Friday, June 1, 2012

Where To Ski or Board In June?

Alps. Although the choice of ski areas open in the Alps at the start of June is limited to just four areas – the Dachstein (which currently has a base of more than 4.5m) and Hintertux glaciers in Austria, Zermatt in Switzerland and Passo Stelvio in Italy; that will all change in a few weeks’ time when half a dozen more areas are scheduled to open for summer skiing and snowboarding. These include French resorts Les 2 Alpes, Tignes (both opening on June 16th) and Val d’Isere - which opens first on June 9th. In Italy Val Senales and Cervinia re-open on the 16th and 20th June respectively. Summer skiing in the Alps mostly takes place between 7am and 1pm daily.

Scandinavia. In Scandinavia the three Norwegian summer ski areas of Folgefonn, Galdhoppigen and Stryn are all reporting huge bases of over 8m. Ruka in Finland still has it’s ‘summer’ slope open that helps it stay open for 8 months each (normal) ‘season’ from mid-October to mid-June. This year it plans to keep the slope open to June 10th.

North America. In North America there’s no repeat of last year’s snowy-late-spring and even stalwarts like Mammoth have closed ‘already.’ However Timberline in Oregon, the only year-round snowfield is open in the USA, as is Crystal Mountain in Washington state, “We will remain open for skiing June 2-3 and 9-10, possibly longer if conditions allow,” they say. North of the border all ski areas in Canada are currently closed but Whistler Blackcomb re-opens for glacier skiing on June 23rd and remains open to July 29th. There was over 2.1m (7 feet) of snow lying there on the 1st of June.

Southern Hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere Perisher in Australia will be the first resort to open, this Saturday, 2nd June, a week earlier than planned, thanks to 30cm of fresh snow plus snowmaking. Other Australian resorts are expected to follow as scheduled a week later. These include Mt Buller which will open the country’s only new chairlift this winter, a quad chair.
There have also been promising signs in New Zealand where opening was delayed last year by record warm months of May and June 2011, this year there have been re-assuring pre-season snowfalls and most resorts expect to open between June 9th and June 23rd with Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt among the first expecting to open.
Across the Pacific resorts across South America should also be opening for their 2012 winter in the next few weeks and again the signs are good with pre-season snow accumulations. New lifts include a quad chair for Las Lenas in Argentina and the first gondola in Chile at Valle Nevado.
Finally in Africa, Afri-ski in Lesotho, the only commercial snowfield in the south of the continent and the southern hemisphere has been snowmaking in recent cold temperatures and is on target to open on June 6th, next week.

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