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Snow overview - our twice-weekly round up of the latest snow conditions in the mountains

Snow Overview

Our twice-weekly round up of the latest snow conditions in the mountains

Get the latest snow and weather conditions in all major ski areas updated on Monday and Thursday afternoons by the Ski Club's information department.

Monday 29 June 2015

Summary

With the exception of New Zealand, the Southern Hemisphere season continues its very slow start. More snow is needed across Chile, Argentina and Australia, but sadly there is very little in the forecast this week. New Zealand meanwhile continues to enjoy one of the best starts to the season in recent years, with snow depths well above average, despite high winds closing most lifts on Monday. In the Northern Hemisphere, a major heatwave is set to hit the Alps this week, with the freezing level rising to 5,000m and temperatures at 3,000m reaching well into double figures.

Austria retains the best conditions in Europe at present, with some good spring skiing on offer at our four featured glacier resorts. The sun was shining in the morning, but clouds moved in throughout the day, bringing the chance of afternoon thunderstorms – setting the tone for the week ahead.

Mostly sunny skies were to be found on Monday in the French Alps, with good skiing available at both Les Deux Alpes and on the Grande Motte Glacier above Tignes.

The link to the Plateau Rosa Glacier above Zermatt is open from the Italian resort of Cervinia. Some good skiing is available and sunny skies in the morning are providing great overhead conditions.

Zermatt was bright and sunny on Monday morning, although the clouds built during the day to bring the risk of a thunderstorm or two later. That being said, conditions on the glacier are good.

Summer skiing is in full swing on Blackcomb Mountain at Whistler, with nice conditions on the Horstman Glacier – especially for those of you looking to improve your racing and freestyle skills.

Timberline, North America had yet more warm sunshine on Monday, which made for lovely spring like conditions on the Palmer snowfield.

The sun was shining again across the Australian Alps, bringing great overhead conditions but not providing much needed snowfall to our featured resorts. All are relying on artificial snow at present.

High winds across New Zealand limited the skiing on offer on Monday significantly, with only three resorts able to open any lifts. Once the wind dies down as forecast on Tuesday there should be some fantastic skiing, especially as fresh snow was falling throughout Monday.

The slow start to the Argentinian season continues, with only limited skiing available across the country and no heavy snowfall imminent.

Similar conditions exist in Chile with four of our five featured resorts still yet to open awaiting further snowfall – and sadly this is not forecast for the week ahead.

Austria

Warm sunshine bathed our Austrian summer ski destinations on the morning of Monday 29th June, although more clouds rolled in during the afternoon – a pattern that is set to continue all week.

Some good conditions are currently on offer on the country’s glaciers, although with the forecast heatwave set to begin on Tuesday the slope conditions may deteriorate over the coming days. That being said, all of our featured glaciers retain a base of greater than two metres, including the Hintertux (0/220cm) which was able to run nine lifts on Monday - the most in the country. The Dachstein Glacier (0/262cm) was also in good condition, as was the Molltal Glacier (0/290cm).

The Stubai Glacier (0/200cm) is set to close on July 3rd, so get up there this week to enjoy some good conditions on the Daunferner Glacier.

France

Les Deux Alps (250cm) had some great conditions on the glacier on Monday, with all but one of the marked slopes open and the snowpark fully prepared. The Grande Motte above Tignes (0/120cm) had six lifts running on Monday, including the newly repaired cable car to the top of the mountain. The remaining six glacier lifts are set to open for the summer on July 4th, adding to the variety of slopes on offer.

As with the rest of the Alps, a major heatwave is set to send temperatures rocketing this week. Head up the mountain as early in the morning as possible and be sure to pack the suncream and a pair of sunglasses!

Switzerland

Zermatt (0/165cm) enjoyed some great weather on Monday morning before the clouds rolled in during the afternoon. Expect this weather pattern to continue this week, with steadily rising temperatures thanks to the heatwave moving in over much of western Europe. The skiing has now moved away from the Furgsattel chairlift and to the Plateau Rosa area, served by the Plateau Rosa 2 draglift. Four further lifts are set to open this weekend, expanding the summer ski area significantly.

