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J2Ski Snow Report - May 23rd 2024

J2Ski Snow Report - May 23rd 2024

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Started by Admin in Snow Forecasts and Snow Reports

J2Ski Snow Report - May 23rd 2024

Admin posted 23-May

Mount Hutt, New Zealand, with three weeks until the season opens there...

Southern hemisphere starts early, with snow for soon-to-be-open resorts in Australia and NZ. Northern hemisphere summer ski areas looking good, with above average snow.

The Snow Headlines - May 23rd
- Season underway in Chile - three centres open.
- Last three areas in Canada end their 23-24 seasons.
- Snowfall and cold weather in Australia; just over a fortnight to 2024 season.
- Two more alpine glaciers end season in the Alps leaving five still open.
- Fresh snowfall ahead of 2024 season start (3 weeks away) in New Zealand.
- Norway's Fonna glacier opens posting 13.6m base.
- High avalanche danger cancels Giro D'Italia through Passo Stelvio.
- Arizona (Snowbowl) ski area opening into June for first time.
- Final week of the season for Riksgransen in Swedish Arctic Circle.
- Norwegian glacier ski area opens early for 2024 season, this Saturday.

Snow forecast for European glaciers

Re-publication :- our Snow Report Summary, being the text above this line, is free to re-publish, but must be clearly credited to www.J2ski.com with text including "J2Ski Snow Report" linked to this page - thank you.

World Overview
The southern hemisphere's 2024 seasons seem to be properly started, 2-5 weeks early, with four South American ski centres open at the weekend. Another big snowstorm has hit the region.

It's also been cold and snowy in Australia, where the season is due to start in a fortnight and snowmaking is underway. New Zealand ski areas got an amber-level snow warning and a good dump to start the week too, the first centres are due to open in three weeks there.

The first official on-time opening is supposed to be a week on Saturday At Lesotho's Afriski, fully reopening for the first time since 2022, who says they're all ready to go, thanks to snowmaking, although conditions currently look marginal?

In the northern hemisphere, half a dozen more ski areas in North America have ended their 23-24 seasons, including all three Canadian resorts. Most of the rest plan to close after the Memorial Day holiday next Monday, but an Arizona ski area plans to stay open into June, just, for the first time.

In Europe, two glaciers closed in the Alps but one opened in Scandinavia with a second due to join it on Saturday. Last weekend's was the Fonna ski centre which has opened posting the world's thickest snow cover at over 13 metres (40 feet) on its higher runs. By contrast the Stryn glacier will open early, this weekend, as it says its snow cover is melting fast and skiers should get there whilst they can.

The Alps
The Stubai and Kaunertal glaciers ended their 23-24 seasons – which began in early autumn last year and lasted more than 7 months! – last weekend.

There are five glaciers still open in the Alps now – with Austria still dominating with the Hintertux, Molltal and Kitzsteinhorn still going. Hintertux has the most terrain still open – about 40km/25 miles of slopes.

You can also ski the Matterhorn glacier paradise above Zermatt with year-round access from Cervinia too and Les 2 Alpes has its glacier area open, mostly for team training but with a few runs and terrain park features open to all.

All five glaciers are open at least into June and their number will grow by one at the end of next week when Italy's Passo Stelvio is due to begin its 2024 season, lasting until November. It reports deep snow lying, so much so that the famous Giro D'Italia cycle race has been diverted away from the pass this winter as the snow volumes and spring warming mean there's a high avalanche risk. It's unclear as yet if this will impact the ski area's opening plans.

The weather and the forecast in the Alps have been good for late-spring skiers. Temperatures have stuck close to freezing and along with plenty of sunshine, there have been snow showers refreshing cover and maintaining the current healthy depths.

The Fonna glacier in Norway has officially started its season, claiming a snow depth of more than 13 metres which will hopefully see it through spring and summer. It joins the already-open Galdhopiggen glacier.

The third Scandi option is Sweden's Riksgransen, up in the Arctic Circle, which is in its final week of its 2024 run. There's currently 24-hour daylight in its northerly location and skiing and boarding under the midnight sun is an option offered. It plans to re-open in just over a month for a few days of skiing and riding at Midsummer in late June, but its base has now dropped below 90cm (three feet) so at the current rate of thaw that might be a challenge.

Norway's other summer glacier area, Stryn, has brought forward its 2024 season opening from June 1st to this Saturday 25th May warning the snow is melting fast and that it will be a short season.

North America
Freeze-thaw has continued for most of the North American ski areas still open (with thaw winning in most cases and temperatures climbing into the teens Celsius, most posting the best conditions between 7 and 11 am.

The number open has dropped down to single figures after all three still-open Canadian areas ended their seasons last weekend. Banff's Sunshine was last, having had nearly a foot of fresh snowfall on its closing weekend. Whistler Blackcomb is now also closed until late November and the start of the 24-25 season; now having ruled out its usual Blackcomb glacier summer skiing/riding after a poor snowfall winter.

Of the nine ski areas still open in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Utah most have been aiming to stay open to the coming Memorial Day long-weekend with Mount Bachelor, The Palisades, Mammoth, Winter Park and Snowbird making it clear this weekend will be their last of 23-24.

Others, including Arapahoe Basin and Timberline, have confirmed they'll stay open into June.

The surprise news is that the Arizona Snowbowl has announced its latest ever opening, Saturday June 1st.

On the East Coast, Killington's long Superstar run is the only ski slope still open, and with the golf courses open in the valley the resort is pushing ski and golf days.

Southern Hemisphere
There was excitement in Australia last weekend as snow started falling and temperatures dropped low enough for snowmaking to get underway at most of the country's major centres.

Perisher posted 10-15cm accumulations through the weekend, while Mount Buller had their Bourke St main slope covered, thanks in part to their five all-weather snowmaking machines which had already fired up ahead of the temperature drop.

Most Aussie areas are due to open in a fortnight for the King's Birthday long weekend so will be hoping the recent low temperatures and snow showers continue from now on. However, it is currently still rather marginal with sunshine back and temperatures ranging between -3 and +12C.

New Zealand
After some rather warm temperatures, cold weather and fresh snowfall moving up from the south at the start of this week increased anticipation for the start of the 2024 season in New Zealand this week.

The first centres are expected to open in just three weeks.

Argentina's Catedral opened limited terrain for locals the weekend before last after huge early-May snowfalls. It has stayed cold and there have been more big snowfalls this week on Argentinian ski slopes but so far Catedral has not opened again and it looks like other Argentinian areas don't yet have plans to open before the planned season start around June 20th, despite the deep early snow covering.

Three ski areas opened in Chile at the weekend; Corralco, Nevados de Chillan and Antillanca, all opening more than a month earlier than planned following some big autumn snowfalls, which have continued over the last few days with more big accumulations.

It's currently unclear if all three will stay open through to the main season start in the latter half of June. So far Antillanca has confirmed it intends to reopen at weekends until then, conditions permitting.

Southern Africa
It's continued dry and sunny in southern Africa this week, but hopefully, overnight lows over the coming week will allow Lesotho's Afriski to open as planned in just over a week on June 1st.

Although ski areas are already open in South America this will actually be the first scheduled opening of 2024 in the southern hemisphere, those others having opened early. It'll also be Afriski's first full opening in two years after its main run remained closed in 2023.
The Admin Man

Edited 1 time. Last update at 23-May-2024