Southern Hemisphere Weekly Roundup #249

(Updated 10 July 2024) A comprehensive review of snow conditions, weather, and updates for the Southern Hemisphere's winter sports destinations.

Southern Hemisphere Weekly Roundup #249
Hotham, Australia: 4 July 2024.

Australia's Resorts Expand Terrain as Cold Snap Continues

  • Stable, cold, and mostly sunny weather has allowed ski resorts in the Southern Hemisphere to open more terrain, with Catedral in Argentina now offering the most skiable terrain in the world.
  • In Australia, resorts have leveraged sub-zero temperatures for extensive snowmaking, with Hotham opening more terrain and Charlotte Pass beginning its season.
  • New Zealand and Chile have experienced warm, dry conditions but continued snowmaking efforts have kept many ski areas operational, while Argentina's Cerro Catedral and Chile's Valle Nevado - La Parva area boast the most open slopes.


After the exceptionally snowy start to the 2024 season in South America, the past week has seen drier, sunnier conditions dominate here over the first full week of July. It’s been a similar story for Australia and New Zealand (where more snowfall would be welcome) and the usual story in southern Africa’s Lesotho. We’ve also seen some of the coldest weather of the winter so far. With a few exceptions in New Zealand, all centers in the southern hemisphere are now open for their 2024 seasons. In the northern hemisphere, a few more glacier summer ski areas have ended their 2024 seasons, and although one more has opened, we're down to only eight areas open in the northern hemisphere now. The weekend saw the last (non-year-round) ski area in the Alps that had been operating since autumn 2023 end its 23-24 season, but also the first (non-year-round) ski area in the Alps start summer skiing, effectively beginning its 24-25 season. Of the more unusual snow news this week, Scottish ski hills saw a dusting of snowfall for the 4th of July. Only one outdoor US area was open for Independence Day, a stark contrast to last year's high numbers following the record snowfalls of winter 22-23.


Hotham, Australia: 4 July 2024.


After all the snowfall of the past few months in South America and the much-needed decent dumps for Australia and New Zealand a little over a week ago, the past seven days have seen predominantly dry, sunny but cold conditions on ski slopes across the southern hemisphere. There have been snow showers, but they've largely been light. The weather has been good for snowmaking where systems exist, with lows dropping to -5°C in most areas and below -10°C for some in the Andes overnight. The more stable weather conditions have allowed centers to open more terrain, most notably Catedral near the ski town of Bariloche in Argentina. It's jumped from 20% to nearly 70% open and now has the most terrain open anywhere in the world. The news isn't 100% good, though, as some small, club-run fields in New Zealand without snowmaking have not yet been able to open, needing more snowfall.

South America snow forecast for the next 6-9 days.


After the snowfall at the start of last week, parts of Australia have continued to shiver through frosty overnight winter conditions, allowing snowmaking systems to continue to produce the goods even after Mother Nature eased off again. Overnight lows have been around -7 to -5°C and even stayed below freezing in the daytime on higher slopes, reaching up to +8°C in the afternoon. Open terrain remains limited, but mountain operations teams have been busy making the most of back-to-back sub-zero temperatures, running ongoing snowmaking across the mountains. In the case of Hotham (30/45cm / 12/28"), they've been making so much snow that the resort opened more terrain with the Heavenly Valley chairlift going into operation from Friday morning, unlocking more ski and snowboard terrain for School Holiday visitors. It now has about a third of its terrain open. Meanwhile, Thredbo resort (10/35cm / 4/14”) reports its slopes are looking good from top to bottom for the full vertical, although it is still only at about 20% of its terrain open. Charlotte Pass opened for its 2024 season at the weekend, unveiling Australia's highest slopes once more. Its opening had been delayed by a pre-season fire in its sewage treatment plant, not by snow conditions. Elsewhere, Mt. Baw Baw opened its Summit terrain for the first time this season, and Tasmania’s Ben Lomond reported its ski area up and running for the season too.

Mt Baw Baw, Australia: 7 July 2024.


There’s a little change in the air with a return to snowier weather expected in the latter half of this week; however, accumulations are expected to be modest, just a few centimeters. Temperatures will be in the -5 to +5°C range, but a warmer period, with highs reaching double figures above freezing, is expected before temperatures dip again as the snow arrives.

New South Wales snow forecast for the next 6-9 days.


