Wednesday, July 1, 2009 Reports Summer Ski and Southern Hemisphere Resort Openings Takes World Tally Past 60 Choices ln A Dozen Countries

Skiinfo reports that all three of the glacier ski areas that are still opening each year for summer skiing in France are now open, following Val d’Isere’s summer snow opening on Saturday. It joins already open Tignes and Les 2 Alpes for a 6-10 week summer season. All three resorts are reporting snow depths around about 180cm (six feet) on their glaciers.
Austria still has four glacier ski areas open, the largest at Tux, close to Mayrhofen, which has more than 23km (15 miles) of runs to enjoy. The Kitzsteinhorn glacier at Kaprun, the Dachstein glacier near Schladming and the Molltal glacier are the three other choices
Italy now equals Austria with four summer-ski choices available, the most for any one country. Newly opened last weekend is Cervinia, which gives access to Europe’s highest ski lifts above Zermatt over the border (currently still the only summer skiing in Switzerland, although due to be joined by Saas Fee this Saturday, July 4). There are also summer ski runs on the Italian side of the border, and Cervinia is reporting snow depths of 180cm (six feet) at opening. A Cervinia lift company spokesman commented, "The glacier is in splendid condition this year!". The Presena glacier above Passo Tonale is still open although the tourist office reported last month it expected the glacier ski lifts would close, "by the end of June", so best to check direct before you travel there. It unusually offers tough skiing only with two reds and one black run and a snow depth – which was amongst the deepest in the ski world all last winter at up to six metres/20 feet - still at 320cm (nearly 11 feet). The other Italian summer ski choices are Passo Stelvio and Val Senales. In Zermatt the Matterhorn glacier paradise, billed as the largest summer ski area in the Alps is currently hosting the Stoked Ski and Snowboard school which offers great summer "freestyle" camps in a on the resort’s Gravity Park, which has its own dedicated lift. "Instead of being in crowded swimming pools, get some refreshment on the snow. Supported by our coaches and professional riders, you can improve your skills and technique riding the pipe, various kickers, rails and obstacles", said Thomas Schetty from the resort.
Norway ‘s three glacier ski areas are all open and Folgefonn is currently reporting the deepest snow base anywhere with a 5m (17 foot) accumulation. The Stryn glacier has a 180cm (six foot) base and Galdhøpiggen 150cm (five feet).
In North America the two open ski areas remain open to all - the Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb mountain at Whistler, Canada which has about a metre (over three feet) of snow and Timberline in Oregon, USA, where the shrinking snow pack still remain above 150cm (five feet).
However the snow slopes of Copper Mountain in Colorado, USA, one of the world’s 10 highest ski areas, were open to participants in the resorts new summer camps which combine a new indoor ski training facility with artificial slope surfaces and a campers-only on-snow terrain park which opened each day in the morning, with features such as a big-air jump, multiple rails and boxes, and a jump onto an airbag.
In South America, Portillo in Chile reported 28cm (a foot) of new snow on Monday and that access roads to the resort were blocked by snow. Snowfall to date this season has already reached 180cm (six feet) with a base in excess of a metre (over three feet) at the hotel. La Parva reported 35cm (14 inches) of new snow in 24 hours on Monday, part of a 95cm (three foot) fall in seven days. It has about a quarter of its lifts and runs open and describes conditions as ‘powder’. Valle Nevado has also reported big snowfalls, with 35cm (14 inches) of new snow on Monday taking falls to data this season to 138cm (4.5 feet) with a 40cm (16 inch) base. Over the border in Argentina, Las Lenas has reported big falls but remains closed. Catedral at Bariloche, the continent’s largest ski area, has a 45cm (18 inch) base on upper runs.
In Africa Tiffindell remains open with a 60cm snow depth on a 175m long run, Afriski in Lesotho is still closed.
In Australia most ski areas have seen temperatures hovering around zero for several days now and a few cm/inches of fresh snow falling. Typical is Mt Buller with an average 45cm (18 inch) base on open terrain. At Mt Hotham snow fall yesterday evening (Tuesday 30 June) above 1600m and is expected to continue throughout Wednesday and Thursday above 1300m. With any luck this will also continue into Friday with scattered snow showers predicted.
Two more New Zealand ski areas opened at the weekend. Cardrona Alpine Resort opened its gates to thousands of skiers and snowboarders on Friday (June 26), with ideal snow and weather conditions, a superb start to the 2009 ski season. There is over a metre of snow on groomed trails. "There were plenty of happy people up here today", said sales and marketing manager Nadia Ellis. "Everywhere you looked there were smiling faces as everyone enjoyed a fantastic opening day. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2009 season". Meanwhile another kiwi resort, Whakapapa, opened for the season on Saturday (June 27) with both Happy Valley and the Rock Garden open. The Rip Curl Terrain Park Crew have managed to get a few small features installed too so they'll be ready to play with on opening day. The grooming team has spread out the snow a whopping two metres thick over Happy Valley. Snowmaking actually had to stop because they ran out of water. The resort has turned 72 million litres of water into snow so far.