Sitting in Chill Bar listening to Ricky play his tunes. It’s the best thing to do … it’s blizzard conditions outside at Hotham, even the road to Harrietville is closed and they’re escorting cars off in convoys.

Funny how Winter can come so late. One week ago they were forced to cancel the Australian New Zealand Cup races … the prime FIS alpine race meeting at Hotham owing to insufficient snow affecting the amount of terrain available. And today we’re looking at Great Alpine Road closure for the second day out of four, owing to snow conditions and potential for accidents on the road (Sunday night an accident forced all cars to exit Hotham via Omeo).

Of course we’re welcoming this deluge! The skiing over the past days, and the promise of days to come, is more than making up for the slow start to the season. Even the tough conditions – poor visibility, wind, cold temperatures and the obligatory micro-dermabrasion to the exposed skin – have been tolerable. Today I struck powder so deep down Beauchamps that I was unable to ski it on my slalom race skis! It’s been quite heavenly.

And the great news is that Orchard is expected to open tomorrow. The conditions there are going to be phenomenal!

So for anyone heading up to Hotham in the next few days you’re in for fabulous conditions. We’re expecting considerable snowfall to come, so it can only get better!

My pick runs for the past few days have been Sun Run with perfect conditions down the Funnel, Beauchamps has been superb, and Pumphouse Drop an absolute gem. Slalom Gully has been holding up exceptionally well without the usual bumps and caster sugar piles. Heavenly Valley has provided great skiing down Snake, Canyon and Twilight Zone. I’ve found a few runs give the impression of being superb fresh powder from above, but on closer inspection have been really crunchy and icy …rather deceptive. So some runs, such as Purgatory Spur have improved as the day has gone by and the sun has had a chance to soften the surface … well when the sun comes out!

Enjoy! And make sure you get to sit in on one of Ricky’s gigs … he’s brilliant!