For the skiing world, June is the month when the southern hemisphere’s ski season gets properly underway with resorts in Argentine and Chile in the South American Andes as well as in Australia and New Zealand also opening. There are also small ski areas in several southern African countries but their opening has been a bit hit and miss in recent years.
In the northern hemisphere, some ski areas in the Alps and the USA are usually still operating from the previous autumn, usually into their 7th or 8th straight month of skiing, although perhaps opening now limited, earlier hours, maybe just weekends and on a limited amount of terrain where the snow has stayed this long. Some glacier ski resorts will also open for summer skiing in June.
Southern Hemisphere’s Season Gets Underway
Late May and early June are a tense period in the southern hemisphere, (just like late November and early December in the northern hemisphere), as skiers watch to see how cold it’ll be and how much early season snow there’ll be. In other words, will the season get off to a good start? When it is good earlier than usual, by late May, some can open early but for most, it’s mid-June onwards.
When it’s not so good an ever-growing snowmaking arsenal helps to ensure resorts open on schedule in June, unless it’s a particularly warm start to winter.
Australia’s ski season usually gets underway on the King’s Birthday Weekend, which coincides with the second Monday in June. That’s used to celebrate King Charles III of Australia’s birthday. Traditionally, most Aussie areas open then, whatever the snow conditions, beginning a 3-4 month season.
In New Zealand, the first ski areas also begin to open from the second weekend in June, with resorts including Mt Hutt and Coronet Peak on the South Island often among the first to open. Resorts continue to open through June and into July as the numbers open continue to grow, with North Island areas tending to open for the season later. Pre-season fun at The Remarkables in 2023pictured above.
Most ski areas in the Andes of South America – ski areas in Argentina (such as Catedral near Bariloche – pictured top – and Les Lenas – pictured below after a big early snowfall in 2023) and Chile (Including Valle Nevado, Portillo and a dozen others) – tend to open in mid to late June, but as with Australia and New Zealand, some will opt to open earlier in the month is there are particularly good early conditions.
Ski areas in southern Africa are traditionally among the first in the southern hemisphere, right at the start of June, or even late May, but in recent winters unfortunately several of the centres have not opened for one reason or another, regardless of the snow.
North America – Still Skiing From The Previous Autumn
For North America, it is usually a case of how many ski centres continue to operate into June and that depends a lot on how the snowfall has been that winter, plus how hot or cold the spring weather has been so far.
Usual candidates to at least the start of June, sometimes staying open all month, include Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin, California’s Mammoth Mountain (pictured above in 2023) and The Palisades and, most reliably, the Palmer snowfield above Timberline in Oregon which has a couple of terrain parks but also offers race team training before public skiing and boarding early each morning. But in some very good snow years, there can be other areas open in June.
There’s also a small and fairly basic summer-only ski area, Beartooth Basin, up on the Wyoming/Montana border that usually opens in late May for June skiing.
For Canada, there’s nowhere usually open in June, but there is glacier skiing and boarding on Blackcomb Mountain above Whistler from mid-June to mid-July, however, participation is normally limited now just to people taking part in privately-run ski and boarding camps.
Europe’s Glacier Ski Season
Glacier ski areas are still open in the Alps but what’s open varies each year depending on snow levels and other trends. Fewer and fewer ski areas are open in the May to September period however some are, at the time of writing, more likely to open in June than others.
Austria’s Hintertux glacier tends to be open all month, as does the Klein Matterhorn up above Zermatt in Switzerland. Over the border in Italy, Cervinia usually opens for summer skiing in mid-late June, but Passo Stelvio is usually open all month, or as soon as the pass opens. In France, Les 2 Alpes, Tignes and Val d’Isere are all usually open for periods in June.
Further north three small glacier ski areas are usually open in June – Folgefonn, Galdhopiggen and Stryn (pictured above) – for all or part of the month.
Midsummer Skiing Under The Midnight Sun in the Arctic Circle
Some years the Swedish resort of Riksgränsen, re-opens for a long weekend of midsummer skiing at the start of astronomical summertime around 20-23 June (below).
The resort, located 200km north of the Arctic Circle, is one of the world’s most northerly and from about 10th May enters a period of several months when it has 24-hour daylight and offers skiing and snowboarding under the midnight sun. The resort’s standard season lasts from late February to late May each year but if the snow is good it then re-opens for midsummer, including more skiing and boarding under the Midnight sun.
Most ski areas in Asia have closed by the start of June, but Japan’s Gassan ski area, which has a season from April to June, is normally open for skiing and boarding. It has a season lasting from April to July, all being well, opening in early spring after the snow has hopefully built to 5 metres plus through the winter months. Assuming the snow is deep enough it normally then lasts through to July, despite thawing fairly fast.
Indoors & Dry Slopes
While there may be only about 100 conventional ski areas open around the world in June, there are now more than 100 indoor snow centres to visit and several hundred dry ski slopes too.
For the latest snow forecast and updates on where is best to ski now, as well as ski news, gear reviews and resort spotlights, you can check out our regular podcast here Apple | Spotify | Podcasts or search The White Out on your chosen podcast directory.