Our Southern Hemisphere isn’t awash with skiing options even during our winter months – blame our large ocean areas and equator loving location which gives us more direct sunlight which affects snow accumulation which rules us out for hosting any winter Olympics, ever! But you can breathe a sigh of relief, as we still have many world class and family friendly skiing options.
In Australia we have Perisher, Thredbo, Mount Buller, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham. But if you’ve been there, skied that and are looking a little further afield for a snow fix when skiing in the Northern Hemisphere isn't an option, then there are other very excellent June to October southern skiing options.
First up and close by is New Zealand.
On the South Island, Queenstown has Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Treble Cone (with 6 seater ski lift!) and Cardona Alpine Resort.
To complement the ski season, Queenstown holds a 10 day winter festival with non-stop events like mountain races, street parties, fireworks, international and local acts, jazz & comedy, Mardi Gras, family activities and fireworks.
So it’s basically just one long snow party!
On the North Island, the ski fields are on Mt Ruapehu, an active volcano. The 2 main resorts are Turoa and Whakapapa, which not only come with fantastic volcanic landscapes (think old lava flows), but also thermal springs to keep the cold at bay.
The NZ ski season typically runs from July through to the middle of October.
If you need somewhere else more exotic, then consider skiing in South America, particularly Chile and Argentina, the southernmost ski regions in the world.
If you’ve never considered these skiing locations, then it’s about time - you get to ski on snow covered volcanoes, with the spectacular backdrop of the magnificent Andes Mountains, forests and lakes, and then soak out your aches in the thermal springs.
Chile has about 20 ski resorts including Portillo, Valle Nevado, Nevados de Chillan, the interconnected resorts of La Parva, El Colorado and Farellones and Lagunillas (a non-commercial ski resort).
Also, this is where you’ll find the Cerro Mirador Ski Resort, the only ski resort in the world to have ocean views!
The cold and wet southern area of Argentina contains the 3 main ski regions which contain 14 ski resorts: Mendoza, the Lakes District, Patagonia and Ushuaia – which has the Cerro Castor Ski resort, the southernmost ski resort in the world.
The bonus with skiing in South America is that you get to experience the Latin culture: eat late like the locals, dance all night if you so please, and in keeping with their laid back attitude, skiing doesn’t start as soon as the first lifts crank up unless you’re really, really keen!
The South American ski season typically runs from the middle of June through to October, and is usually not as busy as some of the Northern Hemisphere resorts.
If you are concerned about altitude sickness, do your research and avoid some of the resorts in high altitudes (like Las Lenas in Argentina), especially if you are travelling with kids.
It’s important to note that while some of the resorts have been working hard to improve their facilities, some of the lift systems are slow, may not always be working and some of the resorts may not be as good as their European and North American counterparts. However, to make up for it, the food, drink and accommodation is cheaper, and their snow is just as good!
So stay south this winter and enjoy your skiing!