Both Australia and New Zealand saw heavy snowfalls over the final days of June and the start of July, heralding the true start of the 2004 season in this part of the southern hemisphere.
More than a metre of fresh natural snow was dumped on Perisher Blue ski resort which had a mixture of blizzard conditions, sun filled days, crisp cold nights and plenty of excellent early winter snow. The powder accumulated to the delight of skiers and boarders who descended on the mountains with one thing on their minds, fresh tracks, and there were plenty to be had.
Perisher Blue was quick to open more terrain across the resort as the snow continued to fall, while being mindful of the need to ensure guest safety is at the forefront of any decision to open new areas. Ski Patrollers rigorously checked and marked all sections within the resort boundaries and Perisher’s fleet of snow-groomers have been preparing the slopes and lift access points.
More runs for all standards are now set to open in the lead up to the first weekend of the school holidays, starting with the Double Chair on the flagship Mount Perisher which opened late Wednesday.
As well as the countless natural hits, kickers, jumps and burms on offer for the more adventurous at Perisher Blue, there is also a beginner terrain park now located in the Leichhardt area of Centre Valley. Guests can hone their skills and get comfortable riding rails in time for the soon to be installed expert park features.
With over a metre of snow at Mount Hotham, all 13 lifts are now open with the mountain 100 percent operational. Hotham now has almost 60cms more snow
coverage than it did this time last year and significantly more than the same time in epic season 2000. The natural snowfall base stands at 101cm, with 14cm of fresh white powdery snow falling overnight.
"The snow cover extends right across the resort", said Helen Moran, General Manager of Mount Hotham Skiing Company. "Just when we think these early-season weeks can't get any better, we get another fresh dump of snowfall."
With all areas of Hotham's varied terrain now open, the highest alpine village in Australia can cater to every standard of skier and boarder. First timers can head to the Summit; Blue Ribbon is a paradise for intermediates, with its variety of wooded runs and hidden powder stashes; and advanced terrain junkies should head for the double-blacks of Gotcha, with extreme skiing and boarding to be found in runs like Mary's Slide and Lindsay's.