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January 2018

Skiing in Japan: a story of the past 30 Years…

Welcome to the first of a new series of White Room articles coming to you directly from snowy Japan. In each of these articles, we’ll try to update you on the current snow situation as well as introduce you to some interesting aspect of the Japan winter season. When I first came to Japan nearly 30 years ago, there was hardly any information available in English about skiing in Japan and you hardly ever saw any ‘foreigners’ on the ski slopes. The few foreigners that you did meet were mostly either expats living in the city or those living locally and teaching English. There may not have been many foreigners about, but the ski slopes themselves were frustratingly busy. The

Warren Miller Has Died

Warren Miller, whose ski films made him a legend in the ski world in his own lifetime, has died at the age of 93. Miller was born in 1924 in depression era USA.  Being keen on skiing, surfing and photography as a boy he joined the navy during the war and shot his first ski films at Yosemite on a borrowed cine camera whilst on leave at Christmas 1944. Leaving the navy in 1946 he spent his winters working as a ski instructor at Sun Valley, Idaho where he filmed fellow young ski teachers to help them improve their technique. His films became increasingly popular, not just for their commentary but for humorous commentary and scenes Miller added in.  In

Zermatt To Be Cut Off For Third Day

Tourism officials in Zermatt say that the famous resort will be cut off by road and rail for a third day tomorrow, Tuesday, 23rd January, due to avalanche danger which is currently at maximum level 5, “Extreme” It’s the second time in a fortnight that the resort has been cut off, this time 9,000 guests are reported to be stuck in resort, compared to 13,000 a fortnight ago. The ski area, which closed its rail and road links at 10pm on Saturday 20th January, has been able to fly some guests in and out by helicopter whilst rail and road access has been closed. However its plans to fly out 1500 people today were unsuccessful due to a combination of

More Than 500 Events for World Snow Day 2018 This Weekend

World Snow Day, the global celebration of all things snow is back this weekend for its seventh  edition. The annual special snow day was conceived by the International Ski Federation to be a day when the global snowsports community got together to help promote snowsports and snow fun – especially to families and children. This year’s World Snow Day is this Sunday, January 21st, 2018. Ski resorts, as well as regional and national groups of ski resorts, all around the world offer special fun events, free or discounted snowsports experiences. This year 521 events and actions have been registered to take place in 46 countries around the world. “It is humbling to see so many various stakeholders from so

Best Scottish Snow Conditions for Several Years

Several Scottish ski centres are today experiencing one of the best snow days for several years following heavy snowfall over the past 72 hours. The snowfall arrived after several weeks of sub-zero temperatures post-Christmas in which centres were able to open limited terrain, and build a modest base for the new snow. With the heaviest of the snowfall arriving from the north and west, conditions are particularly good at west coast resorts Nevis Range (pictured top and above today) and Glencoe (below). The latter reports that 60 to 70cm of fresh snow has fallen in the last 72 hours meaning that all runs on the mountain now have a great cover of windblown fresh snow. “This should provide some amazing

Snowfall Returns to The Alps

Snowy conditions are set to return to the Alps (as well as the Dolomites, Pyrenees, Scandinavia and Scotland) after a relatively peaceful week where many areas were able to ‘regroup’ following the extremely heavy snowfall in the Western Alps and storm conditions in the first 10 days of 2018. Snow has already begun falling in many areas with a few dozen resorts, mostly in Switzerland, reporting up to 25cm of fresh snow in the last 24 hours, bringing to an end a period of blue skies for many. The snowfall will also be accompaniued by strong top gale force winds at times. Many areas are expected to get 40-60cm, in most cases with the heaviest snow on Wednesday and Thursday;

Deepest Base In Europe Passes 5 Metre Mark

The deepest reported snowbase in Europe has already passed the five metres mark – a total hardly touched on throughout last winter. Engelberg in Switzerland says it has 515cm (over 17 feet) of snow lying on its upper slopes following weekend snowfall.   The total comes as heavy snowfall returned to the Western Alps on Monday and Tuesday. Following Storm Eleanor last week this time there was a real focus of the especially heavy snow on the French –Italian border with resorts reporting up to 1.2 metres (four feet) of snow at Bardonecchia.  Pila reported 1 metre (40 inches) in the same period, as did ski areas like Sestriere and Sauze D’Oulx in the Milky Way. (Picture above credit

Fresh Snow after Worst Start to Season For 33 Years in Colorado

There’s been much needed fresh snow in Western states Colorado, Utah and California over the weekend. The states, and most of their neighbours, have seen very little snow all season and struggled to open much terrain over the crucial Christmas and New Year holiday period. With some people claiming the season is seeing its worst start in the area for up to 50 years, the consensus is that in Colorado at least, it has been the worst start to winter for 33 seasons. More fresh snow, typically 15-30cm, is expected over the next three days across the region.   Steamboat in Colorado claims to currently have the most terrain open in Colorado, at around 80% of the total, crediting

Third Ski Area Reported Open in North Korea

A third ski area is reported to have opened in North Korea.  Work on the new ski centre near the country’s northern city of Kanggye is reported to have only started in July but has been completed ahead of schedule according to the country’s media. They say it has two ski runs complete with snow making. North Korea’s ski ambitions are a matter of international political interest. The country’s second ski area, Masikryong or ‘Masik Pass’ (pictured) which opened in 2013 caused international controversy as there were concerns European companies had supplied lifts and snowmaking equipment against international sanctions, but it later transpired that equipment had been sold second hand via China where sanctions at the time on ‘luxury goods’

Super Storm Closes Leading Ski Areas in the Alps

A number of the worlds biggest ski areas are fully or mostly closed for skiing and boarding today as a severe storm hits the Alps. The Western Alps are particularly badly affected so far but the storm will affect a large area across Central Europe. Last night Europe’s highest ski area Val Thorens issued a warning that it expected extreme conditions of potentially up to 200kph (125 mph) winds and up to 2.4m (eight feet) of snowfall by Friday. A Chamonix spokesperson painted a similar picture saying, “The valley is experiencing extreme weather conditions with heavy snow periods interspersed by freezing periods and warmer periods with torrential rains.” Val Thorens warned against going outside alone in the resort, issued a