The Snow Gauge

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What resorts said about this rain event will shock you*

Posted by on Jul 7, 2016 in Australia | 1 comment

Pond skiiming

Pond skimming is fun. Not so much in the middle of winter, granted. Pic: Teton Gravity Facebook

This isn’t the story I thought I’d be writing.

After the first significant watery event of the season (interspersed with a fair bit of snow) I was prepared for the Australian ski resorts to avoid the r-word like Souths and Essendon are dodging wins at the moment.

But what I read surprised me.

Check out the Thredbo report from today:

Thredbo

Holy hell – three mentions of the r-word. And a wet and heavy too!

Perisher managed to avoid it today, preferring to go with a “soft and wet”. But to be fair they didn’t dodge it on Wednesday with this line:

“It has been wet and windy in Perisher today. We experienced variable conditions throughout the day with moderate winds blowing and snow to rain.”

– Perisher snow report 6/7/16

Across the border they’ve been running a somewhat tighter snow reporting ship for a few years.  A guy like Billy Barker at Mt Hotham is such a credible individual it would be a major disservice to him and the resort to tell half-truths. So he doesn’t. This from today:

“It is currently mostly cloudy with moderate south-easterly winds and temperatures just above freezing. There are scattered light rain/sleet showers across the Alps (falling as snow on the highest slopes). The mountain has held up pretty well given the rain that we have had over the past 24 hours and this morning the snow will be soft and the groomers should be pretty fun.

– Mt Hotham snow report 7/7/16

Mt Hotham

Mt Hotham – holding up pretty well after the rain. There, I said it. Pic: Mt Hotham Facebook

Now y’all maybe thinking what’s the big fuss. In this day and age of snowcams and social media, resorts surely had to tell the truth even if they themselves couldn’t handle the truth all that well.

Thing is the resorts have substantial followings on their websites and social channels so clearly plenty of people are relying on them to deliver an accurate assessment of the conditions. And perhaps until this year in many instances this wasn’t always the case. I’ve written about this before.

I’d heard radio reports (from the resorts) talking about the great 5cm of new snow up high and failing to mention there was enough rain at base level to make Noah re-consider his options.

I’d read reports not mentioning the r-word when I know it has been pissing down most of the night.

But maybe, just maybe, this has finally changed across the board. And if we are getting closer to reports like these it can only be considered a good thing.

This is Australia after all.

It’s gonna rain some times. It’s gonna be a rain-snow mix sometimes. And yes, conditions can change quickly (thanks Snowy Mountains 2XL for embedding that quote into my brain permanently).

People just want to know what to expect out on the hill and make decisions about their day. Happy to ski above 1800m if it’s raining below that? Knock yourself out. Hate the thought of any rain or high winds and want to have a lay day? Your choice. Knowledge is power and as a paying customer you have the right to know.

So, a pat on the back to the resorts for maturing and providing better information for their clientele. It’s been overdue.

And besides, you then get to go bananas if we get the foot of cold smoke that’s suggested at the start of next week.

*Sorry about the news.com.au/buzzfeed headline. I was laughing as I wrote it – if that’s any consolation.

 

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1 Comment

  1. …….& you think that Whistler, Park City, Lake Tahoe, Jackson Hole don’t get rain…..think again!!!!

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