Southern Hemisphere Weekly Roundup #248

(Updated 3 July 2024) A comprehensive review of snow conditions, weather, and updates for the Southern Hemisphere's winter sports destinations.

Southern Hemisphere Weekly Roundup #248
Hotham, Australia: 1 July 2024.

New Zealand Ski Resorts Expand Terrain After Significant Snowfall

  • Southern hemisphere ski areas in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia have opened for the 2024 season, with Portillo in Chile boasting the deepest snow at 2.4m (8 feet).
  • New Zealand's ski areas have benefited from recent snowfall, allowing more terrain to open, with Mt Hutt and Cardrona leading in available runs.
  • Australia's ski resorts experienced their biggest snowstorm of the season, but most still have limited terrain open, with Perisher offering the most at 20%.


As we enter July, the southern hemisphere's 2024 ski season is starting to gather pace, with more than 90% of ski areas already open in Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and Lesotho. It remains a very mixed picture for snowfall, though. Some centers in South America are already reporting more than 5 meters (21 feet) of snow, in some cases surpassing their end-of-season average before their seasons had even begun. In Australia and New Zealand, however, it remains the opposite end of the snowfall spectrum, with centers struggling to open much terrain due to too little snow so far. The past week has seen improvements, with Australian areas experiencing significant snowfall at the start of the week and some snow in New Zealand as well. In the Alps, they've been clearing up after the big storms at the end of June, but there has been some fresh snow on glaciers. However, warm summer temperatures have also been thawing the snowpack at times. Two of the three French glaciers currently open are expected to end their summer ski seasons this weekend, but Switzerland’s Saas Fee is due to open, arguably the first to do so for the 24-25 season. Although it will be in summer mode for the next few months, it should stay open through to next spring. In North America, just one center remains open for lift-accessed summer skiing.

World snow forecast for the next 6-9 days.


The last of the big-name southern hemisphere ski areas to join the 2024 party started their lifts spinning over the weekend, including Chile's Portillo, which had delayed opening a week due to too much snow, and New Zealand's Treble Cone and Tūroa, which opened on time. A few New Zealand club fields remain closed, awaiting more snow. The good news is that snow has been falling there over the last few days, and before that, Australian ski resorts experienced their biggest snowstorm of the season so far, with up to about 25cm (10") at the weekend, in good time for the school July holidays. That said, most still only have 5-10% of their terrain open, although some have more, with the most being 50% of terrain open in New Zealand and 20% in Australia. No such snow shortage problems exist across the South Pacific in the Andes and Patagonia, where too much snow and issues clearing access, digging out lifts, and making slopes avalanche-safe are the main concerns. Portillo has opened with the deepest snow in the southern hemisphere at 2.4m (8 feet) and has already reached its season average with over 5 meters (17 feet) of snowfall so far.

Hotham, Australia: 27 June 2024.


There is still only limited terrain open at Australian ski areas – generally between 5 and 25% of the maximum terrain at each – but it has been an improving picture over the past few days, with the biggest snowstorm of 2024 so far bringing fresh snow since Saturday. Perisher (15/35cm / 6/14”) has the most terrain open in the country, with its guests enjoying another 25cm (10”) of snowfall over the past week. There are now about 21 freshly groomed trails on offer, representing about 20% of its total terrain. Mt Hotham (30/44cm / 12/18”) has a similar percentage of its smaller terrain area open. “We’re in blizzard mode at the moment and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Alex Pankiw, Hotham Marketing Coordinator, on Sunday. The Village Loop opened over the weekend after more solid snowmaking and fresh snowfall allowed the Village Chair to begin operations. Selwyn Resort opened for some skiing last weekend. Falls Creek (15/37cm / 6/15") has the most terrain open after Perisher, with about 8km (5 miles) of runs. “It’s a winter wonderland up here at Falls Creek with the latest 16cm of snow falling overnight,” Maggie Henschke, Falls Creek Field Marketing Coordinator, said on Sunday, adding, “The resort is covered in a blanket of white and is the perfect welcome to all our guests here for the Victorian School Holidays.” They opened Scott and Ruined Castle chairlifts on Tuesday. The snowfall began to ease off Sunday/Monday, and we're now back to sunny skies, but with colder temperatures in the -8 to +5C range. Charlotte Pass, Australia’s highest ski area, is set to open this Friday, 5th July, after a delay due to a fire in May at its sewage treatment works. That issue is now fixed with a temporary unit that will allow the center to operate.

Hotham, Australia: 1 July 2024.


It looks like it will stay clear and sunny for the remainder of this week, with temperatures remaining cool to cold in the -7 to +6 range through the 24-hour cycle.


