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Is there any snow around?
Thursday June 18, 2009 - Email this article to a friend

Yes. Many of the glacier resorts in Europe are opening up for summer skiiing and it's winter down under with Australia and New Zealand having record early-season conditions.

A few weeks ago we reported on New Zealand opening up early with superb snow levels.  When Australia opened there was sparse snow - not any more as many areas have had over half a metre.  Here's the latest snow roundup, on June 17th,  from our friends over at www.skiinfo.com.

France is upbeat and reopens for summer skiing.  Les 2 Alpes was the first of the summer ski areas to open on June 13th with 30cm of fresh snow.  Snow depth on the glacier at 3200m is 180cm with approximately a dozen runs open, along with the terrain park and half pipe.  Tignes is scheduled to open this weekend followed by Val d’Isere next week.  All 3 resorts will remain open until the last weekend of July.

Once again Austria continues to offer the greatest selection of skiing in the Northern Hemisphere. The Stubai Glacier closed last weekend but in its place the Molltal Glacier opens on 20th June. There’s been an 8cm snow top up on the the Kaunertal glacier but only one lift running to serve the fun park.

The Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun re-opened after a brief closure and more snow is expecting this weekend. It is currently open down to the Alpincentre.  Tux still offers the largest ski area in the country with a 325cm snow base and a 23km skiiable area served by 7 lifts.  The Dachstein glacier has a 50cm snow base with a very limited ski area and beginners terrain park.  2 lifts are open.

Italy has three ski areas open. Passo Stelvio and Val Senales which reopened last weekend (with an approximate 200cm snow depth), along with the Presana glacier above Passo Tonale. Presana has been open since last autumn still offering skiing on two red and one black run. It boasts some of the deepest snow in europe throughout last winter but its snow base is now starting to thaw.

Zermatt is still the only resort open In Switzerland. It runs the highest lifts in europe at 3899m on the glacier Mountain Paradise.  Long red and blue runs are open right down to Trockner Steg.  The new plus temperatures IDE snowmaking system will provide guaranteed summer snow connections.  

Three Glacier ski centers are open in Scandinavia. Stryn reports 2cm of fresh snow in the last 48 hours topping up its 2m base.  Folgefonn reports the deep snow base of 450cm and Galdhoppigen has a 150cm base.

See this related report on PlanetSKI if you want to know a bit more about skiing on a glacier in Europe. Alternatively you may want to know what grass skiing is like; the sport is taking off.

And in Australia, fresh snow in most resorts is providing excellent snow conditions so early on in the season.  Perisher opened Mt Perisher ski slopes last week reporting conditions to date as  "the best in a decade." The resort received 58cm of fresh snow since Sunday 7th June and was also topped up by Perisher's $19 million snowmaking equipment.   10 lifts are operating across Perisher Valley and Smiggin Holes and PlayStation on Front Valley.

Moreover, last weekend, Mt Buller opened its Skyline terrain park and half pipe.  "With 1/2m of natural snow depth and a 58cm man-made top up, conditions are excellent for hitting the slopes today." said a spokesperson for the resort.

6 lifts are open at Mt Hotham and snowmaking continues.  Mt Hotham enjoyed a 38cm natural snowfall last week and current cold temperatures provide perfect snowmaking conditions.  Hotham’s snowmaking team have pumped out 43,943 cubic metres of snow in the last four days, this is the equivalent of 4,394 truckloads of snow.

Conditions in New Zealand continue to be good, and some areas are already into their second and third weeks of winter skiing.  The latest opening will be The Remarkables scheduled to open on 20th June.  The fabulous early snow means that nearly all the lifts and the terrain parks will be open for season kick off. Moreover an additional 10cm snow top up in the last couple of days provides a 75cm snow base. More snow is forecast which bodes well for the Saturday opening.

Across the Atlantic, Whistler Blackcomb is closed.  Summer skiing at the top of Blackcomb Mountain’s Horstman glacier opens this Saturday, 20th June and depending on weather conditions will remain open to the end of July. The Wizard Express Chair at Blackcomb base services the area. Summer skiing promises a double terrain park and a Superpipe.  Summer glacier camps attract professional athletes to coach skiers and riders along with a mottley crew of ski and snowboard magazines, professional film crews and camera men from around the world.

Oregon still offers excellent conditions served by 2 lifts, with a 251cm snow base.

Skiing in South America is about to explode with action with ski areas opening this weekend in both Argentina and Chile.  However, some resorts were due to open last weekend but rain and warm weather delayed the skiing.                                                      

South Africa is enjoying its second week of skiing at Tiffindell with its 175m long ski run and 60cm of snow.  In neighbouring Lesotho, Afri-ski centre has decided to delay opening its 2009 season, due to high temperatures and insufficient snowfalls.

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