Indonesia was an early pioneer of indoor snow skiing with its Waterfront City snow centre in its capital that was created in the early 1990s but closed within a few years.
So it was, for a short period, possible to snow ski Indonesia, albeit on a short indoor run. The good news, kind of, is that it is still possible to ski or board in Indonesia – just about – on one of the fast disappearing glaciers near the summit of its highest point Puncak Jaya.
It’s not easy to reach them though, especially carrying your skis or board, as at 4,884m (16,024 ft) high, this is rated as one of the 10 highest mountains in the world in terms of the vertical difference between the top and bottom of the mountain (the full height) rather than height above sea level. To further complicated matters after Indonesia seized control of the region in 1963 it became a legal requirement to obtain a permit to make the ascent.
The mountain was in fact nick named 'Carstensz Pyramid' after Dutch explorer Jan Carstenszoon who first sighted the glaciers on the peak of the mountain on a rare clear day in 1623, a claim ridiculed for several centuries afterwards by the foremost thinkers of the time who could not believe snow could exist so close to the equator.
The snowline itself at Puncak Jaya was reached as early as 1909 by another Dutch explorer, Hendrik Albert Lorentz and a third Dutch expedition in 1936, named after Carstensz established that glaciers covered 13 square kilometres of the mountain.
These glaciers and the (unlikely) chance to ski or board them are rapidly disappearing due to climate change. Two have already disappeared, the latter, the Meren Glacier, in the late 1990s, and satellite imagery shows the remainder of the Puncak Jaya glaciers are retreating rapidly – at a rate of around 7m a year meaning the remainder are likely to have vanished by 2015. read more...
Indonesia: latest snow conditions round-up
Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in Indonesia. Fresh snow is forecast at 0resorts. Powder is reported at 0 resorts and 0 are reporting good piste conditions.