Are you missing the snow? Then you’d better look away right now. They’ve just had a magical powder day in the Snowy Mountains of Australia.
Nice work, Thredbo!
All in all, July has seen a big turnaround in conditions at the Australian resorts. There was 50cm+ dump in many of them during the cold snap of July 9-16 – and now this. I wouldn’t call it a vintage season, yet: June was very dry (although cold enough to run snow cannons on many nights), and there have been several mild interludes between the July storms. But the forecast is looking promising for the weekend. Right now, there’s no place I’d rather be skiing.
New Zealand’s winter gets a little more changeable
So far, the dominant theme of the southern hemisphere season has been the consistently cold and snowy start to winter on the South Island of New Zealand. However, that long-standing weather pattern has become more changeable of late, and this week started with very warm, humid air flowing down from the sub-tropics.
It’s very far from being a washout, though – as you can see from the shot, below, of The Remarkables this morning. Temperatures have now dropped back, and there was a dusting of snow last night, with more falling as the resort closed at the end of operations today. Settled snow depths range from 100-150m across the ski area, although off-piste the snowpack is hard away from the pockets of windblown powder.
The outlook is for windy weather, turning wet as the weekend approaches. Snow will fall down to 1200m – well below the base lodge at the Remarkables.
Meanwhile, this was it was looking at Treble Cone near Wanaka this morning…
In the Andes, there’s fresh snow in the south
Pictured below was the scene in Catedral Alta Patagonia in Argentina yesterday. There should be plenty more fresh snow there this week as a series of weather fronts cross the region.
These fronts will spread their snow as far north as Santiago, so the resorts there – such as Valle Nevado and Portillo – should see a sprinkling of the white stuff, and maybe more. But it’s unlikely they’ll get a second big dump of the season, to help make up for their snowless June. There was much talk of El Niño bringing heavy snow to the region this winter, but so far the southern end of the Andes has been the main beneficiary.
It’s till warm in the Alps
The weather has cooled off a bit in the Alps this week, as weather fronts from the Atlantic finally push across the region. There are likely to be showers, too, and at the weekend these could become thundery and heavy in France.
However, the drop in temperature is only relative – and it’s unlikely the freezing point will drop much below 3500m during the day. It’ll be back up to 4000m on Sunday – which means the early and prolonged thaw on the Alpine glaciers will continue. After more than a month of exceptional heat across the region, they’re looking threadbare…
|France: two French glaciers are still open for summer skiing: Tignes (until August 9) and Les Deux Alpes (until Aug 29). Both have been hammered by the high temperatures in June and July, and really need a top-up of snow. There’s no sign of one coming, though.|
|Switzerland: currently Zermatt reports 130cm of snow at 2900m. Here, 17 lifts are currently open, serving 14 pistes. Up high. You can also ski on the glacier above Saas-Fee.|
|Austria: two glaciers are currently open in Austria for skiing – Hintertux, and the Molltal. On the Hintertux glacier, the snow is up to 130cm deep on the pistes, and 18km of pistes are open – but as is the case everywhere in the Alps, a period of cool weather would be much appreciated.|
|Italy: there’s now lift access from Cervinia to the high-altitude pistes between Italy and Switzerland.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are closed.|
|Western USA: summer skiing is on offer at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon.|
|Western Canada: in Whistler’s short glacier season on Blackcomb mountain finished on July 26.|