Snow It All discusses dangers of avalanches in Australia

Snow It All talks about avalanche danger in Australia in this piece:

“The ski and snowboard world is a tight-knit community. When someone is badly injured or loses their life on the slopes, chances are you have shared a lift line with them, have met them at a bar, know them personally or are related to them.

Deaths at the snow in beach-obsessed Australia hits deep – and there have been a few already this season. A season that has been heralded for big powder storms and some of the best conditions in over a decade – conditions few of us are used to so accidents are bound to happen.

Excitement has been contagious and a fervor to be the first to get the most of each storm has infected already over-excited skiers and boarders who have attempted terrain outside of their skill level, ducked under closed ropes or hit the side and back country without appropriate equipment or knowledge.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/snow-it-all/when-a-ski-trip-goes-wrong-20140813-3dm4z.html#ixzz3ATqfugG8

Where is Australia’s best ski resort?

Great story by Miss Snow It All at www.theage.com.au

“Imagine for a moment Australia’s perfect ski resort. The terrain of Thredbo and Hotham, the ski-in ski-out village of Falls Creek, the scale of Perisher and the urban proximity of Mt Buller.

Those devoted to their ‘own’ resort would find this sacrilege. There is no-one more passionate than a skier or boarder addicted to their resort of choice. When discussing the competition, stereotypes abound.

Buller has attitude and too many clubbies, Thredbo is old-school skier territory stuck in the past, Perisher is like Pitt Street in peak hour, Falls is flat (the ultimate insult) and Hotham too disjointed. I’ve heard them all this week while on snow tour in New South Wales and Victoria.

One thing overly-passionate skiers like to do is criticise other skiers, or at least the areas in which they choose to make their turns, in an effort to justify their own choice of field. Who really cares? Are you having fun? Then you are winning, regardless of where you lay your snowboard.

Haters will always hate. So who really does have the most going on (in a good way)? Does Victoria or New South Wales come first across that best package line?

For apres ski, Victoria lords it over New South Wales. Thredbo and Perisher don’t even come close to the on-mountain dining and drinking options, and standard of Buller and Falls Creek. My liver can attest to that.

For terrain Perisher wins in scale, Thredbo in vertical and variety. That’s a no-brainer, though Hothamites will rightly argue otherwise and Buller this year has been better than any other, or so everyone keeps telling me.

My personal favourite sidecountry run is Dead Horse Gap, so easily accessed from the top of Thredbo. Steve Lee at Falls Creek will say his terrain is better, but you have to pay for the service of being guided and transported by skidoo, so they can’t really be genuinely compared.

The best run on a powder day? Has to be The Bluff at Thredbo, if you can get to the front of the stampede. Though isn’t any run a good run on a powder day?

Charlotte Pass and Guthega at Perisher in New South Wales both win for charm, Falls Creek for happy lifties and lift queues (the chairlift capacity far outweighs the bed capacity in the village, so queues are rarely seen). Victorian resorts have swanky day spas, New South Wales resorts don’t.

For honest snow reports, Falls Creek wins this week with their ‘worst house on the best street’ email to their database. There’s nothing skiers and boarders like more than the truth and nothing they will chastise you more for than lies.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/snow-it-all/victoria-v-nsw-where-is-australias-perfect-ski-resort-20140730-3ctwz.html#ixzz3AIC2LjbA

Good description of Mt. Buller in Australia from On The Snow

On The Snow wrote a helpful piece on Mt. Buller in Australia:

A three-hour drive from Melbourne, Mt. Buller is close enough for a day’s escape. There are 25 runs in total divided into two areas of the mountain: the Northern Slopes and Southern Slopes. Intermediate runs are found on both sides of the mountain, favorites include the wide cruising slopes of Little Buller Spur and Wombat. Most advanced runs are on the south side, such as the popular Federation, Wood Run, Bull Run and Wombat bowls. First-timers can find their feet by buying a Discovery Pass which costs $108 (AUD) for one day which includes a two-hour lesson and access to seven beginner lifts. Buller also has five miles of cross-country trails, three terrain parks and two toboggan parks.

When to go: Early June to Early October

Terrain: 740 acres

Lifts: Three high-speed chairs and 10 surface lifts

Après-ski: After working up an appetite on the slopes, relax with a gluhwine next to the fire at the Moosehead bar or head to the lively Kooroora bar—a favorite locals’ watering hole. Choose from a range of dining options, including gourmet burgers, Italian, Asian, tapas and more.

