Look­out it’s … snow time

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

EARLY sea­son snow­falls, snow guns pump­ing and some pos­i­tive news on the weather front.

Welcome to win­ter 2016 at Mt Hotham and Falls Creek.

The Queen’s Birth­day cel­e­bra­tions in the moun­tains will kick off with a bang this week­end – fire­works of the py­rotech­nic va­ri­ety at Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Din­ner Plain.

There will be a host of live mu­sic through­out the week­end, while the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s trav­el­ling roadshow will put on three shows at Falls Creek.

But th­ese events won’t be the only thing pack­ing a punch this win­ter.

A multi-mil­lion dol­lar off-sea­son in­vest­ment in snow­mak­ing ca­pac­ity will make Hotham’s Heav­enly Val­ley “snow sure” much ear­lier in the sea­son than pre­vi­ously pos­si­ble.

Fam­i­lies too are set to ben­e­fit with the age limit on kids ski and board­ing passes in­creased for teenagers un­der-18.

On the ac­com­mo­da­tion front, one of Falls Creek’s sem­i­nal prop­er­ties, As­tra Lodge, has had a multi-mil­lion dol­lar sum­mer makeover to re­store it to its award win­ning best.

There will also be mul­ti­ple mile­stones to cel­e­brate through­out win­ter.

Falls Creek CFA is mark­ing 21 years in the re­sort, the Din­ner Plain vil­lage three decades.

The Din­ner Plain Ho­tel first opened its doors on June 8, 1986 a num­ber of dis­play homes open­ing a short time later.

Thirty years later and the now 5000bed vil­lage is ready to party this week­end and for most of the sea­son.

They will also be talk­ing up new sled dog tour op­er­a­tors and night snow tub­ing.

The rise of com­ple­men­tary ac­tiv­i­ties con­tin­ues un­abated with the op­er­a­tors of Hep­burn Spa re­treat again set­ting up camp at Mt Hotham and Din­ner Plain.

Across the ridge at Falls Creek a to- bog­gan slope will be brought in­side the vil­lage bound­ary, there will be “fat bik­ing” and even snow­mo­bile for the kids.

Weather fore­caster Jane Bunn is tip­ping some big snow days.

“It all comes down to a sim­ple equa­tion. To make it snow you must have: low pres­sure, mois­ture and cold enough tem­per­a­tures,” she said.

“My feel­ing is that we will have sev­eral ridicu­lously huge dumps of snow (thanks to high mois­ture), pro­duc­ing some ab­so­lutely epic days this sea­son.

“But what hap­pens those only time will tell.” in be­tween

AF­TER a dry au­tumn the weather turned in late May and so too did the snow guns at Falls Creek and Mt Hotham. The man-made snow was fur­ther blessed with some nat­u­ral falls in the past two weeks rais­ing the hopes of that first ski or board this week­end. But the snow-covered runs and cor­duroy fin­ish don’t hap­pen by ac­ci­dent with some of the hard­est work­ing and hardy souls of the snow­mak­ing and groom­ing teams swing­ing into ac­tion al­most two weeks ago, in­clud­ing Falls Creek’s Josh Young and Chris Cop­pack. More sto­ries Page 5. PHOTO: Chris Hock­ing

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