Snow snippets: 30 July

30th July 2010, by Chris Gill

Flying high in New Zealand - yay!

Flying high in New Zealand - yay!

Snow bases are building nicely in New Zealand at the moment, where you’ll catch the best of the southern hemisphere winter. But there are some superb conditions in Chile and Argentina too. And all is not lost on our Alpine summer ski glaciers: there has been a sprinkling of fresh snow this week – with cooler, showery conditions giving mixed weather.

New Zealand

Lots of fresh snow has fallen recently, really kicking off some of the best conditions of the southern winter so far. Base depths are now a metre or more on the upper slopes. 10-20cm of fresh snow has fallen in the past couple of days, followed by cold, clear weather – great for topping up with snowmaking. Treble Cone (79cm) is predicting a ‘huge dump’ in from a storm forecast this weekend. Coronet Peak (95cm) is also forecasting more snow this weekend. Cardrona (90cm) is reporting good conditions on well-groomed pistes, with light winds but still some ‘early season hazards’ off-piste (rocks!). Up to 15cm fresh snow has fallen on the Mt Ruapehu resorts too this week, which have been hosting various freestyle events.


Conditions have not been quite as good at Australian resorts, with a warmer spell of weather of late – unfortunately bringing some rain with it. Cover is quite thin and patchy in many areas now. Some of the slopes at Perisher (36cm) are looking decidedly worn on the webcams. But their cold start to the season enabled lots of snowmaking to lay the foundations for opening the slopes, and snowfall is forecast in the next few days above 1500m. Right now they have 29 lifts running, but it’s a warm 4 degrees. It’s pretty warm and showery over in New South Wales too, at Thredbo, where the thermometer hit 8 degrees in town and 1 degree on the upper mountain; this is not good news for the snow conditions there, which are slushy by the afternoon. But they are expecting to cool off a little over the weekend. It’s a murky day at Mt Hotham, where showers are expected to deliver snow above 1800m – but their snow base averages only 27cm at present. What a contrast to NZ!

Chile and Argentina

Not too many worries with the winter down here: Chile is enjoying plentiful snow at present; Argentina has the snow but it has been a bit windblown and stormy there of late. In Chile, Portillo gained a decent dump of around 60cm this week; good news for them after a slow and thin start to the season. The resort has at last been able to get going properly. One of the best for snow cover is Termas de Chilan, now reporting a 1-2 metre snow base across the mountain. And Valle Nevado is also skiing well on- and off-the-piste, with lots of fresh powder falling this week. Temperatures are hovering around minus 10 degrees, so pleasantly cold. And most slopes are open; the resort is only reporting the Tres Puntas sector closed.

Things haven’t been quite so pleasant in Las Lenas (40-110cm), where winter storms have delivered Scotland-like high winds and wild conditions. As an exposed area the best skiing would have been at resort level. But the snow cover is good, and visibility is improving. No snow is forecast during the coming few days, but it is likely to be cloudy at times.


Well, we update most of that in Glacier Watch. But conditions continue to be mixed on the Alpine glaciers. Some fresh snow has been reported this week, which is good news after the recent warm spell. So summer skiing marches on …

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