12 June 2024

Snow season starts for another year with little snow but keen crowds

| Claire Sams
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Person sitting in ski resort chairlift

Forecaster Pete Taylor said this year’s season was shaping up to be “average”, but likely better than 2023. Photo: Thredbo Resort.

Snow lovers made the best of a light dusting over the long weekend as the snow season officially launched.

Snow forecaster Pete ”The Frog” Taylor said while the slopes were quieter than some may have liked (snow-wise), it wasn’t a reason for worry.

In the lead-up to the official start of the 2024 snow season over the long weekend, there was next to no natural snowfall and rain damaged the man-made snow the resorts created.

“We had a little bit left at some resorts, and they were opening small areas,” Mr Taylor said.

“It’s not out of the ordinary [to have lighter snowfalls for the opening weekend].

“It’s probably more looking like an average season, without being spectacular.”

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The light dusting didn’t deter those who headed to the slopes for some early winter fun.

One of the attractions was the newly opened Alpine Coaster at Thredbo Snow Resort.

The rollercoaster-style toboggan attraction winds 1.5 kilometres down through the resort’s alpine and sub-alpine vegetation zones from the top of Lovers Leap to the Valley Terminal precinct.

Passengers can control their speed of up to 40 km/h as they travel along a mix of uphill and downhill tracks.

Thredbo general manager Stuart Diver said the new coaster would offer a different way to experience the landscape.

“The Alpine Coaster is a world-class attraction for the Snowy Mountains and will greatly support year-round local tourism,” he said.

“It provides a fun new on-snow experience in winter, will build upon our wide range of outdoor adventures in summer and will be a drawcard in the shoulder seasons.

“The Alpine Coaster is a testament to our ongoing commitment to growth and development, solidifying Thredbo as Australia’s premier year-round adventure destination.”

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A cold front heading over southern Australia in the early days of this week is set to bring some more winter charm.

15 to 25 centimetres of snow is expected to fall above about 1500 metres, according to Weatherzone, with lighter falls (up to about 10 cm) possible as low as 1200-1300 m by Wednesday (12 June).

“Following that, we have a week of cold nights, so we should have the snow guns firing for the next week,” Mr Taylor said.

“That should enable some more lifts and more terrain to open.”

In early April, a cold front passed over southeast Australia, bringing rainfall and some snow to parts of NSW and Victoria – including Thredbo, Perisher and nearby areas of the Snowy Mountains – though most of the snow melted the following day.

“A couple of years ago, we had a run of probably three years in a row where we had some early snow,” Mr Taylor said.

“I think people started to expect it was always going to be like that, which is not usually the case.”

Looking to the rest of winter, Mr Taylor expects the snowfall – and the crowds – to pick up by mid-July.

“The forecast is a bit of a mixed bag at the moment,” he said.

“There are a few systems coming through [over the coming week] that will bring some showers, just ahead of the colder air.

“We probably won’t see any big dumps at the moment, but there should be some decent enough falls to add to the cover so more resort areas can open.”

July will also bring the reopening of Charlotte Pass once repair works at the resort are finished, following a fire that broke out in the sewage treatment plant on the morning of 17 May.

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