Snow Report 27 October 2014 - Europe & Japan

All I have to say to those of you who are off to the Northern Hemisphere to ski and ride sometime over the next six months or so is ... you lucky, lucky people!

Hakuba Happo 17.10.14 [Source: Happo FB page]
The ski resorts across Europe, North America and Northern Asia are now well and truly gearing up for the 2014-15 season. Check out all the resort social media working up a storm.

Just be aware that the first lot of important opening dates aren't usually until late November, and conditions can be marginal well into December some years.

All the same, there is always a bit of excitement to be generated when the temperatures get cold enough for those first wintry snowfalls to blanket the slopes and ski villages. I've scoured the resort social media pages for some of the early snow pics to get people in the mood.

Les Arcs 23.10.14 [Source: Les Arcs FB page]
Those of you who haven't read my blog reports before should be aware that my Northern Hemisphere posts focus mainly on three or four countries. I've skied a lot in Japan, am not familiar with skiing in North America, and my European skiing experience is limited (while extensive in those countries) to France and Italy.

So my reports this year will be spread across these areas but should be enough to give you a good indication of the conditions as the season gets under way.

That means I'll update from Isola and Serre Che in the south, through Val D'Isere and Chamonix, into Italy through Monte Rosa to Val Gardena.

In Japan, from Gifu, through Nagano and Niigata right up to Yamagata.

Val Thorens 23.10.14 [Source: Val Thorens FB page]

So what snow have we had so far in the pre-season?

The French and Italian Alps got a dusting of snow right up high above 2,500m on 14th October.

The real first snows to village levels in France were on 22nd October, even getting down to Chamonix and Meribel villages.

The snow then pushed east into Italy, with Val Gardena getting about 10cms at village level and more up on the slopes.

Val Gardena 23.10.14 [Source: Val Gardena FB page]
In Japan, in Nagano and Niigata, there was a little dusting of snow on 16th October.

The week ahead? Some precipitation this week in the forecast for Japan, but it may be too warm in Honshu - snow is more likely in Hokkaido.

Nothing in the forecast this week for the southern Alps with lots of fine weather.

The first openings are in late November, and I'll be back closer to then with an update. Happy planning if you're thinking about a trip!


Snow Report 3 October 2014 - Australia & New Zealand


The 2014 snow season is coming to an end but there is still skiing this weekend for the super keen amongst you! I have to come clean and admit I hung up my skis some weeks ago and have been getting into warmer weather pursuits ... yeah I know, not the right attitude for a ski blogger, eh?

There are only two options now for the much more committed among you to have one last hurrah at Australian ski areas. Perisher has lifts on Front Valley and Mt Perisher open for some long weekend slushy skiing: temperatures are now getting into double figures each day! Skiing is pretty limited at Thredbo but its still going through the weekend.

Falls CreekMt Hotham and Mt Buller all wrapped up their season on Sunday 28 September 2014, with skiable snow. Perisher and Falls Creek had fantastic years, some of the best. Hotham and Buller were also wonderful at times from my personal experience. There was incredible skiing at all of the big Australian ski resorts in July in particular with the early snowfalls that set up the season so well.

Enjoy your last turns if you're getting up there! I'll be back in a few weeks or so with a look ahead to the start of the Northern Hemisphere ski season.

Rainbow 03.10.14 [Source: Rainbow FB page]

There are still lots of options to ski in New Zealand, on both islands, in Canterbury and in Otago. There is also a good bit of snow falling as well in preparation for this weekend, so if you're over there you're looking like you're going to score big!

However, lots of skifields have already closed. Despite the good snow its not financially viable without the visitor numbers and they're just not there at this time of year. To be honest, they'd prefer good early snow than late snow like has been the case this year.

In the North Island, meanwhile, with up to 3m of snow on Ruapehu, Whakapapa and Turoa have enough snow to keep going until the end of October.

On the South Island, this is the last weekend for many skiers and boarders. Enjoy, and lets hope next year gets off the mark quickly!

North Canterbury and Nelson

Hanmer Springs and Mt Lyford are closed for the season. Rainbow is calling up to half a metre for a powder day on Saturday. It closes on Sunday 5th October.


Porters is running until 5 October with cover still on the upper slopes. Mt Hutt will stay open until the 12 October. Some of the Canterbury club fields are also open.

Cardrona 29.09.14 [Source: Cardrona FB page]
The Mackenzie

Mt Dobson and Roundhill are now closed for the season. Ohau has some fresh snow for its final weekend of the season.


Cardrona has good skiing for this weekend, when it will close after a reasonably good second half to the season. Treble Cone closed on 28 September.


Coronet Peak closes on the 5 October. The Remarkables , which usually stays open well into October surprised a lot of people by closing on 28 September this year.