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THE BLIZZARD OF OZ - Katie Bamber, Senior News Reporter
Tuesday August 8, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Winter is going strong with a huge storm & 5 days of snow in Australia. But warmer temperatures have raised the risk of avalanches. UPDATED

Thursday 10th August UPDATE

Following the avalanche warnings on Monday, this snow slide in the back country in Mount Hotham occurred on Tuesday:

And this one in Perisher on Tuesday.

Snowboarder Billy Hayman was filming in Perisher when he caused this slide that was caught on camera:

Avalanches are rare in Australia but after a metre falling through the Victoria resorts, conditions have changed somewhat.

No one was hurt in the avalanche (at Mt Hotham), but two skiers were close by.

It has been snowing since last Thursday in Australia.

It stepped up over the weekend with fresh storms, described as "thundersnow storms", which hit NSW and Victoria on Sunday and early Monday morning.

These wild storms include fierce winds and snow battering down instead of rain.

They are loud, though the snowflakes help dampen the sound.

A heavy dumping of snow yesterday followed by warmer temperatures and strong winds made it a perfect storm for avalanches.

And there have been.

A skier triggered slide, side country - Mount Hotham:

Instagram @kyphoto13Photo credit: @kyphoto13

No one was caught but skiers were in the area.

Warnings have been given with particular caution asked of backcountry skiers out there.

Skiers' and riders' mere presence off the piste could trigger an avalanche in the current hazardous conditions.

A message was issued for the Victorian Alps yesterday: 

Avalanches have occurred ...

Ski resorts have been conducting controlled avalanches today to reduce the risk of avalanches at resorts.

... You should avoid activities such as skiing, snowboarding, or hiking in remote areas of the Alps as there is an increased risk of avalanches.

The safest area for skiing and winter activities is within the patrolled resort areas.


Ski resorts remained open with skiers and snowboarders advised to stay on the patrolled pistes.

Thredbo's report on the five days of snow:

Mt Buller recorded over 30cm of snow in 24 hours yesterday - Sunday day and night seeing the best snowfall of the season so far.

The road to Hotham Heights, Great Alpine Road, was closed on Monday due to the sheer amount of snow and was opened uphill on Tuesday for skiers to get access.

Many Alpine resorts received half a metre over the weekend.

Thredbo experienced winds up to 80mph.

Perisher has taken 1m of snow from this storm and spirirts on the slopes were high:

Monday looked like this, with more sun during their ski day today:

Perisher weekend snowPerisher weekend snow

Mt Buller's snow report for the Tuesday ski day:

And it brightened up during the morning on Tuesday with the clouds clearing.

Mt Buller Tuesday morningMt Buller Tuesday morning

Hotham is expected to be around 2°C during the Wednesday ski day, picking up to around 5°C with sun on Thursday.

Light snow showers are forecast through the rest of the week.

Thredbo is to expect some drizzle on Wednesday, heaviest during the afternoon.

The temperature could rise to a maximum of 7°C on Thursday night.

Snow showers are expected later in the week in Perisher and Thredbo.

Snow has been falling down to about 1,000m - keep tuned in for updates and the effects of the warmer temperatures.

PlanetSKI's winter season snow report:

Tuesday and Wednesday looked better to hit the slopes but stick to the patrolled slopes and observe road and piste closures.

Ride by the warnings; Respect the mountain and its conditions; Be safe...

Perisher, Tuesday ski daySun and warmer temps in Perisher on Tuesday

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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