Record snow for Australian resorts

26th August 2010, by Chris Gill

Those bits sticking out of the snow drift are windscreen wipers  [Mt Hotham Resort]

Those bits sticking out of the snow drift are windscreen wipers [Mt Hotham Resort]

According to local reports ski resorts in Australia are experiencing some of their biggest snowfalls in years – with record dumps in Victoria and the prospect of a very good late season.

Some regional news reports are calling it the biggest 24 hour snowfall in 15 years in parts of Victoria, where Falls Creek notched up a grand half metre of powder on Thursday 26 August, taking accumulated snowfall at the resort to 226cm this month. Similarly, Mt Hotham (170cm) received 47cm and its snowiest August since 1992. The resort has also recorded over 2m snow in August. The heavy snow has certainly attracted the visitors, with numbers said to be up 20% on the ten-year average for the region; those figures amount to more than 500,000 skiers and boarders hitting Victoria’s slopes apparently – and they reckon that September is going to be an exceptional one to finish the season, as well as one of the coldest in years.

The wintry weather developed over Tasmania – which incidentally has not received the huge snowfalls of the main country – and brought sub-zero temperatures and stormy conditions to the Australian Alps, so it has remained cold enough to keep the new snow in good condition. Lower accumulations fell at Mt Buller (recording its snowiest August in 25 years), Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw – but they all still gained 20-30cm. Snow fell to about 500m; coupled with a wind chill, temperatures felt more like minus 15 in places.

Snow also fell across the mountains of New South Wales, where Thredbo (192cm) reported 50cm in 24 hours, Selwyn 46cm and Perisher 38cm. So looking good there too.

For many late season visitors, the new snow coincides with cheaper spring package holidays and discounts. So, resorts are expecting a surge in guest numbers over the last few weeks. Given Australia’s tendency towards warmer weather, temperatures may rise again shortly – but they believe the spring season skiing and boarding is about as good as it gets out there.

Powder shot at Falls Creek, posted on Twitter [Falls Creek Resort]

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