They’re up and skiing in the southern hemisphere! It’s a fairly tentative start to the season – but ski resorts are now open in South America, New Zealand and Australia. Most of the rest will be firing up their lifts between June 15 and June 29.
You wouldn’t say early-season conditions are exceptional anywhere just yet. There was good pre-season snowfall in both New Zealand and South America, but this promising start hasn’t been followed by any significant storms since our last snow report.
All the same, there was fun to be had on opening day in Valle Nevado in Chile, on Saturday – as the video below shows (bear with the boot-fitting malarkey at the start – there’s some good skiing later on). Currently Valle Nevado’s snow report records 20cm of settled cover on the pistes.
They’ll have to wait a while for their next powder today though – there’s no significant snowfall in the weather forecast until next Tuesday at least.
Meanwhile over in New Zealand Coronet Peak, which also opened on June 8, reports 30cm of snow on the lower trails and 40cm higher up. However, it’s been a mild week, and is set to continue that way until a cold snap next Tuesday or Wednesday (check out the NZ Herald’s latest weather video for details). Mount Hutt will be the next key resort to open, on Saturday June 15 – and on the upper slopes there’s already 70cm of settled cover.
For more on the Kiwi resorts read our guide to the best places to ski in New Zealand.
Finally, in Australia, they’re quietly banging their heads against the wall, waiting for winter to come back. May was a promising month – cold and snowy – but the weather warmed up and Perisher in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales opened last weekend with only one skiable trail. Natural cover is almost non-existent – but snow showers are expected over the weekend, and temperatures should drop decisively next week.
In the Alps, it’s summer at last
As anyone who followed our snow reports in May will know, it was a very weird spring in the Alps. Now, finally, summer has arrived. Up on the Hintertux glacier today, at 3000m, the temperature was +8C. Down in the valleys of the French Alps Meteo Chamonix is predicting highs of +30C or more at the weekend.
Temperatures like this are going to melt the snow even on the glaciers – but with well over a metre having fallen in May, they are well-equipped for a long thaw (Hintertux has 345cm of settled snow on its pistes at the moment). The Pisaillas glacier above Val d’Isere is now open for summer skiing, joining Zermatt, Hintertux, and the Stubaital as summer glacier-skiing destinations. More resorts will be coming on stream over the next month: Les Deux Alpes on June 21, the Kitzsteinhorn on June 28, Tignes on July 15 and Saas-Fee on July 27.
Here’s how it was looking on the Hintertux glacier this afternoon.
And this is the scene lower down. Something approaching summer at last…
|France: the regular ski season is now done and dusted in France, although the Pisaillas glacier above Val d’Isere has now opened for its short summer season, to be followed by the glaciers above Les Deux Alpes on June 22 and above Tignes on July 15. Currently, all three have excellent cover, although it’s now very warm, and the snow will be going through a daily thaw/refreeze cycle.|
|Switzerland: You can still ski on the glacier above Zermatt, although the links over to Cervinia are currently closed. Saas Fee’s glacier will be open from July 27.|
|Austria: Austria has now flipped to summer-skiing with all resorts now closed apart from the glaciers. These include the Hintertux, the Stubai glacier. The Kitzsteinhorn glacier is currently closed but will reopen on June 28.|
|Italy: only the Presena glacier at Passo Tonale is currently open for skiing – although even this was closed today.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are now closed for the summer.|
|Western USA: all the mainstream ski resorts are now closed, but you can still make turns at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon.|
|Western Canada: The ski season is now done and dusted in Canada – although the glacier on Blackcomb mountain, above Whistler will be open from June 22 to July 28 for summer skiing.|