Issued: 19th June 2019
By Patrick “Snowhunter” Thorne
Our latest roundup of snow conditions around the world. Each section that follows below goes into detail country by country. Clicking the map thumbnail will take you to our dynamic snow forecast map for the latest detail (where you can also overlay live weather & reported conditions). Weather outlooks for Europe and North America can be found at the end of this roundup.
More ski areas have opened over the weekend in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Those ski areas north of the Equator are gearing up for summer skiing.
South Africa was the latest country where the ski slopes have been declared re-opened, joining Canada, France and Italy where resorts have re-opened over the past few weeks.
Later this week Sweden will re-join the list too, as it’s Riksgransen ‘spring skiing capital of Europe,’ re-opens for four days of snow-sports over the summer solstice, include skiing under the midnight sun every ‘night.’ Not that there is any real night at that northerly latitude in June.
The ski season is due to really get going in the Andes at ski areas in Argentina and Chile. More resorts are also scheduled to open in Australia and New Zealand.
In the Alps, more glacier areas are due to open in Austria and France this coming weekend too.
In the US, there was a long-delayed opening at Beartooth Basin summer ski area in Montana, where the season had been scheduled to run from late May to early July. It was delayed due to late season snow and mechanical problems; however, it is finally opening with only three or so weeks of its short season left.
Although there’s lots happening in terms of resorts opening there isn’t a whole lot of fresh snowfall to report this week. If anything, there’s been thawing which you might expect in early summer in the Northern Hemisphere but is less welcome south of the Equator where the season is trying to get going. Australia has been particularly hard hit.
More recently, the good news is it has started snowing in most Southern Hemisphere ski areas over the past 48 hours and there’s a week of cold temperatures and more snowfall for most in the forecast.
Australia / New Zealand / Argentina / Chile / South Africa / Lesotho / Austria / France / Switzerland / Italy / Andorra / Norway/Sweden / Germany / Bulgaria / Japan / Scotland / USA / Canada / South America Weather Outlook / Southern Hemisphere / Europe Weather Outlook / North America Weather Outlook
After the sensational start to Australia’s 2019 season at the end of May and the start of this month (with the snowiest conditions this early in the winter for two decades), things took a turn for the worse late last week when a warm, wet front brought thawing, rainy conditions which rather decimated the new snow cover. As a result, snow depths have more than halved at many areas. The good news is that temperatures have now fallen and as of Monday it is has been snowing again. Snow depths at Australian resorts are always remarkably similar where Perisher (32/32cm), Thredbo (342/32cm) and Falls Creek (32/32cm) are all publishing the same stats at time of writing (and they’re about half what they were 7 days ago) with 5-10cm more expected in the current snowy period. It will clear up by Wednesday; however, this time temperatures should stay low meaning the better conditions will be maintained. The final Aussie area to open for the season, Charlotte Pass, is due to do so this weekend.
Winter 2019 is gradually gaining a hold in New Zealand with five centres now open and more due to join them this coming weekend. The Remarkables (3/75cm) has the best snow total stats and has also reported 20cm of fresh snowfall, further improving conditions. Coronet peak (10/50cm) was one of the latest areas to open last weekend. Although for opening day there was not enough snow for skiing or boarding. It was snow-play and tobogganing instead.
The start of the season at Argentina’s resorts is coming up next weekend with most resorts planning to start the lifts turning on Saturday, 22nd June. It is not a vintage pre-season so far but temperatures are generally hovering at, or just below, freezing in most areas and there is snow on the ground. South America’s largest ski area (in terms of number of lifts), Catedral, reports 5-35cm of snow on its slopes already with a little more forecast later this week before opening day.
The 2019 ski season is due to kick off this weekend at most of Chile’s ski areas too. There are no official snowfall stats ahead of the weekend but ski areas have been posting plenty of white pictures (skill is needed to work out which are new pictures and which are old); however, we do know there have been several significant snowfalls over the past month and that it’s cold with more snow falling in most areas. Therefore, it should be looking good for the coming weekend and the start of Chile’s 2019 ski season.
Tiffindell’s 2019 ski season kicked off at the end of last week. After some natural snowfalls earlier this month they currently have 100% snow-making cover on the slopes with temperatures +5-10C and due to get cooler later this week.
It’s a sunny week in Lesotho with temperatures at Afriski (0/20cm) between +2 and +9C. There’s no snow in the forecast although the trend is towards lower temperatures near the end of the week. Currently, the main slope is 500 metres long and there are terrain park features available too.
We’re in to the second half of th 12 day period when only one ski area is open in Austria. That area is the year-round Hiintertux Glacier (35/410cm), which currently has 20km of runs open for summer skiing. It’s lonely existence will end later this week when the Molltal glacier is scheduled to re-join it and begin a 10.5 month ski season which will take it to May 2020, another of the world’s longer ski seasons. A third glacier area, the Kitzsteinhorn, which only ended an 8 month ski season at the start of this month, will re-open for summer skiing on the last weekend of June, after its brief period of closure.
