The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

Two metre season or spring fizzer?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2016 in Australia | 0 comments

snow measure

The Snow Gauge loves a good snow gauge

Two metres. It’s the mythical mark.The line in the snow that seemingly defines an average or sub par season from a good one. Or perhaps a great one.

Measured from the Spencers Creek site in the Kosciuszko National Park at 1830m, the weekly reading has since been a staple since 1954.

Does two metres ski any different to 199cm or 201cm? Well, of course not. But it still remains the marker that’s embedded in many an Aussie skier and snowboarder’s brain.

Can we reach it in 2016 or is the recent warmer weather an auger for a sharp ending. Well …

The short term is looking not so great. We had a bit of an exchange with Snowatch’s Pete “The Frog” Taylor to see what was coming as winter dovetails into spring.

“With dominant high pressure systems currently affecting the weather in the mountains we have seen lot more stable weather and any strong systems pushed to the south,” he said.

“This pattern should continue for a week or so but we will see some light snowfalls this week and next. Temps should stay fairly cool so the snowmakers should be able to pump out some snow.”

That snowmaking capability may prove to be marginal next week – a look ahead suggests temperatures in the 7-8 degree range at Perisher Valley. And if there’s some precipitation it could get a bit nasty.

Spring should be a little better than this …

But as Pete suggests much will hinge on what is delivered later in August and despite suggestions of not so much goodness particularly from the weather boffins on ski.com.au   in their take on the August 18-20 period, he largely likes what he sees so far.

“I really like the look of the last 10 or so days of August, there are three systems due during this time and I think at least two of these will bring some decent snow,” he said.

“I see us reaching our peak snow depth at the end of the month, maybe just a little under the 2m mark at Spencer’s Creek (unless we get one really good dump, then we could reach over 2m).”

And thereafter there shouldn’t be too many surprises for an Aussie spring.

“I think we will see some ok snow falls in September but unfortunately the likelihood of rain during this time also increases,” Pete said. “If we get a lot of rain then the snow melt will be fast but I think the major resorts, like Perisher, Thredbo, Falls and Hotham should have enough snow up high to get to season’s end. The lower slopes may not make it though.”

And thinking of heading across the ditch for some spring late action? He reckons go sooner rather than later.

Mt Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu. A spring fancy, Pic: Derek Morrison

“I think NZ will be in the same mode as Australia is that they will have some more snow, but also rain mixed in with it. I doubt they will make it to the end of September as they need more base than in Oz with the volcanic rock base.”

That said we do note that Mt Ruapehu has the only 2 metre+ base in Australasia already and there’s a place that can go from famine to feast in a remarkably short time.

The Snow Gauge will be getting some late August turns in Chile where the current base is 192cm. Stay tuned for some blogs on that one …

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