By Steve Cuff
Season 2018 is officially the best start since the legendary 2000 season with the snow depth reading nudging above where 2000 was at a similar date.
While the snow may have been a week late in coming for the opening weekend, a week-long storm with blizzard conditions has seen 84 cm fall at Perisher and 87 cm fall at Thredbo.
The Snowy Hydro snow depth reading at Spencers Creek on Monday June 18 was 76.4cm. In comparison the 2000 season started earlier and on June 8 the snow depth was 77.1cm, before dipping marginally in this corresponding week to 71.3cm on June 15, then rising again to 78.2cm on June 22.
With such a great start Perisher have announced they will open 32 lifts for this coming weekend.
Thursday – Blue Cow including the Summit Chair and Ridge Chair.
Friday – Mt Perisher with the Mt P double and triple chairs.
Saturday – Guthega will open including the Freedom Chair.
Perisher said that “six days of freezing temperatures, heavy snowfalls and strong winds have provided sensational early season conditions for guests. On the back of this amazing winter storm, Perisher is opening up 32 lifts for the weekend.”
“With some wind drifts up to 2 metres deep the grooming team has been putting in massive effort to open more terrain and lifts. Everyone’s favourites are making their debut this weekend.
“These are some of the best early winter conditions we’ve had in years, allowing us to open up the four resorts areas of Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega for our guests to enjoy.”
Perisher’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Brulisauer, says “The skiing this weekend will be amazing across all four resort areas with at least 32 lifts operating. It looks like the best early season conditions Perisher has seen since 2000”.
Thredbo were first to name this storm Norman, and “Stormin Norman” has certainly delivered the goods with 87cm of snow falling across the resort.
“Based on research, the team in Thredbo believe that if you name a storm, there is a higher chance of it delivering big snowfalls. Blizzard of Oz 1, 2 and 3, Stormageddon and Norman all fall into this research,” said Susie Diver.
It has been wild weather during the storm but it didn’t deter excited skiers and boarders from hitting the slopes to enjoy some of the best opening riding in years. High Noon opened June 17 with early riders enjoying the fresh turns and the longest runs in the country.
Very cold temperatures kept riders rugged up with wind chill temperatures down around the -15 on the coldest days. This has led to snowmaking guns continuing around the clock.
Thredbo said this is really boosting the cover across the snowmaking areas and looking ahead at the forecast there is a steady procession of cold clear nights ideal for making more snow.
“More trails opened up today (June 17) and with all this natural snow and a solid run of snowmaking, we will look at opening up more terrain as the week progresses. It has been an excellent weather system for the resort,” said Peter Fleming, Thredbo Mountain Manager.
Looking at the Thredbo snow cams this morning you can see there has been groomer activity on the Supertrail, and with cold sub-zero nights every night this week there will be snow guns firing.
Thredbo announced late on Tuesday that the Supertrail and Antons will open on Friday with the Basin T-bar opening Saturday.
If you want some great early season turns with limited crowds, now is the time to head to the resorts. You can see by many of these photos that even the off piste areas have been good in places.
There looks to be snow flurries early next week and then more snow developing at the end of this month to add a few more centimetres to the cover. Combined with cold nights it is shaping up as an excellent season so far and ideal for the school holidays.