Every now and again a bit of video comes out which nails the joy of skiing and snowboarding so perfectly, it makes your heart sing.
This footage, shot last week in Thredbo, Australia, certainly does it for me…
There’s been a lot of this going on in the southern hemisphere resorts lately. All three of the main ski regions – the Snowy Mountains of Australia, the Southern Alps of New Zealand and the Andes – have seen heavy snow in the last eight days. Skiers have been enjoying spectacular conditions as a result.
Between Saturday night and Wednesday night, Thredbo clocked up 85cm of snow, and is expecting more over the coming week. In fact, there’s loose talk of another 60-80cm by August 4.
Here’s how it looked on July 26.
The Southern Alps in NZ have seen similar amounts of snow. Coronet Peak, near Queenstown got 65cm of snow in the four days up to July 30. Current snow depths range from 75-145cm.
Here’s how it looked on July 28 (Thursday).
And this footage was posted by Harris Mountains Heliskiing at the weekend.
There’s more snow to come this week, too. NZ’s MetService is calling for further falls from Tuesday night. To begin with they’ll hit the eastern side of the South Island hardest, which means Mt Hutt could be in for big dump.
Of course, in both Australia and New Zealand the winter weather is famously flukey – and this winter has been no exception. The Snowy Mountains of Oz saw a slow start to winter and there’s been at least one sharp thaw since then. In NZ, the weather got so mild in June that Coronet Peak had to shut its pistes shortly after it opened for the start of the season. You never know what’s coming next: so the time to enjoy the magnificent conditions in both countries is RIGHT NOW.
More consistent this winter have been the high-altitude resorts of the Andes – and they too have seen heavy snow in the last week. The heaviest dump was on July 24/5 – which brought 80cm of snow to Portillo in Chile and a similar quantity to Valle Nevado, close to the capital Santiago. Here’s how Valle Nevado looked on Saturday.
There was more snow on Sunday – Valle Nevado reported a 10cm top-up, and it looks as though Las Lenas in Argentina had even more. This was the scene there yesterday morning.
Meanwhile, in the Alps…
At the weekend, my co-editor Felice Hardy reported on sweltering temperatures in the Austrian Tirol, with the mercury regularly hitting 30C. That made early-morning starts (and big mountain breakfasts) a very sensible idea for her mountain-biking trips. Over the last day or so, the weather’s cooled off a bit, and turned showery again. But it’s due to warm up on Wednesday again, across the whole region, with the freezing point up above 4000m during the day.
In the French Alps, Thursday and Friday afternoons are likely to be stormy: but more stable, sunny weather is expected at the weekend.
While the biking, hiking, running and climbing seasons are in full swing across the Alps at the moment, the summer glacier-skiing season is already winding down in France. Val d’Isere’s Pisaillas glacier is already shut, and the glacier above Tignes will close next Saturday, August 8. Les Deux Alpes will keep going till August 27. However, by way of compensation, you can now ski on the Allalin glacier above Saas-Fee in Switzerland, which will now remain open until the start of winter. There’s also skiing on offer above Zermatt and Cervinia, and on the Molltal and Hintertux glaciers in Austria.
Here’s how it was looking on the Hintertux glacier on Saturday, courtesy of Dutch website fantastischoostenrijk.nl.
|France: see our main report. Summer skiing has now finished on the Pisaillas glacier above Val d’Isere (until July 15). But you can still ski at Les Deux Alpes (until August 27), and above Tignes (until August 7).|
|Switzerland: there’s plenty of snow up on Zermatt’s glacier at the moment. Currently the resort reports up to 160cm of cover, on-piste. You can also ski on the glacier above Saas-Fee.|
|Austria: summer skiing is currently on offer on the Hintertux and Molltaler glaciers. On the Hintertux, the snow is up to two metres deep.|
|Italy: Cervinia is open again for summer skiing.|
|Andorra: no skiing is currently on offer in Andorra.|
|Western USA: summer ski camps are currently running at Timberline Lodge in Oregon.|
|Western Canada: the Horstman glacier on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler is now closed.|