4 June 2024

Slow burn for Aldi's snow-gear sale points to a quieter snow season

| James Coleman
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person on ski lift

Thredbo received its first blanketing in early April. Photo: Thredbo Resort.

The snow season officially kicks off this weekend (8 June), and it’s shaping up to be … okay, maybe not great, but at least average.

Here’s what you need to know before you pile up the car with skis and snow gear.

1. The weather will be ‘better’

Not that this means much.

Pete ‘The Frog’ Taylor from Snowatch says last season was “probably the worst season on record as far as snowfall’s concerned”.

“It was just warm, really warm, and there weren’t many cool nights so the snow makers weren’t able to operate very often. The season fell away around September when we had summer-like temperatures.”

Happily, it’s “rare” to have two bad seasons in a row so this year is shaping up to be “average”.

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“We did have a couple of years that were pretty good, so people start to expect snow early in June, and it’s not always the case. But things are pretty normal for this time of year … It’s all quite normal at the moment.”

Expect a bed of snow between 20 and 30 cm deep, in other words.

2. It will be quieter

The opening weekend to the snow season is more about the parties, particularly the Blues Festival in Thredbo. The number of actual skiers and snowboarders doesn’t normally peak until late July and early August, but most have already placed their bookings.

Not so much this year.

“Bookings are well down for this time of year,” Pete says.

The rising cost of living is largely to blame, together with a “terrible” season in 2023 that has left people a bit more cautious about wasting their hard-earned money this time around.

Thredbo sign in the snow

Pete Taylor from Snowatch expects an “average” season. Photo: Thredbo Resort.

A good indicator, Pete says, is how fast the gloves and snow jackets and trousers fly off the shelves at Aldi during the supermarket’s annual snow-season sale week.

“There are normally queues out the door, but a week after the sale, the shelves were still chock-full of gear.”

3. There’s a new roller coaster in Thredbo

If you’ve ever experienced the coaster at Corin Forest in the ACT, you’ll definitely be on board for this.

The finishing touches are being added to the new Thredbo Alpine Coaster ahead of its grand opening on 7 June – a metal-tracked roller coaster that snakes its way 1.5 km down from the top of Lovers Leap to the Valley Terminal precinct.

“Passengers will be able to control their speed of up to 40 km/h as they travel along a mix of uphill and downhill tracks featuring a tunnel, bridges and circles,” a statement from Thredbo Resort reads.

4. Charlotte Pass will rise from the ashes

A fire broke out in the Charlotte Pass Snow Resort’s sewage treatment plant on the morning of 17 May, taking out the resort’s ability to process wastewater from taps, showers and toilets. It was initially thought this would shutter it for the entire 2024 season.

But better late than never, the resort’s management has since announced they’ll be able to welcome guests again from 5 July. Portable equipment will take care of the necessary electrical, aeration, disinfection and treatment processes while they rebuild.

5. The roads should be safer

The NSW Government is pouring $20 million into improving what it describes as a “key freight, commuter and recreational route”.

In May, construction crews finished installing “audio-tactile line-marking” (ATLM) along the edges and widened lines in the middle stretch of the Monaro Highway between Cooma and the ACT border. A new roundabout has also been added to the Polo Flat Road intersection.

The Monaro Highway

Watch out for roadworks along the Monaro Highway. Photo: File

Work is now underway on adding a northbound overtaking lane near Bredbo and more ATLM, roadside safety barriers, and widened centrelines and shoulders north of Bombala and south of Nimmitabel.

There’ll also be new signage, pavement markings and narrower lanes on entry to Bredbo, Cooma, Nimmitabel and Bombala to “encourage safer driving speeds when entering a rural town”.

A few places to watch your speed: the limit has been reduced from 60 km/h to 50 km/h along a 1.1 km stretch of the Monaro Highway through Bombala and reduced from 100 km/h to 80 km/h along a 4.7 km stretch of the Snowy Mountains Highway from Montague Street in Cooma to near Harlowe Road.

The government hopes the upgrades will reduce the number of fatal and serious injury crashes along the highway by 60 per cent.

A further $4.5 million has been spent on two new snow-chain fitting bays along the Snowy Mountains Highway, located in the Kiandra area – one near Sawyers Hill and the other near Denison Campground. Each can accommodate up to 10 vehicles.

Have we missed anything?

Original Article published by James Coleman on Riotact.

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