Ski resorts shiver with delight after early snowfalls

A bumper season looks likely for the state's ski resorts after NSW was hit by a cold snap, dusting large areas in snow yesterday.

Snowfalls forced the partial closure of the Great Western Highway in the central tablelands as the region experienced its coldest May day in more than a decade. Snow also arrived in the Snowy Mountains and in Orange, Oberon and Sunny Corner.

"There were cars in my neighbourhood that had snow on the windscreen," Christine Rapley, a newsagent from Orange, said.

The Roads and Traffic Authority advised motorists travelling between Bathurst and Orange on the Mitchell Highway to reduce speed and to exercise caution.

In Sydney, temperatures fell to 7.9 degrees on Wednesday and yesterday, making them the coldest May days since 2007.

A Thredbo Ski Resort spokeswoman, Susie Diver, said that more than 20 centimetres of snow had been dumped on the mountain since Monday.

Snow early in the season keeps the ground cold, ensuring later falls do not melt away, she said.

"It acts like a fridge. Because we've had sub-zero temperatures, the ground is frozen, which provides a good base."

Snow continued to fall yesterday at Thredbo and Perisher resorts. Temperatures at Perisher reached minus eight on Wednesday night.

A Perisher spokesman, Neil Thew, said it already felt like the middle of winter.

"It's on the ground and we're grooming it right now so it stays there," he said.