Where can I ski in summer? 10 countries with southern hemisphere skiing

May 13, 2019 BY Luke Rees

As the ski resorts across the Northern Hemisphere close you may have asked yourself where can I ski in summer? The answer is to chase the winter down south. With that in mind here are 10 countries with Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding options.

Mt Hutt one of the best NZ ski resorts for New Zealand snowboarding holidays image from Mt Hutt facebook

Where can I ski in summer?

While the Southern Hemisphere offers proper ski resorts it’s worth noting there are still options in the north during the summer. There are around 15 glacier ski resorts in Europe that are open in the summer. They are generally small, but often have snowparks and performance camps.

There is also indoor skiing and snowboarding options at a variety of centres all around the world. Of course indoor slopes tend to be tiny. The largest in Europe is Landgraaf in the Netherlands with 230m of slopes. The biggest worldwide is in Dubai with a 400m slope.

There are also dry ski slopes to consider, we have plenty of them in the UK. Or you can take a leaf out of Candide Theroux book and ski on everything from grass to sand and from rainforest to the Great Wall of China!

Summer glacier resorts, dry slopes, or indoor ‘fridge’ options don’t appeal to you? Don’t want to put you skis or snowboard through the kind of punishment Candide inflicts them? Then Southern Hemisphere skiing holidays are the only answer.

10 countries with Southern Hemisphere skiing

There are some great mountain ranges in the Southern Hemisphere and plenty of ski resorts. They may be less familiar to most of us northerners, but there is plenty of excellent skiing and snowboarding. Plus there are some very adventurous options.

So if like Ski Addict you don’t want your skis or snowboard collecting dust for the next six months. Or you know you’ll be disappointed by the northern summer shred options. Then fly south for the summer.

Where can I ski in summer? 10 countries with southern hemisphere skiing Image courtesy of Tignes.net

But what are the top 10 countries with Southern Hemisphere skiing on offer? Starting close to the international time line we work west around the globe:

New Zealand

New Zealand has around 40 ski areas, the most of any country south of the equator. With options on both the North and the South Islands the season generally lasts from June to October. Check out our detailed guide to the best NZ ski resorts for more info, or read the summary below.

North Island

The North Island has just two commercial resorts.

Whakapapa is located on the north-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu and with 44 km of piste it is New Zealand’s largest ski area. There are gentle slopes for beginners, plenty for intermediates and numerous runs for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Mt Ruapehu Whakapapa and Turoa New Zealand snowboarding holidays image from Mt Ruapehu facebook

With 722m of vertical and 20 km of slopes Turoa has the second longest vertical descent in Australasia, and New Zealand’s highest lift. As in the case of Whakapapa, it has slopes and trails for all levels.

South Island

A great mountain range called Southern Alps stretches along most of the South Island. Aoraki / Mount Cook – at 3,754 metres (12,316 ft) the highest mountain in New Zealand – lies in this range. The best places to base yourself are Wanaka or Queenstown.

Located in the Southern Alps Coronet Peak has 40 km of slopes. Although on Queenstown’s doorstep it’s a 30 minute drive up the mountain to the ski area. But freeriders and freestylers will be in their element and the mountain suits intermediate and advanced riders.

Coronet Peak one of the best NZ ski resorts image from Lib Tech Banked Slalom 2016 Coronet Peak facebook

Near to Wanaka you’ll find Cardrona which has 40 km of slopes and Treble Cone with 22km. They are both suited to all levels and have good freestyle areas.

Between Queenstown and Christchurch you find the Roundhill – Lake Tekapo – ski area. With 18 km of runs and an elevation difference of 783m it has the biggest vertical in Australasia.

If you are looking for a more commercial ski resort then you’ll find Mount Hutt a two hour drive from Christchurch. Mt Hutt has one of the longest seasons in New Zealand and most reliable snow. Combined with it’s 40 km of slopes is why it was voted best resort in 2015 and 2016.

Australia

Australia’s mountains are not as high as those found in New Zealand. But good organisation, a friendly attitude and larger ski areas make up for the lack of elevation and sometimes erratic snow.

