Winter has hit hard, early. But it’s not all bad – a chilling cold front and perfect polar conditions have resulted in heavy snowfalls across Victoria’s alpine regions, meaning both Mt Buller and Mt Stirling ski fields will open tomorrow on the first official day of winter.

The news gets even better for snow sports enthusiasts who manage to get to the slopes this weekend. Buller Ski Lifts is celebrating the opening of its new $6 million, six-seater Bourke Street Express chairlift by offering free skiing and boarding on Saturday, starting at 10am.

“We are at the mercy of Mother Nature at ski resorts, but every few years the stars align and we can open early,” Mt Buller communications and PR consultant Rhylla Morgan tells Broadsheet. “Here at Mt Buller we are especially prepared because the snowfall builds upon the huge snow-making infrastructure we have out here – our snow-making machine has been producing huge stockpiles of snow since April.”

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On Thursday night the area was blanketed by another 13 centimeters of fresh snow, on top of the 50 centimetres already received this week alone. “We haven’t seen snowfall this good since 2009, it feels like it’s that year all over again,” says Morgan.

If you’re keen to hit the slopes you might want to head down soon though, because these conditions aren’t expected to last the season. The Bureau of Meteorology is actually expecting this winter to be drier and warmer than usual.