Windblown weeks: not pow but we’ll take ’em!

Windblown weeks are not deep pow weeks, sure, but the way this season is unfolding (or not unfolding if you are in Melbourne sorry crew!) they are the best we’ve got so lets take a look at getting the best out of them.

As the big high pressure system makes its leisurely way across Australia bumping fronts to the south it’s mostly delivering big freeze nights perfect for snowmaking and mainly westerly – mostly northwesterly winds – to keep the snow blowing over the slopes.

Windblown week snow on Sponar's liftline at Thredbo
Stay closed Sponars .. with windblown Monday 20 July © Peter Wunder

The big winds Sunday and Monday have blown a lot in already, so touch ups will keep things sweet this week.

At Thredbo that means lapping the t-bars for the goods.

“Good windblown spots? Waimea, which is in between Anton’s and Merrits is good” says our man in Thredbo Peter Wunder.

Pete on the charge yesterday © Snow Action / Pete’s mate

“Most of these shots were on Q5, which is half way down Anton’s t-bar just to the side of it. The best place is everything around Sponars, which is closed at the moment.”

“And of course the Bluff under the top of Kozi chair is good, and Steep and Deep off the side of the Cruiser chair.”

The skier’s right side of the Basin is an old favourite of ours there too, even better when Karel’s opens and you can lob in from the top with speed.

Over at Perisher there are plenty of nice windy stash spots. The face of Olympic (even better before it opens as we mention here), and the Vista run down into Sun Valley are a couple of favourites. Vista can be blown off ice up top then as you roll over the lip just gets better, firm under with boot deep windblown – perfect for your Euro carve machines like a Kastle MXs or Rossi Experiences.

Wider out on the International and Eyre t-bars is usually sweet as well and the go to when the chairs go on windhold.

Over at Blue Cow, if the Ridge has enough snow (off the snowmaking line) the Rock Garden area comes into play.

A short hike 30-40m from the Summit there is usually worth it. According to which way the wind has/is blowing you should find a nice line.

Windblown snow off the Summit at Blue Cow side of Perisher
Wind blown off the Summit at Blue Cow side of Perisher © Owain Price

Something that has changed at both Thredbo and Perisher over the past several years is the amount and extent of snowmaking which when it’s windy gets blown around too. On real pow days that can put a weird cap of wetter snow gun snow on top of the natural snow, but otherwise generally it makes a much wider area than the actual designated snowmaking run a lot better, and adds to the windblown pockets that develop. Around Anton’s at Thredbo is a classic case in point (and explains why they can fire it up before Sponars).

Down south of the border only Buller remains open of Victoria’s big 3, and the terrain available remains limited – being expanded by snowmaking this week.

Rob Aivatoglu from iconic George’s Ski Hire, who grew up on the mountain, has these tips for windblown stashes as things improve there.

“In recent times I have had some of the best windblown pow stashes down Fannys Finish. Particularly on a northerly, it collects beautifully and can be lots of fun.”

“Also, suss out the top of Hogs Back on a nor’ wester, leading into the Plug Hole or just skiers right of it. Awesome natural features to play with and possibly the best pitch on our hill!  Love that valley!”

View to the Summit at Buller today – when the northerly gets up Fannys Finish goes off © Georges Ski Hire