More ski areas have opened in New Zealand this week, with Mt Dobson ski area opening initially with its T Bar and Platter lifts spinning, early season conditions, and limited off-piste. However, it was closed again on Monday as strong winds caused operational issues. Treble Cone (30/30cm / 12/12”) also opened but with only 4km (2.5 miles) of runs open initially, about 20% of its maximum terrain. Tūroa on the North Island, now under new ownership and operating separately from Whakapapa for the first time in many years, also got its lifts spinning. It and Mt Ruapehu's neighbor Whakapapa, also open, only have very limited terrain open so far. Porters Alpine Resort, which had planned to open too, wasn't so lucky though, delaying their opening and stating, "We are getting close with recent snow and although the upper mountain is looking great, we still require more snow on lower slopes in order to open.” They expect to open imminently (most recently saying Friday is the target day this week) and have been helped by snowy weather for many of the country’s ski areas over the past few days, which have significantly improved conditions. Accumulations of up to 30cm (12”) were reported on Monday/Tuesday this week – a great start to July. Mt Hutt (25/70cm / 10/28”) is posting the most open terrain in the country, with now 50% of its runs – meaning about 20km (13 miles) of runs available. Cardrona (20/40cm / 78/16”) is in second place with about half that amount open. Laura Hedley, General Manager of Cardrona & Treble Cone, says more will be opening soon, “This snowfall is a total game-changer for our mountains! Both Cardrona and Treble Cone will be looking to open more terrain off the back of this week’s storm, and we’re hyped to have a solid base to build the rest of the season from. Winter is well and truly here!”

Mt Hutt, New Zealand: 26 June 2024.


A mixture of sunshine and cloud is expected for most areas through the remainder of this week, with snowfall likely to return at the weekend. Lows may get down as far as double digits subzero overnight, with daytime highs only a little above freezing.

New Zealand snow forecast for the next 3-6 days.


There were still more decent snow dumps through the weekend on Argentinian ski slopes, but some good clear sky days too, which allowed skiers and riders to get out on the slopes and enjoy it all during the breaks in the seemingly unending powder dumps. We’ve seen the first resort to post a 3m (10 feet) plus base this week, the deepest in South America and the entire southern hemisphere, in the shape of Chapelco (105/310cm / 42/124"), which has about two-thirds of its slopes open. Recently opened Las Leñas (120/290cm / 48/116") isn't far behind and has about 80% of its terrain open already, representing 40km (25 miles) of runs. Both have more terrain open than the country’s and southern hemisphere's latest resort by uplift, Cerro Catedral (30/120cm / 12/52") near Bariloche, which has so far opened less than 20% of its terrain. The world's most southerly ski area, down in Tierra del Fuego province, Cerro Castor (30/55cm / 12/22"), has also begun its 2024 season.


There's little change in the snow train, although some resorts in more southerly locations are expected to have a drier week. Further snowfalls are likely further north, although they may be less heavy than in recent weeks and months, with more prolonged dry periods. Some very low temperatures, down as far as -13C, are possible, with daytime highs only a few degrees above freezing.

Bariloche, Argentina snow forecast for the next 3 days.


Portillo (200/240cm / 80/96”) ended up the last ski area to fully open in Chile, finally doing so on Saturday after a further delay due to all the snow needing to be cleared from access roads and around resort structures to operate safely. With 5.7m (19 feet) of pre-season snowfall, it had already had more than its seasonal average snowfall before the season officially began. It’s opened with the deepest snow in Chile. About two-thirds of its terrain is open so far, and the snow is, obviously, fresh and deep. All the snowfall caused access issues at Lagunillas ski area (80/125cm / 32/50”), access to which was closed for much of last week as the road to it was cleared of deep snow. The snow has kept falling in the southern half of Chile’s mountains, but it has now turned sunny, though remained cold (-7 to +5C) in the north. Most of Chile’s areas are 60-70% open, with the joint Valle Nevado – La Parva area posting the largest area open in the country and South America so far, with more than 50km (31 miles) of slopes available.

Portillo, Chile: 27 June 2024.


It’s looking drier across most of the country for the remainder of this week, although lighter snowfalls will continue further south. It will remain cold, with temperatures ranging from -10 to +7C.

Southern Andes snow forecast for the next 3 days.


Mostly sunny weather, as is the norm in Lesotho, but temperatures continuing to dip down well below freezing overnight, with lows of -6C recorded, allowing snowmaking systems to operate as required. The full 1km long main slope, along with a beginners area and a terrain park section, are open. South Africa’s Tiffindell remains closed and, having not operated since 2019, seems unlikely to reopen this winter. News that it’s for sale has been widely covered in media this week, which might lead to interest from a new operator. However, reports stating that increasingly irregular snowfalls caused its demise may not help matters. The center’s owners have posted images of heavy snowfall accumulating in mid-June this year to offset that narrative a little.


Staying predominantly sunny with a similar temperature range in the forecast, with afternoon highs potentially getting into double figures above freezing and nighttime lows down towards -7C. 

South Africa snow forecast for the next 3-6 days.