Resort facilities: Mt Buller is also home to the High Alpine Spa Retreat—Australia’s highest day spa. Buller has more than 30 bars and restaurants and around 7,000 beds, some of which are ski-in/ski-out properties. There’s also a ski school, a range of shops, a movie theater and ski rentals.

Ski pass prices: Daily lift tickets cost $113 (AUD)

Transportation: Located 154 miles from Melbourne, it’s a three-hour drive away via the Hume Highway or Maroondah Highway. Park about a mile from Buller and take the free shuttle service. A number of private coach companies also operate between Melbourne and Buller.

Australian Geographic lists best ski resorts down under

Interesting story in Australian Geographic:

“WHY HEAD OVERSEAS FOR an action packed winter getaway when some of the best slopes are right here on your doorstep? Save on flights, avoid the hassle, and kick-up some of Australia’s powder bowls for longer this winter.

Whether you’re about to embark on your first-ever ski experience or are a seasoned boarder – look no further, Australia has an alpine playground suited to you.

Ski and Snowboard Australia Chief Executive Officer Michael Kennedy says skiing in Australia beats its New Zealand counterpart hands down. “Skiing in New Zealand is completely overrated,” he says.

Staying local means you don’t have to battle long lines at the airport, he adds, or worry about baggage restrictions and more.  “There’s something very nice about jumping in the car and driving up to where you’re staying,” he says.

New Zealand has bigger mountains and more snow, but you’re not necessarily guaranteed a ski, Michael says. “People have expectations, and then because of the weather, they can’t get up the mountain at all.

And the cost of skiing in Australia isn’t much different from overseas. “A lot of noise is being made- but the industry is making an effort to provide better value for money. Resorts came out at the end of last season and promoted early bird passes and helped to generate some excitement,” Michael says.

Michael says Perisher will draw in the biggest crowd this season, and Mt Buller will continue to pull the Melbourne weekender market. Falls Creek is the place to go for families, says Michael, while Thredbo continues to provide a unique European village feel.

Read more about ski resorts in Australia

Miss Snow It All discusses privileged skier problems in Australia

Another fun story from Miss Snow It All in the Syndney Morning Herald:

Australia is in the middle of a snow rush. The double header snow storm that hit hard two weeks ago has been followed by another massive half-metre dump this week, with more predicted on Saturday.

Today is a bluebird powder day across Australia’s resorts. Let’s just say skiers, snowboarders and resorts are on a serious high champing-at-the-powder-bit to get first tracks and boast their luck on social media, to make the rest of us lament our non-powder lives.

But with every manic high their comes a low, a downer, a moment when it all gets too much and the toys get thrown out of the cot.

We call that ‘privileged skier problems’. Those moments when you can’t really believe what came out of your fellow skier or snowboarder’s mouth, or even your own.

Paid too much for your ski pass? #privilegedskierproblem At least you can afford a ski pass.

Lift line too long? #privilegedskierproblem You could be lining up for food stamps instead.

Today I am cursing my ill-timed trip to Falls Creek (at least I am going to Falls Creek, right?), arriving tonight, and therefore missing this morning’s bluebird powder day. If that’s the biggest problem in my life, then clearly I should cancel therapy.

In moments of exhaustion I have heard myself spitting chips that there’s no gluten-free to be had, like a crossfit addict deprived of kale. I have complained about the stampede of fellow skiers and boarders behind me as I try to get first tracks, and I have screamed blue murder at my choice to ski in a blinding wind blizzard storm.

Seriously? #privilegedskierproblem

Read more in PRIVILEGED.

Late snow forces ski resorts to rely on artificial snow in Australia

Australia is sometimes the petri dish of climate change – a place where global warming is not just a theoretical concept but a tangible reality.

Environmentalists point to the fact that last year was once again the hottest on record, seeing drought and devastating bush fires. And a late snow has forced the ski industry in places like Mount Buller to rely on artificial snow to keep resorts operating.

But the country’s conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott is viewed by many as a climate change sceptic. He once described the science behind human-induced global warming as “absolute crap”.

He has pledged to abolish the country’s carbon tax and has shut down a number of climate research bodies.

The BBC’s Australia correspondent Jon Donnison reports.

