You remember the long dry start to winter in the central Andes? The one that saw resorts open more than a month later than they did in 2014?
Well, you can forget all about that now.
A big storm hit the region last week, and had dumped over two metres of snow in places by the time the clouds lifted on Saturday. Portillo in Chile has reported a staggering 205cm of fresh snow as a result.
Here’s how deep it was in the Portillo car park…
And this is how deep it was on the hotel terrace.
Even at the bottom of the slopes, the settled cover is now two metres deep.
Meanwhile, Las Lenas in Argentina had 90cm of fresh snow in the base area, and 1.6m at the top. Here’s a very smoooth video, shot on Sunday, in the wake of the storm. Shame they couldn’t find any really exciting skiers to shape some turns for the camera though. Maybe they were all sleeping off Saturday night…
Of course, so much snow in such a short time created lots of operational difficulties: including lift, piste and road closures. But once the blasting’s done and the snow has settled…Well, I can’t wait to see the pictures and video.
Can we expect another dump like it? There isn’t anything on the immediate horizon: but one of the side-effects of the southern hemisphere’s El Nino winter is supposed to be heavier snow in the central Andes. After a slow start, maybe the second half of the season will be a memorable one.
There’s been more snow in New Zealand
The last week has seen some very happy skiers on the South Island of New Zealand – thanks to fresh snow last Tuesday, and again on Friday (with frigid temperatures and the snow showers at the weekend). Yesterday and today have been gloriously sunny. There’s a general sense of bliss at the moment down there – and the feeling that this has been the best season for years.
Pictured below is how it was looking in the The Remarkables on Saturday. The settled snow depth here is 120-170cm.
And here’s how it was looking in Coronet Peak on the same day. “This season is just epic!” said the resort’s Facebook reporter. The resort currently has 75-165cm of settled snow on its trails.
After several days of intense cold, the outlook for the South Island is for a sudden blast of warm humid air from the north on Wednesday and Thursday, becoming cooler at the weekend. There is talk of an early spring: let’s hope it doesn’t mess with the back end of the ski season.
Getting colder in Australia
The weather keeps flipping in the Snow Mountains of Oz – sometimes mild, sometimes frigid. But the general sense is that – after a slow start – the middle of the season has been pretty good. They’re having another cold spell at the moment. Perisher reported 5cm of fresh snow this morning, and 20cm over the last week. There should be a little more tomorrow.
Steaming hot again in the Alps
Two of our editors are off on a cycling trip to Austria next week. If the weather holds they may spend more time swimming than pedalling. In Zell am See, their first stop, the temperature is likely to hit 29C tomorrow and 30C on Thursday.
Here’s how it’s looking this afternoon.
Across the Alps, the daytime freezing point is going to be above 4000m all week, which continues the glacier-unfriendly trend we’ve seen all summer. But that hasn’t stopped the Warren Smith Academy’s programme in Cervinia: but this video will go you an idea of how hot it’s been…
|France: as has been the case right across the Alps, the French glaciers have been hammered by the hot summer. The Grand Motte above Tignes has now closed, but Les Deux Alpes soldiers on until August 29.|
|Switzerland: currently Zermatt claims 130cm of snow at 2900m. Here, 17 lifts are currently open, serving 14 pistes. Up high. You can also ski on the glacier above Saas-Fee.|
|Austria: two glaciers are currently open in Austria for skiing – Hintertux, and the Molltal. On the Hintertux glacier, the snow is up to 110cm deep on the pistes, and 18km of pistes are open – but as is the case everywhere in the Alps, the cover is suffering in the heat.|
|Italy: there’s currently lift access from Cervinia to the high-altitude pistes between Italy and Switzerland.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are closed.|
|Western USA: summer skiing is on offer at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon.|
|Western Canada: Whistler’s short glacier season on Blackcomb mountain finished on July 26.|