The weather’s turned chilly in New Zealand, just before the mainstream ski season gets under way.
The lifts are already spinnng above the beginner-only terrain of Happy Valley on Mt Ruapehu: but it’s the coming weekend, June 9-11, which sees the first significant resort openings. Mount Hutt, near Christchurch on the South Island, is due to open on Friday, and to help build the excitement, Mother Nature dropped 25cm of snow there on Sunday.
Here’s a wee video clip shot on the approach road yesterday.
Meanwhile, in the Queenstown and Wanaka areas, there’s been less snow, but at least it’s been cold enough to run the snow cannons. This was Coronet Peak earlier today.
Aside from Sunday’s snow, it looks as though the rest of the week is going to be chilly, with daytime highs below freezing in many of the resorts. That should allow the snow cannons to get a layer of the white stuff down on key pistes – although clearly in some resorts there’s a lot of work to be done still. Meanwhile, snow is in the forecast for next weekend – along with strong winds – and current projections are that it will favour the eastern resorts of the South Island. Wind permitting, it looks as though Mount Hutt will be the place to ski on Saturday and Sunday.
In Australia, the ski season is already underway
Here’s how it looked in Perisher over the opening weekend.
Both resorts have limited amounts of terrain open: in fact, there’s only one chairlift and one magic carpet currently operating in Perisher.
Thredbo opens on June 10.
More snow is forecast for the Andes
It’s the South American season that’s got off to the strongest start in the southern hemisphere – thanks to heavy snow last month in the central Andes, near Santiago. There, all three resorts of the Tres Valles are up and running. Meanwhile, Portillo, Las Lenas and Catedral Alta Patagonia are all scheduled to open on June 17.
Here’s how it looked in Valle Nevado on Sunday at the end of its first week of the season.
More snow is expected this week, especially in the south.
It’s been snowing up high in the Alps, too
The weather in the Alps has started on a more unsettled note this week. It was a little chillier than normal too, as you’ll see from this shot taken at the high-altitude Hintertux ski area in the Austrian Tirol on Sunday.
Lower down, there’s been some heavy rain today: but the weather is due to clear up, and warm up, in the second half of the week. Sunday in particular is going to be sunny and hot. With the mountain biking season getting underway, that’s great news.
Meanwhile, for those aching to get back onto their skis the summer ski season is almost upon us. Val d’Isere opens on June 10, the Molltal glacier on June 15, Les Deux Alpes on June 24, and Cervinia on June 28.
They’ll join Hintertux and Zermatt, where the highest pistes are open all year. In some cases they’ll also overlap with the Stubai glacier, which stays open till June 18, and the Kitzsteinhorn (open till July 23).