News Headlines     |     


Ski season starts Down Under
Saturday June 11, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

It kicks off in NZ after a delayed start & resorts have opened in Australia but there's precious little snow in Oz. Not so in South America which is deep in the white stuff. UPDATED

The start of the season was delayed in New Zealand as high winds came in and blew away much of the snow - see here for our report on the delay.

However things have now got under way at Cardrona, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt.

2,500 people turned out for the opening day at Coronet Peak.

Around 300 people were first through the gates at 9am and some had slept at the bottom of the lift overnight to be on the first chairlift.

The condtions were not like the middle of winter, but there was decent covering on many slopes.

First on the chair at Coronet PeakFirst on the chair at Coronet Peak















Ski area manager, Ross Copland, said the number of people queuing at 9am was the biggest the ski area had seen for some years.

"Opening day's always special because we've put so much effort into it over the previous seven months of preparation, so it's great to finally be here. Yes we did lose 
some snow due to the weather over the past couple of days, but today's a pretty balmy 1.1C at the base building, there's very little wind and we've managed to pack a lot 
of the snow that came early onto the main trails.

"We're expecting snow down to 600m on Sunday, so winter's well and truly here."

Coronet Peak, New ZealandCoronet Peak, New Zealand















At Mt Hutt hundreds of skiers and snowboarders turned out.

The main trails were open from the top of the mountain to the base area, accessed by the Summit Six, Quad chair and Magic Carpet for beginners.

Again people slept out overnight to be first on the lifts.

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand














Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand










"For our local and overseas markets it's key to have opened on time with good snow conditions and more to come," said NZSki CEO, Paul Anderson

In Australia many resorts have opened but there is little natural snow around.

"We've made truckloads of snow over the past few weeks, and the best snowmaking window so far starts with the cold front coming through on Saturday," said Anthony O'Shea, head of marketing for Merlin Skifields, Falls Creek and Hotham to local media in Australia.

"We then have several cold clear nights forecast with low temperatures and low humidity, perfect snowmaking conditions. That will allow us to lay down a great base for the season," he added.

Some resorts in Australia though have been trying to put the best possible gloss on the situation and have come in for criticism.

The resort of Thredbo posted the photo below on its Facebook page with the following caption: "The snow has arrived right on cue for Opening Weekend! More expected throughout the afternoon with temperatures looking perfect for snowmaking over the next few days. Come on Winter!"

PR photo from ThredboPR photo from Thredbo
















One local person, Nick Morrison, had a different view of the conditions

"The Thredbo mountain Cameras states different there's still not enough to start the season Friday flat has nothing at all and further up the mountain has nothing so that's bullshit advertising trying to rip people off," he said.

The resort has responded:

"Hi Nick, this pic was taken around 11am at the top of the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift, check out the Basin T-bar cam. The Kosciuskzo Express is open for sightseeing which is what this excited group of visitors took to the top to play in the snow. When the resort is open this is definitely a place where you ski and board."

And in case you want to see the web camera images from Thredbo here are some:

Web camera image from ThredboWeb camera image from Thredbo












Web camera image from ThredboWeb camera image from Thredbo












Web camera image from ThredboWeb camera image from Thredbo












Meanwhile here is a video from Perisher with scenes of its opening weekend.

No such rows are taking place across the Southern Hemisphere in some resorts in South America.

Valle Nevado, ChileValle Nevado, Chile
















Valle Nevado, ChileValle Nevado, Chile
















Portillo, Chile Portillo, Chile















Up to 2.5m of snow has fallen in places and the main border crossing, Los Libertadores, between  the Chilean capital, Santiago, and Mendoza in Argentian has been shut.

And this is what it looks like.

Chile-Argentina border crossingChile-Argentina border crossing
















And just in case you need further evidence of the bumper conditions in parts of South America check out the image below that compares this year to last:

Above the Andes in Chile, 2015Above the Andes in Chile, 2015














Above the Andes in Chile, 2016Above the Andes in Chile, 2016














And while we are looking at the snow conditions in the southern hemishere there has been some snow in Africa.

In Lesotho in Southern Africa there has been some skiing on the beginner slopes and some fresh snow over the weekend.

Fresh snow in Lesotho - 13 JuneFresh snow in Lesotho - 13 June




















Winter arrives in Lesotho (pic @skiafriski)Winter arrives in Lesotho (pic @skiafriski)
















Conditions looking good in Lesotho Wedensday 15 JuneConditions looking good in Lesotho Wednesday 15 June
















Lesotho - action on beginners slopesLesotho - action on beginners slopes (pic @skiafriski)
















Lesotho - action on beginners slopes (pic @skiafriski)Lesotho - action on beginners slopes (pic @skiafriski)
















See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

Related Articles

MORE US SKI RESORTS OPEN (Wednesday November 20, 2019)
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN OPENS (Tuesday November 12, 2019)
FIRST US SKI RESORT IN EAST OPENS (Wednesday November 6, 2019)
RESORT CHARGES FOR WALKING UP (Tuesday November 5, 2019)
SKIWELT: FANCY SKIING IT? (Wednesday October 30, 2019)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners