First S. America Ski Areas open for the Season

Snow depths in the Southern Hemisphere have reached two metres (almost 7ft) in South America as the first ski areas to open for the 2017 season south of the Equator clock up their first month of operations.

Chile’s Valle Nevado (below) is the first to claim a 2m (6.5ft) snow depth following a series of big snowfalls over the past six weeks.  Initial falls that brought snow depths close to the metre mark in late May led to the centre being among four in Chile to open early for winter 2017, in its case, nearly a month early.

Mañana martes no te puedes perder el 2 x 1 Entel en Valle !!! Los esperamos con la mejor nieve y las mejores pistas. #ViveValle

Опубліковано Valle Nevado Ski Resort 19 червня 2017 р.


La Parva, which also opened early, and Portillo, which only just opened, both have more than a metre of snow lying.

Antillanca is pictured above and below after a big snowfall a few weeks ago.

Ski areas in Argentina are also in largely good shape with most reporting bases of 50cm to 90cm  (20-25″).  Las Lenas, which has one of the biggest off piste ski domains in the southern hemisphere, and indeed the world, so far has a 60cm (2ft) base.

Across the Pacific ski areas in Australia and New Zealand have had more mixed fortunes in June with some significant snowfalls, but also warm spells in some areas whilst others have remained cold enough to continue snowmaking and prevent any thaw.

The deepest snow base at present here is on New Zealand’s South island where Mt Hutt and The Remarkables (pictured below after a June snow storm) each have around 60cm (2ft)of snow now on upper runs.

The world’s deepest snow base for a currently operating ski area remains in the northern hemisphere at present where Norway’s Fonna summer glacier ski area reports a 4-7m (13-22 feet base) although some of this may be snow remaining from previous years that never thawed.

Mammoth Mountain in California is still reporting a base depth of 160 inches / 406cm at the top of its ski slopes – which will remain open to at least August.  That’s half of what the depth was in winter but still deeper than most Northern Hemisphere ski areas got all last season.