The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

Australia & NZ

The love/hate relationship with chains

Posted by on 5:49 pm in Australia, New Zealand | 0 comments

snow chains

If you’ve skied or snowboarded in Australia or New Zealand there’s quite a chance the “c” word fills you with a degree of dread.

Chains.

It sounds like you’ll be shackled or tortured. Or at least your car will.

But are they to be feared? Are they overused? Or are they simply something that will save your car – or potentially your life?

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Five things I learned at Perisher

Posted by on 3:11 pm in Australia | 2 comments

Perisher

Guthega – a sneaky good option at this time of the season. Pic: Perisher Facebook

From passes, to good lifties and getting skis stolen (err mistakenly taken), this is what I learnt on my first trip to the snow this season.

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Is NZ about to hit paydirt this ski season?

Posted by on 1:28 am 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.

Hot property: $42k for a snow apartment

Posted by on 2:52 pm in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, United States, World | 1 comment

snow apartment

It’s on snow. It’s a minute walk to a ski run. It’s only one bedroom but set-up to sleep six people. It has two bathrooms. It looks neat and tidy.

It’s up for sale at $A42,000.

So what’s the catch?

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Could this solve the snow-commodation problem?

Posted by on 4:56 pm in Australia | 0 comments

sleep capsule

Sleeping pods have long been the rage in Japan, where accommodation, particularly of the affordable variety in Tokyo, can be at a premium. With The Capsule Hotel just opened up in Sydney and one getting constructed in Whistler, would this be a good solution to some of Australia’s snow-commodation problems?

We’ve all been there.

A cracking weekend in the middle of August and it’s just dropped a couple of feet midweek.

You frantically hit the computer to look for an available place. Computer says no.

No on snow, no 30km up the road. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Things are so desperate you would probably sleep in a room little bigger than a single bed that looks like something from the Alien franchise. I know I would. And perhaps one day you may be able to …

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How young is too young to ride?

Posted by on 4:03 pm in Australia | 2 comments

Indy

How young is too young when it comes to skiing or snowboarding?

It is a question I’ve been mulling over on and off for a while.

Then I saw this 14-month old on social media on the weekend and it really made me think.

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All the dumb things I’ve done at the snow

Posted by on 5:40 pm in Australia | 0 comments

Dumb and dumber

With the opening weekend of the ski season upon us (well, for the slow coaches catching up to Mt Buller and Perisher anyway) I figured it was time for a rewrite of the Alpine Responsibility Code.

I’m sure you’re well familiar with the ARC sign at your ski school or perhaps the individual ‘rules’ stuck to lift stanchions that you summarily ignore as you ride to the top of the mountain.

Well, this ain’t it.

After 20-odd years in this industry I have done a life time worth of stupid and I simply don’t won’t you to repeat my dumb errors. Don’t judge me, just thank me. Ok, maybe judge me too.

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The Snow Gauge – winter of giveaways!

Posted by on 4:22 pm in Australia | 0 comments

winter giveaway

WIN WIN WIN!

Here at The Snow Gauge we know the way to your heart is with quality news articles and breaking stories in the snow industry.

But let’s face it, we all like some free stuff from time to time as well!

Following last year’s 12 weeks of winter giveaways we are doing it all again in 2017, starting this Friday, June 9. Read on if you’d like to know what you can win and how …

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Is Charlotte Pass next in Vail’s sights?

Posted by on 5:59 pm in Australia | 5 comments

Charlotte Pass

Charlotte Pass: Photo Charlotte Pass Facebook/Didj Mick Hopkins

It was a small gesture but an undeniably important one.

By Perisher opening Front Valley a week early, it’s the resort saying we’re on our toes and ready to move as the conditions dictate.

It’s another positive move by Perisher and comes amidst suggestions that Vail Resorts wants in at Charlotte Pass.

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The future of Perisher: Vail CEO interview

Posted by on 2:16 pm in Australia | 12 comments

Perisher

The Snow Gauge went one-on-one with Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and asked the tough questions about Perisher developments, expansion plans and just what can be done about expensive lessons.

Key points from the chat:

  • Much hinges on a government report on Perisher that is slated to be handed down in October
  • Village and key developments at Perisher could still be a decade away
  • There’ll be no superpipe in Perisher
  • Concedes more needs to be done with lesson pricing
  • A Japanese resort is in the Epic Pass crosshairs

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