Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Australia Joins New Zealand As More Southern Hemisphere Resorts open for Winter 2009

More of New Zealand’s ski areas opened at the weekend, joining Mt Hutt in enjoying a great start to the winter after a snowy May. In Australia the country’s major ski areas opened although with scant snow cover on Saturday, June 6th – the traditional opening weekend.
After the unexpected large pre-season snowfalls a month ago, temperatures had risen and the snow melted, leaving limited machine made snow enough for snowball fights and snowman building at most areas and a nursery slope at Perisher.
However the situation improved through the weekend as temperatures dropped below zero and fresh snowfall came in. 21cm (8.5 inches) of fresh snow settled in Perisher village on Sunday night (7 June) and across Perisher's four mountain areas, allowing top to bottom skiing and snowboarding on Front Valley on Monday.
Light snow flurries began to settle in the resort throughout Sunday and as the mercury levels continued to drop overnight, Perisher's Mountain Operations Department fired up 95 snow guns across parts of Perisher Valley and Blue Cow Mountain adding to the growing base. This enabled the Village Eight Express, Australia's only 8-seat chairlift to make its season debut on Monday.
"It has been a fantastic start to the season. We've had fresh snowfalls and guests have flocked to the resort in the thousands and we've sold hundreds of lesson and lift packages", commented Nathan Butterworth Perisher's Resort Services Manager.
Other Australian ski areas have also reported fresh snow. Mt Buller reported 8cm (3.5 inches) falling overnight with the snow continuing to fall. It hopes to open its ski runs next weekend.
Natural snowfalls are forecast to continue for the next few days (lowering to 800 metres on Wednesday 10 June)