Snow Report Hotham 2021 - Trip Reports, Pics & Conditions

PG2736

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One of the big issues they we’re trying to work through around the heavenly replacement was how long to ‘keep people in the air’ to try and manage crowds. You would be surprised how much money hotham makes & the consistency of earnings...I have had the benefit of being involved in some of the transactions over the years. Buller is great when it is on...but at least at Hotham we get a bit more terrain than our other vic options. Its never going to be as good as the North American or European resorts but at least it gets my kids out having a good time & it’s better than working!
 
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Onlybackscratchers

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One of the big issues they we’re trying to work through around the heavenly replacement was how long to ‘keep people in the air’ to try and manage crowds. You would be surprised how much money hotham makes & the consistency of earnings...I have had the benefit of being involved in some of the transactions over the years. Buller is great when it is on...but at least at Hotham we get a bit more terrain than our other vic options. Its never going to be as good as the North American or European resorts but at least it gets my kids out having a good time & it’s better than working!
In many ways it's surprising that any resort bothers to put the more expensive dectachables in. They benefit increasing skier lap rates, not the lucrative hang time that closely spaced fixed grips achieve. If Hotham want to make easy money then there better of keeping the fixed grips.

I'm surprised that your surprised that anyone on here doubts how much Hotham can make. But I also know they lost a shit load last year, regardless of covid, the season was non existent. At some point when the poor seasons outway the good, Hotham will follow the route of the previously profitable lift operations at Baw Baw that haven't really made money since the early nineties. In the meantime lets hope somebody comes up with game changing environmentally friendly man-made snow with a higher melting point.
 
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skimax

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I did mention Buller with the caveat of "when it's on" that, as we all know is unfortunately becoming a rather rare occurrence. Buller obviously it's own issues, but that's for the Buller thread.

I welcome lift investment at Hotham, however adding capacity to Heavenly or Village only adds to the issues in Slalom Gully. It's at that point that you have the hit the head against the wall moment, all the old expansion dreams are not going to happen. A lifted Aussie Drift, extending Blue Ribbon, lifts over towards Spargos hut. Still plenty that Vail can do to micro tune the resort. Cover Heavenly head to toe with snowmaking and make it OZ's most reliable advanced area after the Ridge area at Perisher. A point of difference, like Bullers ability to stay in the game purely on the basis of closeness to Melbourne.
yes all good points, unfortunately Hotham has worse dew points that FV and Thredbo for snowmaking , but the snowmaking capability ( at a cost) in getting enough water and compresssors to pump slalom ( and fully cover summit/big D ) would seem crucial to me. A Second ramble trail down from Sun Run area to Village offering an alternate punter alley down ( aspect and earthworks issues aside) would also seem highly important . or sundowner 2/3 exit stage right to village.
 

snowgum

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yes all good points, unfortunately Hotham has worse dew points that FV and Thredbo for snowmaking , but the snowmaking capability ( at a cost) in getting enough water and compresssors to pump slalom ( and fully cover summit/big D ) would seem crucial to me. A Second ramble trail down from Sun Run area to Village offering an alternate punter alley down ( aspect and earthworks issues aside) would also seem highly important . or sundowner 2/3 exit stage right to village.

Excellent idea! Offering a RH exit from Sundowner towards Playground would cut a little of the congestion at the bottom of Slush Gully. Lower Playground is poorly used these days and has nice some nice (good blue/easy black) skiing in good snow conditions.
 
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benzerknees

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Apologies for my negativity, don't let it get anyone else down as this is only my opinion and perhaps it helps with the SDS

Hotham is a garbage "resort"

RR is the coldest (except perhaps scotts) and slowest lift ever

Sun run is too narrow................
Funny thing, skiing Hotham a lot as a kid, in the 70's , the talk about Hotham's lack of lift development was the same in intensity. The Schumann family owned the lift company. (I believe, later, were connected with the Big White, Canada development.)
The Blue Ribbon rope tow had not run for years, let along been replaced by a chairlift. The Village Run double chair was the slowest , coldest thing on earth, and always had a queue. (New lift: Audi Quattro)
Brockoff poma was probably my most skiied on lift. (now HV) No Ochard or Keoghs back then.

In some ways, some of the the terrain was better back then, Slalom Gully was not a super highway but a mogul meander beside the creek. You could treck out to Mary's slide for powder runs. The bus beating "zoo train" ran up and down the road. And of course fresh powder was/is very much a Hotham thing, although on the 70's skinny long skis no one was very proficient in deeper snow.
 

