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HEAVY SNOW IN OZ & NZ - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Saturday August 10, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Huge avalanche sweeps down New Zealand ski hill. There's been a number of avalanches & incidents in Australia too after heavy snow. UPDATED


The latest avalanche was in Mt Ruapehu on the North Island in New Zealand and was triggered by the avalanche control.

The area has the ski fields of Whakapapa and Tūroa.

It was set off by explosive charges and illustrates the dangers after the recent heavy snow.

It came down above the ski area of Tūroa& through Big Bowl and Why Not, ending past the lower elevation of the ski resort.

Reports say some went on the pistes that had been cleared.

"Both Big Bowl and Why Not are incredibly fun parts of our ski area to ride and avalanche control work such as this helps make sure all our guests and staff remain safe, with smiles on their faces from a good days skiing," said the resort.

One of the reasons the avalanche was so big is because a persistent weak layer was buried far down in the snow pack over two weeks ago due to the ongoing storms.

"When first releasing the avalanche slab was in dry snow and was moving incredibly fast, as it travelled lower it began picking up wetter snow and became the slightly slower, heavier mass you see in this video," added the resort.

On the South Island more snow is set to fall after a dry season so far.

Coronet Peak has only received between 20-25cms of natural snow.

The Remarkables and Mt Hutt skifields have been heavily reliant of the snow cannons.

As has Cardrona.


A man was hit by a slide of snow when he was hiking with his wife in the resort of Thredbo in New South Wales.

They were hiking up an off piste area in snow shoes and planning to snowboard down.

A huge slab avalanche swept him away but he was able to dig himslef out with the help of his wife.

He suffered a broken ankle and was taken by skidoo to the resort's medical centre by the emergency services.

See here for a related story on PlanetSKI as the snowboarder describes in detail his experience of being caught in an avalanche:

Thredbo avalancheThredbo avalanche

It follows the fall of over a metre of snow as we have reported lower down this article.

More heavy snow is forecast for later in the week.

It was the second incident in 24-hours in the resort.


Earlier a 48-year old man and his 10-year old daughter became separated from their group and became  stuck waist deep in the snow.

The father called the rescue services who were able to locate them using the signal from his phone as darkness began to fall.

At the weekend a 68-year-old skier was killed when he hit a low branch on a tree at Thredbo.

Last week camper was rescued from his tent was buried by snow near Mt Stillwell in Kosciuszko National Park.

The 45-year old man was treated for exposure and hypothermia.



In New Zealand the snow has been falling heavily as winter finally arrives.

Coronet Peak, New ZealandCoronet Peak, New Zealand














The Remarkables, New ZealandThe Remarkables, New Zealand















One group of 5 off piste skiers had a narrow escape when they were caught in an avalanche while touring on Mt Cook.

One of the party was injured with a dislocated shoulder and was helicoptered to hospital in Chritchurch.

The group is described as ‘experienced' and they had all the correct safety equipment and communicated with the rescue authorities by 2-way radio.

The avalanche risk is described as ‘considerable' after heavy snow and high winds.

Mt Cook, New ZealandMt Cook, New Zealand












And in Mt Hutt it has been windy.

And the resort has issued some information on social media:

Facebook advice amid the windy weatherFacebook advice amid the windy weather















Not so much to say about today in Australia.

Just pictures...

PerisherPerisher, Australia

ThredboThredbo, Australia

Falls Creek, AustraliaFalls Creek, Australia

And videos of kangaroos:


Conditions are epic in Oz right now with big snowfalls followed by blue skies and sunshine.

This is Thredbo in New South Wales today as the resort announced it was 100% open:

Earlier today there were fears for the safety of a man and his 10-year-old daughter after they went missing while snowboarding in Thredbo.

They were eventually found and rescued from 700m down a slope.

Paramedic assessed them after they were located safe and uninjured, a New South Wales Police spokesman said.

Emergency services launched a major operation after the man and his daughter became separated from their group at about 3.10pm on Monday.

They had very little phone battery left but managed to describe the surrounding terrain which helped the emergency services find them.

ThredboThredbo, Australia, Monday 12th August

Over in New Zealand, Mt Hutt ski resort posted a link to the latest weather report with the mischievous message: "Terrible conditions today - don't bother coming up..."

Mt Hutt NZ weather report"Terrible conditions" in Mt Hutt, NZ

And here's Treble Cone in New Zealand....

Treble ConeTreble Cone, NZ

And Cardrona......

CardronaCardrona, NZ, Monday 12th August


After the storm the powder.

Here's Perisher in Australia...

And the kangaroos are having to cope with it all too.


However the snow has also brought bad news.

A 68-year old man died in Thredbo in New South Wales when he hit a low-hanging tree branch.

The ski patrol was on the scene quickly but was unable to help him and he died at the scene.

He was skiing with a group of friends at the time.

The visibility was poor with high winds causing drifting.

The resort said it was "deeply saddened" by the tragic event.

"The Thredbo community extends its heartfelt condolences to the male's family and friends," said the Thredbo general manager, Stuart Diver.

Thredbo has received 1.17m in the latest storm.

The road from Jindabyne to Thredbo was closed for over three hours on Friday night following a 13-vehicle collision involving a police car.

The police came across two vehicles that had hit each other.

The police vehicle was travelling at around about 30km/h and it attempted to stop but skidded.

Two other vehicles then slid into the multiple crash.

Another eight other vehicles coming down the road also lost control.

Five avoided the crash but slid off the road and became stuck in deep snow.

No-one was injured.

In the state of Victoria Mount Baw Baw ski resort was cut off as fallen trees blocked the access road.

Mount Hotham resort was also partially blocked off as the Great Alpine Road was closed between Harrietville and Mount Hotham, but the ski fields could still be accessed by diverting through the town of Omeo.

The temperatures at the ski resorts remain below zero.

Tops temperatures of -1C forecast for Mount Baw Baw, -2C for Falls Creek, -1C for Mount Buller and -3C at Mount Hotham.

The snow, and cold temperatures, have brought yet more fabulous skiing conditions to Australia.

It is having a good season as we have been reporting in this rolling blog.

Thredbo, AustraliaThredbo, Australia

Thredbo, AustraliaThredbo, Australia

Thredbo, AustraliaThredbo, Australia

And here is what it looks like up on the slopes of Thredbo.

And it is a similar snowy scene in neighbouring Perisher.

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia

And in Mt Hotham?

"If you're not on the mountain here is an idea of the of amount of snow we've received over the past 72 hours," said the resort on Saturday.

"Storm total is 76cm and it has continued to snow throughout today. There's plenty more from where that came from too."

Mt Hotham, AustraliaMt Hotham, Australia

Mt Hotham, AustraliaMt Hotham, Australia

We are delighted to say that it is snowing heavily in parts of the New Zealand ski areas too.

It has had a poor start to the winter ski season generally in NZ, but things have changed recently and more snow is now falling.
Here is the scene in Mt Hutt on the south island:

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand

But the weather brought problems too:

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand

And they're clearing up on the north island.

Hard at work on Mt Ruapehu.

We will be updating this article with the latest news on conditions in Australia and New Zealand so do check back...

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

Related Articles

SNOW IN SOUTH AMERICA (Friday August 16, 2019)
SUMMER SKIING: NOT ALL BAD NEWS (Monday August 12, 2019)
WINTER DELIVERS IN NEW ZEALAND (Wednesday August 7, 2019)

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