It’s a big weekend coming up in France. The summer ski season is due to begin this weekend in Les Deux Alpes and Tignes, tripling the total number of areas open in the country (so far it’s just Val d’Isere), where’s three weeks of summer skiing left. For the two new openers though the season will last to later in July or even in to August. This week temperatures in the high mountains of the French Alps sit around 0-5 degrees Celsius with sunny skies and no precipitation (rain or snow).
Zermatt (0/250cm) remains the only Swiss ski area currently open, until Saas Fee re-joins it in a month’s time. It currently reports 21km of trails open over a 700 metre vertical. That’s actually bigger than most Southern Hemisphere resorts can offer in their winter, such is the size of Zermatt’s vert. Nine lifts are currently running to access the year-round slopes.
Passo Stelvio (150/350cm) still looks to be in great shape after its delayed opening following the huge snowfalls in May. It reports all six lifts running and all trails open. It’s currently the only Italian area open although Cervinia is scheduled to re-open at the end of the month to provide access to its own summer ski area and/or Zermatt’s on the Klein Matterhorn.
Norway’s three summer glacier ski areas of Folgefonn (Fonna), Stryn and Galdhopiggen will be joined this weekend, as mentioned in our introduction, by Sweden’s Riksgransen. The area is re-opening after a four day closure last month and will offer nights of skiing and boarding between 10am and 1am to celebrate the summer solstice and the start of astronomical summer. Last year the event, due to run from Thursday to Sunday, could not happen due to too little snow cover but this year, they say, there’s enough. Temperatures in the region are currently around 5-10C with a mixture of sunshine and rain showers
There are currently no ski areas open in Germany, other than the country’s half-dozen indoor snow centres. Outdoor winter sports will resume here next autumn.
There are currently believed to be no ski areas open in Bulgaria or anywhere in Eastern Europe. Winter sports will resume in the region in the autumn.
The snow depth is now down to less than a quarter of the 10 metres it was when Gassan (0/230cm) opened for its 2019 summer ski season 10 weeks ago. Current conditions have seen temperatures drop to around 6-7C overnight but get well in to double figures above zero Celsius in the daytime. At time of writing it was cloudy but dry.
There are currently no ski areas open in Scotland other than the Snow Factor indoor snow centre and the country’s dry slopes. Winter sports will resume in the region in the autumn.
We have lost another weekend re-opening ski area in the US with Aspen, following Breckenridge a week previously, saying last weekend was its last. However, Arapahoe Basin (112/112cm) is open this coming Friday to Sunday and maybe for longer. Copper Mountain also has its terrain park open but that’s for people booked on summer camps at its Woodward freestyle centre.
Temperatures are generally too warm for more snow now but Beartooth Basin did manage to post an inch (3cm) of fresh since the weekend. Altogether there are still seven US ski areas open in five states which is more than any country except Australia this week.
The main news this week, we finally have a new US summer ski option in the shape of Montana’s Beartooth Basin which finally did open on Saturday. This was about its sixth revised hoped for opening date over the previous three weeks when one thing after another prevented the area opening. Originally, its season was only due to last until July 7th so it may only be a three week 2019 season.
Elsewhere, there’s little change on last week except snow depth. These are starting to drop fast as it finally warms up. Mammoth (89/254cm) and Timberline (71/71cm) are both open daily with Squaw Valley (0/333cm) and Snowbird (191/191cm) open at weekends.
Whistler Blackcomb is in to the second weeks of its short glacier skiing season on Blackcomb mountain. There’s been a mix of sunshine and cloud this week with temperatures peaking around 10C but it’s set to get colder towards the weekend when rain in the forecast may fall as snow up on the glacier. fingers crossed.
in Australia the snowfall for the start of this week does not look like it will add up to much. The good news is that temperatures are set to stay sub-zero for the rest of this week which means an end to the thaw and also good conditions for snow-making to build up bases on key runs. Things start to look more settled after the weekend but that’s a bit far off for now.
It’s looking like a fairly cold and snowy week ahead across New Zealand with snow forecast from Wednesday to Friday, in particular, at present. The volumes of snow do not look set to be huge though, with 5-10cm currently being the ballpark by the weekend when more resorts are due to open for the 2019 season.
In Southern Africa temperatures are up above freezing for the week ahead so the current snow cover will be topped up with snow-making overnight when possible through the week.
The Andes of South America are seeing changeable temperatures with lows down as far as -15C but then resort-level highs of up to +10C at times too. The week ahead looks to continue this temperature roller coaster with the best chance of snowfall in most areas coming next Friday then into the weekend. However, the snow may fall as rain at lower elevations at some areas.
Temperatures are climbing in the Alps and although they’ll still be down around zero on glaciers overnight, daytime temperatures may reach +10C and as low as +25C in the valleys. Consequentially there will be no snowfall with bright sunshine more the norm later in the week.
There’s no real chance of any fresh snow in the US with temperatures 5-15C on the mountain tops in California and a slightly cooler 3-10C on the higher peaks in Colorado.
The only area that may see a little more fresh snow in Canada is Whistler Blackcomb, getting a few centimetres more up on its glacier slopes.