The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

Why Australia is kicking NZ arse

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Australia, New Zealand | 2 comments


Coronet Peak

Coronet Peaked? A lovely shot @backpackingmatt / Matt Kyhnn from Instagram. Pity about the snow, bro …

Sure they’ve won the last 239 Bledisloe Cups, have a government instead of a transit lounge and even enjoy cheaper beer.

But have you noticed just how quiet things have got in New Zealand when talk turns to snow right now?

Why, pray tell, I hear you ask? Because they’ve got none! And as Australians revel in a season that’s expected to just get better and better the word from the experts is that things may even get worse for our Kiwi cousins …

It had started out so well too.

A South Island dump of up to one metre at the end of May had all the bros and bro-ettes celebrating what was sure to be another upic season across the ditch.

But just as foretold to The Snow Gauge by both the Metservice and NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in NZ, they were very nervy about what was ahead.

I spoke to Ciaran Doolan from the NZ Metservice about five days out from that dump and he was still sceptical – even if it delivered, showing concern that all the weather patterns he was seeing going forward suggested it may be washed away.

As so it was.

Three or four rain events and mild conditions have pretty much dominated since, leaving the Kiwis with this kind of work:


“Hey, if we can we crop this a bit tighter, it’ll look much more choice!” Pic: Jarred Reus @jarredreus Instagram

It’s not that Australia and NZ can’t enjoy overall good seasons in the same year, it’s just that we don’t benefit from the same weather systems.

At its simplest when Australia gets smashed by snow it is likely to either miss NZ altogether or be too warm when it arrives across the Tasman.


Thredbo, June 2016. Sweet as bro! Pic: Thredbo Facebook

“They need something from blocking highs that slip under Australia,” says weather forecaster Pete “The Frog” Taylor from Snowatch.

“We tend to get the best conditions from the north west; we need a high before the lows to push behind it.”

And that’s what’s happening at the moment in Australia. With a weakening El Nino moving into a La Nina pattern as well it has remained relatively cold between storms.

This sweet little top-up coming through aside Pete is calling for further falls around July 5-7, 11-12, 16-17 and 21-22. If that plays out August may well see a two-metre+ base and a great September.

Mt Hotham

A slice of Mt Hotham powder. Just a normal June day really. Mt Hotham Facebook

The Kiwis haven’t seen this kind of consistency from Australia since the Wallabies team of the late 90s and the flipside is if it keeps up it could end up being one of their worst seasons for some time.

Pete holds a little hope for the North Island’s Mt Ruapehu picking up later season snow (it’s pretty dire at the moment and they generally need a metre on the ground to get things going) but isn’t exactly suggesting you rush out to buy a ticket to the Shaky Isles.

“I think it is pretty much more of the same and it is looking like the wheels might fall off there,” he said.

Mt Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu. Could pick up but don’t hold your breath for an October like last year. Pic: Derek Morrison

Perhaps it’s time to accept that the lamington is ours, as is Russell Crowe (when he stars in an Academy Award-winning movie but not when he sings) and that it isn’t the size of your peak that counts but what you can do with it.

Good luck my NZ friends. You may not require it in the rugby this year but you’ll need a giant slice of it to get out of this ski season with smiles on your faces. Take it away Dave …



  1. Pete Taylor is correct, when the big lows come through Australia and are blocked, slip underneath at the last minute then NZ gets the lot, when we get it from real WSW systems the kiwis miss out.. giddy up !!

  2. Wallabies beat the All Blecks in Sydney last year.

    No team can beat the All Blecks in NZ, or they will string up the refs & they know it.

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