It may be July but if you still want to hit the slopes there’s no reason not to!
Around 20 ski centres are currently open for summer skiing in Europe and North America and the 2019 winter season is just getting in to full swing in South America, Australia, New Zealand and even a couple of small centres in Southern Africa.
The last week of June was the hottest for a decade in some parts of the Alps which doesn’t really bode well for great snow conditions. The only mitigating factors were that it had been a cool and sometimes snowy late spring so there was a lot of snow lying on glaciers to at least give some cushion from the thawing effect of the heat.
In Austria the Hintertux, Molltal and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers should all be open for skiing in July, the latter two re-opening in the last few weeks of June, re-joining the year-round Hintertux.
For the Molltal glacier the season should continue through to May 2020 but the Kitzsteinhorn plans to close again ion July 21st for a few months after its brief summer ski season .
Summer skiing and boarding here and elsewhere in the Alps means starting early on the snow around 7-8am and the ski day being largely over by lunchtime.
In France there are three areas open too – Tignes (pictured top), Les 2 Alpes and Val d’Isere, although Val d’Isere (pictured above) is due to end its five week season in the middle of this month on July 12th. The other two will stay open through the month, conditions permitting.
Italy has Passo Stelvio, which opened for it’s six month season through summer and autumn at the start of last month. It’s joined by recently-re-opened Cervinia providing access to skiing on its Plateau Rosa slopes (pictured above). Britain’s World cup ski racer Dave Ryding has been training at Passo Stelvio in recent months.
Finally in the Alps, Switzerland has just one area open to start the month, Zermatt,. Where the Klein Matterhorn area is open year round. Along with Cervinia over the border in Italy though it’s Swiss neighbour Saas Fee will re-open its glacier for a nine month season through to spring 2020 on July 13th.
Elsewhere in Europe there are also two ski areas open in July up in Norway, Scandinavia.
Here the Folgefonn (“Fonna”) and Galdhoppigen ski areas operate a long summer lift each.
Across the Atlantic July starts with the big Independence Day holiday weekend which runs from Thursday July 4th to Sunday the 7th.
With snow falling right up to the summer solstice in the mountains it looks like at least half-0a dozen US areas will be open for that weekend at least.
At time of writing Mammoth and Squaw Valley in California, Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, Snowbird in Utah, Timberline in Oregon and the Beartooth Basin summer ski area in Montana say they’ll be open. However most of these look set to close after the 7th. Only Mammoth and Timberline are aiming to continue through to August, although the base is looking a bit thin at Timberline now.
North of the border Whistler’s Blackcomb glacier is currently open for skiing and boarding until July 14 from 11 AM – 3 PM daily, weather permitting.
The other northern hemisphere option is the Gassan ski area in Japan where the snow is thawing fast and the centre will most likely end its season (which started in April) sometime this month, but it was reported open at the start of the month.
Nearly all ski areas in the southern hemisphere are now open and those that still aren’t should be over the first weekend or two of July.
It has been the usual mixed start-of-season picture as temperatures cool as the region moves in to winter.
Australia, for example, had its best start-to-the-season for more than 15 years a month ago with huge early snowfalls (picture above from Mt Hotham on June 5th), but that was followed by very warm weather and rain that decimated cover. Things have stabilised since though and more snow arrived so conditions are mostly good here.
In New Zealand the extremes have been less dramatic but so have the early snowfalls and mostly it has just been cold and dry so far so areas with snowmaking are open, those without much have delayed opening.
Ski areas in Argentina and Chile in South America have all opened but here too there was not any huge start to the snow season. Most areas opened on the final weekend of June after the biggest snowfalls of the winter so far hit the Andes.
In southern Africa the two small areas of Tiffindell in South America and Afriski in Lesotho both opened in early June and have snow cover from snowmaking machines at present.