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Yes. There's snow at 2nd Highest Ski Resort on Earth in Indonesia
FUN FACTS Indonesia

Yes. There's snow at 2nd Highest Ski Resort on Earth in Indonesia

Maoke Mountain glaciers in Indonesia

There are hints and legends of a ski resort at 15,700-feet on the Indonesian in the legendary Maoke Mountains.  There is very little corroborating information nor evidence to be found anywhere.  I believe that it existed and maybe that it still exists today.  This region of Indonesia is very restricted and only accessed through special permits acquired once in the country.  Everything on this half of the island is steeped in fantastic mystery.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)A marks the Maoke Mountains of Papua New Guinea
A marks the Maoke Mountains of Papua New Guinea

Despite teetering on the edge of reality and myth, this ski resort must have been stunning.  When the snows were deep, the lifts were running, and the mystery was reality, this must have been one of the most magical places ever skied.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Maoke mountain glaciers in current times
Maoke mountain glaciers in current times

The world’s 2nd highest ski resort exists at -4 Latitude in the Indonesian half of Papua New Guinea.  It’s hard to believe that an equatorial nation known for the best surfing on Earth also has the 2nd highest ski resort on Earth, but it’s a reality I can’t ignore nor completely confirm.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Snowboarding the Maoke in recent times. photo: corey rich
Steven Koch snowboarding the Maoke Mountains. photo: corey rich/TetonAT

The Maoke Mountains of Indonesia hold a 16,023-foot peak called Puncak Jaya or Carstensz Pyramid.  This peak is one of the Seven Summits as it is the highest peak in Oceana (basically Australia and it’s surrounding islands).  These peaks are significant with at least 3 glaciers, many peaks over 12,000 feet tall, a tree line of 12,000 feet, and a handful of peaks over 14,500 feet.

There is reportedly a small ski resort located on the Meren glacier here started by Sir John McCisk in 1979.  This whole enterprise seems a truly clandestine affair, but we can’t help indulge as far as we possibly can.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Maoke Mountain Glacier map
Maoke Mountain Glacier map

MAOKE SKI RESORT FACTS:

– 2nd highest ski resort on Earth at 15,700 feet

– Base elevation of 14,500 feet

– 3 ski lifts on the Meren Glacier, 2 pomas and 1 rope tow

– Best skiing = May – October

– First opened in 1979 with a rope tow and ski lodge, ski resort completed in 1982

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Maoke mountains with snow
Maoke mountains with snow

– 3.5 miles of groomed runs

– Annual average temperature = 33F

– Mostly mellow, beginner-intermediate terrain

– It is unknown if this ski resort is still in operation

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Maoke Mountain glaciers where the ski resort existed or exists...
Maoke Mountain glaciers where the ski resort existed or exists…  photo from 1936
Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Same zone as the image above but with much less glacier
Same zone as the image above but with much less glacier.  photo from 1972

MAOKE MOUNTAIN GLACIERS:

The Maoke Mountain Glaciers are disappearing fast.  They are the only tropical glaciers in Asia.  They’ve undergone major volume decrease in the past 20 years and they are forecasted to be completely gone in 20 more years.

“In 1989, five ice masses sat on the slopes of Puncak Jaya, a 4,884-meter (16,020-foot) peak within the Sudirman Range. By 2009, two of the glaciers—Meren and Southwall—were gone. The other three—Carstenz, East Northwall Firn, and West North Wall Firn—had retreated dramatically.”NASA

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Maoke Mountain glaciers in 1989
Maoke Mountain glaciers in 1989 were holding strong.  photo: nasa
Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Maoke mountain glaciers in 2009
Maoke mountain glaciers in 2009.  Almost gone.  photo: nasa

MAOKE MOUNTAIN INFORMATION:

“Maoke Mountains, Indonesian Pegunungan Maoke, formerly Snow Mountains,  westernmost segment of the central highlands of New Guinea. It is located in the Indonesian province of Papua. The range extends for 430 miles (692 km), and much of it lies above 12,000 feet (3,660 metres), with a number of peaks rising above the 14,500-foot (4,400-metre) snow line. It is composed of the Sudirman (west) andJayawijaya (east) ranges, the former containing the island’s highest point, 16,024-foot (4,884-metre) Jaya Peak (formerly called Puntjak Sukarno or Mount Carstensz). These rugged mountains have their tree line at about 12,000 feet.” – Encyclopedia Britannica

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)7 summits map with Indonesia
7 summits map with Indonesia
Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)maoke mountain glacier map
USGS map showing Meren glacier where the ski resort was/is…

This ski resort in Indonesia must have been a small paradise.  Culture, biodiversity, solitude, thin air, and mystery must have run rampant here.  Imagining skiing laps on a poma chair in this bizarre place would have difficult to fathom.  The corroborating evidence is very shaky and hard to find, but if you want to read much more, we did find a couple pages of strange transcript that describe this ski resort in some detail:  Maoke Mountain Ski Resort.

Learn details about the glaciers of Maoke Mountains:  Maoke Mountain Glaciers USGS & Maoke Mountain Glacier retreat NASA

Learn about the world’s highest ski resort on Earth:  17,785-Foot Chacaltaya in Boliva

You tell us.  Do you think this ski resort exists?

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)Maoke mountains and glaciers
Maoke mountains and glaciers and the huge Grasberg mine

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