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Patrick Thorne

How Much Snow Is There in the World?

NASA is reported to have launched a multi-year project to try to accurately measure how much snow cover the world has at any one time, and particularly how much water content there is held in that snow. Winter snow cover in the northern hemisphere is known to extend to over 46,000,000 square kilometres or just under a third of the Earth’s land area each year but scientists are keen to more accurately measure just how much snow there is at any one time – particularly is water content. In some areas snow is a critical water source and its volume can have both positive and negative  effects, supporting agriculture, recreation, and other aspects of local economies, but too much of…

Current Snowstorm in Australia Claimed to be Biggest For 18 Years

After 6 days of mostly cold and snowy weather, accumulations at resorts in Australia have reached up to 90cm (three feet) bringing great start-of-winter snow which is being branded 'Japan-like' by the country's snow enthusiasts. Australian ski areas opened a fortnight ago with very little snow cover and warm temperatures but things changed dramatically a few days later with what is widely being described as "the snowiest start to the season for 18 years.' Bases are reported to have reached more than 75cm already at ski areas including Falls Creek and Mount Hotham and the cold weather is expected to continue. even though the snowfall should ease off over the coming days, giving Aussie areas a great start to winter…

Last Weekend of the Californian 2017-18 Ski Season

In 2017 they made it to August after one of the snowiest winters on record, in 2018 the last Californian ski area still operating, Mammoth Mountain, will close for the season at the end of the ski day on Sunday, June 17th.   It’s quite a good result considering the poor winter snowfall in much of western North America, but Mammoth Mountain benefited from a snowy spring and will have clocked up more than 220+ days of skiing and riding by the time it closes its 17/18 winter season on Sunday. In celebration resort staff will be giving away Mammoth Beanies, coffee and pastries at the base of Face Lift Express [Chair 3] at 7:30am while supplies last.  The lifts will…

Ski Areas Open Early in South America After Up To A Metre of Snowfall

Ski areas in Argentina and Chile in the Andes mountains of South America, where the ski season is due to kick off this weekend or the next at most ski areas, are reporting some big pre-season snowfalls. Valle Nevado, one of the world’s newest major ski resorts which will celebrate 30 years in business this season, as reported the biggest totals from the latest snow storms, saying up to 1 metre has fallen there.  It will open tomorrow (Thursday 14th), several days early, thanks to the snow. https://www.facebook.com/vallenevadoskiresort/videos/10155343569810759/   Portillo, meanwhile, reported 28cm overnight and 40cm in the last 48 hours. Another resort opening early in Chile is El Colorado (pictured top and below), which has fully opened for the…

Val d’Isère Re-Opens Winter (non-glacier) Slopes for Summer Skiing

This week, for the first time in the resort’s 82-year history, Val d’Isère reopened some of its winter pistes and lifts, situated just above the village, after they closed on 1 May 2018, at the end of a record-breaking season for snow cover. About 200 skiers and snowboarders took advantage of the exceptional conditions to ride the Funival funicular to the top of Bellevarde on re-opening day, where the first sections of slopes OK, Diebold, 3J and Verte offered skiing on snow lying more than a metre thick. After each run, enthusiasts could jump on the Marmottes chair for another go, exactly the same as in winter. David McCallum, a British property developer who lives in Val d’Isère said, “It…

Australian Ski Season Underway Following “Warmest Autumn on Record”

Australia’s 2018 ski season got underway today and almost all of the country’s ski areas will be opening this weekend, regardless of the snow conditions. The country traditionally starts its ski season in early June for the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend in the country. Perisher (pictured top) was the first to open, but says snow isn't great yet, but hopefully will be by this time next week. “Although the start to this years snow season is rather damp and disappointing, it is an improving picture over the coming week. Skies will clear and temperatures will drop below zero over the next few nights, allowing for some good snow making conditions. From Tuesday, a succession of fronts will sweep across the…

1 More North American ski area Closes for Season But 2 Open For Summer

Arapahoe Basin in Colorado in USA, North America, rounded off its 234 day 2017-18 season last Sunday June 3rd. A-Basin kicked off its season on October 13, 2017, opening first in the state – and was the last to close. It was not the snowiest of seasons, but altogether the ski area, which is among the 10 highest in the world, reported about 300 inches (7.5 metres) of snowfall. “Have no fear, powder hounds - ski season will be here again in the high country before you know it… it’s only about 135 days away!” said A Basin’s Marketing and Communications Manager Adrienne Saia Isaac. Elsewhere in the USA, Mammoth Mountain (below last week) is open for one more week…

If Vail Resorts Was A Country It Would be 8th In The World For Ski Areas

Vail’s latest acquisition of four more US resorts takes its tally of ski areas to 18 – most of them in the US, but also Canada’s leading resort of Whistler Blackcomb and Australia’s Perisher.  The company has actually purchased 19 ski areas but merged The Canyons and Park City Mountain resort in Utah in to one to create the biggest ski area in the United States. With the purchase of Crested Butte, Vail Resorts now own five resorts in their home state of Colorado whilst Stevens Pass is their first resort in Washington State in the US Northwest.  They’ve also added to their US East Coast collection with Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire and Okemo in Vermont adding to Stowe.…

First Ski Descent of Pakistan’s Laila Peak

A first ski descent of Pakistan’s Laila Peak has been made by French skiers Carole Chambaret, Tiphaine Duperier and Boris Langenstein. Located in the Hushe Valley near Gondogoro Glacier in the Karakoram range Laila Peak has an elevation of 6,096 metres (20,000 ft) and a distinctive spear-like shape. Its northwest face has a slope of 45 degrees for more than 1500 vertical metres. The mountain was first climbed in 1987 when a British expedition climbed the west wall and in 2005 Scandinavian extreme-skiers Fredrik Ericsson and Jörgen Aamot made an attempt to ski the mountain but were forced to turn back 100 metres from the summit due to poor weather conditions. Subsequent attempts to ski the mountain over the past…

Where’s Open For Skiing and Boarding in June 2018?

The start of June marks the turning of the seasons with meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere, winter beginning in the southern. A low point in ski area numbers open – with less than 20 operational as we enter the month – that’s all about to change over the next few weeks as most of the 100 or so ski areas in the southern hemisphere will be open by the start of July, along with a number of glacier summer ski destinations north of the equator. Southern Hemisphere Most of the leading ski resorts in Argentina, Australia, Chile and New Zealand will be opening in June, the majority on 9th, 16th or 23rd of the month. It’s difficult to know…