Australia Weather News

In the Snowy mountains, snow has been reported regularly from April to October in most years but in the past decade or two there has been a trend to a later starting and slightly later finishing season.

The official start to the ski season in the June long week end (usually the 2 nd week end in June) but it 80% of years, there is no skiable natural snow at that time. The median length of the ski season in the NSW Snowy Mountains (based on data from the Snowy Mountains Authority site at Spencers Creek, between Charlotte Pass and Perisher Valley) is 3.6 months from late June to mid October. The longest seasons were over 6 months – in 1960 and 1968 while the shortest was 1973 when there was skiable snow on the ground for less than 3 weeks from mid August.

In some years, substantial snow falls in April and May, often to be washed away by subsequent rain. An exception was 1960 when significant falls occurred on 21 & 22 April followed by record falls in the first 2 weeks of May. By 18 May, Spencers Creek had 133 cm cover. Snow cover peaked at 293 cms for the first 2 weeks of September. Cover exceeded 100 cms for 26 weeks The greatest snow depths of any year occurred in 1964. Depth reached 356 cms at Spencers Creek on 10 August after a 2 day blizzard dumped more than 1 metre of snow. By late August the depth at Charlotte Pass was 480 cms. Snow exceeded 100 cm for 22 weeks.

The worst snow season ever occurred in 1973 with only 4-5 weeks with a depth of 50 cms or more. Also the worst season ever in Victoria with the maximum snow cover at Falls Creek just 20 cms for the whole winter. Not far behind was 2006 when the maximum depth at The Snowy Hydro official site at Spencers Creek was just 85.2 cms - the lowest since records commenced at the site in 1954.

This year the official depth of snow at Spencers Creek stands at a healthy but not spectacular 122 cms last week.