Ski Season Comes to an Early End at Mt. Baw Baw, Australia

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
A sad sight from Mt Baw Baw, VIC, where some slopes are left without a fleck of snow. | Picture: Mt Baw Baw Webcam

Mt Baw Baw Resort, Australia, announced on Friday, August 25, 2023, that the resort will close early after unseasonably warm conditions. The lift operator Alpine Resorts Victoria announced that the official snow season at Mt Baw Baw will be declared closed on Sunday September 3, 2023.

Mt Baw Baw is located only two and a half hours east of Melbourne and reaches a top altitude of 1,567 metres (5,141 ft). The resort offers about 30 hectares (74 acres) of beginner to intermediate skiing and boarding serviced by six lifts.

The Mt Baw Baw village has only tiny patches of snow left. | Picture: Mt Baw Baw Webcam

The relatively low altitude of the resort means that the unseasonably warm weather has affected Mt Baw Baw more than other resorts in Australia. Australia likely has an El Niño pattern developing, which means that high pressure systems are prevalent over the continent. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific are currently exceeding El Niño thresholds and will likely stay high through to early 2024. El Niño typically means below average winter–spring rainfall in eastern Australia where the ski fields are located.

A sad sight from Mt Baw Baw, VIC, where slopes are left without a fleck of snow. | Picture: Mt Baw Baw Webcam

This season’s low natural snowfalls combined with above average temperatures which negatively impacted snow making capabilities means that the snow cover at Mt Baw Baw has been eroded significantly. Pictures from the resort’s webcams paint a sad picture. For skiing and boarding, this leaves only two lifts running at the resort, a surface lift and a conveyer belt, and one run open, as well as the Toboggan Park.

The last surface lift running and the last slope at Mt Baw Baw, VIC. | Picture: Mt Baw Baw Webcam

Resort entry will cease after September 3 but access to the mountain will remain open. Food and beverage offerings will be tailored to meet demand.

Visitors outside of the snow season are reminded to check the local weather forecast before visiting, as snow can fall at any time of the year creating icy conditions on the road.

“Unfortunately I have some sad news to share, our snow season is coming to an early end in a weeks time. Our last day to shred up the snow will be Sunday the 3rd of September. Now while the 2023 winter may not go down in the records for delivering the quality snow we’ve enjoyed in previous seasons there were plenty of great days over the course of this winter.”
Mt Baw Baw

Global warming continues to influence the Australian ski season. July 2023 was the hottest month on the globe and has taken a toll on Australian snow cover across resorts. August saw little to no snow and temperatures are unlikely to return to below freezing at lower altitudes for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the Australian Interschools competition, scheduled for September 5-10, 2023, at Mt Buller, VIC, was cancelled yesterday.

While the 2023 Australian season seems to go out with a fizzle rather than a bang, we can all be grateful that it was an overall decent ski season after all the negative forecasts for the 2023 season. 

Very little snow is left at Mt Baw Baw and the resort will close on September 3, 2023. | Picture: Mt Baw Baw Webcam

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