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WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #143

Issued: 10 June 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW Excitement is definitely mounting in the Southern Hemisphere with the 2020 ski season now just days away for New Zealand and actually already underway at one small ski area, Afriski in Lesotho.  There’s been a slight delay due to the virus with ski areas opening a week or two later than they would have done without this serious problem.There has been the usual jockeying for position. Afriski had originally set a June 4th opening date before the pandemic became an issue, but then said they’d open a fortnight later, on the 18th. New Zealand’s Mt Hutt, originally targeting the 5th of June before the…

New Zealand Ski Season to Operate “Normally”

The delayed start to the New Zealand ski season on Friday will be a fairly normal one with restrictions on the number of people using lifts at any one time or entering mountain restaurants and other buildings no longer an issue. Ski areas had been planning their operations under the country’s ‘Level 2’ lockdown measures for months, which required social distancing and other operating restrictions for skiers and boarders, although the New Zealand government had already said that unlike re-opened ski areas in some countries, there would be no limit on the number of people outdoors on the slope so long as social distancing measures were in place. It is believed some measures, like requiring contact tracing info for skiers…

The Southern Hemisphere’s 2020 Ski Season Underway ‘Early’

The 2020 ski season in the southern hemisphere has got underway earlier than most recently expected – although later than originally envisaged. The small ski area of Afriski in the land-locked southern African nation of Lesotho has revealed that it opened to local skiers and snowboarders yesterday (Friday 5th June). The area has had sunny but cold weather for several weeks after some May snowfalls but has had snowmaking operating and has a few hundred metres of snow slope accessible to locals. Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, however the border is currently closed. Before the global virus pandemic began the earliest opening date announced for a southern hemisphere ski area was May 30th for the Happy Valley ‘snow…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #142

Issued: 03 June 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW The past week has seen further 'firming up' of 2020 season-opening dates with most ski areas in Australia announcing they'll be opening on either 22nd or 24th June, rather than their traditional opening weekend, which is just coming up. But with doubts that they would be able to open in June at all not so long ago, it's a relief that the season will be able to start soon. They join ski areas in New Zealand in confirming dates (the first there was due to have been May 30th before the pandemic became an issue, now its June 12th,  the end of next week. …

Skiing in June and a look forward

At the time of my last report a few ski areas around Japan were still bravely remaining open in increasingly pressured circumstances. That situation did not last too long as the Japanese government was forced to announce a country-wide ‘state of emergency’. Interestingly, the Japanese government is not actually able to legally declare a ‘lockdown’ like other countries have experienced over the last few months. The Japan state of emergency was essentially more of a strong request for co-operation, and it was one that most people and businesses complied with. As of late May, the state of emergency has now been lifted in all regions of Japan. There has been skiing and snowboarding available in May though. The Yokoteyama and…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #141

Issued: 27 May 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American Roundup European Roundup Asia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW Falls Creek Resort this Week It’s the start of winter, by the meteorological measure, in the Southern Hemisphere next Monday and it is beginning to feel like that in most countries with ski areas. There’s been more fresh snow in the Andes and New Zealand in recent days and Australian slopes got another dusting in the past week too. Dry in the mountains of southern Africa but cold enough to fire up snow-making systems. Things continue to develop in terms of what's going to open when and what's not, as the usual start date of the Southern Hemisphere's ski season comes closer. …

No Restrictions In On-Slope Numbers As Alpine Summer Ski Areas Re-open

One of the big questions surrounding the re-opening of Alpine glacier ski areas this summer, and in the longer term the opening of resorts next winter, is whether limits will be placed on the numbers of people allowed on the slopes. So far the message has been fairly consistent when it comes to ski-lifts and indoor facilities that have re-opened in countries like Norway and the USA, with two-metre social distancing rules largely in place. But so far most re-opened ski areas have also set dramatically reduced limits on how many people can be on the slopes at any one time.  Mostly they’ve required skiers to buy tickets online at least a day in advance, and at many areas resorts…

Number of Ski Areas Open on Planet May Hit Historic Low This Week

The number of ski areas open on earth may be five or less for a few days next week – probably the lowest number since the rapid growth in ski area openings in the 1960s and the first summer ski areas opening. Although the pandemic closed most resorts for much of the past 10 weeks or so, ski areas kept operating in some countries like Japan until mid-May, and that overlapped with ski areas that had been closed starting to re-open in countries like Norway, meaning the world total open didn’t drop in to single figures. Late May is traditionally the quietest month of the year though as most northern hemisphere ski areas have closed and most southern hemisphere centres…

Riksgränsen To Re-open For Midsummer

Riksgränsen in the Swedish Arctic Circle, the only ski area in the world to have kept operating through the global pandemic, has confirmed it will re-open at the end of June for its traditional ‘midsummer’ long-weekend skiing and snowboarding festival. The resort, which has an unusual ski season running from early March to late May each winter (this year its closes on Sunday 24th May), decided to keep operating when most other Swedish ski areas closed in April.  It decided that as I already had an on-site medical team and clinic, and a big drop in visitor numbers, it could continue to operate with pandemic-prevention measures in place. However it did have to make its biggest event of the season,…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #140

Issued: 20 May 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW There’s not been much snow to report in the Southern Hemisphere this week. For most areas temperatures are getting lower with the start of meteorological winter less than a fortnight away. Most of the talk has been about whether ski areas will be able to open next month for the start of the 2020 ski season. The good news for New Zealand and Lesotho is that the answer is probably yes; however, both with closed borders.  For Australia and Chile, it's looking more likely to be July; however, nothing is certain yet. For Argentina and South Africa, again, the current picture remains uncertain. AUSTRALIA…