The race to be the first ski resort to open this season is on in earnest, with Perisher announcing it will open a week early on Friday, 4 June, ahead of the official opening of the ski season on Saturday, 12 June.
Cool conditions have allowed the snow guns to fire lots of man-made snow over Front Valley at Perisher where a snow depth of 25cm is being reported.
However, while Perisher is claiming opening honours this weekend, there has been man-made snow at Corin Forest in the ACT since the Easter long weekend.
“Our mountain operations team has been going back and forth in hard negotiations with the gods to organise a colder than average month of May,” said a statement on the Perisher website.
“With cool nights set as the new normal and another top-up on the way this week, we’re excited to kick things off with a bang on Friday, 4 June.”
A video on Perisher’s social media channels shows skiers blasting through mountains of fresh snow, however the reality is that only one groomed run at Front Valley will be ready, and that is provided Thursday’s pesky rain hasn’t washed any of it away.
Real-time snow cams at Perisher’s other popular runs, such as Happy Valley and Mount Perisher, show patchy snow cover.
Discounted lift tickets for the opening at Perisher are available with an adult one-day ticket costing $152.
The nearby resort at Thredbo has not joined the queue to open this weekend, and says it is looking forward to opening on the traditional June long weekend.
“Thredbo cams are showing a mountain becoming more and more blanketed in white, providing all the pre-season pump up for the upcoming winter season,” said the latest blog on the Thredbo website.
“With a cool change during the past few weeks, Thredbo’s snow guns have been firing. Combined with the natural snowfall, it’s providing a good early season base.”
This week’s weather forecast shows the possibility of some light natural snowfall above 1900 metres on Friday, 4 June, ahead of a much stronger chance of snow on Tuesday, 8 June, and Wednesday, 9 June.
Snow-goers should also note that the ski resorts are still under COVID-19 restrictions where face masks are being encouraged and a capacity of 75 per cent is still in place.
The long-range forecast for this season is a marked improvement on last year’s poor snow covering of 167cm at Spencer Creek, a location known as the barometer for snow depths in the mountains.
Snowatch forecaster Pete Taylor told Region Media he expects 180cm to 190cm of natural snow cover at the NSW resorts this season.
“There’s been a good run of cold nights, which has also allowed for lots of snowmaking periods so we’ll definitely have lifts open for the opening weekend,” he said.