It’s summer. The Alpine meadows are flushed with flowers, the streams are running crystal clear, and slopes we all know as smooth and white are wearing their summer greens.
Unless, that is, you’re skiing on a glacier, or tearing down one on a mountain bike…
Meanwhile, pictured below is the scene on the Hintertux glacier in the Austrian Tirol earlier this morning.
In Tignes, in France, the summer ski season is underway too. Here’s a photo-montage from Twitter this morning, posted by Team Snoworks. They were setting up for the first of their summer courses, which run on the Grande Motte for the next four weeks.
Lower down, of course, things look more summery. Tignes set me day-dreaming earlier today when the resort posted this photo of a favourite lunchtime picnic spot.
This was Kitzbuhel in the Tirol a little earlier on…
And I rather like this shot looking across to the Mer de Glace from Flégère, above Chamonix.
In other words, the summer season in the Alps is now in full swing – and there are few places in the world that can match its mix of natural beauty, adrenaline-soaked sports, and the sense of peace you can get from lying on a blanket by the side of a mountain stream, staring at the sky. If you’re looking for an escape right now, it may just have what you need.
Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere
What’s happened to the New Zealand winter? At the end of May it was looking promising. But now it’s turned unusually warm. On the South Island, Coronet Peak has had its pistes closed for a week, for want of snow, and Treble Cone’s season hasn’t even got started yet. What’s more, the latest MetService forecast is calling for a mild July, with only the occasional cold interlude.
Conditions in the Snowy Mountains of Australia are better, thanks to a series of storms at the back end of July which dumped 70cm on some resorts. In New South Wales, Perisher reported a 15cm top up on Thursday night and had 45 lifts spinning at the weekend. The outlook for Tuesday and Wednesday is for more snow – though not in the same quantities as they had ten days ago.
Right now, however, the best skiing is to be had in the high-altitude resorts of the Andes – such as Valle Nevado in Chile. It had a dusting of snow over the weekend, and has posted this rather tasty shot of the pistes this morning.
Across the border in Argentina, Las Lenas had snow this weekend, too.
|France: see our main report. Summer skiing is now on offer on the Pisaillas glacier above Val d’Isere (until July 15), at Les Deux Alpes (until August 27), and above Tignes (until August 7). Classic summer-skiing conditions prevail. The snow is hard-packed first thing in the morning, and then softens quickly as the sun strengthens.|
|Switzerland: there’s plenty of snow up on Zermatt’s glacier at the moment, thanks to the cold spring and showery start to summer. Currently the resort reports up to 220cm of cover, on-piste.|
|Austria: summer skiing is currently on offer on the Hintertux, Kitzsteinhorn and Molltaler glaciers. The snow’s currently in good nick for the time of year, but is going through a daily cycle of melting and refreezing.|
|Italy: Cervinia is open again for summer skiing.|
|Andorra: in Andorra, the shutters have come down on the ski season. All eyes are now on the summer…|
|Western USA: in California, Mammoth has announced it will offer skiing until July 4.|
|Western Canada: the Horstman glacier on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler is open for summer skiing until July 17.|