The Snow Gauge

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Is NZ about to hit paydirt this ski season?

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Australia, New Zealand, South America | 1 comment

Ohau

Ohau, NZ this week. A taste of things to come? Pic: NZ Tourism Guy.

Not everyone is in agreement with this one but if you listen to the Metservice, things are about to get very interesting across the ditch. The Snow Gauge put the question to NZ’s key weather forecaster and the answer was tasty indeed.

Read on for full details and a rundown a little closer to home and in South America.

If you haven’t already booked it could help you make a decision …

New Zealand

The Remarkables

The Remarkables could get a pasting soon. Pic: The Remarkables Facebook.

Without being outstanding New Zealand has already fared a little better than Australia so far in 2017. The Remarkables is reporting a 40-75cm base, Mt Hutt 53-74cm while Cardrona/Treble Cone are a little lower (around 40cm) and Ohau is higher at 90cm.

But hold on to your hats …

The Snow Gauge got in touch with the Metservice in NZ, specifically Georgina Griffiths, who looks at the rural outlooks for the country. What she said was mighty encouraging.

“The New Zealand 2017 snow season is looking very different to 2016. Since the start of the year, New Zealand air and sea temperatures have averaged considerably colder than last year.” (This is not surprising, given the extreme warmth seen across the 2016 summer, autumn and winter).

“Looking ahead, temperatures are predicted to be unusually cold for the first half of July, and it is likely temperatures linger around average over the remainder of the month. All of these things add up to a healthy looking ski season.

“Reasonably frequent, natural snow falls have already set up the South Island slopes nicely, and as expected, temperatures this week have been extremely cold (well below freezing) over the South Island. Next week, we are predicting another very cold outbreak, which is expected to produce further snowfall, risk heavy, over the South Island ski fields,” noted Griffiths. “And there is a very good chance that the North Island finally sees some decent snow next week, too.”

Interestingly enough The Grasshopper isn’t quite so positive so we’ll see who ends up closer to the mark …

 

Australia

Thredbo

Thredbo: Has a 50cm base looked so good? Pic: Thredbo Facebook.

The storm of the last few days was desperately needed and couldn’t have been timed any better for the school holidays in the key markets. The numbers are on the low side but at least there’s a base. Current depth markers range between about 20-50cm for the majors in NSW and Victoria.

In terms of what’s to come it appears to be dribs and drabs (don’t worry I’m not about to get completely Tim Bailey on you)  over the next fortnight and we may pick up 20cm or so of snow. The Frog over at Snowatch seems to like the end of this period from around the 18th so watch out for that.

The Grasshopper recently downgraded his seasonal outlook, though it is not into the dire territory by any stretch. You can read that here.

 

South America

Portillo

Portillo: Looking a treat already.

The numbers so far are impressive and with claims of a 210cm base Valle Nevado, just out of Santiago Chile is the winner. Portillo hasn’t fared to badly either (107cm base) and has better terrain than Valle Nevado anyway. Over the border in Argentina things are a bit bonier with Las Lenas at 60cm and Bariloche just 45cm.

What’s ahead then? Long range information is harder to come by in South America than a salad sandwich but general forecasts suggest nothing of major substance is on the way in the next fortnight.

With a decent base in the Chilean resorts already they could well be worth a tilt, just bear in mind the Andes tends to go famine or feast when it comes to snowfalls. But with seasonal figures often in the 7+ metre range they’ll invariably enjoy deeper snowpacks than both Australia and New Zealand.

Get over to Powderquest for some of the better South American updates.

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1 Comment

  1. looked at going to Queenstown with friends, but airfares on nonstop flights to Queenstown from Brisbane were $1250 return for dates friends going in mid August. This is crazy for a 3 hour flight, when can get to USA for $799 return for a 12 hour flight, departing in 2nd half of January. You can then get a Southwest flight from LA to Denver for $46 U.S. which includes 2 bags.

    I guess the flights to Queenstown are full & those to San Francisco & LA aren’t.

    The accommodation & lift tickets are also very expensive in Queenstown compared with the giveaway prices being had in Colorado right now.

    Got a costing from a wholesaler for 2 weeks for a big resort, from January 21 & for 4 of us, we can get a studio apartment 150 yards (less in metres) from most of the lifts for only $209 Australian per night & lift tickets $415 Australian for 14 days lifts, which is less than $30 Australian per day, with something called a secret pass, which apparently is like a snow school line, so no waiting ever in lift lines. There’s obviously no comparison between anything in NZ & USA, USA is 1000 times better. Who really wants to stay in Queenstown & spend 30-90 minutes driving to a small ski hill, with the possibility of having to put on snow chains & then having to find a carpark. Competition(in USA) is a wonderful thing.

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