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2019 Ski Season in Australia

marzNC

Angel Diva
#1
Lately I’ve been having fun following the start of the ski season in Australia on ski dot com dot au. Got intrigued last year when a Canadian who has skied all over the world did a ski safari during the 2018 late season. So far, my ski safaris have all been in the U.S.

The 2019 Australian ski season off with a bang in late May after an early season major snowstorm. Unfortunately after that it got warm and rained a fair amount. That meant starting over with snowmaking. By the school holidays in early July, relatively few lifts were running due to low snow conditions.

A recent video taken in early July at Perisher gives some sense of the terrain during low snow conditions for a holiday week.

Any Divas skiing yet? @Daniele , @sperks , @Jillian , @RuthB ?

02Jul2019: skiing on and off trails at Perisher
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
There are eight ski areas/resorts in Australia. Perisher and Thredbo are the largest resorts. Perisher is perhaps the best known in the U.S. because Vail Resorts (VR) bought it few years ago. VR completed the purchase of Hotham and Falls Creek just before the 2019 season. Charlotte Pass is unusual because you can’t drive there during the winter (transport is a snowcat) so it’s a hideaway from the crowds. The other two ski areas are much smaller: Selwyn and Mt. Bawbaw.

Thredbo joined the MCP after VR bought Perisher, and now Thredbo and Mt. Buller are on MCP and Ikon. The idea is not to draw travelers to Australian ski resorts but more to lock in Australians to selected resorts for trips to Canada or the U.S. during Jan-Feb “summer vacations.” Much the same reasoning was behind VR buying three ski resorts in the American midwest (near Chicago, Detroit, Minn./St. Paul).

Most of the people who ski in Australia drive 4-8 hours to get to the slopes. I can relate to the effort required since my tiny “home mountain” (less than 100 acres) in northern VA is 4 hours away. It makes sense that families who can afford the plane fare plan ski vacations to Japan or N. America during the school “summer vacation” in Dec-Feb.

MadPatSki summarized his impressions of Australian skiing after his 2018 ski safari this way:

Best variety: Perisher
Best steeps: Hotham
Best big mountain runs: Thredbo
Best family/beginner (meaning something for everyone in a family of different skills): Falls Creek
Best small with everything to have fun: Buller
Best views, calm and classic feel: Charlotte Pass
Best Terrain Parks: Perisher and Falls Creek
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
Best family/beginner (meaning something for everyone in a family of different skills): Falls Creek
There is an Aussie family who are living in Singapore who recently took their first ski trip to Australia. Since it was during school holidays, they opted to give Falls Creek a try. They stayed slope side at a lodge that included 3 meals a day. I've read the trip reports the father does for their trips to Japan. He includes lots of pictures, including of food.

Falls Creek TR, early July 2019
https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/elspikes-first-aussie-skiski-trip-2019.84750/#post-3946713
 

sperks

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
I ski Mt Buller haven’t been yet this winter it’s looking very sad early season falls were washed away some man mad skiing it will snow soo. 20C in Melbourne today
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#5
I ski Mt Buller haven’t been yet this winter it’s looking very sad early season falls were washed away some man mad skiing it will snow soo. 20C in Melbourne today
My impression is that the Aussie weather geeks are watching a system that could bring a lot of snow July 10-15. Hopefully it pans out.

Have you ever seen the Buller Snow Factory in operation? I understand there are two of them now. Made big news in 2017.

 

Daniele

Certified Ski Diva
#6
Still early days for the season here. Minimal lifts open and poor coverage. Conditions haven’t yet been worth the 5hr trip, but hopefully the storm forecast this week delivers and I’ll be skiing this weekend. It’s not unusual for this time of year though, it’s usually mid July before enough lifts are turning to be worth going.
 

snowbeach

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
This coming storm is looking better and better to deliver some decent snowfalls but it will also bring some high winds. Have just booked Thredbo for Thursday to Sunday so here's hoping the snow will fall and winds will be light and all will be fun for the weekend.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#8
Still early days for the season here. Minimal lifts open and poor coverage. Conditions haven’t yet been worth the 5hr trip, but hopefully the storm forecast this week delivers and I’ll be skiing this weekend. It’s not unusual for this time of year though, it’s usually mid July before enough lifts are turning to be worth going.
How many weeks are considered "mid-season"? Does ski season last into September?

At my home mountain in northern VA, can really only count on the slopes being open for about 10 weeks, from mid-Dec thru the end of Feb. Can still be pretty limited terrain even during the Christmas holiday week when it stays too warm in Dec for good snowmaking to build a deep enough base on the core trails.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#9
This coming storm is looking better and better to deliver some decent snowfalls but it will also bring some high winds. Have just booked Thredbo for Thursday to Sunday so here's hoping the snow will fall and winds will be light and all will be fun for the weekend.
Hope you can share a pic or two. :smile:
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#10
Just think about our season in the Northern Hemisphere and add 6 months. So our December is their June. So our January would be right now, their July (plus a day!!).
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#11
Just think about our season in the Northern Hemisphere and add 6 months. So our December is their June. So our January would be right now, their July (plus a day!!).
I get the general difference. My question is about when the best snow conditions can be expected. Picking an optimal time for a ski trip to Vermont is not the same as for Virginia or Utah or Oregon. The TR I referenced in Post #1 is for late season. A trip to Australia has been on my bucket list for a long time. Might as well consider traveling during the Aussie ski season. :smile:
 

Daniele

Certified Ski Diva
#12
How many weeks are considered "mid-season"? Does ski season last into September?

