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ICEGRIPPER has just dispatched a number of orders to Southern Hemisphere skiers and winter adventurers, but 12 days after the Summer Solstice (the day where the Northern Hemisphere Summer starts and the Southern Hemisphere Winter begins) the global ski industry is NOT following it's usual pattern - thanks to Coronavirus.
As we begin basking in the warmer weather in the UK and Europe, the annual ski season begins South of the equator. Largely unknown to European skiers, these areas exist in Australia, New Zealand, South America, Asia and even in Africa! But this year many are closed due to the pandemic...
The Snow Headlines - 1st July:
- Ski areas open in Australia, Lesotho and New Zealand.
- A dozen ski areas re-opened in the Alps in June, most still open in July.
- Huge snowfalls in the Andes to end June, but no resorts open yet.
- Snow still up to 8m deep on Norwegian glaciers and more forecast.
- Extended lockdowns mean the 2020 season increasingly unlikely in South America and South Africa.
- Quiet in North America - only one area likely to be open on 4th of July.
The start of July would normally see the southern hemisphere's ski season really taking off and all of the Northern hemisphere's glacier areas open. We'd expect the number of open areas worldwide to be (just) back in triple figures a week or two into the month.
This July is obviously different, but it's not all bad; the last weekend of June did see more than 20 ski areas open and we may be up to double that by mid-July.
The "glass half empty" view of the present situation is that things are well below normal. Ski areas in the Andes of South America as well as in South Africa, representing half the ski nations in the southern hemisphere, still have no idea of when or if they might be able to open.
The "glass half full" view though is that things continue to improve. This time last month we were in single figures for resorts open and were just passed an all-time low of 4 areas open worldwide in the last few days of May.
Ski areas have since been able to open in Australia, Lesotho and New Zealand and pretty much all of the glacier ski areas that would normally be open in Europe in July are open, albeit with the 'new normal' pandemic-spread-prevention measures of off-slope face masks, hand cleaning, and on-lift social distancing making it all a bit strange.
As to the snow; the best of it at the end of June was on the closed slopes of the Andes. At least when (if) ski areas in Argentina and Chile can open they should be able to do so with good cover. New Zealand also had a good end of June snowfall, although there are still early season-conditions at play here and in Australia (more reliant on snowmaking a present).
In Europe glacier conditions for summer are reported to be better than normal with good depths and some fresh cover.
Re-produced courtesy of J2Ski Snow Report - see their full report HERE
Have you ski'd in any Southern Hemisphere resorts? We'd welcome your stories, experiences and comments. Email us, or contact us through any of our social media sites, see the clickable links in the footer below.
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