Skiers and snowboarders are the eternal optimists. No matter how bad the snow, how miserable the rain, how strong the winds, there is always hope that it will get better when the next storm arrives. We’re aided in sustaining our hopeful addiction by snow forecasting. But like any relationship based on co-addiction, this has its ups and downs.

The advent of snow cams in resorts and social media took away the ability of resort management to get ‘creative’ in how they report actual conditions or snowbase. But the forecasts are different. Because they’re based on modelling which becomes less reliable as they go further into the future, they often do not reflect the reality of what’s likely to arrive in terms of actual snowfall. An intense cold front coming in from the southern ocean may look like its bringing great snow, and the seven day online forecasts will reflect this. But as the days pass, and that particular front weakens or is shunted off, sometimes the forecasts, as presented, don’t reflect the changed circumstances, especially where they’re automatically generated.

Meanwhile, we’ve all gone crazy on social media after seeing the original forecast, getting excited about the oncoming ‘Snowmaggedon’ that’s bearing down on us. Sometimes resort comms teams can be complicit in this as well, with their daily reports or social media, and you get a hyped up situation where we’re all waiting for that 60cm. The front comes through, dragging rain or a few cm behind it, and we’re all suitably heartbroken. Until the next forecast, promising 50 cm. On it goes, a beautiful co-dependence of hope, joy and, often, despair.

I’m not a forecaster and I don’t know the details about how each outlet monitors what’s on their sites or social media as the forecast evolves. I know that there are some strong opinions in the snow community about what the best sites are for forecasting, and I’d welcome feedback on this and links to the good ones I’ve missed (please feel free to add a comment). Here’s some that I know and use. I think multiple sources, with a bit of cross checking between sites gives the best sense of what’s actually coming, as opposed to what the forecast said 7 days ago.


Jane Bunn snow forecast

Snowatch Australia

BOM Alpine forecasts

Love live the hope! Its looking good for the next week.

Jane Bunn says:

Expect near-continuous snow, heavy for much of the time, particularly on Sunday. The major resorts should see 40 to 70 cm from Saturday to Monday, but there is the chance of one metre. Some of this falls as low as 800 metres.

Mountainwatch forecast:

snow capture2