Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Ongoing fears over future of Victoria’s ski resort industry

Ongoing fears over future of Victoria’s ski resort industry
June 20, 2018

A report from the Victorian Government suggests that within 30 years most of Australia’s alpine resorts are likely to have closed and the number of days each year of good natural snow cover on the ski slopes could be in single figures.

The report forecasts another 20 to 30 years of economically viable natural snowfall for Victoria’s biggest alpine resorts, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller and Falls Creek, and perhaps 10 years or less for the lower altitude resorts Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw.

The report explains that as climate change brings warmer and drier weather to south eastern Australia, the mountain resorts will rely even more on artificial snow to stay in business but it will also become more energy-intensive and more expensive to produce.

The likeliest outcome is that Victoria’s snow resorts will gradually close, until just one or two remain in business by mid-century, offering an increasingly rarefied experience.

It advises “snow-covered vistas across the region will initially be much diminished and eventually all but gone, with the patches of white largely confined to those created by machines, some even covered by a roof.”

It also warns that bushfires will become more frequent and heavy rains will erode more soil from the mountains, adding “the native flora will be stressed and some species lost, changing the character of the area.”

By 2070, there may be no snow industry in Victoria and the mountain resorts might reinvent themselves as escapes from the intense heat of summer.

The report by SGS Economics and Planning is the result of more than a year’s research and consultation and was published by the Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning at the end of last month.

However, it has not been peer-reviewed and it cautions that modelling the impact of climate change of Victoria’s snowfields beyond 20 years is difficult and will be influenced by the success of international efforts to contain global warming.

Yet, under a worst case scenario, by 2050 the number of days in which one centimetre or more of snow covers the state’s ski slopes will be in single figures.

Under a best case scenario there could be more than 100 days of natural snow on the highest slopes of Mt Hotham and Falls Creek, up to 90 days at Mt Buller, but none at Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw.

Cam Walker, Campaigns Coordinator at Friends of the Earth, said the report ought to serve as a wake-up call, advising “if this report is correct then it says we are at a tipping point and that we could see the end of the snow industry in Australia in our lifetimes.”

Victoria’s snow resorts contributed $483 million to regional economies and supported 3900 direct jobs and 1360 indirect jobs in 2016.

Mark Bennetts, Chief Executive of Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resorts, said the report was “no news” to resort operators.

Bennetts stated “we won’t know what is going to happen until it happens but having said that, the mountains have known about and been dealing with reductions in total snowfall and peak snowfall for years and years.”

The resort is waiting for approval to build a 100-megalitre dam on the mountain, to provide water for potable use and snowmaking.

Laurie Blampied, General Manager of Buller Ski Lifts, said technology had advanced to the point where snow could be made at any temperature.

However, he fears that an increasing reliance on artificial snow would not make the industry less viable, advising “if the product (snow) becomes less common, it will in turn become more valued and people are going to be prepared to pay more of a premium to enjoy a product if it’s scarce, a bit like a fine wine.”

The report is part of a long-term government strategy to address climate change impacts.

Victorian Energy and Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio concluded “climate change is happening and Victoria’s snowfields are not immune to this reality.

“Skiers can continue to expect snow but we're developing a long-term plan to ensure our alpine regions are visited year-round."

Related Articles

17th June 2018 - Victorian ski resorts enjoy significant early season snowfalls

15th June 2018 - Howmans Gap Alpine Accessible Accommodation Centre gets official opening

31st May 2018 - Thredbo ski resort bans tobogganing and ‘snow play’

4th May 2018 - Victorian alpine resorts welcome investment in collaborative tourism strategies

6th April 2018 - New appointments announced for Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board

20th January 2018 - Installation commences on Falls Creek’s new Eagle Chair

28th November 2017 - New governance model to be introduced for Victoria’s alpine resorts

4th September 2017 - Falls Creek extends winter season to 8th October

5th August 2017 - Climate to increasingly impact Australia’s ski industry

8th June 2013 - Snowmaking and grooming teams working hard for the opening of the 2013 ski season

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Commercial Aquatics Australia provides aquatic solutions nationwide and is one of the largest and most experienced companies specialising in the design, construction, renovation, service, maintenance…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks


BioLab Australia Pty Ltd

BioGuard is Australia and New Zealand’s most trusted supplier of premium, innovative and affordable commercial water treatment systems and chemicals. BioGuard offers a comprehensive range of…

read more

Aquatics / Technology / Waterparks


Aussie Strength

We are Aussie Strength. The ultimate supplier for Commercial Gym Equipment that's built to deliver in the toughest environments. From USA-Built hardcore weight training equipment from Arsenal…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks



SLE Worldwide Australia is a Managing General Underwriter specialising in insuring risks in the world of Sports, Leisure and Entertainment. Be it relaxing, playing, organising or watching sports,…

read more

Insurance / Venues



At easyemployer we've come up with a software solution that manages one of your most important, and often most costly, business resources - your staff. We are helping 100s of clients to…

read more

Finance / Fitness / Technology



Over the past 10 years Debitsuccess has been providing expert billing services to businesses across Australia. Debitsuccess is now the largest full service direct debit provider in Australasia,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Golf / Recreation


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business