Cerro Catedral, Patagonia, Argentina, is now open.
Australia looking better and better...
The Snow Headlines - July 6th
- More heavy snowfalls in Australia.
- Les 2 Alpes and Val d'Isere expected to end summer seasons this weekend.
- Most ski areas open in South America and New Zealand over the past week.
- US ski centres celebrate Independence Day on the snow.
- South America's largest ski area, Catedral near Bariloche, opens for 2023 season.
A little more snow on the way...
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The 2023 (southern) ski season continues to gather pace with Australia continuing to be the country reporting the most snow falling and consequently most resorts and terrain open.
But South American ski centres and those in New Zealand have also seen some snow and colder temperatures meaning more have opened or in some cases re-opened thanks to the improved conditions. The heaviest snowfall has been in Argentina's Patagonia and the coldest temperatures in the Andes.
Conditions on glaciers in the Alps and in Scandinavia are also reported to be good for July and Les 2 Alpes has extended its planned summer opening by a week or so. In North America, the big focus this week was skiing and boarding on the 4th of July - which four centres achieved.
Australia is currently the stand-out of the four main southern hemisphere ski nations for seeing cold temperatures and plenty of snowfall for the past month now.
There's a lot more in the forecast too, and the only real downside has been gale-force winds arriving at times, resulting in blizzard conditions.
The country's largest resort, Perisher, has the most terrain open in the world at present, with more than 40km (25 miles) of slopes and all four mountains open. Mount Hotham is reported to have all of its lifts spinning for the first time since 2019. Falls Creek is posting the deepest snow in the country so far at 70-90cm.
New Zealand's season is gearing up with a big jump in the numbers open from a week ago thanks to centres that had been forced to close like Coronet Peak and Mount Hutt re-opening, and those that had delayed opening, like Treble Cone coming on line.
The reason has been some (but not a lot of) heavy, wet snow and then colder weather that allowed snowmaking systems to fire up.
So not yet out-of-the-woods and still limited terrain open (either "just beginners" or "suitable for experts only" at some areas), but starting to make progress.
Mount Ruapehu's $5m financial rescue, for this season at least, by the New Zealand government also allowed Turoa and Whakapapa ski areas to open there.
The Remarkables, one of the two centres that opened and has managed to stay open, since mid-June is posting the deepest base in the country at 72cm. The other, Cardrona, was forced to close for a few days by gale force winds, just to add to the weather mix! Re-opened Mount Hutt has the most terrain open at 14.5km, about a third of its full area.
An improving picture in Argentina too with some more big snowfalls reported in Patagonia.
Unfortunately for the practicalities of operations though, these are reported to have added to the 4m of snow reported to be lying above Las Leñas, but the resort itself remains closed due to too little snow at the base, where there's been rain reported.
Better news though from the continent's biggest ski area, Cerro Catedral which has opened for the season albeit with only about 5% of its potential 120 km of slopes open initially and a 40cm base.
Chapelco is posting the country's deepest snow at 75 cm. The world's most southerly centre at Cerro Castor has a 25cm base and 16km (10 miles) of slopes open.
The majority of Chile's ski centres have now opened thanks to fresh snowfall and some very cold temperatures, getting down to -10C overnight, ideal for snowmaking.
Among the newly open is the famous powder destination of Portillo, reporting a 50-75cm base, with Valle Nevado, now into its second week of operations having been the first in the country to open, reporting 20km of slopes available, about half its total area and the most of any one resort in the country at present.
There was fresh snowfall reported at Lesotho's Afriski resort at the weekend and snowmaking continues but the resort isn't running ski lifts and only offering tubing and snow play this winter, it says due to a lack of energy provision. South Africa's Tiffindell has not operated since 2019 and currently appears closed for good.
There are six ski areas currently open in the Alps although two – Les 2 Alpes and Val d'Isere – are expected to end their 2023 summer ski seasons this weekend, taking us back to one centre open in each of the main four Alpine nations by next week.
Les 2 Alpes had actually planned to close its glacier to snow sports fans over a week ago at the end of June but decided to stay open into July due to what a tourist office staff member described as "superb" conditions.
Similar comments have been made for the other currently open areas with blue skies, temperatures a few degrees on either side of freezing and light fresh snow showers reported overnight to freshen up the snow cover each morning.
The areas open next week (and this) include Tignes in France, Passo Stelvio in Italy and the year-round Hintertux glacier in Austria. Zermatt's Klein Matterhorn ski area is open too with access also available from Cervinia on the Italian side.
There are two small glacier ski centres open in Norway, both with a couple of kilometres of runs open and reporting great conditions. Galdhopiggen currently has the thickest snowpack in the world at 3.3 metres (11 feet). Folgefonn ("Fonna") is the other option.
There were big 4th of July Independence Day celebrations earlier this week, which also marked the last day of an 8-month ski season for The Palisades ski area.
That means there's just fellow Californian ski area Mammoth Mountain and Timberline in Oregon still open and planning to remain so, at least through July.
Temperatures have been hot and sunny, and the snow is variously described as "wet" or "mud". Terrain parks are also open to those enrolled in private camps at Copper Mountain in Colorado and on the Blackcomb Glacier above Whistler in BC.