The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

The love/hate relationship with chains

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017

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 Jul 14, 2017

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 Jul 7, 2017

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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Could this solve the snow-commodation problem?

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017

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 Jun 13, 2017

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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