A huge snowstorm currently hitting Australia has led the country’s largest ski area, Perisher, to announce it will open a week earlier than planned, this coming weekend.

With perfect timing for the start of the 2022 ski season, the storm has already brought more than 30cm (a foot) of snowfall to Perisher’s slopes and another end of the week. 

Other Australian ski areas are reporting similar accumulations with Mt Buller describing the storm as, “A ripper start to the season.”

The resort has announced that the Perisher Front Valley slopes served by the Village 8 Express chairlift, Mitchell T-Bar and Carpet #4 will be open and that lifts will begin loading at 8:30am.

“Early season protocols are in place: Early season conditions currently exist, and we require skiers and riders to observe all posted signs and warnings for their safety. Closed trails may contain hazards due to limited natural snow coverage and snowmaking operations,” a resort statement advises.

It’s unclear whether any other Australian ski areas will opt to open early. However the southern hemisphere’s 2022 ski season is also due to start this weekend as Afriski in Lesotho, Africa and Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand.  As ski centres are still open in the Alps, Scandinavia, Japan and the USA (Including at Killington pictured below, skiing into June for the first time since 1997) it means skiing will be possible on five continents.

Although no ski area are known to be opening yet in the Andes people have already been hiking up to ski down on fresh snow in the Andes,  South America, as well.

Winter 2022 is also the first since 2019 that people are able to travel from overseas are able to travel to ski at southern hemisphere ski areas, although various rules and restrictions are in place, which vary from country to country.