On June 1, the South American ski season got underway, with the opening of El Colorado near Santiago in Chile.
Now the first resorts in New Zealand and Australia have joined the fray. Mount Hutt on NZ’s South Island was first off the mark on June 10, followed by Coronet Peak and Cardrona on June 11.
Meanwhile, in the Snowy Mountains of Australia, several resorts had opening-weekend parties, although there’s very little in the way of natural snow, and some weren’t able to offer any skiing.
In NZ, the best conditions right now are in Mount Hutt, thanks to a snowstorm on Sunday. It dumped enough powder on sheltered slopes to make the off-piste lines on Mid-Towers skiable. Here’s another view of conditions earlier today.
This new snow has come as a bit of relief, because since the promising pre-season snow at the end of May there have been some warm spells in NZ. You can see the effect in Coronet Peak, above Queenstown in the webcam shot below (the resort missed out on most of yesterday’s snow).
Fortunately, snow is forecast for the middle of the week in the Southern Alps, although it may be preceded by rain for a time. It could miss Mount Hutt, but should thicken the cover in the Queenstown and Wanaka resorts. This coming weekend, The Remarkables will also be opening, on June 18.
In Australia, Perisher had the best start of the season, thanks to its snow cannons, and there was a little skiing on offer above the base area (check out this Facebook video for a taste of how it was). However, the Snowy Mountains need a proper cold snap before winter really gets under way.
Meanwhile, in the Andes…
The best snow in the southern hemisphere is in the Andes, thanks to heavy snow at the start of June. Last week both La Parva and Valle Nevado spun their lifts for the first time, and were able to offer superb early-season conditions. Check out Valle Nevado’s opening-day video for more.
Portillo is opening this Saturday, June 18.
And in the Alps, the summer ski season is underway
In Val d’Isere in the French Alps, the road to the Col de l’Iseran is now open, and there’s skiing on the Pisaillas Glacier.
Here’s how it was looking this morning at around 7.15, near the lift station below the glacier. And yes, that is a dusting of fresh snow on the ground.
There should be a little more of the white stuff over the next couple of days, as the weather is likely to stay cool and showery with spells of heavier precipitation. In fact, according to French forecaster Meteo Chamonix, it’s going to feel more like October than June.
On Saturday, Les Deux Alpes will also open its glacier for summer skiing, followed by Tignes on June 25.
In the meantime, You can also ski on glaciers at Hintertux and Zermatt (which are open all year), and on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier near Zell am See which closes in July 24.
On the Alpine glaciers conditions are generally very good. At altitude, a snowy April and May has been followed by a generally cool start to summer. Here’s how it was looking on Friday on the Hintertux glacier, in the Austrian Tirol – when the Ski Club Fanano were out working on their turns.
|France: see our main report. The Pisaillas glacier above Val d’Isere is open for skiing until July 15. Les Deux Alpes will be open from June 18 to August 27, and Tignes from June 25 to August 7.|
|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: both the Stubai and Kaunertal glaciers closed on May 29, leaving only the Hintertux and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers open for the time being. There’s plenty of cover on the pistes, however, thanks to several heavy snowfalls in April and early May. From June 18 the Molltaler glacier will also be open for summer skiing.|
|Italy: Cervinia will be open again for summer skiing from June 25.|
|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.|
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