Australian ski resorts have been absolutely pumelled by snowy weather over the weekend. They're all using the hashtag #BlizzardofOz, and while that's hardly original, who's going to argue after a metre or more of snow has fallen at most resorts in four days?
This is great news for ski resort operators and snow sports lovers, but there is one major downside for motorists whose cars have been left in the overnight car parks, and for property owners and managers across the Australian Alps: the shovelling.
Al Matthews co-manages the Ripparoo ski lodge at Falls Creek in Victoria. That's him manfully shovelling around the lodge. In a t-shirt. Because of course he's only wearing a t-shirt in minus 3 and a blizzard.
"I haven't seen it snow like this here since the year 2000," Matthews told HuffPost Australia. "It's incredible, the skiing is awesome, it's a fantasy land out there."
Matthews said the snow has been tumbling down so thick and fast that he's been shovelling the same areas outside the lodge up to five times a day. That doesn't exactly sound like a "fantasy" to us, but Matthews had an upbeat take on his sweaty labour.
"I'm getting stronger every day," he said. "It's actually something you look forward to doing. If you're shovelling, you know you're having a good season. We'll be skiing to the end of September with all this snow."
This storm system started last Friday, and always promised to deliver until well into Monday. For once, the bullish forecasts held true. Here's some footage from Falls Creek early on Monday morning. So now you can see why Al was doing all that shovelling, right?
This is what the weather charts looked on Friday. As you can see, cold front after cold front was lined up in the Southern Ocean -- all of them headed for the Victorian Alps and NSW Snowy Mountains in Australia's south-east.
Bullseye! First 20 centimetres fell. Then another 10. Then 30. Then 40cm on Sunday night. It's still snowing extremely heavily on Monday. Grand total: a metre or more of authentic Aussie powder.
The result? This, at Thredbo in NSW.
And this, at Mt Hotham in Victoria.
And this, where the skiers seem in danger of being lost among the snow and trees at Perisher in NSW.
And this, even more so.
And this, at Thredbo, the resort which has Australia's highest ski lifted point (2037m) but also its lowest village (1370m -- which is why the runs are so long). To see so much snow down at duckpond level is really something. Although the ducks are possibly a little quacked off.
Meanwhile, snow is also falling at lower elevations around 1200m near the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney.
It's also snowing in central Victoria at elevations as low as 700 metres above sea level. This vision was shot in the tiny hamlet of Lyonville, near Daylesford.
Sydney itself was mild enough with a top of 18 degrees early Monday afternoon, although the breeze was chilly. Melbourne was freezing and miserable with light showers and sat on about 10 degrees for much of the day. Canberra? Don't ask. Let's just say your scarf needed a scarf.
As for all those motorists whose cars are pretty much buried, Al Matthews' partner took the shot at the top of this story, and yes, he can confirm there are actual cars under there.
What happens next? Well, this writer can say from experience that the car owners have several hard hours of slog ahead of them if they want to dig their way out, and that their best bet might be to go the pub and wait for spring.
Or they can get busy like these folks.
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