Where can I ski in summer? 10 countries with southern hemisphere skiing Image courtesy of Mount Buller (c) Andrew Railton_Mt Buller

There are about 16 ski areas in Australia. They’re mostly located on the eastern mountain ranges on the state borders of New South Wales and Victoria with some spots on Tasmania. Check out our detailed guide to skiing near Melbourne for more info.

The most famous resort is Mount Buller with 100 km of slopes and a top elevation of 1780m. The vertical is just 400m and the longest 2.5 km long. There are 25 lifts giving decent access and it’s good for intermediates, freeriders and freestylers. As the closest major resort to Melbourne it can be crowded at weekends.

The highest point in the country – Mt Kosciuszko – is called Australia’s ‘Super Resort’. Hidden under this term are many resorts of the area. These include Perisher with 100 km of slopes and the small ski areas of Blue Cow, Guthega and Smiggins.

The top lift reaches 2054 m, and the vertical descent is 429m. But there are 1250 hectares of rideable terrain, including a good snow park and 50 lifts overall. Like Buller, it is suited to intermediates.

Where can I ski in summer? 10 countries with southern hemisphere skiing Image courtesy of  Wikimedia CC image of Falls Creek by Alex Cohen (GNU)

Falls Creek in north-eastern Victoria is 350 kilometres from Melbourne in the Alpine National Park. It is a well-developed and modern resort with 15 lifts reaching to 1780 metres and has 92 km of piste. There are three terrain parks and slopes for all levels.

Last but not least is Thredbo in New South Wales. With the longest runs and some of the steepest terrain in Australia it’s 70 km of slopes provide a lot of variety. At 2037m it is also the highest resort in Australia and some say the best. Found in the Great Dividing Range along with Mount Hotham (50 km of piste) it’s around eight hours from Sydney and five to six hours from Melbourne.

South Africa

When we asked ‘Where can I ski in summer?’ I bet you didn’t expect Africa to pop up. Let’s be fair it’s not usually associated with snow or winter sports. However, people have been skiing in Southern Africa since 1929.

Tiffindell is one of just two South African ski resorts (the other being Matroosberg). It is situated in the Southern Drakensberg at 2720 m above sea level. It has rather short history, beginning in 1993.

Image courtesy of Tiffindell ski resort in South Africa one of the countries with Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding

Tiffindell operates for the Southern Hemisphere winter months of June to September. On the 2.4km of slopes it has snowmaking, grooming, five lifts and ski school. Tiffindell also has a restaurant, ski shop/hire, conference facilities and accommodation for over 150 guests.

Lesotho

Completely surrounded by South Africa Lesotho is a strange country and an even stranger location for Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding. But the Maluti Mountains in the Kingdom of Lesotho host a small but thriving ski resort.

You’ll find accommodation, ski equipment, ski school, hospitality, snow making and importantly four ski lifts. The lifts reach up to 3,222 m and provide over 300m of vertical. There is even a snowpark!

Argentina

With 19 resorts, Argentina offers the third most options for Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding. The Andes creates fantastic conditions and there are ski resorts from Cerro Castor in the far south to Penitentes in the Mendoza region further north.

Where can I ski in summer Image courtesy of Catedral Alta Patagonia in Argentina

With 120 km of slopes Catedral Alta Patagonia is the largest ski area in the Southern Hemisphere. With 1150 m of vertical accessed by 36 lifts there is something for everyone. At 2180m it is not that high but located in Patagonia it is far enough south to not be a problem.

Las Lenas in the Mendoza region has 52 km of slopes, two thirds of which are black making it more suited to advanced skiers and snowboarders. It is a well known destination for freeriders with lots of steep challenging terrain. The max height is 3440 m with 1200m of vertical.

In the far south of the country in Tierra Del Fuego you’ll find the relatively new Cerro Castor. The maximum elevation is not much over 1000m but this far south that does not matter. The 29 km of slopes are mostly easy but with a bit of something for all.

Where can I ski in summer Image courtesy of Cerro Castor in Argentina

Other resorts of note are Chapelco, Los Penitentes and Caviahue all of which have over 25 km of slopes.

Chile

There are around 20 ski resorts in Chile – the second most of the countries with southern hemisphere skiing. You asked ‘Where can I ski in summer?’ well Chile is a great option.

