The return of snowfall to Australian ski slopes means that a few of the country’s ski areas expect to offer very limited terrain for opening day on Saturday, but most will be leaving it a bit longer.
Ski areas reported up to 8cm (3”) of wet snow and cold enough temperatures for some snowmaking after a pre-season mild spell followed some good snowfalls in May.
Perisher, Mt Baw Baw and Mt Buller say they’ll now have some terrain open.
“Phew! That was a close one. Mother Nature really did put the ‘no’ in snow the past few weeks, but she has delivered overnight! We’ve woken up to a blanketing of white, with 8cm falling since yesterday. Thanks to the snowfall, we can safely operate a skier conveyor at the base of Front Valley over Opening Weekend,” a statement from the country’s largest resort explains.
At Mt Buller, the lift company manager Noel Landry said,
“Mt Buller isn’t letting limited snow cover get in the way of a great time for the long weekend celebrations marking the start of the 2023 snow season. The resort is one of very few in the country offering skiing and boarding this weekend thanks to the huge stockpiles of snowmaking that have been stacking up since early May.”
Buller has several TechnoAlpin all-weather Snowfactory machines and the resort has confirmed that these have been working overtime building mountains of snow on their key Bourke Street ski run and the toboggan slope while we wait for the first big storm of the season.
The investment in snowmaking is a critical one for all the operators in our resort and we’re thankful to be sliding, tobogganing and snowball throwing on what we have up here so far,” added Mr Landry.
Mt Buller is scheduled to roll three lifts for the long weekend; Bourke Street Express, the beginner carpet and sightseeing on the Northside Express up to Spurs Café, with the first chair of 2023 scheduled to go on Bourke Street at 8.30am on Saturday.
A third area, Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort, say they’ll be offering limited terrain too, running Lift to Tower 2 for Opening Weekend.
Elsewhere, Thredbo and Selwyn Snowfields had already said they wouldn’t be opening any terrain this weekend and Falls Creek and Mt Hotham (above and top) have now said they won’t be either, despite a snow covering for most. However each will be open for the long holiday weekend in the country which includes a public holiday on Monday to officially recognise King Charles III’s birthday, the traditional start of the Aussie ski season whether there’s snow or not.
For Selwyn it will be their first winter opening since 2019 after the resorts was destroyed by bush fires in each 2020 before being rebuilt through the pandemic years.
“The weather forecast is improving with natural snow falling this morning in resort and more in the forecast along with some good snowmaking opportunities over the coming week. Our snowmaking team is monitoring the weather and will continue to make snow at every opportunity to ensure we are able to open lifts for skiing and boarding as soon as possible,” a spokesperson for Falls Creek (pictured above and below) said.