There’s less than two weeks to go until the start of the ski season on the South Island of New Zealand, and Mother Nature has just added her weight to the pre-season hype – with a 25-30cm dump of snow.
The ski fields around Wanaka and Queenstown have done particularly well. Pictured below is Coronet Peak, which opens a week on Saturday, on June 7.
Pictured below is Treble Cone near Wanaka. It too has had plenty of snow, and the mid-mountain temperature was -5C this morning. Treble Cone doesn’t open until June 26, however.
There was less snow at Mount Hutt, 60 miles west of Christchurch – about 5cm according to the resort. Pictured below is the view of the mountain from the Mt Hutt Station Road this morning. The resort opens on June 7.
Of course, this being New Zealand, the onset of winter isn’t likely to be straightforward. This week is a case in point: temperatures will jump on Wednesday as gale-force winds blow in from the west, and it could be raining at altitude. Then, on Thursday, it’ll cool down again, and there may be another dose of snow.
There’s been snow in the Andes, too
In the Andes, pre-season excitement is building too – thanks to fresh snow this week. The picture below was taken in Valle Nevado, just east of Santiago in Chile, on May 22. The resort is due to open on June 26.
Pictured, below, was Las Lenas in Argentina, on May 21.
What’s more, it looks as though there will a bout of much heavier snowfall here on Thursday…
But winter hasn’t arrived yet in Oz
In the Snowy Mountains of Australia, both Perisher and Thredbo are due to open on June 7. A little snow fell there at the beginning of May, but it’s been mild since then – and there’s no sign of significant change this week. In the meantime, Perisher is putting the finishing touches to its new Freedom quad chair – and celebrated last Friday by posting this rather lovely video of its construction.
In the Alps, there’s going to be a little snow, too
In the Alps, only a handful of glacier-based lift systems are currently open to skiers, but there’s been no shortage of snow this spring – as anyone who read our Snow Report last week will know.
Since the big dumps of May 12-16, the weather’s been much milder: but there will be a little more of the white stuff this week. Here’s the snow forecast for the Alps tomorrow – May 27.
Note that the snow at altitude will be accompanied by heavy rain lower down: and that visibility will be poor until Wednesday. The time to ski the new snow – on glaciers such as the Hintertux, Stubai and Kitzsteinhorn in Austria, and above Zermatt in Switzerland – will be on Wednesday or Thursday.
|France: It’s going to be wet and cool start to the week in the French Alps, with some snow at altitude. All resorts are now closed: however, Tignes, Val d’Isere and Les Deux Alpes will all be opening their glaciers in June for summer skiing.|
|Switzerland: the start of the week will be cool and wet in the Swiss Alps – with some snow at altitude. Currently, at Trockener Steg above Zermatt there’s 95cm of snow bedded down and eight pistes are open to skiers.|
|Austria: with Obergurgl now closed, the action has shifted to the glaciers in Austria. Conditions at altitude have been spring-like for the last week – but the temperature is now falling and a little fresh snow is expected. On the Stubai Glacier the cover is 290cm deep, and eight pistes are open to skiers.|
|Italy: on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale, there’s still 400cm of settled snow, and two pistes are open for skiing.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are now closed.|
|Western USA: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, is one of only a handful of ski areas still open – although it has extended its season into early June to take advantage of the the deep cover on the mountain. Snowbird in Utah, is still open too: there the snow is 220cm deep. Other ski areas still open include Timberline Lodge in Oregon and Mammoth in California.|
|Western Canada: all of western Canada’s ski areas are now closed, although the glacier above Whistler will be open to skiers again from June 21.|