The last seven days have seen predominantly dry and sunny weather dominate New Zealand following the snowy conditions at the start of last week. Overnight lows have been dropping five or six degrees below zero, allowing snowmaking to continue, but daytime highs have been up towards +7°C, so valleys remain green in many areas. The low temperatures have allowed snowmaking to continue where available, meaning most areas are 30-50% open with a combination of natural and machine-made snow. Treble Cone (20/80cm / 8/32”) is posting the country’s deepest snow so far and has around a third of its terrain open. Mt. Hutt (40/73cm / 16/29”) remains the first ski area in the global region, including Australia, to reach 50% of its slopes open so far, representing about 20km (13 miles) of runs. Cardrona (50/70cm / 20/28") reported one of the biggest snowfalls last week, approaching nearly half a meter (20"). For The Remarkables (5/50cm / 2/20"), the big new terrain opening was Shadow Basin, which opened last Thursday for experts only. It is now around 50% open with all lifts spinning. Porters was among the latest ski areas to open for its season last Friday with the Easyrider chairlift, Platter lift, and Magic Carpet open initially, but the upper mountain still requires one more snowfall to be able to open. Some smaller ski centers, including Broken River, still need more snow to open and have been urging their loyal skiers to continue snow dancing in an attempt to appease the snow gods.

Cardrona, New Zealand: 5 July 2024.


Sunny and unfortunately rather warm weather is forecast for the rest of the week and into the weekend in most areas, with temperatures staying above freezing even at high elevations overnight and daytime highs at low elevations getting into double figures with plenty of sunshine. Lows should drop back below freezing after the weekend, but it doesn’t look to be great news for mid-July.

New Zealand snow forecast for the next 6-9 days.


After all the snowfall of recent weeks and months, it’s been a much drier, sunnier week across Argentina on the whole, allowing resorts to finally consolidate all the snow that’s accumulated and open more terrain. Temperatures have remained cold, typically in the -15 to +5°C range. The only real exception on the snowfall front has been down in the far south at the world’s most southerly destination for skiers in search of a lift and groomed slopes – Cerro Castor (35/75cm / 14/30”) in Tierra del Fuego, which is celebrating its 25th season this winter, where the snow has kept falling. The biggest change to report is at Cerro Catedral (30/120cm / 12/48”), South America and the southern hemisphere’s largest ski center in terms of groomed runs and uplift. Although first in the southern hemisphere to open back in mid-May, it had only opened on occasional days until a few weeks ago and then less than 20% of its terrain, but it has now jumped to opening two-thirds of its runs, or about 80km (50 miles) of slopes, the most in the world by some distance right now. Las Leñas (120/290cm / 48/116”) to the south in Patagonia continues to post one of the world’s deepest snow depths after its huge falls in May and June and has 80% of its slopes open and some of the best conditions reported for several years. Chapelco (111/317cm / 44/126”) has the deepest snow in the southern hemisphere right now.


The dry and sunny weather is expected to continue through the rest of this week and the weekend for most areas. Temperatures will range from -11 to +11°C over each 24-hour period. The exception is expected to be the southerly destination of Cerro Castor, where more snow showers and constant subzero temperatures will continue through the weekend.


Predominantly dry, sunny weather has dominated conditions in Chile this week after almost two months of fairly relentless snow showers, some of them exceptionally heavy. It has been very cold, though, with overnight lows on some high slopes getting down towards -20°C and daytime highs only climbing a few degrees above freezing. The country’s ski resorts are all open, and the break in the weather front has allowed them to stabilize operations and open more terrain. Portillo (165/201cm / 66/80”) reports 80% of its terrain is open, having had more than 5.7m (19 feet) of snowfall already this season. However, the linked Valle Nevado (90/160cm / 36/64”) – La Parva (90/145cm / 36/58”) area, with resorts now jointly owned, is the largest currently open in the country and the second largest in South America and the world, with 50km (31 miles) of slopes between them. Nevado de Chillan (165/260cm / 66/104”) to the south, which has seen the most snow in recent weeks, is posting the country’s deepest base to date. Chile Forecast The sunny weather is set to continue for the coming week, with temperatures dropping to double digits below freezing overnight on high slopes and reaching high single figures at resort bases in the afternoons. No real change from the last week is expected.

Portillo, Chile: 5 July 2024.


Another predominantly sunny but cold week for Lesotho’s Afriski (15/15cm / 6/6”), the only centre currently operational in the region, with South Africa’s Tiffindell up for sale. The centre continues to maintain a 1km main slope, terrain park, and nursery slopes area with its snowmaking, aided by temperatures dropping well into double digits below freezing at night and now staying below freezing some days too.

Afriski, Lesotho: 4 July 2024.


The weather will continue to be sunny and a little warmer through the weekend, with temperatures ranging from -2 to +10°C. Some cloud is expected early next week, with temperatures dipping much lower.