New Zealand’s 2019 ski season has got properly underway today (Friday 7th June), six days after the first skiers and boarders took to the slope of the small snow fun area at Whakapapa ski area, part of Mt Ruapehu on the country’s North Island.

Mt Hutt ski field (50/100cm), pictured top and below, opened with top to bottom skiing and all lifts operating and all sector opening after significant snowfall there through the past week.

One keen snowsports enthusiast, named as Josh from Christchurch in local media, which didn’t say if he was a skier or boarder, spent Thursday night ‘sleeping’ on the chairlift in order to claim first on the chair at 7am this morning.

“Not sure if I slept – maybe an hour or two but it was cold. It was really cold. It was worth it. It was really worth it,” he told local media.

Along with fully opening all of its regular terrain, 2.5km of new runs created over last summer were also open at Mt Hutt.

Cardrona ski area opened beginner terrain today and it and The Remarkables plan to fully open tomorrow.

In Australia a fourth area has opened early for winter 2019, with the first day of the season supposed to be tomorrow.

Mt Hotham, which has had 88cm (just under three feet – pictured below 48 hours ago) of pre-season snowfall opened toady joining Selwyn Snowfields, Perisher and Mt Buller which opened last weekend.

That means more than half of Australia’s leading areas have opened ahead of the scheduled season start but Thredbo and Falls Creek have hung on to open as scheduled tomorrow.

The southern African ski season has also started today with Afriski in Lesotho cranking up the lifts after several days of snowmaking with their new snow guns, aided by a cold front which may also bring some natural snowfall.

The Andes in South America have had some good snowfalls over the past week too and whilst most areas won’t open for another week or two, Chile’s El Colorado and Argentina’s Las Lenas may be opening this weekend and some ski tourers have already been hiking up and skiing down (Picture below from La Parva a few days ago).