Peruse the web cams of Australian snow resorts and you may think it time to polish the mountain bike and wax the surfboard. Yet in two sleeps the Australasian ski season will officially begin as Australia's five key commercial resorts and one of New Zealand's open on Saturday.
But before everyone gets their beanie into a twist, let us put the barren snow images into perspective. There has been little natural snow, if any, on the ground at Spencers Creek (the official Snowy Mountains snow depth measurement location) during the first week of June over the past five years.
Sure, it has been hotter than a bikram yoga class in Sydney over the past few weeks, but the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales and Victoria are a six-to-eight-hour drive south and another climate away. That's like saying fish fell from the sky in Alice Springs so therefore the ski season will never take off.
Let's remember that every June it is the same - bugger all natural snow and a heavy reliance on the artificial kind. While temperatures haven't been conducive this year to making man-made snow prior to this weekend, the good news is temperatures are looking to drop and the snow guns should be blasting come Friday or Saturday.
Longer term is harder to predict. Even meteorologists, including snow forecasting site Mountainwatch.com’s revered ‘Grasshopper’, are finding it difficult to be definitive about a long-term forecast. While Mountainwatch says the season is El Nino, their Grasshopper is still not willing to say if it will be dry or not.
Why? Because in 1991 the El Nino pattern delivered a 250 centimetre snow base at Spencers Creek in August and September, but in 1982 the same El Nino pattern meant the measure never hit the metre mark all winter. I'm gunning for 2014 being the new 1991.
But what of those Kiwis across the ditch, you may ask? Well before we get all excited over the hundreds of images of New Zealand under a blanket of pristine white snow that saturated social media on Monday last week, let us remember the rain that followed. Didn't see those pics? Funny that.
One Kiwi marketer for a group travel company thought it hilarious to post a photo of a Cardrona all-white snow cam image next to a Perisher all-green snow cam image as a way to promote themselves. Easy marketing, not clever, and way too early in the season to claim the winning snow podium, especially if your target market is Australia.
While we may complain about snow conditions we are very loyal to our snow fields. In other words, I can bitch about my mother but you can't.
The lucky Kiwis have had lower temperatures allowing for snow making that has ensured their web cams have at least some white in them which is more than we have got. The marketing battle is officially on.
While Coronet Peak near Queenstown was quick to point out in a release yesterday that they would be the first in Australasia to open for actual skiing, Mt Hutt had to send out a release on the same day announcing the delay of their opening due to rain storms predicted this weekend. The same rain is destined to wash away a lot of their hard-earned snow-making work. You have to shake your head and fist at Mother Nature as she gives then takeths away then gives again with more snow predicted once the rain has gone.
New Zealand's marketing battle has certainly been helped this year by a rather hefty grant from their government who recently granted NZSki.com $250 000 to generate an e-commerce project designed to create an extra fifteen million snow holiday dollars. The ski resort company behind Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt has also contributed around $450 000 towards the same project with the target of securing a hundred and sixty thousand snow loving Aussies to cross the ditch each winter.
Still, we have the Perisher Freedom Chair. Not that we're competitive, but we are excited at the prospect of a new high speed chairlift accessing Guthega terrain that is set to open this winter. Almost as excited as The Remarkables is about their new Curvey Basin chairlift accessing terrain you previously had to hike to and opening up new intermediate runs.
Clearly we both have cause for celebration, and what better excuse for a party than the Opening Weekend in Australia?
Expect Sneaky Sound System to perform in the Village Square at Thredbo this Saturday night; over a hundred and thirty music gigs at Perisher for the Peak Festival; the Melbourne Comedy Festival descends upon Falls Creek for opening celebrations; Dinner Plain at Hotham welcomes Masterchef contestants and celebrity chefs for a weekend of culinary highlights and you can meet Australia's Sochi Winter Olympians including silver medalist David Morris at Mt Buller.
So that said, what are you? A snow globe half-full or snow globe half-empty kind of skier or boarder? Do you predict a ripper season or are you an early season naysayer? Post a comment on the blog below and share your love or lack of it.
We are so excited about our #misssnowitall Instagram competition this year and with a trip to Japan up for grabs who wouldn't be?
Thanks to the Japan experts at Liquid Snow Tours and Hakuba Hotel Group we have a trip for two to Hakuba in Japan flying direct with Jetstar from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne with seven nights at the conveniently located Hakuba Springs Hotel, daily breakfast, five of nine day multi-resort lift passes for the Hakuba Valley, welcome drinks, transfers, in resort assistance and concierge service. Now that's how you do Hakuba in style.
To enter just tag your winter inspired Instagrams with #misssnowitall.
We will choose five winners each week for our gallery, and come September, our guest judge will choose our finalists from the gallery and you get to judge the ultimate winner of this fantastic week in Japan. Click here for full terms and conditions.
Email Miss Snow It All firstname.lastname@example.org