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US and Canadian Resorts Extend Seasons in to May after mid-April Snow Dumps

A number of ski areas in the US and Canada have extended their ski seasons in to May following big snowfalls in the past week – in some cases the biggest ever recorded April snowstorms. Initial snowfalls in the early part of the week saw ski areas in Colorado and Utah reporting up to 50cm of fresh snow.  These included Snowbird, (below this week) which is normally open in to May anyway, and Winter Park, which isn’t, but has decided to now extend the ski season, limited to its Mary Jane terrain, to May 6th. But it was the Mid-west where most ski areas had already closed for the 17-18 ski season, some a month back, that the record-breaking snowfalls hit…

Portugal’s Snowiest Ever Ski Season?

Many people don’t realise that Portugal – a land most famous for its sunny weather and coastal villages – has a ski area vat its highest point at Serra da Estrela, nearly 2,000m up and east of capital Lisbon towards the Spanish border. So it comes as a double surprise to discover not only that this ski centre exists, but also that it is currently enjoying what may be its snowiest ski season ever – meaning it is still open in late April when many of the wold’s biggest and highest ski areas have already ended their seasons. The latest in a series of huge snowstorms to hit the slopes of Portugal this winter brought drifts of up to six…

Japan Update & Focus on Nozawa, Shiga Kogen and Madarao

At the time of writing, it is early April and it is once again feeling colder and there is actually some fresh snow falling on some higher Japanese mountains. This return-to-winter spell is probably going to end up as no more than a quick ‘last blast’ and just a dusting of snow – or perhaps a little more in places if we are lucky… Even so, any fresh snow is very welcome after the somewhat dry March that we just experienced. After a decent-to-great season in terms of snowfall in many of the mountain regions of Japan, March arrived, and it was almost as if a big switch had been turned to the ‘OFF’ setting all of a sudden. Fresh…

Small Swedish Ski Area to Become International Destination Ski Resort

SkiStar, the corporation which runs half-a-dozen of the leading ski areas in Scandinavia, including the biggest, Sweden’s Åre, and also ventured in to the Alps, buying St Johann in Tirol a few winters ago, has said it plans to make the little known Swedish ski area of ‘Hundfjället’ an international destination ski resort in just over 18 months. They’re starting by investing 10 million Euros this summer in the area, with the majority of the investment going on what the company say will be Scandinavia's most modern chairlift, an 8-seater express lift built by Italian company Leitner and designed by Pininfarina who work on Ferrari car design. Hundfjället will also get new ski runs, expanded snow-making facilities and an overhaul…

A New Ski Area For India?

Kashmir Tourism officials in India have said they are hoping to develop a ski area at Doodhpathri, a summer tourist resort. The organisation, working in partnership with the Doodhpathri Development Authority, recently staged what turned out to be a popular ‘ski day’ on the local slopes, bringing in rental ski equipment for people to try. Doodhpathri (which means ‘Valley of Milk’) is located at 2,730m altitude in the Budgam district of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located 42 km from state capital Srinagar where there’s an airport. It was the first time winter sports had been staged in Doodhpathri, but Kashmir Tourism officials believe that the village has the potential to make a good ski area, complimenting…

‘Snow Play’ at New Zealand Ski Area 10 Weeks Before Season Starts

Ski areas in New Zealand have reported heavy snowfalls this past week with up to 50cm of fresh snowfall in total. The ski season in New Zealand and much of the southern hemisphere does not normally start until June and whilst no ski area is officially opening yet, several have seen people hiking up to ski the fresh snow. Mt Ruapehu (pictured top) reported up to 20cm of fresh snow and drifts of up to a metre. https://www.facebook.com/mthutt/videos/10156241361114500/   The early snow was reported to be due to an Autumnal southerly blast of cold air from Antarctica. Mt Hutt, which is due to open for its 2018 ski season on June 8th, was one of the resorts to report 50cm…

Exceptional Snow Depths on Alpine Glaciers

Snow depths in the Alps are at historic highs after more heavy snowfall over the past 10 days on top of already deep accumulations built up through one of the snowiest winters this century.  Probably THE snowiest this century in many areas. Engelberg (below) in Switzerland’s Titlis glacier is reporting a 7.4m (nearly 25 feet) base after almost 1.5m (five feet) of snowfall there in the last week of March.  It’s the deepest base in the world at present and believed to be the first time  ski area in the Alps has posted a 7m+ snow depth for many years.  It’s open for snowsports until mid-May. In Austria the Dachstein Glacier (below) has gone past the 6m (20 feet) base…

‘Warm Snow’ Falling in Colorado

A new study claims that it snows in Colorado at temperatures so warm the precipitation would fall as rain elsewhere. The research published by a team from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado actually finds that Colorado gets snowfall at some of the warmest temperature on the planet, with snow falling even when temperatures are approaching 4 degrees Celcius. Keith Jennings, a graduate researcher and lead author of the study, said his team was surprised to find that freezing point at zero degrees Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit was not the key factor in whether precipitation fell as rain or snow, but more where the precipitation was falling. For snow to form naturally in…

Southern Hemisphere Ski Resorts Celebrate Early 2018 Snow

Ski resorts in Australia and New Zealand have been celebrating their first significant snowfalls of 2018 - with more than two months to go until the ski season is due to begin for most of the southern hemisphere.  The snow fell first in New Zealand where some areas reported up to 30cm of snow and even operated lifts for sledging - if not skiing and boarding. This was Coronet Peak. https://www.facebook.com/coronetpeak/videos/10155419235972014/   Australian ski areas such as Perisher (pictured above) then reported a dusting of overnight snow at the start of the week. Of course much of the Australian snow quickly melted away as temperatures moved up towards their early autumnal norms in double digits plus Celcius, but the snow…

Ski Slopes Turn Orange in Eastern Europe

We’re used to green, blue, red and black slopes in skiing, but orange? This time it’s not a grading of a ski run either, but the colour the snow has turned across a large swathe of mountainous regions in Eastern Europe. Orange-tinted snow has been falling across Georgia, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries with ski areas in eastern Europe. The orange snow has become a tourist attraction in its own right at the 2014 Winter Olympic venue of Sochi in Russia Weather experts report that the unusual phenomenon is the result of sand and dust stirred up and carried into the atmosphere from the Middle East and/or North Africa hitting colder air in Eastern Europe after travelling east and…