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Best snow of the season lures ski bunnies to the slopes

Date

Michaela Whitbourn

A kid at Perisher Blue appreciates the snow after 15 centimetres fell overnight.

A kid at Perisher Blue appreciates the snow after 15 centimetres fell overnight.

After a slow start to the snow season, skiers and snow-boarders are hitting the slopes in NSW after cold temperatures and rain combined to turn grassy slopes white.

About 15 centimetres of snow fell overnight on Saturday at the Perisher Ski Resort as temperatures plunged below zero degrees - and the prime snow-making conditions are expected to continue.

"It's still snowing now which is great," said Richard Phillips, Perisher's sales and marketing manager.

Parents and their kids are among those hitting the slopes this weekend.

Parents and their kids are among those hitting the slopes this weekend. Photo: Perisher Blue

"There'd be a few hundred people out there this morning skiing and boarding on the beginner slopes of Front Valley. It looks like it's going to get cooler on the back of this front so we should get some really good cold air coming through this afternoon and into tonight, which will be fantastic for snow-making over the next 24 to 48 hours as well."

It was a different story a week ago, when there were only patches of snow for the traditional Queen's Birthday long-weekend start to the snow season. Perisher opened part of its resort last weekend, thanks to its snow machine rather than natural snow.

Perisher was the only Australian resort that was open for skiing and boarding on Sunday but Thredbo is not expected to be far behind.

Happy Valley in Perisher has been covered in snow overnight.

Happy Valley in Perisher has been covered in snow overnight.

"The colder temperatures and the snow will definitely allow us to open some lifts," said Luke Kneller, Thredbo's media manager.

Weatherzone meteorologist Ben McBurney said it was "probably the best snowfalls of the season so far".

"There's no more grass really viewable on the snow cams now for Perisher at least, so that's the good news. But lower down off the peaks at Thredbo, in the village, it's still pretty grassy."

Alpine Way at Thredbo received snowfall in recent days too.

Alpine Way at Thredbo received snowfall in recent days too.

He said about 20cm of snow fell overnight at the Thredbo Top Station weather station but "most of the snow was pretty high up about the Snowy Mountains, so the lower resorts like Thredbo Village got nothing at all".

But he said that snow should fall on the lower resorts in coming days, including up to 15 centimetres at Perisher and Thredbo.

"Looking ahead for at least the next two weeks, it looks like we're going to see a bit more frontal activity across southern Australia so that means we should see some more snow across most resorts even by tomorrow," Mr McBurney said.

Not everywhere at Thredbo has snow yet.

Not everywhere at Thredbo has snow yet.

"It should get down to lower resorts than this event did. So we should see at least another five to ten centimetres across most resorts come Tuesday morning. We should even see in my opinion probably in terms of the big alps in NSW...the best snow we've seen all season in terms of widespread snow."

Mr McBurney said this year's snow season "definitely has been warmer than usual".

"We normally would have some kind of cover by now. The Queen's Birthday long weekend we had only grass on the slopes, which wasn't too good," he said.

"So far for the month for example at Thredbo it's averaging 4.5 degrees, which is almost three degrees above the long-term June average. It hasn't been drier than usual but it's just been too warm for snow, really."

Mr Phillips said Perisher regarded this year's season as "pretty normal".

"We would have liked a little bit more snow earlier but normally around that mid-June... is when we start to see good winter storms flow through which is what we saw last night.

"As we make more snow and we get more natural snow falls, we'll open up more and more of the resort as every week goes by."

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this site.

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