At least five New Zealand ski areas have announced they’ll be staying open to the latter half of October as ski areas in Australia appear to be largely ending their 2021 seasons this Sunday, October 3rd.
Cardrona say they’ll stay open to October 24th, and Mt Hutt (*pictured), which was the first in the country to open last June, until the 25th.
“We’re extending our season by a week – our new Closing Day is October 24th. Facilities for the last week will depend on snow and resources, but we’re aiming for at least McDougall’s and the Learner Conveyor,” a Cardrona statement reads.
On the country’s North Island the two ski areas on Mt Ruapehu, Turoa and Whakapapa are usually the last open in the southern hemisphere each spring and the resort has signalled it hopes to operate in to ‘Snowvember’ this year if it can.
Most other ski areas in New Zealand have either already closed or will close this Sunday the 3rd or next Sunday the 10th. A fifth resort, The Remarkables, looks to be aiming to stay open to the latter half of the month too though, aiming for the 17th.
New Zealand has arguably had a more difficult winter 2021 than it did in its first pandemic season last year. A hoped for travel bubble with Australia was closed almost as soon as it began due to the arrival of the Delta variant and this also caused a three week lockdown in August-September. Weather conditions have also been mixed with some areas delaying opening in later autumn and early winter due to warm weather and limited snow cover. However areas still open claim current conditions are the best they’ve been all season.
In Australia a new snap lockdown in the part of New South Wales again closed the country’s largest resort and often last to stay open, Perisher, at the end of last week and ski areas still open over the border in Victoria are believed to be ending their season on Sunday 3rd October. Small centres in Tasmania had hoped to stay open to October 10th after a big dump there a week ago but it is unclear if enough snow has survived for them to.
Australia has had a largely good season for snow but a bad one with the virus. Most of the country’s larger cities have been in lockdown for all or most of the ski season leaving the slopes quiet and resorts have been repeatedly shut down by snap lockdowns on top.