The Snow Gauge

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Five epic Aussie snow dumps

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Australia | 0 comments

Falls Creek

Epic Falls (see what I did there). Chris Hocking captures it superbly at Falls Creek. Pic: Falls Creek Facebook.

I’ve found the only true way to prepare for a pending snow storm is to crack open a beer and fondly recall epic dumps of season’s past.

Here are five of the best:

1. 2014: June 21


Early renditions of the Opal card were considered useless. Pic: Perisher Facebook

There was the usual June tetchiness. Of course there was. Then there was a little scuttlebutt that something was a’brewin’ not that long after the traditionally barren opening weekend. By Saturday June 21 it had arrived.

Four days later News Corp journalists were inventing new words as a once in a century June storm left around 120cm at the top of Perisher.

Snowmageddon, snownado, megablizzard, snowpocalypse – call it what you will but it was something else.

2. 2014  June 28-ish (Part II)



After the snow cleared there were conditions just like this at Thredbo in July 2014. Pic: Thredbo Facebook

People say sequels are never as good as the original. I beg to differ. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 anyone? Grown Ups 2? Helloooooo!

Be that as it may, when it comes to snow I am actually a big fan of the second wave, particularly when the first one has created your base. The next one is where it’s all at.

After a few days’ respite following the first epic, the follow-up delivered.

At first the charts showed a repeat but while it only got to around half or so of the Part I totals it was still plenty good and it fell to low levels. So, kind of like Aliens II for mine.

There was no part three. But sometimes that can be a good thing – see The Hangover III for further information.

3. 2012 August 16-18

Mt Hotham

Mt Hotham. Goes alright with some snow. Pic: Mt Hotham Facebook

Following a fine Olympic tradition 2012 was another rock-solid snow year.

But it had been characterised by steady top-ups rather than big dumps. Then came the boom.

A mass of very cold Antarctic surged across the state to bring the heaviest dumps of the winter. There was snow and sleet in Canberra, Oberon, Orange and Cairns (just checking you’re still reading on the last one).

As for the mountains, they reckoned it was around about 60cm which helped drive the Spencers Creek season peak base up past the 2 metre mark – the barometer for a good season down under.

4. 2010: August 1 (and then some)

“The August cold, brings something bad in his sock drawer”. Not sure what that means but I really wanted to use a You Am I line.

Dry July made way for awesome August that year and Tim Rogers would approve as this was a particularly cold blast.

It was like the tap was turned on for the start of the month as half a metre of blower (well, for Australia) stacked up in the NSW and Victorian resorts. By the 4th Thredbo was saying more than a metre had dropped. Some said those numbers were overly ambitious but pooey to those trainspotters.

Anyone that skied or boarded that storm will still remember it fondly. Interestingly almost 75 per cent of the snowfall from that season was achieved in just over a three-week period in awesome August. The base at Spencers Creek topped out at a quite respectable 193cm on the 26th of that month after a run of dumps.

5. 2005: August 10

“It snowed down to sea level”.

Six words I just love saying over and over again. Well, that and “I’m not related to Eddie McGuire”.

Snow fell at sea level for the first time since 1986 in Victorian towns such as Apollo Bay, Ocean Grove and Torquay while Phillip Island and Inverloch also saw the white stuff.

“It’s certainly the coldest air mass we’ve had over us for the past 20 odd years,” Australian Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Scott Williams commented at the time.

And the mountains?

Perhaps this storm was actually too cold for its own good as the final totals seem to range in the 40-50cm zone for this one. But it was cold, colder than an ice pool challenge. Just ask Eddie.



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