With the Charlotte Pass lease set to expire at the end of this month and no official word on what was happening – I thought it was time for a bit of an update.
Our source close to the situation says that instead of a long-term lease being granted at this stage, a six-month one would be put in place.
There was no time to swerve, no time to hit the brakes and no time to think.
At speeds tipping 110 km/hr there was also no way around this being anything but very very ugly.
I barely saw it, but what I did see of it was ENORMOUS.
Then I hit it.
If you want to know what Scotty James has been up to this past six months, even he says it’s best not to look at his social media.
There’s Barcelona, boxing poses and a boat in Miami that could be straight from The Lonely Island film clip.
“My Instagram probably says otherwise – that I have been having a good time but I have been working really hard,” he says with a chuckle.
It’s rarer than a Melbourne premiership, a Wallabies win over the All Blacks and a funny Adam Sandler movie.
Don’t know what I am talking about? It’s a three-metre base of snow in Australia – something that hasn’t happened in a quarter of a century.
But, if the stars and Snow Gods align, it just might do it this season.
In the first of a series of interviews leading up to the Winter Olympics, starting on February 9, The Snow Gauge chats to moguls skier Matt Graham and talks about his rivalry with Canadian great Mikael Kingsbury.
Just how do you dethrone the king?
It’s a question that has been on the mind of Australian moguls champion Matt Graham for some time.
While Graham will head to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February as one his country’s best medal prospects, there’s royalty in his way.
It comes in the form of Canadian Mikael Kingsbury, a six-time World Cup champion who, quite simply, is the best the sport has seen.
It’s the size of a resort but doesn’t have a chairlift.
There’s untracked powder as far as the eye can see. There’s cruisey wide-open bowls, chutes or hits for the adventurous. There’s an extraordinary lunch served in amazing surrounds. There’s a dozen of you but probably less. There’s no pressure.
It’s Soho Basin in New Zealand, and I suggest you get there before the word gets out.
It’s a work in progress but with Perisher dropping out of building a Superpipe in Australia, there’s some decent prospects of Falls Creek filling the void.
And who is behind the push? None other than our own Scotty James.
The X Games and two-time world champion is working with his own sponsors (including Falls Creek) to try to make it happen.
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.
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?
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.
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 …
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 …
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.
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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