Massive snow storm saves ski season in Australia, but at deadly price

Great story by self confessed Snow It All, Rachael Oakes-Ash, in Sydney Morning Herald: 

“You know you’re in a good season when you have to traverse the stairs.” “I haven’t skied till last lifts since I was twenty five, twenty five years ago.” “Can’t speak, my teeth hurt from smiling.”

White heaven: Falls Creek has been buried under a blanket of snow.

These are just some of the comments I overheard on the chairlift at Thredbo and Perisher this week. It would be an understatement to say Australia is frothing from a double header snow storm that left behind two metres in New South Wales and almost a metre and a half in Victoria.

Charlotte Pass boasted 120cm of snow from storm one, followed by 85cm from storm two, with Thredbo and Perisher not far behind. Records have been broken. And for once ski resorts don’t have to spin the truth to their favour because the truth itself is simply unbelievable.

The two storms dubbed ‘Snowmaggedon’, ‘Snowpocalypse’ and even ‘Snowzilla’ hit the alpine regions of Australia from Monday June 23 to Sunday June 29, turning resorts from warmed-up gravel to white powder goodness. Local businesses, including luxury accommodation agency Visit Snowy Mountains, were down 19 per cent on bookings before the storm and have now seen a 265 per cent increase on enquiries.

Put simply, records have been broken. This year is the first time Falls creek has all lifts open in both weeks of the July school holidays. The resort went from no lifts to all lifts, with all terrain open in eight days thanks to 134cm of snowfall – the biggest June snowfall since 1991.

Falls sister resort, Hotham, also broke records opening all lifts in just seven days with the highest accumulated snowfall by July 1 since 2002, and the highest natural snow base by July 1 since 2000.

Even Mt Buller, who didn’t receive the full brunt of the blizzard, had their best start to a season in seven years with more terrain open in the middle of the July school holidays than they have in the past decade.

“We’ve been skiing runs earlier this year than we have in any other season in the last ten years, including Wood Run, Sun Valley and Wombat Bowl,” said David McNamara, Mt Buller spokesperson.

But not all the figures have been in every resort’s favour. Social media statistics for the week of white gold goodness revealed two resorts leading the Facebook wars by miles, with the rest lagging behind.

Snow storms are social media gold, especially when you can post images of snow depths and let your followers share the word for you. Perisher and Falls Creek both had an impressive 80 per cent engagement while the rest managed anything from 27 to 32 per cent – clearly they just went skiing, no ‘friends’ on a powder day.

But what of the snow you ask? Let’s just say my thighs have serious powder burn as I was lucky enough to hit first tracks on all storm days, including lapping thigh-deep heaven in The Bowl at Thredbo, when the only other tracks were from ski patrol last Sunday, first tracks down The Bluff at Thredbo on Monday, followed by first chair and endless first tracks at Guthega at Perisher on the new $4 million Freedom Chair.

Storm claims two lives

The storm has also resulted in tragedy. At Mt Buller, it claimed the life of a seven-year-old boy who was caught under a melting slab of snow as it fell from a roof. He wasn’t found until it was sadly, too late. Our hearts go out to his family.

The talk in Thredbo is about the avalanche at HipCheck, an out-of-bounds closed run that has already claimed one life in 1998, and this year buried a Sydney man under two metres of snow. If it wasn’t for a pocket of air and the seriously good work of Thredbo Ski Patrol, he would not have lived to duck under another rope again. Closed means, closed for a reason.

And today, more sad news from the ski fields with the death of a snowboarder at Perisher, who was discovered in a creek at 11.30pm last night after he failed to show up for work. Stay safe out there people.

Is there more snow on the way?

Why yes, I believe there is. Come Wednesday, another 50cm is predicted to fall in a two- to three- day snow storm, followed ten days later with more snowfall. Ski glove fingers crossed it all goes according to plan.

You have to feel for New Zealand right now. They started the season with a mega late May dump that was followed up by rain, and thanks to the warmest June the country has experienced in over a century, a number of resorts had to delay their openings.

However things are looking up; 20 to 35 cm of snow has fallen this week; The Remarkables finally opens today with the new Curvey Basin chairlift accessing some of the best terrain going; and more snow forecast for the weekend.

Treble Cone opens tomorrow with untouched fresh powder tracks up high just begging for some turns. Let’s hope our blizzards make it across the ditch so we can share the sore tooth pain of smiling while skiing face shots of powder.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/snow-it-all/the-massive-storm-that-saved-ski-season-but-came-at-a-deadly-cost-20140703-3b9f7.html#ixzz36QJH1rKT

 

Australian ski resorts report almost five feet of new snow

Patrick Thorne files this great report with inthesnow.com:

Australian ski areas – which started their season badly on June 7th with almost no snow following a record warm May, are celebrating snowfalls of up to almost five feet (1.4m in fact) during the last four days.

