The promising start to winter in New Zealand continues.
As regular followers of the Snow Report will know, New Zealand is expecting a colder-than-average season, thanks to El Niño. The occasional climate anomaly is now well-established in the Pacific, and one of its recognised side-effects is to drag cold winds from the south across New Zealand.
So far, the early-winter weather has been sticking to the script. Two weeks ago, resorts on the South Island had 30-50cm of snow, followed by perfect conditions for snow cannons, and then, last week, another top-up from Mother Nature.
Now, the wind is blowing from the south again, and there’s been more of the white stuff. Near Wanaka, Cardrona (which opens on June 13), reports 15cm of fresh snow today and a settled base of 30-55cm. The Queenstown resort of Coronet Peak (opens June 13) has had 5cm and has 20-50cm of settled cover on its trails. Nearby, The The Remarkables (opens June 20) reports 10cm of fresh and 30-40cm of settled cover.
The cold, windy and snowy weather looks set to continue for the rest of the week. It’s a big change from last year, and hopes are high that a memorable winter is on the way. Let’s just hope the wind drops off before Saturday, so there are no problems with the lifts on opening day.
There’s a good summary of which NZ resorts open when at snow.co.nz.
One resort which hasn’t been so lucky this week is Mount Hutt, near Christchurch. The resort had a good 25cm dump on June 3, and is due to open on Friday, but was hit by warm winds from the north-west yesterday. “This latest Nor’wester has hammered us hard and we’ve lost a good 15cm of snow in the space of 24 hours,” was the assessment today in the resort’s snow report. However, the temperature should drop tonight and there could be fresh snow tomorrow. Currently, the settled cover is 15-25cm deep.
In Australia, they’re already skiing
In the Snowy Mountains of Australia, the season is already underway – thanks to a 30cm dump at the start of June, and good snow-making weather since then. Perisher got 11 lifts going for its opening weekend. Here’s the video…
Pictured below was how it was looking at Thredbo, which also opened at the weekend.
Since then, the weather’s warmed up, and away from the groomed trails, there’s little in the way of cover. In Perisher, 212 snow cannons were in operation overnight to keep the pistes topped up, and nine lifts were running today.
In the Andes, Portillo has postponed its opening day
Further south, it’s looking more promising. Near San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina, Catedral Alta Patagonia, pictured above, has just had some snow and will open on June 20.
Meanwhile, in the Alps…
The summer ski season is underway in Val d’Isere, on the Pisaillais glacier – where you’ll be able to ski until July 12. In Les Deux Alpes the summer season runs from June 20 – Aug 29, and on the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes the lifts will be running from June 27 – August 9. In Saas-Fee in Switzerland, the glacier opens on July 18, and runs right through the autumn to the start of the proper winter season.
Here’s how it was looking today on the Stubai glacier.
Despite the chilly end to spring in the Alps – which saw heavy snow on May 15 and May 20 – the weather has become much milder, with scattered thunderstorms developing in the afternoons. The glaciers are okay for now: but they could do with another dump or two in the near future to set them up for midsummer.
|France: The Pisaillas glacier above Val d’Isere is now open for skiing, until July 12, and will shortly be followed by Les Deux Alpes (June 20 – Aug 29), and Tignes (June 27 – August 9).|
|Switzerland: currently Zermatt reports 190cm of snow at 2900m. Here, eight lifts are currently open.|
|Austria: three glaciers are currently open in Austria for skiing – the Hintertux, the Stubai and the Dachstein. On the Hintertux glacier, the snow is up to 270cm deep on the pistes, and 21km of pistes are open.|
|Italy: Cervinia is currently closed, but there will be access to the glacier above Zermatt from June 27.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts have now closed for skiing.|
|Western USA: In Colorado Arapahoe Basin the lifts have one more weekend to run, from June 12-14. Currently, there’s 104cm of settled mid-mountain cover.|
|Western Canada: Whistler has now shut the lifts on both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. They’ll reopen to skiers on Blackcomb mountain on June 20 for the short glacier season.|