The Australian ski season goes from June to October but be
aware that Australian snow falls are highly variable, as illustrated in
the first graph. The good news is that, averaged over several years,
the snow falls do not seem to be getting worse and a very good dump
seems to occur every few years. Picking, in advance, which years are
"good" seems impossible.
However, just like going to the horse races, it pays to know the "odds"
a particular week of the year
will be good - that's what this site is
- averaging the conditions over many years. The third
gives these odds.
Ski Helmets - a buyers guide (thanks Tom Gibson). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Position Statement - Helmet Use in Skiing and Snow Boarding
As a rough guide, the ski resorts are conditions are:
Graphs of Snow Depth
The first graph is not a 3D model of the Snowy
Mountains! It shows the depth of snow (cm) by time of year over the
period 1954-2012. The
left axis is month, starting at the back with June and ending at the
with October. JU1 stands for the first week in June, JU3 stands for
in June. The right axis is year, starting with 1954 on the left and
with 2012 on the right.
graph shows the depth of snow in the middle of August & September
respectively (3rd week), over the period
1954-2012. The year to year variations are very evident in this graph.
They do not seem to be predictable! The linear trendline shows no
noticeable change to the avarage depth during August over the decades.
But the peaks seem to be getting lower!
graph shows the probability of certain depths of snow by
time of year. For example, in the third week of August (AU3) there is
a 55% chance of a snow depth exceeding 150 cm (purple curve) and
a 87% chance of a snow depth exceeding 1 metre (blue curve). These
values are based on the number of years where the given snow depth is
equalled or exceeded, out of the total of 59 years of data. So if
20 years during this period equalled or exceeded a depth 100cm the
probability is 20/59 = 34%. This does not take account of any chnage in
trends in recent years.
Subject to the high
variability and small sample sizes, a good snow fall in mid-June
did suggest a good season. For the period 1964 to 1995, of 11 years
where there was 50cm or more
in mid-June there were 7 years where the snow exceeded 150cm in late
(64% of 11). Of the 21 years where the snow was under 50cm in mid-June
were also 7 years where snow exceeded 150cm in late August (33% of 21).
other words, there is twice the chance
at the peak of the season if there is reasonable snow in mid-June!
2015 - 1 June - a promising start to the season
However, I have been spoilt by conditions in Hakuba, Japan (Jan 2015):
2013 - 8 June
2011 - 9 June
2010 - 21 June - promising start!
2008 - No sign of snow!
The Age 4 May 08: High hopes for bumper ski season
2007 - Patchy but cold
2006 - Promising in mid June!
Update 2 Aug 06: BUT... with a snow depth of less than 0.6m at Spencers Creek at the start of August it is in the running the worst season since 1973. Update: sure was!
2005 - Like a mid-summer day!
2 Jun 05: This year SE Australia experienced one of its
warmest, driest autumns on record. Let's hope it doesn't continue
Unfortunately warm weather and rain ruined things from early September 1999.