Thursday 3 July 2008

There's No Business like Snowmaking Business

Mother Nature has finally come to the party at Perisher Blue! 34cm of snow has blanketed the resort and it looks like these snowy conditions will continue this week. It's no secret that until now ski resorts across Australia have been less than satisfied by natural snowfalls. However it has given Perisher Blue the perfect opportunity to prove that you can have a good start to a ski season, even if you have to do most of the hard work yourself!

Last summer Perisher Blue invested a massive $9.75 million into its snowmaking system (this on top of the $3.6 million spent in 2007), increasing the total amount of snowguns to 188 and allowing 43.5 hectares of the resort able to be covered with man-made snow. Plans are underway to extend snowmaking even further in 2009 to include Happy Valley and Mount Perisher.

The investment has already started to pay off for Perisher Blue. Three resort areas are now open along with 15 lifts for snowriders and one mini terrain park, offering skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts the best conditions available in Australia at present. This is an extraordinary achievement considering that if the resort had experienced the same conditions not long ago (i.e. limited early snow falls), skiers and snowboarders would have been left almost high and dry.

"The new snowmaking is, simply put, fantastic," says Michael Fearnside, General Manager of Operations at Perisher Blue. "We're delighted and we're especially enjoying the quick start-up and shut-down mechanisms, which mean we are able to capture every window of opportunity available to us". According to Mr Fearnside there's no doubt that snowmaking has been an essential part of getting the resort up and running this season. "Sometimes you do get later than expected natural falls and that's why we have the snowmaking," he says. "If Mother Nature won't do it, we will".

In any season, being able to ski and snowboard before the winter solstice (June 21st) is a great treat in Australia and guests to Perisher Blue have certainly been appreciative of the efforts the resort's snowmaking team has gone too. Conditions are particularly well suited to beginner snowriders who have taken advantage of reduced lift and lesson prices.

Recent natural snowfalls have aided the snowmakers in their quest to create the perfect runs, and it looks like conditions are going to improve quickly with the snowfalls forecast for the rest of this week.

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