A massive snowfall has absolutely blanketed the Snowy Mountains today and along with covering the ski resorts with welcomed snow, has also left chaos on the roads.
Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte Pass have all accumulated 60cm plus of snow which was a welcome sight for skiers and snowboarders. But part of the problem today was getting to the resorts as snow created what can only be described as havoc.
Snow also fell in Jindabyne at 930 metre elevation and the surrounding areas causing not only accidents on the roads into the resorts, but Kosciuszko Road from Berridale to Jindabyne was closed twice for separate incidents. Just when you thought it was going to be all clear around Jindabyne, heavy snow fell throughout the later afternoon leaving the town covered in snow.
This may cause more problems in the morning if the freezing level stays low, and roads freeze over during the night. Expect to fit chains, possibly from Berridale, or even further. You would expect chains will be required from Jindabyne to the resorts on Tuesday.
This afternoon leaving Jindabyne you needed chains, and then the roads closed again. PHOTO: Steve Cuff
If you are driving, download the Live Traffic NSW app onto your phone and stay tuned for road updates. Plus, listen to the local radio road reports in the morning and make decisions from there.
Deep snow at Perisher and Chalet Sonnenhoff.
Fun for some at Charlotte Pass Snow Resort.
At the resorts, images have lit up social media showing just how much snow has fallen. Large mushroom filled seats and tables showing depth were the order of the day, or people digging out snow mobiles at their lodge. It is not often we awake to see 35cm in 24 hours, and it did not stop snowing all day.
The snow is set to continue tonight with snow falling to 800m before it eases tomorrow with snow showers to 1100m.
This snow storm is exactly what the mountains needed as we had experienced a slow start. It will set the season in good stead now.
All resort mountain operation departments will now be working furiously to push the snow and prepare the slopes to open more lifts and runs. After such a big storm it will take several days for the resorts to get back on track, but be assured, they will be all systems go to get there.
Once this snow eases tomorrow, it may well have deposited upwards of 70 or 80cm. An attractive number indeed for any avid snow enthusiast. For those on the mountain today, especially the strong skiers who relish the powder, there may well be a huge smile accompanying you this evening.
The natural snow depth last week was nudging 40cm, but expect that now to balloon over the 100cm mark, which we know from history allows virtually all of the main lifts and runs to open. This will be a welcome sight when the sun comes out for visitors to ogle at the snow cams, anticipating what they will experience in the coming weeks if they have snow holidays booked.
Each resort is still under reduced covid capacity, but in Perisher’s case, they have been awaiting such snow to be able to offer unlimited access for their season pass holders. This snowfall may just be the tonic they need for this to happen. Time will tell.
Thredbo will now open more of their slopes, the Supertrail opened today, which will allow guests to spread out even further.
Back to the road conditions, and for those who have lived in the mountains for years, it is not uncommon for cars to be sliding every which way but loose on such given days. Even experienced drivers come unstuck with snow and ice of this proportion. You must slow down and drive at slow speeds, plus be very conscious of controlling speed on the downhill. Leave plenty of space in front of you and for manual cars, engage a lower gear such as 2nd gear and let the engine help slow you.
Some mountain visitors may not have encountered roads with snow like this previously, and it only takes one car to go sideways, cause an accident and the road will be blocked. It did not help today that trees had also come down onto the road in the alpine. At 6.30pm the road was still closed between Jindabyne and Berridale.
The roads were not kind today with icy and snowy conditions.
Roads were chaotic, including bewteen Jindabyne and Tyroleasn Village. Photo: Ken Beilicz.