Winter 2018 is coming to an end in the southern hemisphere as October begins but winter 18-19 is beginning to gather pace north of the equator with fresh snow falling on high slopes in many areas last month, snowmaking underway in Colorado and more glaciers opening in the Alps. Here’s our round up.
Austria has the most ski areas open in the northern hemisphere in October. The Hintertux, Kaunertal and Pitztal (pictured above) glaciers are all open with the Kitzsteinhorn due to open the first weekend of October and the Dachstein, Stubai and Solden glaciers expected to open soon too – the latter is hosting World Cup races at the end of the month. The Molltal glacier was open but closed whilst awaiting new snow in mid-September.
Kitzbuhel will open a small area at weekends from mid-October using snow saved from last season, spread back out on the slopes.
Tignes had planned to open for the season on last weekend of September but had to postpone doing so due to a lack of fresh snow. It’s opening date is now yet to be determined. Les 2 alpes will open for a week of contests and ski testing in late October if conditions are right for it to do so.
Passo Stelvio and Val Senales (Schnalstal) are currently open. They reported some fresh snow in September. Cervinia will join them at weekends in the latter half of the month then permanently open from the final weekend.
Currently it’s Saas Fee or Zermatt for autumn skiing in Switzerland. The Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz in the Engadin region is scheduled to open later this month.
All of Norway’s glacier ski areas have closed for the summer/autumn season earlier than usual and with Geilo – which has opened in late September each year thanks to snowfarming in recent seasons deciding not to do so this autumn, October begins with no ski area open in Scandinavia. However Ruka, again using snow farming, pictured above ready to spread the stored snow back out on the slopes last week) is scheduled to open from October 5th.
There’s nowhere currently open in North America for snowsports but excitement is building as the snow machines have been fired up in Colorado and fresh snow has been falling in many areas on higher slopes too. Arapahoe Basin (pictured last month) and Loveland will hopefully open within the next few weeks if conditions remain good. Elsewhere Mt Rose in California says it will open October 26th and the timberline snow field on Mt Hood in Oregon has named October 26th as opening day. The first Canadian areas should open in Alberta at the start of November and other US areas could open in October if conditions are right.
New Zealand’s season has mostly been a good one and ski areas on the south island in particular got a boost in the latter half of September with some big late season snowfalls. As a result seasons have been extended beyond the planned end-of-Sept closing dates, Coronet peak to the 7th, The Remarkables to the 14th. On the North Island base depths remain the deepest south of the equator and it looks like the ski areas will once again be the last still open in the southern hemisphere in late October.
Australia’s great 2018 ski season is winding down with most of the country’s ski areas either already closed or set to do so over the next two weekend. snow depths were the greatest since 2004 in August at several areas but are now on the wane as temperatures rise.
Chile has just a few ski areas open in to October. Indeed many closed early before mid=-September due to the poor winter for snowfall in the Andes but since then it has snowed heavily. Valle Nevado closed its main resort in late September but its keeping its ski slopes open to October 7th.
The poor snowfall totals in August and early September led some ski areas like Las Lenas to call it a day early on winter 2018 and close in mid-September. Ironically, since then, there have been some big falls allowing a snowy start to October at some areas like Catedral (above).