Record season comes to an end
ONE of the best ski seasons in recent times has finished with 120cm of snow still on the ground.
The chairlifts at Falls Creek and Mt Hotham officially stopped spinning on Sunday, bringing an end to the best skiing and snowboarding in 17 years.
Both mountains saw three significant blizzards that helped deliver the biggest snow base since 2000, the cover forcing decision makers at both resorts to extend the season to October 8.
Falls Creek Resort Management CEO Stuart Smythe said this year saw record visitation brought on by the quality of snow.
“What is even better to see, is that the industry is continuing to attract new entrants,” he said.
“Industry growth, as measured by visitation data, was up 29 per cent year on year.
“That is the best since 1989 and total visitor days of nearly 1.6 million is the largest since records began being recorded in the 80’s.
“September was extraordinary, with an 11 per cent increase in visitors at the resort experiencing outstanding spring skiing. “The fact that the International Poma was running until the extended close is testament to quality of the season.”
The final weekend at Falls Creek saw the auctioning of seats from the Eagle chairlift which will be replaced over the summer, followed by a Pond Skim and the Big Dig prize giveaway.
At Mt Hotham, resort management board CEO John Hutchins said it was incredible to have accumulated an overall snowfall total of 473cm after there were no major storms in the first month of the season. “The final piece of the snowmaking masterplan was completed in the summer and 12 new guns on the Summit meant there was snow on the ground on opening weekend,” he said.
“We virtually relied on machine-made snow alone until the first big storm arrived in late July.
“From there we endured three blizzards that resulted in great snow and great skiing conditions.”
Mr Hutchins also said the launch of Mt Hotham’s ‘True Spirit of Alpine Australia’ campaign helped draw new guests to the resort.
“It was successful in attracting new visitors to the mountain and saw 31 million digital impressions, five times the population of Victoria,” he said.
“We had some unique attractions like the Alpine Nature Experience and Hotham 365 and we encourage new operators to approach us about bringing alternative winter activities.”
As Victoria’s leading all-seasons resort Falls Creek won’t rest for long with the mountain bike season set to open in just over a month.
The season launch presented by Blue Dirt Mountain Biking is scheduled for Saturday, November 19.
FINAL FUN: The pond skim was just one activity that drew a crowd at Falls Creek on the last weeekend of the season.