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SKIING IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE

S+R Marketing Exec. Nicki Mills on the countries and resorts to visit when the snow begins to melt in Europe


Does the thought of the snow melting and the ski season coming to an end fill you with dread? If you’re anything like me, it’s something I refuse to accept and it has lead me to travelling the world in search of year-round powder.

 

Skiing in the Southern Hemisphere is different to many resorts in Europe – primarily it’s the infrastructure that differs but you’ll encounter a change in snow consistency and scenery. 

New Zealand

Skiing in the Southern Hemisphere

You have a choice of nine different ski areas on South Island, New Zealand. Skiing and Snowboarding is also available on the North Island, including the Ruapehu Region, where you can ski down Mt Ruapehu (an active volcano!). However, overall options are more limited on the North Island.  

 

My trip took me to Coronet Peak and Cardrona– the two resorts closest to Queenstown. Lift ticket prices are similar to what you would expect in Europe, but if you’re renting gear it’s possible to walk into a store and rent a pair of skis/snowboard and boots for $10 per day! 

Mountain Transport

There are local buses available to access Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona and Treble Cone. The pluses being that you won’t need to worry about fitting snow chains onto your car or having a few mountain beers but you may need to cope with some hefty lines.  

 

Don’t be mistaken, these resorts are relatively small if you’re used to skiing for miles per day across the Portes Du Soleil. Put that aside though as the postcard picture scenery you’ll take in with each turn as well as the resort options with in relatively short distances of each other will keep you hooked on New Zealand. 

RESORT OPENING DATES

Coronet Peak: 17th June

Cardrona: 10th June

Remarkables: 10th June

Treble Cone: 22nd June

Mt Hutt: 9th June

Porters: tba late June

Roundhill: 1st July

Mt Dobson: tba

Ohautba: around 28th June

Chile

I hadn’t planned to ski in Chile. It was a guy staying in the same hostel in Santiago that talked me into it (didn’t take long) as he was going the following day and wanted someone to ride with. I checked the forecast for La Parva (one of closest ski resorts to Santiago), saw the crazy snowfall due overnight and was sold. 

WHERE TO GO

There are plenty of ski transfer companies based in Santiago so you can take your pick from the long list of resorts to go to for either day trips or long stays. Where you go can depend on what you’d like to do.  

 

Portillo Ski Resort is world renowned for being the first South American Resort to hot the World Skiing Championships and thrills those seeking amazingly steep slopes. The historic yellow ‘Hotel Portillo’ also makes the resort unique as there is limited lodging on-mountain (one budget hostel is available). However, for a completely new experience you may seek out Volcan Osorno – volcano skiing or Snowcat skiing in Ski Arpa Resort for some of the best untracked powder in the world!

RESORT OPENING DATES

El Colorado: OPEN

La Parva: OPEN

Valle Nevado: OPEN

Portillo: 17th June 2017

Corralco: 17th June 2017

Ski Arpa: 10th July 2017

Antillanca: 17th June 2017

Volcan Villarrica: 1st July 2017

Nevados de Chillan: 1st July 2017

Skiing in the Southern Hemisphere 4

Argentina

You’ll find 6 ski resorts in Argentina, all unique and in the right conditions, covered in champagne powder. I ventured to the Patagonian town on Bariloche where I could easily catch the bus to the nearby ski resort, Cerro Catedral Alta Patagonia. The reason I chose this resort was purely down to the views across Lake Nahuel Huapi and the option to stay in a buzzing town (rather than small ski resort). 

Skiing in the Southern Hemisphere 3

HOW TO GET THERE 

It’s simple – fly to Buenos Aires and then an internal flight to your destination. Check with each resort on the local airport.

 

Choosing where to ski in my opinion was a minefield. Resorts are not close together and public transport is a little tricky, not mention, relatively expensive for what you may imagine South America to be like. Renting a car would be the best option for visiting multiple resorts. 

WHERE TO GO

Each resort has a wish list to die for but think carefully about whether you’re after a more ‘local’ slope or enjoy meeting skiers from a variety of places. Cerro Bayo Resort is limited to intermediate – advance skiers and is small. Hike a little, and you’ll be out in the expansive Patagonian backcountry terrain. Las Lenas however, has many skiing and accommodation options and is arguably ‘the best place’ to ski in Argentina. Chepelco ski resort is the place for families.

 

All in all, do research for your individual needs and you won’t be disappointed. 

Skiing in the Southern Hemisphere 2

RESORT OPENING DATES

Cerro Catedral: 18th June 2017

La Hoya: mid June

Cerro Castor: 23rd June 2017

Cerro Bayo: 8th July 2017

Chapelco: 8th July 2017

Batea Mhuida: OPEN

Caviahue: 1st July 2017

Las Lenas: 10th June 2017

Penitentes: 10th June 2017


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