Weekly World Snow Roundup: Three Ski Areas Still Open in the U.S. as Ski Season Opens in New Zealand

by Patrick Thorne with First Tracks!! Online Media staff reports

Kiltarlity, Scotland, UK – The number of ski areas open worldwide is on the rise despite more areas closing for the season in Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. That’s because more the southern hemisphere’s ski season has kicked off in New Zealand, and next week Australia, Canada and France will be opening ski areas, too.n

Northern Hemisphere

In North America two ski areas are currently open full time in the U.S., and one on weekends only. There are no lift-served ski slopes open in Canada, but that will change next week when Whistler’s Blackcomb glacier re-opens for a summer ski season on Saturday, June 19th.

The last ski area still open for the 2009-10 season in Colorado — Arapahoe Basin — closed last weekend. Snowbird in Utah, however, is open for at least two more weekends and possibly longer. It has a 2.3m (90 inches) of snow on the ground at mid-mountain and is operating its Aerial Tram and Little Cloud chairlift.

In California, Mammoth Mountain still has the best part of a month of its long season left. It’s open daily and plans to remain so until at least the U.S. Independence Day holiday on July 4th. It most recently received five inches (13cm) of new snow on May 27th and currently has a four- to seven-foot (1.2–2.1m) base of snow.

America’s nearly year-round ski center of Timberline on Mt. Hood in Oregon is the ski area currently open full-time in North America. Its lifts, terrain park and pipe are all open on a 125-inch (3.2m) base. Below the Palmer Snowfield, the Pucci and Stormin’ Norman lifts are still running as well.

Western Europe

There are currently six glaciers open for snow sports in the Alps. In Austria, the Dachstein glacier, which was due to have opened for summer skiing two weeks ago, hopes to finally do so this weekend after lift maintenance delays, some caused by snowfall. The ski area has reduced season ticket prices to compensate disappointed skiers and snowboarders.

The Kitsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun is also briefly closed for a few weeks of annual maintenance, and the Molltral glacier will not re-open until the 27th of June. However several other Austrian glaciers are still open, even if in the case of Kaunertal and Stubai, not for long. The ski area at Kaunertal, which has received 13cm (five inches) of new snow in the past week, closes for the season this Sunday, with a re-opening party already announced for October 15-17. The Stubai glacier also closes this Sunday with a 170cm (67 in.) base and five runs open, served by four lifts.

RELATED STORY:  2023-24 Ski Season Analysis as of May 17, 2024

So at the moment, only the Tux glacier is staying open for good. It has 25km of runs to enjoy on a 295cm (10-foot) deep snow pack with nine lifts operating.

Elsewhere in the Alps, Passo Stelvio is open in Italy, as is the country’s Presena glacier above Passo Tonale, but one of the two red runs that were open there has now closed, leaving just one red and one black run to enjoy. Val Senales opens this Saturday and Cervinia two weeks later on the 26th.

In Switzerland, Europe’s highest lifts on Zermatt are operational at the resort’s large summer ski area. It appears to be the only summer ski area currently open in the country as the Diavolezza glacier near St. Moritz has now closed.

In the French Alps, the glaciers at Les Deux Alpes, Tignes and Val d’Isere are scheduled to begin their summer ski season beginning the middle of next week. Les Deux Alpes will open first next Wednesday, the 16th of June, and stay open until nearly the end of August. The glacier slopes will be open from 7:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily and from resort level at 1500m, it takes about 30 minutes to reach Europe’s largest skiable glacier spanning altitudes from 3200-3600m. There are 200 skiable hectares on the glacier served by 11 ski lifts. On the snow you’ll find 11 runs comprised of a red run, eight blue runs, two green runs and a large snowpark with two halfpipes, hips quarters, boarder-cross, grind bars and jumps, accompanied by music and barbecue.

In Tignes, the glacier will open next Saturday, June 19 and remain open through August 29 from 7:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. daily. The Tignes Glacier rises from 2700m to 3600m and boasts 20km of ski runs served by 12 lifts and 750m of vertical. There’s a snow park and an ice grotto, not to mention having breathtaking views. Access to the glacier by funicular only takes seven minutes.

Northern Europe

In Northern Europe, Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountain remains open on weekends, although snow cover is finally reported to be getting patchy. The Scottish Highlands have enjoyed their best ski and snowboard season in decades.

RELATED STORY:  2023-24 Ski Season Progress Report as of April 13, 2024

In Scandinavia, Sweden’s Arctic Circle ski area of Riksgransen has now closed, and so Norway’s three open glacier areas of Folgefonn, Galdhoppigen and Stryn are the best bets.

Finland’s Ruka still has its Saarua summer ski slope open through this weekend. Sunday is the last day of the Finnish ski season.

Southern Hemisphere

The southern hemisphere’s 2010 ski season is underway after Coronet Peak in New Zealand opened last Saturday with a 50cm (20-inch) base, including 15cm (six inches) of new snow that fell on Tuesday.

Conditions are actually looking good across the country, and most of New Zealand’s resorts will open in the next three weeks. First tracks were reported at Treble Cone last week for those prepared to hike up, with 30cm of new snow, and a further 25cm (10 inches) was reported there yesterday.

The Remarkables currently has a 60cm (two-foot) base, although officials have no plans to open the ski area for another two weeks. Mt. Hutt, with a full one-meter (3.3 foot) base, will open next Saturday June 12th. Cardrona and Mt. Ruapehu will open later this month.

Ski Dobson possibly has the deepest base in the southern hemisphere at preset with 1.3m (4.3 feet) of snow on the ground, but it will not open until the weekend on June 20-21 and full-time beginning the following weekend.

In Australia, most resorts received some natural snow last month and currently have low temperatures and are able to commence snowmaking. Falls Creek, Mt. Hotham, Thredbo and Perisher are all making snow at the moment ahead of opening in the next few weeks.

In South Africa, the country’s only ski area of Tiffindell has a snow covering, and with low temperatures continuing should be able to open quite soon. The same is true of Afriski in neighboring Lesotho, which had hoped to open on June 1st.

In South America many ski areas are reporting cold temperatures and snow but none have yet opened. Chile’s Valle Nevado will be opening shortly, neighboring El Colorado (Farrellones) on June 11 and Portillo in two weeks on the 19th.

In Argentina, Las Leñas reports 4cm of snow remains on the tops of the mountains following a big 30cm (12 inch) fall last month.

Author Patrick Thorne is the Content Editor for Skiinfo UK, located online at www.skiinfo.co.uk

Leave a Reply