Portillo in Chile is the oldest and most famous resort South America. With 35 slopes, over 750m of vertical is reaches up to 3300m. It’s 20 km of pistes are known beautiful views and world-class slopes.

Another popular area is Valle Nevado in Northern Chile. Reaching 3640 m, with over 800m vertical and 40 km of slopes it’s known for excellent snow. With a modern infrastructure it provides a proper skiing holiday.

Image courtesy of Valle Nevado in Chile one of the countries with Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding

Ski Arpa in Chile, is great for advanced freeriders. There are no lifts but snow cats will take you up to an impressive 3740m. It is known for fantastic wide natural pipes and great variety of cliffs, drops and steep descents.

El Colorado is the biggest resort in Chile with 112 runs and 50 km of slopes. It’s located 30 miles, or 40 minutes from Santiago. There are 15 lifts, the highest of which reach 3333 m. Both beginners and advanced riders will find suitable slopes.

Nevados de Chillán is much further south and features in our article about the best freeride ski destinations on the planet. There is a small snowpark (only opens when conditions are right), 28 slopes and over 1100m of vertical with 35 km of runs.

10 best freeride ski destinations worldwide Image of Rachel Findler in Nevados De Chillan Volcano

Other resorts include Pucón, La Parva, Volcan Osorno and Corralco. For a guided adventure in Arpa and other popular Chilean resorts check out PowderQuest.

Bolivia

The worlds highest ski-resort (5200m) was located on Chacaltaya Mountain just outside the capital, La Paz. Unfortunately the popular one lift slopes were located on a shrinking glacier that disappeared in 2009.

With many peaks over 6000m, the highest of which is Nevado Sajama (6,542m), there is still skiing to be had. Ski touring into the Cordillera Real mountain range is popular and there are guided tours to join.

Ecuador

Skiing and snowboarding in Ecuador is all about the volcanoes. In fact, winter sports here are limited to the four highest volcanic peaks –Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Antisana. There are no ski resorts, but for the adventurous there is snow to be had.

Chimborazo in Ecuador one of 10 countries with Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding Flickr CC image by manbartlett

Three of the four peaks are relatively easily accessed with huts at about 4500-5000m that are available for overnight stays. Skiing and snowboarding in Ecuador is all about the touring and splitboarding.

Not only can you ski or board but you could stand at the the farthest point from the centre of the earth. Due to the equatorial bulge, the summit of Chimborazo is further from the centre of Earth than the top of Mount Everest.  

Peru

There are good slopes and enough snow on many mountains in Peru. But sadly, there aren’t any ski resorts in this country. But when answering ‘Where can I ski in summer?’ Peru has to be on the list. 

There is heli-skiing available at Pastoruri in the southern Cordillera Blanca. With 800m of vertical in the right conditions it can be a freeriders dream. There are also some excellent touring and splitboarding options.

Brazil

We are clutching at straws now to find 10 countries with southern hemisphere skiing. But Brazil does have dry ski slopes and an indoor centre with real snow. But it’s not something you’d travel thousands of miles to experience.

The dry ski slope in located in Sao Roque, just 54 km from São Paulo. It’s thought to be the largest artificial mountain entertainment centre in Latin America. The 300-metre slope and lift are open year round.

And if you prefer real snow there is an indoor centre called Snowland in Gramado. But it only has a 100m long slope and is aimed at beginners.

Antarctic

Antarctica is not a country. However, there certainly is a lot of snow and big mountains reaching over 4800m. So it has great potential for skiing and snowboarding – if only you could heli-ski there!

Unlike other places on this list, Antarctica is available during it’s summer, so the Northern Hemisphere winter. There is snow year round but access is much easier in the summer plus there are 24 hours of daylight to play in.

Points North and Ice Axe Expeditions run trips to Antarctic including a ski guide. But they only offer shore drops, you’ll then need to climb the slopes under your own steam. But what an adventure that would be.

Plenty of skiing in Southern Hemisphere!

You asked, where can I ski in summer? And we found 10 countries and one continent to choose from in the Southern Hemisphere!

OK so only six of the countries have actual ski resorts and two of those are very small. But with around 100 ski areas to choose from there is more Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding than most people realise.

Be sure to check out our articles and discounts for skiing in New Zealand.

 
 
     

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