Perisher, Australia just got enough snow to start doing this...
Southern hemisphere season is go.
The Snow Headlines - 15th June
- 2023 Southern Hemisphere ski season is underway.
- Val d'Isere joins Les 2 Alpes, Tignes opening next.
- Some Australian ski areas open on time, others delay, but opening soon.
- Utah's Snowbird plans to re-open this weekend, and on weekends into July.
- Fewer than 20 ski areas open worldwide, but over 10 countries and 5 continents.
- New Zealand's Mt Hutt opens for 2023 season, more in NZ for the weekend.
- Argentina's 2023 ski season starts on Saturday.
A little snow in the hope forecast... 8)
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.
The southern hemisphere's 2023 ski season has officially started with ski areas in Australia, Chile and New Zealand all opening within hours of each other last Saturday morning.
New Zealand's Mount Hutt was probably first due to the direction the world turns.
Snow cover is fairly limited in Australia and New Zealand so far although improving. Some Aussie areas that delayed opening slopes at the weekend will do so over the next few days, others say they need a bit more snow yet.
In the Andes, it's a mixed picture but some areas have half a metre or more lying for opening day. Several dozen more areas plan to open this coming weekend.
With ski areas opening on two southern hemisphere continents, the number of continents where lift-accessed skiing is now possible is up to five. There are four areas open this weekend in North America, 10 in Europe and the Gassan summer ski area in Japan continues its 2023 run.
The number open north of the equator is actually increasing with Val d'Isere opening last weekend and Tignes then Cervinia (providing access to skiing above Zermatt) due to open over the next few weekends.
Most of Australia's ski areas officially opened last Saturday for a three-day 'holiday weekend' with Monday a public holiday to celebrate King Charles III's birthday in most Aussie states including the major ski ones.
However only three areas actually had some skiable terrain to offer from day one, after the mild spell over the first week of June gave way to cooler temps and up to 10cm of wet snowfall.
Perisher and Mount Baw Baw both had limited terrain open, as did Mount Buller, aided by its TechnoAlpin all-weather snowmaking machine.
Conditions have greatly improved in the last few days with heavy snowfall – double what forecasting models projected – dumping up to a foot (30cm) of snow at most Aussie areas by Thursday morning with low temperatures for snowmaking too.
As a result Perisher immediately opened additional terrain and other areas are now expected to open imminently. Falls Creek and Hotham have announced they're both opening slopes from Friday 16th but Selwyn and Thredbo say they still need more snowfall – which is expected on Sunday.
The ski season got underway at Mount Hutt on Saturday morning, 24 hours after the season had been due to begin. It's thought that with time zones in New Zealand's favour, with 9 am there arriving before 9 am in Australia and Chile, it means Mt Hutt was probably, marginally, first in the southern hemisphere to open for the 2023 season.
Well, open and hopefully stay open – purists will point to fellow Kiwi ski area Manganui opening a month ago for three days after a good pre-season snowfall.
For the past week, temperatures have been getting down to -5C overnight with largely clear skies. Some snow showers but mostly sun.
Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Cardrona are all due to open for their 2023 seasons this weekend, noting that they'll have limited terrain available initially.
It's looking like the coming weekend will see the season start in Argentine with Cerro Bayo and Las Lenas among the resorts to have named a date, although it is expected at least half of the country's resorts will open too.
Patagonia has done well with pre-season snowfalls, markedly better than any other region in May when several areas including Chapelco and Las Lenas posted snow totals of more than a metre.
As Argentina's winters tend to be "all or nothing" it's hoped this is a sign of a good winter ahead. Certainly, there's been more cold and snowy weather over the last week.
Chile's La Parva was reportedly the first ski area in the country, and the Andes, to open for the 2023 ski season in South America.
According to its snow report initially it has about a third of its 50km or so of runs open.
Other Chilean ski areas including Portillo are expected to open for the season this weekend but perhaps there will be some delays as there are reports that some like Valle Nevado have not had much snowfall as yet.
At present, it does not appear that either of South Africa's ski areas – Tiffindell in South Africa, which last opened in 2019 for skiing and Afriski in Lesotho – will open this winter.
Afriski says it will be open but that it won't be able to run its lifts and snowmaking for logistical reasons, so snow play only.
The number of open ski areas in the Alps is currently standing at five with Les 2 Alpes and Val d'Isere open in France (The latter opening for a four-week summer ski season last Saturday), Passo Stelvio in Italy and Zermatt in Switzerland all skiable and reporting a lot of sunshine, classic freeze-thaw conditions and the best conditions mid-morning.
Currently, year-round Hintertux, the only ski area open in Austria, is posting the deepest snow at over 3 metres and the most terrain open but Tignes is due to open for a month or so of summer skiing which could see it retake the "Deepest snow in the Alps" title. It was lying about 5 metres deep when it closed for its 22-23 season six weeks ago and while there's been some thawing there's also been some fresh snowfall.
It's still the three small glacier areas open in Norway – Stryn, Folgefonn (Fonna) and Galdhopiggen to choose from, although next week Riksgransen in the Swedish Arctic Circle will re-open for a few days of midsummer skiing, including its signature "under the midnight sun" ski experience between 10 pm and 1 am.
The weather has been full-on sunshine and getting quite warm with lows around +5C and highs towards +20C so thawing continues and best conditions early. Snow depths remain good though and Galdhopiggen's 2-5m base is the deepest in the world at present.
There were four ski areas currently open in the USA including California's Mammoth and The Palisades, both aiming to stay open into July (The Palisades now confirming it will end its season on the 4th – Independence Day), the summer skiing on Palmer Snowfield and the Beartooth Basin summer ski area in Wyoming.
All four have reported a lot of sunshine and warm weather this week but say conditions remain good in the mornings.
The exception is Beartooth Basin which suddenly announced it was closing immediately a few days ago after less than a three week season, blaming rapid snow melt.
However, Snowbird in Utah plans to reopen Fridays to Sundays from this weekend onwards, "as long as the snow lasts" – thanks to the remains of the 8m+ of 22-23 season snow still lying deep on kits upper slopes. Uplift is via its new tram cabins which in summer include the option of riding up the mountain outside on a 'balcony' connected to the cabin.