Boodwah

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Funny thing, skiing Hotham a lot as a kid, in the 70's , the talk about Hotham's lack of lift development was the same in intensity. The Schumann family owned the lift company. (I believe, later, were connected with the Big White, Canada development.)
The Blue Ribbon rope tow had not run for years, let along been replaced by a chairlift. The Village Run double chair was the slowest , coldest thing on earth, and always had a queue. (New lift: Audi Quattro)
Brockoff poma was probably my most skiied on lift. (now HV) No Ochard or Keoghs back then.

In some ways, some of the the terrain was better back then, Slalom Gully was not a super highway but a mogul meander beside the creek. You could treck out to Mary's slide for powder runs. The bus beating "zoo train" ran up and down the road. And of course fresh powder was/is very much a Hotham thing, although on the 70's skinny long skis no one was very proficient in deeper snow.
Hotham always been owned by crooks and cream skimming low lives.
Reckon Vail will just continue that trend
 
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MisterMxyzptlk

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In many ways it's surprising that any resort bothers to put the more expensive dectachables in. They benefit increasing skier lap rates, not the lucrative hang time that closely spaced fixed grips achieve. If Hotham want to make easy money then there better of keeping the fixed grips.
Fixed grips knock boarders and beginners over like ten pins.It's fun to watch in a schadenfraudey way but presumably a nightmare for insurance and ends up slowing the lift because they're always stopping them to clear the runoffs.
 

Onlybackscratchers

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Fixed grips knock boarders and beginners over like ten pins.It's fun to watch in a schadenfraudey way but presumably a nightmare for insurance and ends up slowing the lift because they're always stopping them to clear the runoffs.
Detachables fall off sometimes to, ask Thredbo how much that cost them, they also cost millions more to install and maintain. Yes obviously as a customer I prefer detachables, but the reality is fixed grips make resorts operators more money, mainly to do with the hang time PG2736 referred to.
 

skimax

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Detachables fall off sometimes to, ask Thredbo how much that cost them, they also cost millions more to install and maintain. Yes obviously as a customer I prefer detachables, but the reality is fixed grips make resorts operators more money, mainly to do with the hang time PG2736 referred to.
Nothing to do with hang time at all , purely capital ( cash) related
 

CarveMan

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Nothing to do with hang time at all , purely capital ( cash) related
Both are correct - hang time is a big deal for resorts, it's where they want the people.

But detachables are also a massive capital and maintenance cost, and don't actually move large queues any faster than a fixed grip. The ride is shorter, and if there's no queue you will get more laps in, but the raw skiers/hr number only increases if you go to 6 or 8 seaters
 

Tanuki

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Fixed grips knock boarders and beginners over like ten pins.It's fun to watch in a schadenfraudey way but presumably a nightmare for insurance and ends up slowing the lift because they're always stopping them to clear the runoffs.
Not if the liftie is properly trained on how to 'bump' the chair, as I was in NZ and Buller. Otherwise, if a liftie is poorly trained, not paying attention or unsupervised then yes, ouch. Hello funniest home videos.
 
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djam

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resort design, there is a 30/30/30 rule, 30% on the run, 30% in the que and 30% on the lift... the other 10% must be in the trees :|
 
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Any

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slushy, and getting thin in spots.
its been humid as hell overnight most nights, so i dont think much snowmaking has been done.

20210614_140358.jpg
 

Guthega Girl

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But I wouldn’t be anywhere else!
Best views, mountain feel and lift-accessed BC lines in Australia.
Frequently the best snow too.
I think Hotham is Australia’s best resort IMO it’s all about the terrain. We are always in Aussie going to have limits with what ‘Weather’ we get but if we get 2 m base and it’s season on i would be skiing it everyday over the rest.
I grew up skiing PB and I love it but the terrain isn’t as strong as Hotham and lots of my nsw based ski buddies are of same opinion.

Now back to conditions snow today and and off till Saturday? Hopefully a nice top up and some snow making, keen as mustard for my mon and tues trip next week
 

steeps

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I think Hotham is Australia’s best resort IMO it’s all about the terrain. We are always in Aussie going to have limits with what ‘Weather’ we get but if we get 2 m base and it’s season on i would be skiing it everyday over the rest.
I grew up skiing PB and I love it but the terrain isn’t as strong as Hotham and lots of my nsw based ski buddies are of same opinion.

