Check out the spectacular “Japow Downunder” feature in out latest issue and you’ll soon see why Hotham is Australia’s Powder Capital. Set deep in the heart of the mountains, right on top of the peaks, the location is as good as it gets for attracting higher and drier snow downunder. The terrain is pretty much as good as it gets for enjoying it too. If these were birches or beeches not snowgums you would swear Toshi Pander and Drew Jolowicz were surfing J-land, not A-land in these shots!
Doing the season at Hotham, Drew and Toshi were on location there for all the good days last year. Both have slashed across our pages in several Japow features over the years, so it’s great to see them in action at home.
“Having spent 29 years skiing at Hotham, as well as doing many extended trips skiing throughout both Honshu and Hokkaido, I can honestly say that on its day, especially last season, conditions can be comparable. Japow downunder indeed.” says Drew.
Just like in Japan there was so much snow Snow Monsters were starting to form – one more storm on these trees and surely they would have!
According to Hotham Ski Patrol boss Bill Barker Australia’s Powder Capital received a huge amount of snow in a concentrated period.
“Approximately 4 metres of snow fell during the peak of the season, so we were kept on our toes while we tried to keep on top of it” Bill reports. “Nets and fence lines got buried, boundary ropes and signs iced up or disappeared, snowmobiles got bogged, cornices and windlips formed overnight, and there was an extended period of significant avalanche hazard.”
Sure, Japanese resorts average a lot more snow in total, but that is spread out over a lot longer seasons too – concentrate 4 metres snow fall in a few weeks and it meant lots of incredible days like these for Toshi, Drew and everyone else who headed to Hotham on the numerous powder days last season and got their share.
That’s the beauty of Hotham too, there is plenty to go round – Drew’s feature has plenty of suggestions for where to go to get yours. Even days after a fall you can find the stashes, and a big high with cold nights after a storm can suck more moisture out of the snow so it actually gets drier.
“On those memorable days with the stoke meter high, head straight for the Heavenly Valley Chair. This lift accesses a wide variety of intermediate to advanced terrain. A series of ridges, gullies and some great tree skiing all descend from the top, which provides majestic views over the Victorian high country.
After a few powder laps on HV (as the locals call it), it’s best to venture over towards the Gotcha Chairlift to continue the search for untracked snow.
This area boasts some of Australia’s most iconic lift accessed expert terrain, including runs such as Mary’s Slide, The Chute and Lindsay’s.
The Extreme Area (as it’s referred to) is seriously steep, offering amazing skiing when the stars align.
After two or three runs in this powder mecca, it’s time to head further afield towards the Orchard/Keoghs lift, in search of glory on One Tree Hill.
From the top of the Orchard Chair take the trail far skier’s left, all the way past Spargo’s. There are numerous ways to tackle One Tree. I like to cut left and scoot through the trees to a higher entrance. From here, hook into the fall line on skier’s left making deep smooth turns all the way to the bottom. The open powder field narrows into beautifully spaced trees, which flow all the way to the valley floor and onto the exit trail.
Whilst Hotham has some of the country’s best inbounds terrain, it also plays host to some incredible back and sidecountry lines, for those looking to transition beyond the boundary ropes.
With a little effort, as well as the appropriate safety gear and knowledge, quality fresh dry snow can be found several days after a snowfall.”
So there’s really no contest – Hotham is hands down Australia’s best choice for powder skiers and boarders.
To make the most of it the Hotham 6 day any day lift pass deal is the best value way to pick your days across the entire season – at $659 adults it saves $139 on rack day rates.
Get along to the Snow Expos in Sydney May 20 or Melbourne May 27 and visit the Snow Action stand to enter our comp to WIN Hotham Passes – you’ll need to tell us which resorts is Australia’s best for powder though, tough question to answer that will be ..