Icy chill, but dry winter
Mt Baw Baw’s snow season is set to extend into spring with a current snow depth of 64cm and forecasts of more snow ahead this week.
This week’s forecast predicts snow showers each day with minimum temperatures ranging from -5 to -2 degrees. The mountain is expected to reach a week-long maximum temperature of one degree on Thursday.
But, as snow goers are enjoying the icy blast of winter, farmers across the region are enduring one of the driest winters for some years.
It may have been a wetter August in West Gippsland than the past two years, but overall, winter has been much drier than usual.
Warragul recorded 127.6mm of rain for the month, with rain falling consistently over 19 days.
While the August rainfall boosted the total rain for winter, the season was still well below the 115-year average and the driest in six years.
Average winter rainfall for the region usually reaches about 280mm with a fairly even spread of averages including 86.3 for June, 92.3 for July and 101.8mm for August.
This year’s monthly totals were a low 32.8mm for June, 67.2mm for July and 127.6mm for August.
In 2011, Warragul recorded only 196mm for winter. In that year, it had been an extremely dry August with only 39.8mm recorded.
Mt Baw Baw general manager John Fascio said it had been an impressive season with 65cms of snow recorded late last week compared to 12cms at this time last year.
“We have had some great snowfalls in the past week at Mt Baw Baw, receiving a total of 28cms on the weekend alone (last weekend), making it the best conditions we have seen on the mountain all season,” he said.
“With a current snow depth of 65cms and more snow predicted to fall in the coming week, we are confident that the season will run well into spring and we are hopeful that we will remain open for the school holidays come mid-September.”
It follows a slow start to the snow season in June. Although early flutters of snow were recorded, the season opened a week earlier than usual and experienced a lull before picking up.
From p1 Cold overnight temperatures have helped, Mt Baw Baw experiencing the most snow of any Victorian resort last weekend.
To celebrate the snow season extending into September, Mt Baw Baw will hold its first ever Bollywood at Baw Baw on Saturday and Sunday.
The resort will see Bollywood dancers show off their skills, a traditional Indian drum performance, a Henna tattooist and Indian themed food and food trucks. There also will be dance workshops for keen snow goers looking to try their hand at the traditional Indian dance.
This year has also seen the resort gain a big increase in both Gippsland and multicultural visitors.
“We have seen a big increase in local visitors to Mt Baw Baw this season with an extra 15,000 Gippsland locals taking advantage of the quick trip up to their closest downhill ski and snowboard resort,” added Mr Fascio. “We have also seen a rise of 30 percent in multicultural visitors this year, which suggests that Mt Baw Baw has become a must-see destination on the winter calendar.”