Saas Fee’s glacier is closed until the July 19th.

Italy

Cervinia (0/165cm) has three lifts running to access the Plateau Rosa glacier and the glacier slopes above Zermatt. Conditions are good and the sun was shining on Monday morning. The forecast is indicating that clouds are to build up every afternoon, possibly bringing some thunderstorms triggered by the hot temperatures.

North America

The Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain above Whistler (100cm) continues to offer some good skiing. Head up early as not only does the glacier skiing kick off at 7.30am, but the weather forecast for the week ahead is suggesting the chance of thunderstorms during the afternoon.

The Palmer Snowfield at Timberline (0/90cm) is the only place to ski in the USA at present, with some decent conditions still on offer despite the mild temperatures in recent days. Expect more sunny weather this week and warm temperatures into the 20s even on the upper slopes.

Australia

It has been a very slow start to the Australian season, with those resorts open relying almost solely on artificial snow to keep their runs open. That being said the sunny skies in recent days, including on Monday 29th June, have led to some great overhead conditions.

The best skiing in the country by far is at Perisher (5/20cm), which thanks to over 140 snow machines firing each night was able to run 19 lifts and have 24 freshly prepared pistes on Monday. Nearby Thredbo (5/20cm) is also in decent shape with eight lifts spinning, although like Perisher it is relying almost solely on artificial snow.

Resorts in Victoria, such as Mt Buller (0/35cm), Mt Hotham (0/20cm) and Mount Baw Baw (0/20cm) are only able to offer limited snowsports at present. More snow is required to open further lifts but the forecast for the rest of the week is not looking great on that front, with only a light 5cm fall forecast on Wednesday night and into Thursday.

Ben Lomond and Selwyn Snowfields remain closed awaiting further snowfall.

New Zealand

The excellent start to the New Zealand winter was unfortunately put on hold on Monday due to very high winds of over 100km/hr. That being said, fresh snow was falling and once the wind subsides some very good skiing should be had throughout the rest of the week.

Treble Cone (131/180cm) was the only resort on South Island that was able to open on Monday, although the Saddle Basin quad was unable to run. The base depth is well above average and with 10cm of fresh snow recorded on Saturday 27th June, the conditions were excellent.

Several resorts are set to open this coming weekend (July 4th), all of which should do with great early season conditions. These include Mt Dobson (138/138cm), Mt Olympus (70/85cm), Mt Lyford (20/20cm) and Rainbow (5/48cm).

Up on the North Island, both Turoa (39/39cm) and Whakapapa (20/20cm) have opened for the season, although a thin snow base combined with bad visibility meant that only the beginner slopes were able to open at both resorts on Monday.

Tuesday and Wednesday are forecast to be mostly sunny, with lighter winds than on Monday – hopefully enabling the lifts to open once again. A cold front is expected on Thursday night and into Friday, bringing around 15cm of new snow and mid-mountain temperatures of around -7C.

South America

The snow base across Argentina remains well below average and as a result only limited skiing is currently on offer. There is the chance of some fresh snow on Wednesday night in the southern Patagonian resorts (such as Cerro Catedral), but no heavy snowfall is expected over the coming week.

Cerro Catedral (0/40cm) remains closed and it is not set to open as planned on July 1st – a date that already represented a delay of a week. Therefore the only skiing available at our featured resorts is at Chapelco (0/40cm) and Las Lenas (51/51cm). The best conditions are to be found at Chapelco, where seven lifts were running and nine pistes were open.

Across in Chile, only Nevados de Chillan (20/50cm) is open for skiing at present, with nine of its eleven lifts spinning on Monday 29th June. The Santiago resorts of Portillo (0/0cm), Valle Nevado (0/0cm), La Parva (0/0cm) and El Colorado (0/0cm) are still awaiting further snowfall for their season to begin. All but the slopes covered by snowmaking are totally bare and it looks as though the situation is unlikely to improve this week – no fresh snow is forecast.
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