Grassy start to 2018 snow season
Most of Australia's ski resorts won't be opening their slopes this long weekend, despite some fresh falls in the mountains today.
Australia's ski season usually starts on the June long weekend. However this year, like many in recent memory, simply hasn't seen enough early-season snow to allow a decent snow base to build up yet.
The early weeks of Australia's snow season are notoriously fickle. Any snow that falls during May and early June often melts due warm daytime temperatures and periods of rain in between cold fronts. It's not until deeper into winter that we usually see more persistent cold weather and the build up of a better base.
Looking back at the natural snow depths at Spencers Creek in recent years gives a good indication of how temperamental early-June snow can be in Australia. Spencers Creek is located between Perisher and Thredbo in NSW, just over 1,800 metres above sea level.
On June 7th last year, there was 19cm of natural snow on the ground at Spencers Creek. On the same date this year, there was none.
Other dates that had zero centimeters of snow at Spencers Creek in recent years include: June 16th in 2016, June 12th in 2014, June 13th in 2013 and June 12th in 2008. By contrast, there was already 37.5cm of snow by June 7th in 2012 and 2009 had 53cm on the ground by June 11th.
Despite the slow start to the snow season this year, there may be some better falls on the horizon.
A northwest cloudband is causing a mix of rain and snow across the alpine areas of Victoria and NSW today, with snow mostly confined to the mountain peaks and higher slopes.
Dry weather will return from Saturday and freezing overnight temperatures will provide a good opportunity for artificial snowmaking during the long weekend.
Things look more promising next week. A procession of cold fronts between Tuesday and the following weekend should deliver daily bouts of snowfalls in the alps. Within this period, snow is likely to make it down into the valleys, giving the resorts a proper taste of what lies ahead this season.
After a grassy start to the 2018 ski season, things should be looking better by next weekend.Visit http://www.weatherzone.com.au/snow/ for a 14 day alpine snow forecast throughout the ski season.