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Southern hemisphere snow season well on its way

Thu, Jun  19, 2008 - By FIS

Following a remarkable Northern hemisphere winter, you may have wondered what the weather gods have in store for the Southern season. Early indicators for the Southern season pick up where the Northern one left off and are from good to excellent. In Australia, the autumn delivered unusually cold and windy weather and there were heavy pre-season snowfalls at the ski resorts. Sadly, the most recent precipitation has been all rain, but with man-made snow, enough cover exists for resorts in Australia to get off to an early start in fair conditions. The meteorological consensus is that Australia might expect a better than average ski season and that the recent mild spell is just a blip.

New Zealand does best in strong El Nino conditions which favor the NZ side of the Tasman. Though El Nino may be late or not at all this winter, most resorts received good snow three weeks ago. South Island saw the best of it and Coronet Peak has approx. 50cm base that is part natural and part man-made. These are the best conditions for the time of year on record and certainly the pick of Australasia. However, all resorts in New Zealand are scheduled to open by the first weekend in July.

In terms of South America, there has been a fantastic season start in the Andes with Chile as the place to be. Most resorts are opening early for great early season conditions.

For those unable to travel south, there is still some skiing in the Northern hemisphere, too. For example snow has still been falling at Timberline in Oregon (USA) while summer and winter skiing are set to overlap at Whistler (CAN). In the Alps, the glacier resorts are enjoying the legacy of a long and snowy winter in the form of deep bases (6.4m at Dachstein) and a lower snowline than usual for the season. Some glacier resorts are closed right now in preparation for the summer ski season yet others are still operating along with some places in Scandinavia. Basically it is your pick!

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