What lifts will be running for Opening Weekend?

 

Snowatch looks at what’s new in the resorts this year but also Pete ‘The Frog’ Taylor looks at what snow we currently have in the resorts, what’s likely to happen between now and then, and he gives us a rundown on what he thinks will be running for opening weekend 2016 in each resort. 

 

 Mt Buller

There will be a lively weekend of winter celebrations held up in the Mt Buller alpine village including the traditional ‘blessing of the snow’.

They have beefed up their snowmaking system with eleven new fully automatic DB6 snow guns. This extends snowmaking to the bottom section of The Chute and tops up coverage on key runs including Wombat, Shakey Knees and Family Run. This brings the automated snowmaking network to 244 guns.

Telstra has undertaken a series of projects to extend the height of the mobile phone base station located in the Mt Buller Village Square, raising it from 8 metres to 16 metres to improve the network coverage at the resort.

The extension has improved 3G coverage with the addition of 4G services, the base station can now provide access to high speed wireless broadband to all Telstra customers.

Although there has been a big effort of snowmaking on Little Buller Spur it looks like only Bourke Street will be ready for opening weekend.
Although there has been a big effort of snowmaking on Little Buller Spur it looks like only Bourke Street will be ready for opening weekend.

Some light natural snowfalls last week and some cold nights for snowmaking has left a thin base cover on the Bourke Street run. There is some rain coming later in the week which will damage this thin cover. Some light snow possible before opening but nothing to get too excited about.

Snowatch Opening Weekend Verdict:

Only chance is Bourke Street being open for skiing and boarding if the coming rain doesn’t cause to much damage to the existing light cover.

 

Hotham

Great news for families with teenagers this year as Hotham has increased the children’s age category from 14 years to 17 years for lift passes and equipment rental services at Hotham Sports. The oldies haven’t been left out either. Seniors 64-69 years can ski at kids’ prices all season long, skiers 70+ ski for free!

“Our Mountain Operations team has done a huge amount of work over summer to get us to this point. We’ve carefully installed more than a kilometre of water mains, six new snowmaking outlets, a new pump in our main pumping house, and we are rolling out 18 massive new snow cannons across the system.”

Hotham has increased it’s snowmaking capacity over the summer and have been pumping out a lot of snow over the last week. Belinda Trembath, General Manager of the Mt Hotham Skiing Company, said “The expanded snowmaking in Heavenly Valley is part of the final stage of a snowmaking master plan we began in 1998. Now we only have The Summit area to go, where we’ll be putting in twelve additional snow cannons ahead of next season”

There is currently a light cover on the higher areas like Big D and The Summit. With not too much rain damage and a couple more nights of snowmaking these two runs could possibly be open for the opening weekend.

Snowatch Opening Weekend Verdict:

Only real chance of runs being open is The Summit and possibly (but not likely) Big D if we can get a couple more nights of snowmaking and the coming rain doesn’t cause too much damage.

 

Falls Creek

Light snow last week along with snowmaking has a nice light covering up top. The lower slopes are a no go til we get decent natural snow.

Towers at Falls Creek.
Towers at Falls Creek.
Snowatch Opening Weekend Verdict:

Towers is the best chance of opening, not likely an other runs at this stage. A lot will depend on how much damage the coming rain causes.

 

Mt Baw Baw

Snowatch Opening Weekend Verdict:

No snow and not likely to have enough to open any runs at this stage.

 

Perisher

Big things around Perisher for opening weekend with the popular Peak Festival on around the resort for the 8th year running. Over 35 music acts from all over will entertain the masses. You will need a ticket and kids under 15 with an adult are free.

With the most extensive snowmaking set up of all resorts and sitting nice and high above 1700m Perisher already has a nice thin covering on Front Valley. With some light falls of snow forecast amongst the rain there should be enough left for the groomers to farm what snow they have to get something open.

Perisher Front Valley consistently has the best opening weekend cover of any resort thanks to their extensive snowmaking.
Perisher Front Valley consistently has the best opening weekend snow cover of any resort thanks to their extensive snowmaking network.
Snowatch Opening Weekend Verdict:

The V8 chair and the Mitchell t-bars on Front Valley are a decent chance of running for opening weekend if we don’t get too much rain damage this weekend.

 

Thredbo

A huge start at Thredbo with free outdoor concerts to warm up the opening weekend crowd. There will be the regions biggest fireworks display as well as a fire show. The king of carving Kenji Ogawa, fires up chisel and chainsaw to create an icy village sculpture that becomes the centrepiece of the popular GH Mumm Village Long Lunch.

Party time in Thredbo for Opening weekend.
Party time in Thredbo for Opening weekend.

The kids are well looked after with a big program of things to do including a village wide treasure hunt, circus workshop, dance jam, face painting and art sessions. The roving street entertainment that includes the Human Snow Globe, Street Circus and mischievous Magician will excite all ages.

Thredbo haven't had the snow guns running as yet.
Thredbo haven’t had the snow guns running as yet.

The only bad side is that Thredbo is the only resort that hasn’t had the snow guns firing this year as yet as thus have only a light dusting of snow up top.

Snowatch Opening Weekend Verdict:

No snow = no skiing or boarding

 

Charlotte Pass

This year Children 4 and under ski free at Charlotte Pass. They have also add snowmaking to Guthries Poma area. Each Wednseday is Onesie Wednesday, and in the afternoon the kids get a free small popcorn.

Snowatch Opening Weekend Verdict:

Not open til June 24

 

Selwyn Snow Resort

A new name change in their 50th year of business, the previously named ‘Selwyn Snowfields’ is now ‘Selwyn Snow Resort’. With the resort being much lower than the others there hasn’t been a lot of snowmaking going on as yet and there is only a patch of snow.

There have been limited opportunities to make snow at Selwyn Snowfields.
There have been limited opportunities to make snow at Selwyn Snowfields.
Snowatch Opening Weekend Verdict:

No skiing/boarding as yet, but possibly small area of snow for snowplay if snowmakers can get a couple of nights in.

 

Keep an eye on the Snowatch forecasts for any upcoming snowfalls.

1-7 Day Forecast

8-14 Day Forecast

Long Range Forecast

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