill (40/20cms) has its beginners and intermediate areas open. Ohau (120/70cms) still looks pretty good but a little rocky off-piste. Could do with a top-up.
Cardrona (115/85cms) has all lifts open still and off-piste on the upper slopes. Similar deal at Treble Cone, where the Saddle Basin has off-piste skiing and Home Basin is more limited to trails the further down you go.
At Coronet Peak (75/55cms) the snowmaking has helped keep the trails fresh and all lifts are open. The Remarkables (180/110cms) looks like it is the place to be on the South Island!