It’s on! In New Zealand, the South Island resorts of Cardrona, Mount Hutt, and Coronet Peak are now all open for skiing, and rubbing their hands in anticipation of heavy snow on Thursday.
So far, it’s been a promising start. Windy, yes – but also cold. There have been frequent little top-ups of snow, and the occasional meatier blizzard, and the in the meantime the snow cannons have been working hard to create a consistent base on the trails. You can see the effect in the Facebook shot from Coronet Peak on Monday. There’s good cover on-piste – but lots of grass still showing wherever the snow cannons and groomers haven’t been working their magic.
Here’s another shot – from the webcams at the end of the day today.
Now all eyes are on what’s being called the Weather Bomb: a great lump of rain, turning to snow, which is expected to snag on the Southern Alps tomorrow. There’s already talk of a metre of snow in Central Otago, and the ski fields in the west should do well too. Maybe we’ll see a repeat of the mighty storm of June 2013…
At the very least, yet more cold southerly winds are expected in the wake of the storm, which will give the snow cannons another chance to work hard.
The Remarkables delays its opening
Coronet Peak’s neighbour, The Remarkables, has already had a nice little top-up: 15cm on Monday, meaning there’s currently 40-70cm of snow on the hill.
However, news broke today that they’ve had to delay the opening because the new base lodge isn’t quite finished. Turns out that gales and blizzards aren’t the best weather for fitting plate glass windows, after all. They’re hoping to get the lifts running by June 27.
Rather than releasing a terse one-line statement on Facebook, the resort’s management team filmed its apology – a great piece of PR in the teeth of the ski community’s disappointment. The response has been overwhelmingly sympathetic.
Praying for snow in Australia and Chile
There’s the chance of snow on Friday in the Snowy Mountains of south-eastern Australia. Let’s hope it comes, because after mild, wet weather, the only snow left in ski resorts like Thredbo and Perisher is the man-made stuff packed down on the prepared pistes. Both resorts are already open, but conditions have taken a big step back from the encouraging start earlier this month.
Meanwhile, in the ski resorts near Santiago in the Andes, they’re waiting for the white stuff too. Further south, in Catedral Alta Patagonia, they already have it, and are planning to open on Saturday.
Here’s how it’s looking today in Valle Nevado, near Santiago, which is hoping to open on June 26.
And here’s the snow today in Catedral: looking a little thin now: but there’s more in the forecast at the weekend.
In Europe, Les Deux Alpes opens its glacier this weekend
In the France, Les Deux Alpes joins the summer skiing scene on Saturday, with the opening of its glacier. The resort will be offering 111 hectares of skiable snow, and currently has an average snowdepth of 255cm. There may even be a dusting of new snow up there when the lifts open, as the freezing point is likely to drop to 2800m on Friday, and some showers are expected.
Tignes will open the Grande Motte glacier on June 27.
Further east, in Austria, the weekend will be even cooler, and more unsettled, with snow falling down to 2000m over the weekend. That is of course great news for the handful of glaciers still open – the
Hintertux (open all year), the Stubai (open till July 3), and the the Dachstein (which will stay open as long as conditions allow).
|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 180cm of snow at 2900m. Here, seven lifts are currently open, serving eight pistes.|
|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 has now closed at the end of another very long season. It’ll be open again in October.|
|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.|
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