Now back to conditions snow today and and off till Saturday? Hopefully a nice top up and some snow making, keen as mustard for my mon and tues trip next week
Same Here- Pretty much our family is a PB / Guthega one (when lodge share friends invite us.)....BUT......Gotham under full snow is the best resort in Australia Terrain wise - I skied it well before children and the wife came along (not in that order!) and before the Orchard, Gotcha and Keoghs area was put in place - Mary's used to be a great fun hike... but now its easier to also get over to Spargos and One Tree etc because of these lifts. Took all of us there in 2018 staying at Schnapps- they loved the mountain and the Blacks - now - for August it will be me and 3 mates slumming it again at Zirkys ! I hope the snow will be good and allow all the mountain open and Covid behaves for us fully vaxed peeps even though I will be sharing a room with my best mate who is a rabid anti-vaxxer....
 
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absentskier

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Same Here- Pretty much our family is a PB / Guthega one (when lodge share friends invite us.)....BUT......Gotham under full snow is the best resort in Australia Terrain wise - I skied it well before children and the wife came along (not in that order!) and before the Orchard, Gotcha and Keoghs area was put in place - Mary's used to be a great fun hike... but now its easier to also get over to Spargos and One Tree etc because of these lifts. Took all of us there in 2018 staying at Schnapps- they loved the mountain and the Blacks - now - for August it will be me and 3 mates slumming it again at Zirkys ! I hope the snow will be good and allow all the mountain open and Covid behaves for us fully vaxed peeps even though I will be sharing a room with my best mate who is a rabid anti-vaxxer....
You done a lot of skiing at all resorts in Oz in good conditions?
 

absentskier

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I knew that's what you were driving at ! I have heard from mid to lower down, it is the best in big snow ! Unfortunately my only trip there was in a really bad season - I think 2006 / 2007 ? (cant be sure). Spent three days in the pub.
It's a really great mountain when in good condition, but yes sadly that doesn't happen often enough.
 
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Guthega Girl

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Same Here- Pretty much our family is a PB / Guthega one (when lodge share friends invite us.)....BUT......Gotham under full snow is the best resort in Australia Terrain wise - I skied it well before children and the wife came along (not in that order!) and before the Orchard, Gotcha and Keoghs area was put in place - Mary's used to be a great fun hike... but now its easier to also get over to Spargos and One Tree etc because of these lifts. Took all of us there in 2018 staying at Schnapps- they loved the mountain and the Blacks - now - for August it will be me and 3 mates slumming it again at Zirkys ! I hope the snow will be good and allow all the mountain open and Covid behaves for us fully vaxed peeps even though I will be sharing a room with my best mate who is a rabid anti-vaxxer....
I reckon one run at Guthega is sort of Hotham like but its barely open and I've only skii'd it once back in 2004 .. Parachute its a cracker. Us lucky Guthega types def know where to find the good PB stashes first thing in the AM, but having said that i did out the back of Orchads post storm a few years ago and it was pretty bloody good vs PB
 
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snowgum

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I knew that's what you were driving at ! I have heard from mid to lower down, it is the best in big snow ! Unfortunately my only trip there was in a really bad season - I think 2006 / 2007 ? (cant be sure). Spent three days in the pub.
(apologies talking Buller on Hotham site - I love Hotham - my main lift mtn in Oz!):

Easy to forget, Buller is a ‘big mtn’ by Aussie stds with about 1200m of vertical summit to valley floor (Mirimbah). And one can sometimes ski on 3 sides (Sth, east and north) when conditions allow

it’s just unfortunate ‘these days’, only the top half ~ >1200m+ sees regular snow (bar 1-2 super-dump events per season) and really it’s only reliable above about 1500m, like most Aussie mainland fields.

That’s a much smaller skiable area than if say 1200m was reliable but most locals accept the gal for what she is? And yes, when on song she’s great - many faces get steeper as one descends! Exit wisely! :oops: ;)
 
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Funny thing, skiing Hotham a lot as a kid, in the 70's , the talk about Hotham's lack of lift development was the same in intensity. The Schumann family owned the lift company. (I believe, later, were connected with the Big White, Canada development.)
The Blue Ribbon rope tow had not run for years, let along been replaced by a chairlift. The Village Run double chair was the slowest , coldest thing on earth, and always had a queue. (New lift: Audi Quattro)
Brockoff poma was probably my most skiied on lift. (now HV) No Ochard or Keoghs back then.

