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Snowy slopes a welcome sight in the alps

Ben Domensino, Monday June 29, 2020 - 10:29 EST

Some of Australia's ski resorts enjoyed a good weekend of artificial snowmaking, with a top up of natural snow on the way later this week.

Image: Snowmaking in full swing at Perisher Resort, NSW on the weekend. Image: Perisher

A dominance of high pressure systems and an associated lack of snow-bearing cold fronts have limited the amount of natural snow in the Australians alps this winter.

In the middle of last week, there was only 25cm of natural snow on the ground at Spencers Creek in NSW. This is about 15cm lower than the same time last year and 46cm lower than the year before that.

But despite another dry weekend in the mountains, a string of freezing nights have allowed some ski resorts to pump out a thick cover of artificial snow.

Image: Snowmaking at Mount Hotham on the weekend. Image: Hotham Alpine Resort

The temperature at Thredbo Top Station dropped to around -8 degrees each morning between Saturday and Monday, which was its coldest trio of mornings so far this season. Across the border, Mount Hotham Airport reached between -4 and -6 degrees on each of the last four mornings.

These freezing overnight conditions were ideal for long stints of snowmaking, which could be groomed to perfection by the resort's crews.

What were patchy strips of snow on Friday afternoon, had turned into picturesque snow-covered slopes by Monday morning.

Looking ahead, the mostly artificial snowbase will be topped up with some falls later this week, as a cold airmass passes over the alps between Thursday and Saturday. At this stage, accumulated snowfalls will most likely be around 5-20cm at the resorts.

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