Skiing in Australia this season has been full of ups and downs. During the beginning of the season in late June, snow was scarce. Many resorts were forced to employ snowmaking to replenish their trails and terrain. Soon after, cold temperatures began to roll in. The rest of the season looked like it would turn out ok in the end. This turned out to be false. As the mid-to-late portion of the Australian ski season approaches, rainfall has plagued the region. Some ski areas have even shut their doors temporarily.
Selwyn Ski Resort, located in the lower elevation region of New South Wales, has been shut down since July 29th. The resort has yet to announce a reopening date; the area will likely not open for the rest of the season due to high temperatures. With temperatures only going down to 35℉ (2℃) at night and reaching 45℉ (7℃) during the day, snowmaking becomes very difficult. Additionally, the resort only reopened this season after being decimated during the January 2020 wildfire season. It’s safe to say that Selwyn has not been facing the best of times. It also begs the question, how much longer will the resort be able to operate after three years of no operation and low elevation conditions?
Even the higher elevation ski resorts such as Thredbo and Perisher have been facing difficulties around this time. High temperatures lingered in the area earlier in August and caused significant snow melt. Some resorts even reached 50℉ (10℃), which is very unusual for this time. While some are still trying to enjoy skiing these mountains provide, many have also given up and put away their skis. From looking at various cams and video footage of these ski areas, much of the crowds from earlier in the season have left. Most of these resorts are also operating around 50% of their terrain. For the peak season, this is quite alarming, but it’s the sad reality for most Australian resorts. Mt. Hotham, for example, is only operating 31 out of its 100 trails. With a lack of terrain to ride on, it’s hard to entice skiers to come to the mountain.
All in all, skiing in Australia this season might have come with its challenges, but any skiing is more fun than no skiing. That mindset is especially important for the future as the weather becomes more unpredictable and climate change worsens, impacting our sport.