Resorts hail the white of spring

A heavy dump of warm spring rain tomorrow may reduce the thick cover of snow in the Alpine region, but it won't stop resorts extending their bumper season.

Alpine resorts have capitalised on the extra-long snow season this year, some closing up to a week later than normal; however, warm late-spring rain on Friday will reduce snow depth.

Sean Carson, from the Bureau of Meteorology, says 50-100 millimetres of rain is expected to fall tomorrow afternoon in the Australian Alps, cutting the current natural snow depth of two metres. Five to 10 centimetres of snow is expected to fall on Saturday so resorts ''shouldn't be too worried,'' he said.

Thredbo too has stretched its opening dates, utilising grooming machines for late season. But from next Tuesday, only the Basin and Karels area will be open for riders.

According to Andrew Watkins, manager of Climate Prediction Services at the BoM, the great snow cover was due to a ''neutral winter'' (neither El Nino nor La Nina).

''The most favourable condition tend to be in the middle - neutral conditions … these are generalisations of course . . individual weather events at the right time can make or break a season,'' he said.

Neil Thew, public relations manager of Perisher said, ''We still have a good cover for this time of year, but it's spring conditions given the days are now warmer.''

The resorts weren't the only ones busy this ski season.

The Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter attended 18 call-outs, 10 from Thredbo eight from Perisher, more than doubling the rescue missions last year. Fractures were the most common injury. Costing $3000 per hour to run, the helicopter takes 20-30 minutes to reach ski fields.

Mr Carson said Canberrans could expect 20-40 millimetres of rain later this week.

The story Resorts hail the white of spring first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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