At my home mountain in northern VA, can really only count on the slopes being open for about 10 weeks, from mid-Dec thru the end of Feb. Can still be pretty limited terrain even during the Christmas holiday week when it stays too warm in Dec for good snowmaking to build a deep enough base on the core trails.
I’d consider mid season to be mid August. Unless we’re having a terrible year, all the mountains should be fully open by then. Our season officially starts the second week of June, however there’s rarely much terrain open then. By late July usually most terrain is open. Usually we’re skiing until the end of September, sometimes early October depending on conditions. Depending on where you go, you could be skiing backcountry as late as November. Last year I started mid July and skied 13 weeks in a row to the close of the season, so that should give you some idea about our season length.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#13
I’d consider mid season to be mid August. Unless we’re having a terrible year, all the mountains should be fully open by then. Our season officially starts the second week of June, however there’s rarely much terrain open then. By late July usually most terrain is open. Usually we’re skiing until the end of September, sometimes early October depending on conditions. Depending on where you go, you could be skiing backcountry as late as November. Last year I started mid July and skied 13 weeks in a row to the close of the season, so that should give you some idea about our season length.
Ah, in that case I was wrong about the timing of MadPatSki's Aussi ski safari. Part of the reason for his choice of dates was to get in ski days in August and September to keep a streak of consecutive months going.

That means that school holidays in early July are always iffy in terms of snow conditions. Some of the comments on the Aussie ski forum make more sense to me now. Thanks!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#14
This coming storm is looking better and better to deliver some decent snowfalls but it will also bring some high winds. Have just booked Thredbo for Thursday to Sunday so here's hoping the snow will fall and winds will be light and all will be fun for the weekend.
How long a drive do you have to Thredbo? Haven't quite wrapped my head around Australian geography yet.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#16
I've a friend that teaches in NZ. She's up here now. So holidays are on.

I know CSIA runs a course in Treble Cone in late August.
 

Belgiangirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
@Belgiangirl : how's it going in Australia? Have you had a chance to ski anywhere but Hotham? Enjoyed your demo day reviews.
Ehhh... I don't know how to answer that question without offending someone :tongue: more than half of the resort is still closed. Expecting 1-2ft in the next couple of days... (I'll believe it when I see it).

Since I'm working 5 days a week here in Hotham I haven't been able to get to any of the other resorts yet, but I'll go to Falls Creek sometime this season. Wouldn't be opposed to a late season backcountry trip to the main range around Thredbo and Perisher if there's enough snow.
 

Daniele

Certified Ski Diva
#18
Ehhh... I don't know how to answer that question without offending someone :tongue: more than half of the resort is still closed. Expecting 1-2ft in the next couple of days... (I'll believe it when I see it).

Since I'm working 5 days a week here in Hotham I haven't been able to get to any of the other resorts yet, but I'll go to Falls Creek sometime this season. Wouldn't be opposed to a late season backcountry trip to the main range around Thredbo and Perisher if there's enough snow.
If it’s me or the other Aussie skiers you’re worried about offending, no need to worry, we know our mountains don’t compare with other parts of the world in many ways :smile: If you’re expecting the same amounts of snow and terrain as Europe or the US you’ll go away disappointed, having said that we have some good days and some beautiful backcountry. It’s still early days for the season and normal for this time of year, so give it time. Australian skiing is always unpredictable with how little snow we get. The difference between a good season and a bad one can be having 4 or 5 big storm cycles vs 3 and it’s just a matter of waiting for them to come.
 

Belgiangirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
If it’s me or the other Aussie skiers you’re worried about offending, no need to worry, we know our mountains don’t compare with other parts of the world in many ways :smile: If you’re expecting the same amounts of snow and terrain as Europe or the US you’ll go away disappointed, having said that we have some good days and some beautiful backcountry. It’s still early days for the season and normal for this time of year, so give it time. Australian skiing is always unpredictable with how little snow we get. The difference between a good season and a bad one can be having 4 or 5 big storm cycles vs 3 and it’s just a matter of waiting for them to come.
Hah, not you in particular but yes I'm a bit afraid I might ruffle some feathers by commenting on the current conditions as a spoiled little European brat! I know very well not to expect huge amounts of snow and tbh, the terrain looks promising once it'll open. What baffles me is the sheer amount of... marketing. How everyone seems intent on convincing the 'outside world' that conditions are way better than they actually are. And not just on social media and such, people keep talking about these ridiculous amounts of snow that may have happened at one point but clearly aren't the norm - which is fine, just don't act like it is! Sorry if that's a little salty, I've been around since opening weekend because I had to start work and it's starting to show :tongue:
 

Daniele

Certified Ski Diva
#20
Hah, not you in particular but yes I'm a bit afraid I might ruffle some feathers by commenting on the current conditions as a spoiled little European brat! I know very well not to expect huge amounts of snow and tbh, the terrain looks promising once it'll open. What baffles me is the sheer amount of... marketing. How everyone seems intent on convincing the 'outside world' that conditions are way better than they actually are. And not just on social media and such, people keep talking about these ridiculous amounts of snow that may have happened at one point but clearly aren't the norm - which is fine, just don't act like it is! Sorry if that's a little salty, I've been around since opening weekend because I had to start work and it's starting to show :tongue:
I know what you mean about the marketing, they’re always spinning to make it sound better than it is to get more visitors. I think it’s probably because we have such a short season and if they were honest they wouldn’t have visitors half the time. The other thing I think is that the vast majority of people book well ahead to go skiing in Australia, so don’t want to hear how bad it is when they’ve already booked and paid. For those not familiar, some quotes from Hotham’s recent snow reports include ‘improving precipitation’ (it’s raining) and ‘The snow is a little firmer than the last few days due to the warming yesterday and the cooling overnight but it still has enough texture on the surface for some great carving on the groomers’ (it’s icy) or Buller saying ‘A cover of snow which will test your skills’ (it’s patchy cover).
 

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