The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

Why you should ski Portillo, Chile this winter

Posted by on May 11, 2017

Portillo Lake Run

Anthony Sharwood doing some spring preparation on the Lake Run, Portillo. Pic: Glenn Cullen

When discussion turns to which ski resort you’ll visit this southern hemisphere winter the arguments will invariably be of the Noah’s Ark variety.

That is, depending on where you live and your peccadilloes, it will be in a two-by-two format.

Australia vs New Zealand. Victoria vs NSW. Perisher vs Thredbo. Hotham/Falls v Mt Buller.

But for a host of reasons I’d like to throw a third animal into the mix: Portillo, Chile.

I visited the South American giant in August last year and, while far from perfect, it’s a place every skier should head to at least once in their life.

Here’s why.

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Could Oz snow season be an El Nino bust?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017

grass skiing

The Australian slalom championships went ahead despite some challenging conditions

Warmer. Drier.

With the start of the Australian ski season a little over three months away the combination of these words are about as welcome as Trump and presidency; Nickelback and concert and Kyrgios and Tomic.

Unfortunately in its glimpse to autumn and beyond this is exactly what the Bureau of Meteorology tends towards for the eastern part of Australia in 2017.

So, should you be putting extra storage wax on your skis or board after the northern hemisphere season? Well …

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Why you shouldn’t overlook California this winter

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016

Heavenly views

Paul Scells enjoys some Heavenly views.

After four pretty ordinary seasons many felt California had lost its mojo.

Already playing in the shadows of the Rockies and Wasatch ranges, Sierra Nevada was starting to become more synonymous with its eminently drinkable pale ale than as base for a ski or snowboard trip.

But season 2015/16 brought it back to the fold. The numbers weren’t through (or over) the roof snow-wise but it was a solid season that again demonstrated just how good California can be. And some are suggesting a good to better one this season.

I’ve done Colorado and Utah and while it can’t compete for dry snow in most seasons there’s plenty of things to like about the Lake Tahoe district. Stick with me and I’ll take you through what tickled my fancy …

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Flight hack: how to get cheap snow airfares

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016

how-to-get-a-cheap-flight-understanding-airline-ti-01

I spent some long hours toiling away on flight comparison site Skyscanner and came up with some very interesting information for those thinking about a northern hemisphere ski or snowboard trip this winter.

I’ll leave it for some other time to extol the virtues of various ski resorts across the globe or compare the prices of various accommodation or lift pass prices. Here, purely and simply, is the dirt on flying from Australia to the US, Canada, Japan or Europe – when to go, when to avoid and where to save a buck or two. Other points include:

– The sneaky time to get to the States (in school holidays)
– Why Europe actually represents awesome flight value
– How to save real money if you are prepared to stop off
– Some Japan hacks too.
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North America season outlook: why forecasters could be having a lend

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016

Weather guessing

If you’re in North America or going there for the 2016/17 season, it’d be pretty normal right about now to be asking the question: which states are going to get the best snow?

As someone who travels from the southern hemisphere most years the question burns a little more for me right now than say someone from San Francisco, Salt Lake City or Squamish.

So, much like I did around this time last year I spoke to Joel Gratz – founding meteorologist and CEO of Open Snow, the premier powder forecasting site used by 1.5 million skiers and boarders in the US.

His answer threw me completely.

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