Yes, yes – we know it’s nearly midsummer. We should be firing up the barbie and dreaming of Cornish beaches and long, sun-drenched surf sessions. But our thoughts are firmly lodged in New Zealand at the moment, thanks to today’s snow report from Mount Hutt. The resort opens on Saturday for the start of the ski season, and with impeccable timing Mother Nature has just dumped 60-70cm of the white stuff on its slopes. In 24 hours! Can you imagine how fired up all the locals will be? The opening morning will be amazing – if the ski patrollers have left any powder for the public, that is.
Mount Hutt isn’t the only Kiwi resort with fresh snow on its slopes. Coronet Peak is also due to open on Saturday, and had 10cm of the white stuff overnight. That’s not exactly a dump, but with the snow cannons working hard the resort has been able to lay down a 25cm base on its pistes, and should be in decent shape for June 9. Most of the rest of NZ ski areas will be opening between June 16 and 30: and after today’s blizzards, hopes will be high for memorable start to the season.
Another part of the southern hemisphere where winter has come early is south-eastern Australia. There, the ski area of Perisher opened a limited number of pistes last weekend – and with 35cm of fresh snow in the last week, conditions are pretty good given it’s so early in the season. However, we notice from the forecast that a thaw is expected early next week: that may slow up the opening of terrain across the resort, and its rival Thredbo, which opens this weekend.
Here’s today’s video snow report from Perisher.
Meanwhile, back in Europe, the iffy start to summer continues. In the Alps, that has translated into the occasional dump of snow, as well as heavy rain. The recent snow has been welcome in the high-altitude glacier ski areas, which need to preserve their cover in preparation for the summer ski season: but anyone trying to persuade people to go to a mountain resort for a proper t-shirt-and-shorts summer holiday will be desperately hoping the weather calms down and warms up soon. In the short term that looks unlikely, with plenty of rain in the Alpine forecast this week.
Among the glacier ski areas currently open for skiing are Hintertux, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn and Dachstein glaciers in Austria, the Presena in Italy, and Zermatt in Switzerland (see the picture above, from www.zermatt.ch). Currently, on the Hintertux glacier the cover on-piste is up to 310cm deep.
If you’re tempted by the thought of skiing this summer, check out our guide to summer skiing resorts in both the northern and southern hemispheres.
|France: The French ski resorts are currently closed – but three glaciers open next month for summer skiing – Val d’Isere (opens June 9), Les Deux Alpes (opens June 16) and Tignes (opens June 22).|
|Switzerland: There’s still skiing on offer on above Zermatt – two pistes are open today. The glacier above Saas-Fee opens on July 14.|
|Austria: The main focus of the glacier ski scene at the moment is in Austria (see main report). On the Hintertux glacier there’s currently 310cm of snow.|
|Italy: Glacier skiing is currently available on the Presena glacier. The glacier at Val Senales opens June 23.|
|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: Whistler closed its last ski lifts on May 28. However, there will be glacier skiing on Blackcomb from June 23-July 29.|