2012's best snow photos

Like every winter season 2012 has come with highs and lows for Australia and New Zealand.

Pro photo of the year: Steve Cuff’s ‘Ritchie Adams at Hotham on the deepest day of the year'
Pro photos of the year: Camilla Stoddart's 'Mountains are king'.

August in Australia was the month that just kept on giving, with weekly snow storms dumping anything from 20 to 90 centimetres of snow and the weather miraculously clearing for the weekend crowds (could the marketers have planned it any better?). The cover was enough for Perisher and Thredbo to extend their closing dates to October 5 and 7 respectively.

WIN a Vail Resorts Epic Season Pass - keep reading for more details.

New Zealand wasn't quite so lucky with the snowfalls, with many Canterbury club fields closing mid-season until the snow came again, and it did. Queenstown fields copped the drought the worst and August was looking pretty dire. Then came some mammoth South Island snow storms, closing airports and bringing mid-winter conditions to the ski fields. It was enough to get social media (and me) salivating.

Good and bad, we again learned that winter is a sultry mistress and impossible to tame. My own eyes were opened wide this winter. I personally learned that there is life in the old Thredbo Alpine Hotel and that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Not only does the hotel offer free wi-fi, it surely has the best ski hotel breakfast on offer, served by a team that have either been drugged in a good way or genuinely love their job (we suspect the latter). Trust me, this was far from the case two seasons ago.

Think thick crusty fresh breads, shots of fresh bircher muesli, parfaits, chunky mushrooms, spanish eggs, muffins and croissants and all manner of thigh expanding evil. Somebody has clearly got something right.

Pro photo of the year: Steve Cuff’s ‘Ritchie Adams at Hotham on the deepest day of the year'
Pro photos of the year: Steve Cuff's 'Ritchie Adams at Hotham on the deepest day of the year'

I learnt that Hotham on a powder day is akin to heli-skiing in New Zealand (and quicker to get to with 80-minute flights from Sydney with Qantas Link), sure, you have to use manpower to get to Golden Point or One Tree Hill or take the 'Hotham Kat' further afield but the same cheers of joy will escape your lips without gouging your wallet. Yes, yes, you have to get up early - but that's just a first world problem.

I re-learnt that skiing with a hangover, even for one run, will end in tears and a physio appointment, that storm skiing in the trees in Australia is some of the best fun to be had, that Torah Bright's career was deeply impacted by the death of her (and the snow world's) beloved Sarah Burke and that a man with no legs can find his feet again on the snow.

I learnt that curling is never done sober at Mt Olympus, that the view from Ohau potentially beats the one from Treble Cone, that the Cardrona Hotel puts sweet chilli on their nachos (what the?) and that if you have to sit out a gale force wind storm while waiting for a helicopter that may never arrive then there are worse places than the luxe Whare Kea Lodge in Wanaka to do so (yes, am boasting there).

Pro photo of the year: Darren Teasdale's 'Signatures'.
Pro photos of the year: Darren Teasdale's 'Signatures'

With only two blogs left till the end of Snow It All for the 2012 snow season we invited five pro photographers from Australia and New Zealand to submit their favourite winter photo from 2012 showing what they learned this winter in all her glory.

Pro photo of the year Andrew Fawcett 'Dan Currie near Charlotte's Pass'
Pro photos of the year: Andrew Fawcett's 'Dan Currie near Charlotte's Pass'.

You will find each picture throughout this blog from Chris Hocking who discovered the joy of sunsets, Camilla Stoddart who wrestled with New Zealand all winter, Darren Teasdale who found peace in the backcountry of Australia, Andrew Fawcett who embraced Charlotte Pass and Steve Cuff who says he had his best three all time days in 21-straight seasons this year (big call from Cuffy).

Sadly we're missing Dan Himbrechts for the first time since this competition began but he, also for the first time, spent no professional photo time on snow this season.

Pro photo of the year: Chris Hocking's 'Sunset at Bogong'.jpg
Pro photos of the year: Chris Hocking's 'Sunset at Bogong'.

The good news is the photographers aren't the only ones with an Epic (see what I did there) prize up for grabs.

Vote now for the winning photo for your chance to WIN a Vail Epic Resorts Pass worth $679 - even if you bought one it would pay itself off in six days. Simply tell us which photo should win and why by posting a comment on the blog below.

The winning photographer also gets a Vail Resorts Epic Pass thanks to Travelplan Ski Holidays, the photographer that comes second wins a Burton F Stop 28L backpack and the photographer in third place a Douchebag ski bag. Winners announced in our final blog next week. Terms & Conditions.

Announcing the winner of the #misssnowitall instagram2win competiton

Congratulations to @nicklovin69s whose winning instagram "Sleep Skiing" received the most votes. It was a close call between Nick's image and Robin MacDonald's image of Gus Kenworthy with a handful of votes between them. Nick has won return flights for two across the ditch with Air New Zealand. Check out all the finalists in the competition here.

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The writers stayed as a guest of Thredbo Alpine Hotel.