When ski resorts tell the truth

RACHAEL OAKES-ASH
Last updated 11:05 20/06/2014
Ski

SNOW WHITE: Rain - potentially ruining skiing in Cardrona, New Zealand

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Something strange has been happening on social media of late. Ski resorts have been telling the truth, #nofilter.

Mt Hutt in New Zealand was the first, delaying their opening weekend with a gut wrenching Facebook post heralding rain that would wash away the hundred hours of snowmaking the team had put in prior.

"Unfortunately due to the poor weather forecast for the weekend and current snow depth Mt Hutt will not be opening as scheduled on June the 7th. We are beyond disappointed too, especially after all the hard work that has been put in to try and make enough snow for the opening...If any of our followers are weather gurus, great at snowdancing or know how to sweet talk mother nature, your helpful tips would be much appreciated!"

This week Cardrona near Queenstown and Wanaka posted the image at the top of the blog on Facebook revealing what the other resorts weren't telling you (though I know some Australian resorts who would be happy with that image on their snow cams right now). There had been rain.

"So the rain hit us last night ...start busting those snow dances! Forecast is for a few snow showers this week but opening day will be down to the wire!! Fingers crossed, we'll keep you posted..." read the image caption.

Further north in Canterbury Mt Hutt then followed Cardrona's lead this week with one of the most honest snow reports so far this season, also posted on Facebook.

"We have received a very light skiff of new snow overnight on top of a very wet and soggy snow base. Over the past couple days we have received rain which has softened our snow pack which will make the on-snow experience interesting."

Meanwhile Australian resorts (who open earlier than Kiwi resorts due to the June long weekend tradition) are adopting the chin-up positive approach with pictures of snow guns as they wrestle warm temperatures that play havoc with snow-making and a weather competition that had New South Wales resorts receive 25 centimetres of snow, while the Victorian resorts were left weeping in the same storm. 

Two snow dumps that will turn the whole season around in a moment are predicted: up to 50 centimetres from Monday to Wednesday next week just in time for school holidays, phew, and the much talked about mid-to-end of July mega-snowstorm. Plus colder temperatures at lower altitudes are expected, ensuring snowmaking at lower elevations to fill in those gaps.

Remember, it is still early days, and snow is on the way, despite The Remarkables and Broken River in New Zealand both rescheduling their opening dates from this weekend to a later date with better snow. Better news for Cardrona who recovered with snow making and open for the season tomorrow with half price tickets.

The instant nature of social media citizen snow reporting has meant ski resorts have had to change the way they report. Those that do it well do it with honesty, humility and good humour, those that lie incite the wrath of internet trolls that stop at nothing to throw snow hatred balls on the comment sections of the resort's social outlets.

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The old adage if you can't say anything good then don't say anything at all doesn't work well on social media, where silence is considered akin to lying. Better to be upfront, tell the truth and give some positive spin.

Besides, snow cams never lie, even if the internet does.

Which means snow forecasting sites may be the new used car salesmen, or clairvoyants, of the snow world with promises of huge dumps that may or may not eventuate. Not that you can really blame them; weather is like a child with ADD. Just when you think the focus is on one system, along comes another shiny one to divert the attention.

The best recommendation we can offer is do your own research, read all the weather and forecasting sites on offer, call friends at the snow, check the snow cams and consult social media at all times.

Or here's an idea, just book your snow holiday at the time you want to go, have fun with your family and friends and deal with the conditions, good or bad, when you get there.

Where do you go to get your snow reports? What's the worst lie you've seen on social media? What's the best snow truth you've seen on social media?

- FFX Aus

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