3 April 2023

Winter comes early as Corin Forest turns on the snow makers

| James Coleman
Join the conversation
Let it snow

Corin Forest snow guns. Photo: Corin Forest, Facebook.

Okay, so it’s not quite Anzac Day (the socially acceptable time to power up the heaters), but snow’s already falling in Canberra. Kind of.

‘Pre-season Snow Play’ is starting in time for Good Friday at Corin Forest, Canberra’s very own wintry resort near the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

Corin Forest marketing manager Ashleigh Harrow says they first fired up the all-weather snowmaking machine this early a few years ago.

“We decided to open up snow play for the Easter long weekend in 2019 just for a bit of fun and it was a hit, so we’ve been doing it ever since. It’s become a tradition.”

READ ALSO For the most raptor-ous birthday in town, this one’s dino-mite

Corin Forest is Canberra and Sydney’s closest brush with snow, located in a ‘frost hollow’ 50 minutes from Civic. It’s celebrating its 40th birthday this year, even preparing to make an appearance in the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival 2023.

The ’40 Fest’ on Sunday, 30 April, offers visitors the chance to learn how “snowmaking brought skiing to Canberra’s backyard”, including some of the early machinery.

“With live music and stalls from local community partners, this is one big day of fun in the mountains,” the Heritage Festival website reads.

Corin Forest usually receives about six natural snowfalls each winter, averaging five to 10 centimetres per fall. When it opened in 1983, there were no snow guns or ski lifts and only a flying fox and water slide to cater for the summer months.

“There have been many different plans over the years, not all of which went ahead, but so many people have memories from when they came up here as kids.”

Ashleigh says they need to wait for minimum temperatures to fall below -2 Celsius before they can fire up the fan-powered snow guns overnight, but there’s no such requirement for their new ‘Yeti’ snowmaker.

“This machine makes flake ice inside the unit using refrigeration, meaning it is not reliant on it being sub-zero to produce snow,” she says.

READ ALSO QUIZ: What’s Canberra’s oldest (surviving) building? And 9 other things to test yourself on this week

“It’s particularly useful at the start of the season and allows us to put a base of snow down and get operating at times when the weather is not cooperative.”

Grooming machines then move the snow across the hill and prepare it with a smooth surface that is safe and easy to ski and ride on. The cover can be up to 2.5 metres deep in the right conditions, even if it’s “not the same as a full-on winter experience”.

“The snow is a little icier and it’s not as big an area, but it’s perfect for a bit of fun,” Ashleigh says.

“Obviously, it’s a bit quieter at this time of year, but we’re already getting quite a few bookings for the Easter long weekend. Where else can you go and play in the snow in April? Especially if it’s a warm day, it’s a nice way to cool down.”

Corin Forest is also known for its Alpine Slide, a metal toboggan track that carries riders 1.2 kilometres through a forest of mountain ash trees. This is open year-round, and tickets must be bought in advance through the website.

The main snow season kicks off for the King’s Birthday long weekend in June when they open up the ski slope seven days a week.

“Between bushfires, floods and COVID, we’ve had a rough few years at Corin, but the team’s really banded together,” Ashleigh says.

“We’re super excited to be heading in winter again and bringing it back the way we used to and making it even better for the future.”

Corin Forest is located at 1268 Corin Rd, Paddys River.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.