It’s the first full month of summer (in the northern hemisphere) and of winter in the southern hemisphere so the good news is that more ski areas are open this month than last on both sides of the equator – we’re back in to triple figures!
In the North it has been getting very warm in many areas (although there was still some fresh snowfall on the first day of summer in Lapland) but the number of glacier ski areas in the Alps re-opening for summer skiing and boarding continues to grow. Plus there are still half-a-dozen areas open in North America.
In the southern hemisphere the ski season is getting ion to full swing and there have been big snowfalls in South America and smaller accumulations in Australia and New Zealand. In fact after a promising start a month ago the Aussie ski season has stalled a bit, but it has been snowing again over the past week.
Here’s a little more detail:
After a largely hot and dry June the weather in The Alps has changed dramatically and they have had fresh snow on higher slopes for the end of June which is expected to continue in to July. Open ski areas including Hintertux and Tignes have reported 10-15cm of fresh snow so far meaning a summer powder day in July is possible in the Alps, just about… (It’s not open but fresh snow in Livigno from a web cam image above on June 30th)
Open ski areas include the Molltal, Hintertux, Dachstein and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers in Austria (the latter two closing after their long seasons that started last year, during July); Tignes, Les 2 Alpes and Val d’Isere in France (the latter also closing in mid-July); Passo Stelvio and Cervinia in Italy and Zermatt in Switzerland – which will be joined by Saas Fee in the middle of the month – starting its 9 month 2017-18 ski season with a big opening party weekend. There’s also ‘snow fun’ possible up at the Jungfraujoch above Wengen and Grindelwald.
Three glacier ski areas to choose from in Norway in July, although Stryn (above) will most likely close half way through the month. The others are Fonna and Galdhoppigen and they’re boasting the deepest bases in the world at present at around 7m.
Seven ski areas are open in North America as we enter July but here it is hot, so plenty of encouragement to ski or board in your swimwear for the 4th of July. The snow is still lying very deep at Mammoth (open daily) and Squaw Valley (open Saturdays and through the Independence Day holidays). You can also ski or board at timberline and (over the Independence Day holiday only) Mt Bachelor in Oregon. Whistler has glacier skiing to mid-July and there are also summer snow camps at Copper in Colorado and Beartooth Basin in Wyoming.
It’s a mixed picture in the southern hemisphere where snow depths have reached two metres at one resort in Chile (Valle Nevado, pictured above and top) and passed the metre mark at several more – basically a good start to winter 2017 in the Andes with plenty of powder days already. The numbers in Argentina e not quite so impressive but it has been a good start to the season on the whole here too.
Across the Atlantic in Southern Africa the two main ski fields of Afriski in Lesotho and Tiffindell in South Africa are having a less snowy winter, as is the norm for the region, and have relied largely n snowmaking through June. But there have been some natural snowfalls, most recently in the last few days of June, to provide some fresh cover.
Going in the other direction from Chile, across the Pacific, Australian ski areas had a good start to their season in late May and several opened early, but since then it has been unseasonably warm and very little terrain has been open. The good news here has been a return to cold and snowy weather at the end of June too which is forecast to intensify as we move in to July. Falls Creek is pictured above.
New Zealand has had mixed fortunes too. Some ski areas like The Remarkables and Mt Hutt (above) have seen some good snowfalls and now have bases up to the 60cm mark and have claimed a good start to the season, but others like Rainbow and Treble Cone have had to delay opening as it was too warm in their location for much natural snow or consistent snowmaking until the past few days. Again things are looking better now and opening in the next few days looks much more promising.