In some ways, some of the the terrain was better back then, Slalom Gully was not a super highway but a mogul meander beside the creek. You could treck out to Mary's slide for powder runs. The bus beating "zoo train" ran up and down the road. And of course fresh powder was/is very much a Hotham thing, although on the 70's skinny long skis no one was very proficient in deeper snow.
The ski field changed a lot in the 80's with Blue Ribbon in 81, Big D in 84, HV in 87 and Summit Quad in 88. And then the big earthworks that created Slalom Gully, Imagine, and Blue Snake mid decade. The Schumanns were in vesting then. But then turned off the boiler for 5 years. Grooming was terrible and zero snowmaking
 
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Luken

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Slalom Gully was just a steep, mogul minefield. Much narrower than it is today, and steeper in parts. I remember 87 at Hotham, Gunbarrel, he went up that side, I went up the other side (think halfpipe) then we both met in the middle. Luckily I was half a head taller and he coped my chin strap in the forehead.. I just got a busted lip.. As much as people complain about Slalom Gully, you can avoid the worst bits every 2nd run, and if you a good slider can shoot down one side and avoid the snow plow crew.. Just don't do it after about 1pm... slush central. Thats when you stay up around Road runner, or head over to BR even if it's only half way then down to village.

One of my fav loops is Basin, down to Road Runner, then u to top, down either over bridge and down Sun Run, or hard left, traverse the rd and drop down Wendix into top of Slalom, brave the crowds, then do something in HV, then back down to Village and repeat. Keeps it interesting, but as I get older 3 - 4 hours is enough.
 
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Hermannator

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But detachables are also a massive capital and maintenance cost, and don't actually move large queues any faster than a fixed grip. The ride is shorter, and if there's no queue you will get more laps in, but the raw skiers/hr number only increases if you go to 6 or 8 seaters
This is presumably due to the "rope load" whereby detach chairs are spaced further apart than the fixed grip chairs, meaning less chairs/m for the detach. Good pickup (from a physics nerd pov)
 

Timmossy

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I’ve got great home video of the washout which occurred in 87/88 summer when half of imagine and slalom gully ended up down the valley. The double chair load got taken out. I as a 6 year old could touch the cable at tower 1 on HV there was that much debris.
 

CarveMan

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This is presumably due to the "rope load" whereby detach chairs are spaced further apart than the fixed grip chairs, meaning less chairs/m for the detach. Good pickup (from a physics nerd pov)
Yes - aside from the fact that detachables stop less often due to ease of loading for beginners, the people per hour loading rates of fixed grips and detachables are the same.
 
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Onlybackscratchers

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What did it look like before said earthworks?
Haven't got a shot of Slalom Gully, but even up the top, as viewed from Playground chairlift?, a lot has changed. The gully beside Imagine has been heavily filled. The traverse off Brockfhoff Poma towards the now named Imagine was quite scary.

Photo mid-September 84, my first ski visit to Hotham, still the most snow I've seen in Victoria. My hair is even just in the shot, haven't seen that for awhile.
20210617_235727.jpg
 

snowgum

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It's on and off real wet snow.
Very poor vis, I did only 3 laps instead.
I’d take wet snow over clear stuff any day (no pun!) - but it’s not much fun to be covered in heavy gloop after one run.

Let’s hope the luck of the Vic resorts improves dramatically? Especially with schl hols due in a week? Always preferential to spread the crowds beyond the village loop?
 

Any

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Three laps post surgery is good going, hope the recovery is going well.
yeah im feeling like im heaps ahead of schedule.
ive been skiing tiny bits each day, mostly with ms pink jacket lady acting as a blocker so people cant run into me.

I’d take wet snow over clear stuff any day (no pun!) - but it’s not much fun to be covered in heavy gloop after one run.

Let’s hope the luck of the Vic resorts improves dramatically? Especially with schl hols due in a week? Always preferential to spread the crowds beyond the village loop?
i think Big D opens tomorrow. much exciting i guess.

the vis has been so bad I haven't noticed if they've been snowmaking imagine or snake gulley or not.
 

almontyrat

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Here is the Swindlers Trail after Season 84 - from bottom of then Brockhoff Poma down to the double chair. It got ‘barrelled’ that summer. In the background- the newly re-graded Blue Snake

866B28DD-7B7C-4B5F-82F0-3CA2E6904016.jpeg
60825ADB-D3AB-4DFF-9EDC-8F1AC7A4A844.jpeg
No way would such things get approval these days with all the environmental overlays etc. Certainly a huge undertaking.
 

Guthega Girl

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Hotham looking the goods today; not a lot open but the runs that were in the am were nice and firm not a heap of ice. Now the suns got to it pretty slushy.

Its in much better condition than I thought it would be; after not skiing for 2 and a bit years (broken ankle and Covid fun) just happy to be here finding my ski feet again

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