FAMILIES are being reminded that safety is the number one priority as excitement builds for a bumper ski season.
Last month’s dump of over 120cms of snow in a few days - the biggest since 1991 - has set up one of their busiest holiday periods in recent years, prompting a reminder to families of the need for a “safety first” approach.
What started looking like one of the quieter snow seasons soon had people reaching for the record books as a blizzard known as “Snowmageddon” weaved its magic on the Mt Hotham and Falls Creek slopes.
Richard Tribe, co-founder of ski.com. au, said the mega-blizzard was a dream come true for storm chasers.
“We began tracking the system on June 15 and with Jane Bunn of Jane’s Weather wading in and calling it for the 80-plus centimetre mega-dump it turned out to be, everyone’s attention quickly turned to the snowfields,” he said.
“This ‘Snowmageddon’ was definitely the biggest thing we have seen in a long time.”
In fact, ski.com.au broke a 10-year record for single-day web traffic, exceeding more than 100,000 visitors logged on to check the snowcams.
“There has been a lot of talk about Australian’s preferring to ski overseas of late, but it turns out you just need a real blizzard and they are fired up in the droves to ski local,” Mr Tribe said.
“I have not seen this sort of interest for a long time.”
Falls Creek Ski Lifts brand manager Anthony O’Shea said the resort was in the best shape possible for the school holiday period. “It’s looking terrific,” he said. “The snow was late to the party but thanks to ‘Snowmageddon’ the whole place has been transformed and we’re now close to full operation.
“This is a phenomenal result and sets us up for the whole season,” he said.
Mr O’Shea said there had been a major increase in interest in the snow resorts as a result of the blizzard.
“Our research shows that people don’t buy before they have to, but the ‘Snowmageddon’ and the follow-up ‘Snowzilla’ have produced a massive surge in interest,” he said.
Mr O’Shea said safety was always a priority for the snow season.
“We’re a family friendly resort and there are always precautions that need to be taken,” he said.
“We encourage families to follow signage and remind them that it’s mandatory for children to wear helmets.
“We’re blessed by a vast, wide open terrain and even on our busiest day of the past three years it averaged out at just four skiers per acre,” he said.
“It’s a very safe environment.”