Following the early opening of Perisher in Australia blast week, more Australian ski areas and the first New Zealand ski areas are all opening this weekend (June 9th/10th).
Southern Africa’s only operational ski area, Afriski in Lesotho, has also opened this week.
In New Zealand there’s thankfully been no repeat of 2011’s warm May/June and instead increasingly healthy snowfalls have helped build up bases. Cantabrians are gearing up for their much anticipated first day on the slopes thanks to a snow dump that has blanketed Mt Hutt ski area. Mt Hutt will officially open for the winter season tomorrow (Saturday June 9) with an average snow base of 65cm across the entire mountain – believed to be the deepest in the southern hemisphere at present. Mt Hutt Ski Area Manager James McKenzie said the forecast for opening was fine and sunny with light winds. "It should be an outstanding day to kick off the 2012 season", he said. "We’ll be opening with the Summit Six Chair, Exhibition Quad and of course our beginners Magic Carpet area all operating. (...) We’re currently assessing Towers Triple Chair but are suggesting that only advanced to intermediate skiers head over there, as it is not currently groomed", he said.
Mr McKenzie said visitors to Mt Hutt tomorrow were likely to require chains on 2WD from either the Info Booth at the bottom of the ski area access road, or Canterbury View just after the 5 km mark. "People heading to the mountain tomorrow should check the snow report to make sure they’re well prepared and always carry snow chain equipment as conditions can change very quickly up here", he said.
In Australia Mt Baw Baw was coated with a thick blanket of fresh snow this week, 20cm in fact! "A great start to the first week of winter and positive signs for a snow-filled season ahead at Mt Baw Baw", they say, while at Mt Buller the snowmaking team have been working around the clock to get the mountain white for the weekend and say there are some nice piles of snow building up all over the resort thanks to cold nights and good snowmaking conditions. Mt Hotham says that on top of natural snowfall snowmaking kicked off there in the early hours of 29 May on the Big D. Since then they have been making snow on the Big D, Summit Trainer, Sun Run and Swindler's Trail whenever conditions allow. Last Sunday morning saw the resort blanketed in white after overnight snowfalls and they’ve since received 25cm of fresh snow with more snowfalls forecast.