Destinations

Winter Wonderland in spring!

Glenn Cullen - AAP

Your weekly ski and snowboard round-up.

FIRST TRACKS

The heat is on but don’t worry too much. While soft spring riding will be the order of the weekend the snow is still holding up well in Perisher, Thredbo, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek. Mt Buller and Mt Selwyn may struggle a little more after Sunday.

So far we’ve been largely spared the consistent rain or multiple warm days that seemed to have reared their head over the last few seasons in late winter/early spring.

Given there were also top ups at our big resorts of between 10 and 20cm earlier in the week, the net result is that the snowbase has remained pretty static up high, up to about 1.4 metres – more than enough to get us through to the October long weekend.

Events-wise, the big one continuing over the weekend is the Australian interschools at Mt Buller where the next generation of local snow talent will slug it out across the range of ski and snowboard disciplines.

Up to 15,000 individual competitors are expected to take part across the five day program.

Fresh Spring snow in Thredbo earlier this week
Fresh Spring snow in Thredbo earlier this week

MORE LOVE IN NZ

With a bumper year that promises to keep on giving well into September, New Zealand’s Mt Ruapehu has locked in an extended season – until October 26.

At a time when most places in Australasia will be thinking about the next year the two sides of the mighty volcano, Turoa and Whakapapa, will still be spinning lifts.

As mentioned before, this place can get a bad rap for the weather which admittedly can be deserved. But Spring generally stabilises and with a snow base that is tipping three metres (and could reach four with a few decent September storms) this joint will be rideable well into November.

Web: www.mtruapehu.com

Mt Ruapehu sunset.
Mt Ruapehu sunset.

TOP GEAR

So hot right now: The Snow Gauge tends to feel the heat rather than the cold but for those who have chills that end up multiplying, there is a solution: self-heating compression clothing.

Australian company Avade offers various baselayers that suit this very purpose. Their tops have carbon fibre heating elements which can produce up to six hours of warmth on three different settings.

The heat is delivered to two areas across the chest and one at the back and is controlled by a button on the sleeve.

The tops are powered by rechargeable batteries and come in the key colours – of black and white. Could be just the thing when caught at the top of the Kosciuszko Express, chilly northern Hokkaido or Alberta. Price: $199.

See: www.avade.com.au for more details.

Avade heated undergarment
Avade heated undergarment

DEALING WITH IT

On-snow accommodation in Australia can sure be a stretch to the average punter in peak season, so Spring is the time to go if you want the convenience of a bed near the slopes without having to sell your Subaru.

Thredbo Alpine Hotel has rates from $124 per person per night this month, including breakfast. The resort also has an array of kids ski free deals with a full-paying adult in September.

While we reckon Perisher has won the snow war with its pass deals this year, here’s a battle that Thredbo takes by a knockout – it considers children to be under 18 while Perisher reckons they’re adults by 15.

Last time I checked my 15 year-old couldn’t vote or drink, so work that one out.

Web: www.thredbo.com.au

CONDITIONS APPLY – WITH WEATHER GURU PETE `THE FROG’ TAYLOR

Classic spring conditions emerge this weekend – you know when 25 degree-plus temperatures hit in Sydney and Melbourne that the hairdryer will hit the high-country slopes.

“We’ll get some melt and then the winds will pick up later on Sunday,” says The Frog.

“But on Monday and Tuesday we’ll see a little snow, perhaps down to 1500m. It should be a pretty good spring though and the big resorts should comfortably see it through until early October.”

Meanwhile winter continues in New Zealand. A mostly fine weekend should give way to some more snow later next week.

For The Frog’s up-to-date weather forecasts: www.snowatch.com.au

LAST RESORT – A LOOK AT AUSTRALASIA’S FORGOTTEN ALPINE AREAS

Soho Basin, NZ: This little-known ski area has been operating near QT and it seems to be ‘on the QT’ as well, such is the lack of talk about the place.

Located next to the commercial resort of Cardrona between Wanaka and Queenstown, Soho has been billed a South Island secret “for 85 years”.

Its 264 hectares of terrain are serviced by oversnow vehicles which allow patrons to get fresh powder turns down its 500m vertical faces. There’s a mix of riding for all levels and the slopes are generally south-facing so the snow stays in good nick.

A half day which includes four runs comes in at $NZ295; a nice price point between day passes and full snowcat/heli-ski operations which are far more expensive. Full days are $NZ580.

With a great snow base and recent top-ups in the Southern Lakes area they’re likely to be riding there well into September so it’s a good option for an add-on to skiing/boarding at nearby Treble Cone and Cardrona.

Bookings are essential.

Web: www.sohobasin.co.nz

Soho Basin: NZ's biggest snow secret?
Soho Basin: NZ’s biggest snow secret?

THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!

Thanks for following The Snow Gauge this season.

This will be the last weekly column looking at Australasia this year – I’ll turn my attention to a big preview of the northern hemisphere season next week.

Facebook.com/thesnowgauge.net

Twitter: @thesnowgauge

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