Spring arrives at Thredbo, snow down low is going fast

Spring conditions have arrived at Thredbo.

The snow is melting fast down low, a process accelerated by an overnight dust storm.

Without normal snowmaking capacity for the past several weeks there is a lot less base than normal to fall back on.

Lift problems have not helped. Sponars remained out of action after breaking down soon after opening.

Friday Flat today 3/9/20 just a strip of snow back to the Gunbarrel Express © Snow Action

So options up high, where the snow cover is better, are also limited.

According to Thredbo’s website more tickets will be available subject to COVID-capacity limits, from 7 September, still at the $159 per day rate with no multi-day discounts.

We have put it to Thredbo management that in the light of the snowmaking problems, and the now unfavourable climatic conditions on top of that, would they consider reducing rates for the remainder of the season?

Updating this, today (Friday 4/9/20) we are pleased to report they do plan to do just that.

“We are most certainly aware of the need to consider the cost versus quality of experience when terrain offerings start to diminish and plans are on foot in this regard. Indeed, if and when we start to lose terrain we will be reducing the price of our lift passes.”  says Thredbo Marketing Manager Caroline Brauer.

Merrits Gondola midstation 3/9/20 © Snow Action

Thredbo fans have shown incredible loyalty to the resort this season. After first having season passes cancelled, then putting up with huge delays in the flawed online ticket sale system that replaced it, seeing a late start, generally limited natural snowfalls, snowmaking capacity severely reduced, and all the COVID restrictions on normal operations on and off the mountain, Thredbo skiers and boarders have still showed up in droves and enjoyed themselves.

For example, one keen rider spent $2,500 on day ticket replacements for their $899 season pass. He was still out there every day he could get tickets for, wearing the tripled cost of skiing and the conditions. Finally he cracked today and cashed in his 8 remaining days – after some discussion in the ticket office he was refunded those.

Lower Supertrail 3/9/20 © Snow Action

So it would be a nice gesture from the resort to give those forced to endure sub-optimum spring conditions for the remainder of the season, barring any serious top ups, a break and drop pass rates significantly.

Allowing people to cancel easily would free up tickets for people who don’t mind putting up with the conditions if paying a lower rate.

We also asked Thredbo management to clarify why they chose not to keep customers up to date with their snowmaking problems and efforts to overcome those over the past few weeks. The truth will set you free as they say, and keep your guests informed.

They say in response that only 5 potential snowmaking nights were lost as a result of the problems with the system, though obviously that figure does not include reduced snowmaking on nights when it was possible.

The way this season panned out if anybody cancelled any newly available tickets would have been snapped up by those who had missed out.

Regulars know things go off quick in spring anyway. It will often get slushy. That’s skiing downunder, and many other places too.

Slush busting can be huge fun, especially with parks pumping. And spring is a great time to learn to ski or ride too. Back in the 80s we used to head up to Thredbo after the season ended, when they would run a couple of t-bars and charge half price tickets for another week or so if there was snow – which there usually was.

This was October 1st last season, with this strip of snowmaking and saved natural snow to the bottom of Crackenback keeping it top-to-bottom.

No bets on it lasting another 4 weeks to do that in 2020..

Top to bottom skiing October 1st 2019 Thredbo
Still top-to-bottom October 1st 2019 © Owain Price