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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.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Summary

As we head towards August Bank Holiday and the start of the Northern Hemisphere autumn, the Alps have seen a return to summer, with warm sunshine the order of the day. Meanwhile on the other side of the Equator spring is just around the corner and at present the best skiing and boarding can be found in New Zealand, although conditions remain decent down in South America.

In Australasia the pick of the conditions are certainly in New Zealand, where the excellent season continued under sunny skies on Thursday. Following more mild and damp weather, things are looking up in Australia, with new snow in the forecast for the coming days.

Head high and stick to the groomed slopes for the best conditions at our featured South American resorts. Las Lenas in Argentina and Portillo in Chile are perhaps the standout resorts at present, with some decent off piste still to be found if you are prepared to hike and earn your turns.

The thick clouds of earlier this week have cleared through the Alps, leaving behind gloriously sunny skies and what could be one final burst of summery heat. Head to the Swiss Alps for the best skiing, especially after this weekend when Les Deux Alpes closes as scheduled on Sunday.

Austria

Thursday was a gloriously sunny day across the Austrian Alps, with clear blue skies above both the Molltal (90cm) and Hintertux (75cm) glaciers. The temperatures were soaring too, with the freezing level rising well above the mountain peaks. As a result the pistes are very soft and worn, although both ski areas continued to struggle on despite the thin snowpack. Expect this weather pattern to continue into and over the weekend.

France

It was a glorious sunny day up on the glacier at Les Deux Alpes (155cm) with temperatures hitting double figures. Sadly this warmth has resulted in further snow loss and the pistes are generally very worn, although the Snowpark 3200 remains open for freestylers.  More sunshine is forecast for the weekend ahead which is the final weekend of summer skiing before it closes on Sunday 29th August.

Switzerland

Switzerland is currently offering the best summer skiing conditions in the Alps, with good skiing still available at both Saas Fee (0/70cm) and Zermatt (0/145cm). All scheduled lifts were running at both to access a decent selection of groomed pistes, with both snowparks open for business too. The warm sunshine is set to continue over the weekend so get on up there!
 

Italy

Cervinia (130cm) was open once again on Thursday, under beautiful clear skies. Three lifts were open to access the Plateau Rosa glacier, on which five lifts were spinning to access 14km of groomed pistes. The sunshine is forecast to last all weekend which is great news.

North America

The summer ski season has ended at both Timberline in the USA and at Whistler in Canada.

Australia

Soft conditions both on and off piste prevailed in Australia on Thursday thanks to mild temperatures and drizzle. By the afternoon there were signs of change however as the temperature was dropping and snow was falling. Around 20cm is possible once the weather system clears through on Friday.

Perisher (145cm) and Thredbo (145cm) maintain the best base depths in the whole country, topped up by falls of up to 30cm on Tuesday. This led to some great powder conditions on the upper mountain before the milder weather moved in on Wednesday. As a result sticking to the upper slopes was the best plan on Thursday, but this looks set to change with the forecast new snowfall.

A few resorts were ahead of the game by the close of play on Thursday having already picked up a few centimetres of fresh snow. Mt Baw Baw (32/37CM) saw around 5cm, Mt Buller (55/80cm) 3cm and Mt Hotham (80/99cm) 1cm by late afternoon which bodes well for Friday’s skiing.

New Zealand

Thursday was yet another fantastic day to be out in the mountains in New Zealand. The sun was shining and cool temperatures were keeping the snow in excellent condition. This is all forecast to change over the weekend however as snow is set to return, bringing as much as 30cm by Sunday.

All of featured resorts picked up fresh snow on Monday/Tuesday, with the most falling at Mt Hutt (125/155cm) where 15cm of powder fell. Up on North Island both Turoa (176cm) and Whakapapa (233cm) picked up around 10cm of dry fresh snow, resulting in one of the best powder days of the season so far.

Cardrona (65/240cm) and Coronet Peak (75/165cm) have both been hosting the NZ Winter Games this week, attracting top class skiers such as Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin and James Woods. Sadly the poor weather forecast for the weekend ahead may interrupt the schedule of events so keep an eye on the latest updates on the event’s website page.

South America

In Argentina the best conditions can be found at Las Lenas (90/130cm), where 17cm of new snow fell on Tuesday. The skiing across the mountain was good and most runs were open and freshly groomed on Thursday. If you are heading further south to the resorts of Chapelco (5/175cm) and Cerro Catedral (5/180cm) then be sure to hit the upper slopes. Lower down rain has fallen this week and the snow base is looking worn and thin. More snow is forecast on Friday and Saturday, but again it will be falling as rain lower down – however the upper slopes could catch as much as 60cm by Sunday.

It was an overcast day in Chile on Thursday, with a light dusting of snow reported up at Portillo (147/193cm). All lifts were running here, with great conditions across the mountain. At the nearby Tres Valles area, resorts such as Valle Nevado (140/200cm) were fully open but sticking to the groomed slopes was the order of the day following a relatively lean period without fresh snowfall. Further south in Patagonia the resort of Nevados de Chillan (140/220cm saw much thicker clouds that were bringing snow to the upper slopes but rain lower down. Sadly for here the forecast does not look good over the coming days, with very heavy rain expected at all levels on Saturday and Sunday.
 
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