GOINGS ON’ Around the Manganui Ski Area
Manganui Randonnee Race, now Saturday 13 September
Due to the weather storm we exprerienced, the race has now been postponed.
Should be plenty of snow around for the Randonneurs!
Avalanche Advisory revised...
Last issue we discussed the Avalanche Avisory Status with respect to Manganui Ski Area opening. For Manganui to Open after a storm cycle we are required to wait until the status drops to CONSIDERABLE, not moderate as wrongly stated.
So once more, when the rating is HIGH or greater Manganui Ski Area is closed, due to the risk of avalanche in the Manganui Gorge, and also on the avalanche prone slopes on the ski area itself.
With no controlled avalanche work possible at Manganui and its access (unlike other ski areas who actively control avalanche hazard by bombing, ski cutting etc) we rely on nature to do its own snow settlement and stabilisation so that our hazard can drop to a level suitable for us to open.
The snow conditions in NZ tend to stablise over time; 24-48hrs after a storm cycle.
In most cases after a big storm it will only be that 24-48hr period to wait out, then we will be open for business!
For more see Manganui Ski Area Safety on Mt.Taranaki page.
For the lastest advisories on NZ's 8 Mtn areas, see www.avalanche.net.nz
Snowforecast.com NZ roundup, September 5th 2008
Welcome to another roundup of NZ snow conditions and weather prospects for the week ahead from www.snow-forecast.com
Prior to Wednesday, New Zealand resorts had not seen new snow for almost 2 weeks
In the past few days, up to 3m of fresh snow has fallen above 2000m along the main divide of the South Island
Little has reached resorts so far. Rain turned to snow on Wednesday night
Saturday looks like it will provide a great weather window for fresh tracks
A rising mild NW on Sunday night brings a mix of rain and snow to ski resorts early next week
A deep low crosses South Island on Tuesday with colder air in its wake.
Rain should turn back to snow before it clears eastwards
Remaining rather unsettled with further snow later in the week
All in all, mixed conditions with a risk of some rain at resorts from Mt Hutt north
Snow falling at many New Zealand resorts on Wednesday has ended the longest spell without fresh snowfall since the 2008 season began. Although Mt Lyford received 20cm of snow on August 26th most other resorts did not see any fresh falls since a few days before then and at Whakapapa you have to go back to August 19th and at Rainbow, August the 17th. For many places the break in the weather, caused by an intense anticyclone close to the Chatham Islands, has been very welcome because prior to this there was a problem from too much snow falling. Unfortunately the settled spell has been both mild and windy at times with spring snow conditions widespread.
A weak but very humid Tasman low pressure system heralds a change in the weather. As moist NW winds ran up against the Southern Alps rain and snow began to fall a few days ago and an intense anticyclone over the Chatham Islands caused the clouds to remain in the same area until Thursday night. Along the main divide, above about 2000m, some remarkable accumulations of snow have been observed with 2-3m having fallen in the Mount Cook area. Not surprisingly, this has brought high avalanche risks here. Scattered rainfalls spreading east of the divide since Tuesday have been sufficiently heavy to give the pistes a soaking at some resorts, especially below 1800m. The heavy wet snowpack became very unstable for a time.
Thankfully, on Wednesday, South Island rainfall has turned to snow at all but the lowest elevations and the snowpack has refrozen making it more stable again. Mt Cheeseman, Porters and Broken River all saw at least 20cm of fresh snow on Thursday morning with lighter falls elsewhere. The heaviest precipitation has moved north late on Thursday with very heavy rain and some snow too for the Nelson mountains. Snow will penetrate to quite low levels by Friday morning in the east before it clears. Most places will see a clearance until Friday afternoon, reaching Rainbow and Mt Lyford a little later and setting up these South Island resorts for a perfect weekend. Rainbow will be especially popular on Saturday because so much snow fell there a few weeks ago that it had been forced to close during some of the best days of the winter; local skiers who missed out have some catching up to do and Saturday looks like the day to do it.
Ski resorts in the Southern lakes region have seen rather less weather from this front than Canterbury resorts although snow showers on Wednesday night and Thursday did at least deliver a few centimetres of snow to most slopes and as much as 10cm at Treble Cone - good enough to freshen up the pistes after a spell without any fresh stuff. There should be slightly heavier snowfalls in this area on Monday and Tuesday courtesy of the tropical depression currently forming over Queensland.
On the North Island, Friday should see morning rain quickly turn to snow at Turoa and Whakapapa with the current wet snowpack re-freezing in a cold afternoon southerly change. Although snowfalls are expected to be quite modest light winds should allow enough fresh snow to remain in place to greatly improve weekend prospects.
Unfortunately, a rising north wind on Sunday will bring rain at resort elevations on Sunday night, perhaps preceded by a little afternoon snow before the resident cold air clears away. Our advice is to make the most of Saturday and Sunday am. Monday morning looks like it threatens to give Ruapehu ski slopes another wetting with heavy snowfall confined to the summit area. A mid-week spell of cooler westerly winds and snow showers will hopefully repair the damage and cover what is likely to be a very frozen snowpack.
Monday's spell of mild northerlies at Ruapehu is associated with the same Queensland low pressure system that we mentioned before. At this stage it is expected to track across the bottom of South Island which means that the associated mild air that was in the tropics just a few days earlier will cross most of New Zealand. The southern extent of the accompanying warm airmass, with freezing levels over 2000m is a little uncertain. Successive forecasts seem to be revising it further north; a good thing if correct. At this stage it looks like Monday's thaw will affect ski resorts all the way south to Mount Hutt and possibly as far as Mount Dobson and Roundhill in the Mackenzie with the Southern lakes region likely to be spared. If the low takes a slightly more northern track, significant snowfall in central South Island is possible and in any case feezing levels won't be high enough for the high mountains of the main divide to avoid another big dump. Keep a close watch on the forecast updates through the weekend to see whether rain or snow is expected at resort elevations - it is finely balanced.
Regardless of the details, a cold southerly change should sweep right up the east coast as the low departs with exposed places like Mount Hutt, Porters and Mt Lyford likely to see some fresh snow in the process. Weak Tasman lows maintain the unsettled theme to the weather later in the week but lacking the tropical origin of Monday's low, at least the systems that follow it should bring only snowfalls to resorts rather than any rain.
New Advertisers for 2008-2009...
Stratford Mtn Club, operators of Manganui Ski Area, welcome Action Surf Snow and Kiwi Outdoors to our team of advertisers for our website and e-newsletter.
They join our existing sponsors Cheapskates and Lars Binsbergen custom furniture and cabinetry.
Ceasing their advertising with SMC are Bayleys Real estate, Hareb Deaken Motors and The Mountain House. SMC Acknowledge the contribution these businesses have made in help bringing you the SMC newsletters and Manganui SKi Area website over the last 6 years.