For the second week in a row, New Zealand is the star of our snow report – thanks to a 60cm dump at Mount Hutt, near Christchurch. The ski area has felt the full force of a wet and windy weather front pummelling the east coast of the South Island – and wasn’t able to open today thanks to snow drifts a metre deep on its access road. Once the roads are cleared there’s gong to be quite a powder party there. Although with the snow so wind-affected the avalanche risk is going to be considerable.
Here’s how the resort was looking on Sunday in the middle of the storm. Snow depths range from 160-190cm across the ski area – by far the deepest base we’ve seen this winter in New Zealand.
Later in the week the action is going to shift to the ski areas around Queenstown, with heavy rain in the valleys, and snow at altitude, blown in by strong easterly winds. Check out the New Zealand Herald’s weekly video weather forecast for more details.
Currently conditions in the Queenstown resorts are okay – but not exceptional. They had heavy snow at the start of the month, but this was followed by mild, snow-gobbling air from the tropics. In The Remarkables for example, the snow report records 5cm of new snow overnight and a settled base of 66-86cm on the groomed trails.
More snow is also expected at the end of the week in south-eastern Australia. Conditions in the Snowy Mountain resorts are already pretty good – thanks to a 40cm dump last Thursday – and in Perisher, New South Wales, they’re talking about the deepest cover in eight years: up to 165cm on the slopes. This coming Friday and Saturday could see a significant top-up, blown in on cold southerly winds.
Here’s today’s video snow report from Perisher, where despite the depth of the cover conditions were pretty spring-like in the strong sunshine: hard-packed and icy in the morning and soft and wet in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, in South America, there’s been a little fresh snow in the last seven days, but the goods have not been evenly distributed. Portillo in Chile reports just 1cm of snow in the last week, while Valle Nevado had 15cm last Tuesday. Las Lenas in Argentina had snow too – which was quickly turned into a nice film by the resort’s excellent video department…
Finally, in the Alps, the glacier skiing-season continues – although the cover is thinning rapidly in the warm weather, and the pistes are looking pretty ropey now. It’s not always like this: Welove2ski remembers powder snow on the pistes in Saas-Fee back in August 2007. But as a rule we’d always counsel skiing the Alpine glaciers in June or early July if you can – when the snow is still fairly deep and the before the warm mid-summer weather sets in.
Still hoping to get some turns in before the end of summer? Then check out our guide to the best resorts for summer skiing.
|France: You can ski on the glaciers above Les Deux Alpes and Tignes: but the cover is thinning fast. On Les Deux Alpes’ glacier the snow is no more than 50cm deep. It’s going to be a warm week, too: above Tignes the temperature on the Grande Motte glacier could reach +10C on Wednesday.|
|Switzerland: Four pistes were open today for summer skiing on the glaciers above both Saas-Fee and Zermatt. On the Saas-Fee glacier, the cover has dropped from 196cm to 153cm deep in the last week.|
|Austria: 22km of pistes are open today on the Hintertux glacier, and the cover is 105cm deep.|
|Italy: Summer skiing is on offer above Val Senales, where two pistes are usually open. You can also ski on the glacier above Cervinia.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski areas are closed.|
|Western USA: All the mainstream resorts in the US are now closed for skiing. However, there is skiing (and a terrain park) on offer at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon.|
|Western Canada: The glacier above Whistler is now closed.|