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Ski season in jeopardy as low snow levels force cancellations


Popular Australian ski resorts are hastily rearranging their schedules as conditions are not allowing the winter season to begin.

Perisher is looking barren with the 2023 ski season delayed.

Some of Australia’s premier ski resorts have pushed back the opening day for their 2023 winter seasons until after the King’s Birthday long weekend due to a lack of snow.

NSW resorts Thredbo and Selwyn were both due to open tomorrow, however both have delayed the start, offering credit to affected visitors with booked accommodation and lift passes.

For Selwyn, this year marked the reopening of the resort after much of its infrastructure was destroyed in the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.

Conditions have not been favourable this week, with forecasted rainfall and mid-mountain temperatures around seven degrees Celsius causing some accumulated snowfall to melt.

Things are no better at Mt Buller.

Longer-term outlooks at Thredbo show light snowfall scheduled for next week, however this is expected to be little more than 10 centimetres. Things aren’t much better at Mt Buller, with temperatures of eight degrees accompanied by rain.

Snow Season Central spokesman Edwyn Raine said similar conditions globally had been seen in early parts of the winter season.

“Austria in Europe had a particularly slow start to winter with barren pistes in late December,” Raine said.

Selwyn was severely impacted by the 2019 Black Summer bushfires.

“Unfortunately, this is just a sign of the times and we can only hope more snow is around the corner!”

Protect Our Winters spokesperson Sam Quirk, who represents concerned ski season enthusiasts, athletes and resorts, said he was concerned about the impact of climate change on Australian winters.

“Just yesterday we had to push our Falls Creek opening back a month. It's not looking good for the beginning of the season,” Quirk said.

“It means there’s less traffic up at the resort. People would have had their accommodation booked, some people might cancel if they can.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, Cardrona is blanketed in white powder.

“It’s most impactful for small and local businesses who have had a terribly hard time over the past few years with bushfire and Covid. Falls Creek missed most of their past summer mountain bike season due to a landslip on a road.

“It’s really really rough for the local and small businesses. It’s a real concern.”

Conditions couldn’t be more different in parts of New Zealand, with good early season snowfall being recorded across many alpine regions including Cardrona.

In Otago, cold temperatures and no rainfall are expected to mitigate a lack of forecasted snowfall for the coming week.


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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 9 June 2023

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