The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

Fun snow app wants to get serious and save lives

Posted by on Aug 16, 2018

The Snoww app has combined with the Apple Watch to provide some neat features for snow users – but it’s the future possibilities with the technology that are most exciting.

Anyone with an Epic Pass (I’m told there are a few out there) would probably be pretty familiar with the dashboard and its ability to track your ski and snowboard day.

It does things like register your lift rides, vertical ridden and can subtly remind you of that mysterious gap you had in the middle of the afternoon where you were sinking schooners at the Guthega Pub.

But there’s a bunch of apps out there that are taking this info to a whole new level.

I was asked to check out a free one called Snoww which has been available since 2016 but is now doing some great things when paired with the Series Three Apple Watch.

I’ll get to the fun stuff in a minute but what intrigued me most was what is possible from a safety aspect with the technology.

In fact if its creator Eddy Healey has his way, it could soon be saving lives.

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Queenstown and the $9 avocado

Posted by on May 25, 2018

avocado

With the exchange rate the avocados were a fare more affordable $8.60 each

Well that was a shock.

I was there last month and while it’s hard not to love Queenstown it’s also hard to ignore how expensive it’s getting.

Yes there was the $9 avocado, but also flights which per mile travelled are some of the most expensive in the world. Accommodation ain’t cheap (a pretty average 2 bedder for $1500 in low season anyone?). And those adventure activities? You may well be gasping at the price as much as high octane thrills.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Anyone who’s been knows its a majestic and fun place so the trick is to find a few gems that might save you a some dollars on your next trip.

Here’s my five money savers:

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Is Soho Basin the best place to ride you’ve never heard of?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017

Soho Basin

Craig Tansley laying out a sweet arc at Soho Basin, NZ.

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.

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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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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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