Additional police will be deployed to the Snowy Mountains region from across NSW as part of a high-visibility police operation when the 2020 ski season commences next week.
The official NSW snow season begins on Monday, 22 June, with ski resorts opening throughout the week and enacting COVID-19 safe plans.
NSW Police is urging the community to have a plan and stay snow safe.
The NSW Police Deputy Commissioner, Regional NSW Field Operations, Gary Worboys, said visitors to the area can expect to see a different kind of snow season in 2020.
Patrolling the region will be general duties officers, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Southern Region Enforcement Squad, licensing police and other specialist officers, including trained alpine operators.
“The population of our snowfields and surrounding towns increases exponentially during winter, and for local police, community safety is always the number one priority,” said Deputy Commissioner Worboys.
“This year we have the added complexities of COVID-19, and we are working closely with the ski resorts and our partner agencies to ensure the safety of the community.
“Police will continue to patrol these areas to ensure compliance and we ask the public to continue to adhere to restrictions and ensure they observe physical distancing guidelines.”
NSW Police Southern Region Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Greg Moore, said police will be out in force to ensure the safety of the community.
“People can expect to see police out and about throughout the season targeting road safety, alcohol-related crime, antisocial behaviour and personal safety,” said Acting Assistant Commissioner Moore.
“We will have additional staff seconded to Jindabyne from other police districts who will support the work of our local police, and other units such as Highway Patrol, the dog squad and the Region Enforcement Squad.
“Our priority is to keep people safe – on the slopes, roads, licensed venues and out and about in the alpine region.
“Snowfield conditions can be difficult to navigate so we would like to remind everyone to prioritise safety on your journey. Pay close attention to the roads, don’t get distracted, and slow down.”
NSW Police is also urging hikers visiting the region to ensure personal safety by submitting a trip intention form and hiring a personal locator beacon before heading out into the national park.
Snow forecaster Pete Taylor, from Snowatch, said the news is good and bad for people heading to the Snowy Mountains for the opening week of the ski season.
“It looks like we will see very little in the way of natural snow falling in the resorts during the next couple of weeks,” he said. “The southern hemisphere is being dominated by strong high-pressure systems that are forcing any potential snow systems to the south under the mainland.
“Opening weekend looks like we might see some snow around the 23rd-24th [June] and fingers crossed this one brings something decent.
“While we don’t look like seeing any really big natural falls for a little while yet, we have the next best thing and that is a lot of cold, clear nights with light winds coming up that will allow the snow guns to fire for long periods and at least create enough of a base to make sure we do have some runs open and lifts spinning come season opening.”