PHOTOS • Dylan Robinson | SKIER • Drew Jolowicz
While wildfires and record-setting temperatures battered the Northern Hemisphere, the snowy season down under was just taking shape. If you’ve never heard tales of skiing with the Kiwis and Aussies, let us be the first to tell you… it rules. New Zealand boasts snow capped peaks that tower above rolling hills and ocean views, while Australia is home to fantastic tree skiing and world class terrain parks at resorts like Hotham and Perisher. The predicted weather cycle for Australia and New Zealand was an El Niño pattern, according to NZ’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). The El Niño criteria were met in July and August, as both countries saw a slow start to the winter with intermittent storms giving way. Skiers rejoiced at these first glorious turns, but the inconsistent temperatures and snow led to unstable snowpacks. NIWA notes that El Niño usually indicates colder winds reaching New Zealand’s alpine and warmer temperatures for Australia, but in reality, it’s been both countries that have thus far lacked consistent powder days. While the American West just saw one of its best winters in decades, 2023 is proving to have different plans in store for the South.
For a full break down of the differences between El Niño and La Niña weather patterns, plus predictions about North America’s 2023/24 winter cycles, check out this article on their website.
That being said, there have still been powder days to celebrate. With the global climate becoming more unpredictable by the year, it’s vital that we savor those powder days when we get them, using them as mental fuel to fight for a future with more dependable winters. Even though Australia has seen above-average temperatures this season, mountains like Hotham Alpine Resort received August storms worthy of getting the fat planks waxed up and ready to ride. Photographer Dylan Robinson sent FREESKIER some of his favorite shots from this season at Hotham. While he noted that the season has lacked consistency, these ‘best of’ shots reflect how good it can get when the gettin’ is good. Frost-covered trees and deep wind-blown snow banks make Hotham a freeride paradise when the snow settles in. Get lost in this gallery of cold smoke and good times, as seen through the lens of Dylan Robinson.
To see more of Dylan’s work, check out his Instagram page here.