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Early Winter Weather Starts Ski Season in Australia

PerisherCalling all ski and snowboard junkies: the ski season is just beginning! Unfortunately, you’ll need to travel to Perisher in Australia where the Southern Hemisphere ski season kicked-off this past weekend.

Colder than normal temperatures allowed the resort, situated a five hour drive from Sydney and seven from Melbourne, to open their t-bar and Village 8 lifts, as well as crafting a terrain park for visitors.

Perisher CEO Peter Brulisauer told reporters, “We’re absolutely thrilled the temps have dropped low enough to allow us to start snow-making,”

In all, Perisher has 50 lifts, 142 snowmaking cannons and a five-month ski season.

The resort also opened up other basic amenities including the ticket office (where tickets are AUD $30 for adults and AUD $15 for children) and a couple of the restaurants in the lodge.

Those prices are steeply discounted if you consider that a typical lift ticket is AUD $109, and the proceeds from this past weekend will be donated to a charity that is being determined via a Facebook poll.

Perisher had aimed for a June 10 start, but early cold and wet weather allowed for an early start.

Kicking off the ski season this early will provide a great boost to the Australian tourism industry, whose image and profits were greatly damaged after massive flooding and a cyclone occurred in the past year.

The tourism industry in Australia accounts for roughly 2.6% of the country’s gross domestic product equating to AUD $26 billion.

So, Australian officials are thrilled to get a jumpstart on recouping lost profits.

This news may seem foreign to those reading in North America as summer weather becomes entrenched in our consciousness, but not totally strange if you consider some resorts in the American West are planning to stay open well into June and, in some places, even July.

The Southern Hemisphere is also the site of the first competitive snowboarding event of the season as well. The Burton New Zealand Open is scheduled for August 9-13 at the Cardrona Alpine Resort, located between the cities of Wanaka and Queensland on the country’s South Island.

The New Zealand Open kicks off both the Burton Global Open Series and the Swatch TTR (Ticket to Ride) World Series for the 2011-12 season.

-Ryan O'Leary

 

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