The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

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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When will it open; what’s the snow like?

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016

Japan snow

Truckloads of snow for Japan in 2016/17? The suggestions are there might be. Pic:

From the USA to Japan and even Europe I’ve tabled the key resorts with expected opening dates, what if any snow has fallen and taken a broad look at what forecasters are predicting for the season in each of the regions.

Hopefully it will help you with your choice of where to head this northern hemisphere winter!

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Flight hack: how to get cheap snow airfares

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016


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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Olympic years = snow & May don’t matter

Posted by on May 20, 2016

Thredbo Resort 2012

2012 in Thredbo was sweet. Most summer Olympic years are at the Aussie snow fields. Why? Dunno. Pic: Thredbo Resort/Facebook Tom Wholohan

  • The average peak snow depth (since measurements were taken in 1954) in Australia during (summer) Olympic years is 245cm
  • Nationally May has been one of the warmest on record but history has shown a warm fifth month doesn’t have to equate to a poor snow season

You’re still swimming at the beach in Sydney. You may be riding your mountain bike at Canberra’s Mt Stromlo in base layers. In Melbourne you’re sitting at a Lygon St cafe on a glorious Saturday afternoon that’s tipping 26 degrees.

It’s hot. Hot damn. Make a dragon want to retire man.

Ok, I’m hearing you. You’re worried about the snow this season. So was I.

But I’m here to allay your fears with some amazing statistics about Australian snow depth during Olympic years and some slightly more scientific observations about why May’s heat may not matter.

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NZ snow season prediction: don’t pack yet

Posted by on May 13, 2016

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson getting the goods in the Thompsons Range near Queenstown, NZ. Pic: Dan Himbrechts.


Booked to go across the ditch this season or considering heading to the Shaky Isles? Well then, you better read The Snow Gauge interview with the NZ Metservice and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) about what’s in store for the snow season.

Key points:

  • It’s bloody warm over there at the moment folks!
  • Like Australia, don’t expect too much early
  • Treble Cone could ultimately benefit most from the prevailing conditions
  • Snow levels could be a bit dicey this year
  • Ruapehu might struggle early 

Last season was an absolute cracker in New Zealand. The snow started coming in May, there were consistent storms and there was plenty of the white stuff around well into spring.

I fondly recall skiing top to bottom at Mt Ruapehu, second week of October, thanks very much.

The thing is this year it has been very warm and while the Metservice and NIWA don’t like to go nuts with their predictions this far out, let’s just say the suggestions are this may not exactly be a repeat of 2015.

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