The snow has now stopped leaving resorts well-covered ahead of the weekend and the country’s school holiday period.

“We expect to have over 40 lifts operating for the weekend across the four resorts areas of Perisher, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega,” said Samantha Hales, Communications and Media Manager at Australia’s biggest resort which now has a 102.1 cm base,

“There is a lot of work to do to get the resort open after a big storm as we need to get out there and groom out the wind drift, build lift tracks and ensure the resorts is safe for guests.”

Meanwhile at Mt Hotham called the snowfall ‘Snowmageddon 1.0’ and are expecting ‘Snowmageddon 2.0’ to follow bon later this weekend,

“Snowmageddon 1.0  started last Monday and brought the snowfall we have all been waiting for. Within 3 days we had over 70cm of snow, got 6 lifts going and are looking forward to the best school holiday skiing and riding in years.  Another front is coming in on Saturday and we will be hitting the 1-meter mark by Saturday night/Sunday morning,” said a statement from the resort, which currently has seven  lifts running.

Check it out at SNOW.

Charlotte Pass great for back-country skiing and families in Australia

Flip Byrnes finishes his tour of New South Wales ski resorts in Australian Traveller:

Charlotte Pass: Snowbound Wonderland

Best for: Back-country bandits and families.

In a nutshell: You never forget your first love, and for many of us, that’s Charlotte Pass. Nestled against the flanks of Australia’s largest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko,Charlotte’s is a 45-minute over-snow cat ride from Perisher, and a universe away. There are no cars, no roads, just a handful of lodges dotted around the magnificent, refurbished 1930s Kosciusko Chalet.

Back country enthusiasts are drawn by easy access to off-piste terrain and families love skiing the intimate five lifts over 50 hectares. In a week, you’ll know every lift operator’s name, and like us, return thirty years later with your own generation of future pro skiers.

Underrated run: A little hike goes a long way. Hike to Kangaroo Ridge Cornice or Guthrie’s Chutes for some adrenalin-inducing action.

Best spot for an après: Sink into a leather couch fire-side at Adam’s Cocktail Lounge in The Kosciuszko Chalet, or sink beers while sinking balls in a game of pool in The Cellar.

Local tip: Day trips to Charlotte’s are available from Perisher ($97 for adults and $60 for children). There are two return over-snow transport packages with either a lift pass and hot lunch, or a two-and-a-half hour snow shoe tour with picnic lunch.

More info: charlottepass.com.au

Family will love the Selwyn Snowfields in New South Wales

Australian Traveller’s Flip Byrnes continues his guide to ski resorts in New South Wales:

Selwyn Snowfields: Family Nirvana

Best for: Snow newbies who don’t want to burn gold bars trying a new sport.

In a nutshell: It’s small; with 10 lifts and 45 hectares of terrain. But that’s what renders it perfect for people who fall over when not even moving on skis. There’s nowhere to get lost, help is always at hand and the family that skis together, stays together.

It’s also great value at $82 an adult and $45 a child for a peak season day pass, and if you’re breeding future free-riders who just want park-play, a terrain park ticket accessing the two parks is a cheap-as-chips $25 per person.

It’s a day resort, meaning there’s no on-snow accommodation, but the Snowy Mountains Holiday Centre can arrange packages and hotels around Adaminaby (smhc.com.au).

Underrated run: First timers can score a great initial impression of powder skiing down The Meadows on snowfall days, running from Emu’s Chase straight to the Race Course T-bar.

Best spot for an après: The Swinging T-bar on the mezzanine is the best place (okay, the only place) to kick back with a cup of barista perfection. Alternatively, Wild Brumby Schnapps (with locally-made schnapps) overlooks the slopes. Put your feet up and enjoy the sweeping views (wildbrumby.com).

What’s new? Public barbecues were added this summer, near the Toboggan Slope – ready for winter picnics. The snow-making capacity has also been increased with snow guns being mounted on lift towers.

Local tip: Seeking a calorie injection? The Bake House in Adaminaby has a mouth-watering range of Danish pastries to refuel weary ski legs (02 6454 2092).

More info: selwynsnow.com.au