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Ski Trips On Offer To Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan This Winter

Several travel companies have announced they’re offering ski tours to destinations previously considered ‘off the ski map’ this coming winter.    Untamed Borders, which specialises in winter and summer trips to this type of destination has organised trips to Afghanistan for eight seasons now, and will be back in the Kurdish north of Iraq for the second time this coming winter after an initial trip at the start of this year (pictured top and below). The area does have one basic ski area with a chairlift, Korek, which is included in the tour, along with participation in Iraq’s first ever ski touring race due to be staged this winter, but the ski area rarely has enough snow for the lift

Electric Fat Bikes – not just for Christmas

If you’re a happy fair-weather biker, close your ears. Fat biking obliterates all obstacles and all excuses for getting out in the mud, sludge, sand and best of all –  snow! Not just a ploy of the bike industry to sell more bikes, or a fad for old people - the once ridiculed monster trucks of cycling are fast becoming a big fat force to be reckoned with. Now every good bike shop has a fatty in its window, and someone in the shop to extol its virtues. Fun, versatile, all-weather machines to tackle any trail at any time of the year. There are now fatbike-specific festivals, races and an annual World Championships. Even the ski industry has stopped chuckling

First Snows of Autumn in Scotland, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Rockies

Ski areas and high peaks across the northern hemisphere have been reporting their first snowfalls of autumn in the past few days. In fact it can still be considered summer for another week if you follow the astronomical seasons with autumn starting on September 22nd this year after the autumnal equinox.  The meteorological  calendar had autumn begin on September 1st. Yesterday saw excitement in Banff, Canada as the first snow storms were reported falling there (video below) and there’s now a forecast for a major snow storm in Northwestern America with Jackson Hole expecting up to 50cm (20 inches) of pre-season snow this weekend. https://www.facebook.com/SunshineVillageResort/videos/1555756571142376/ There was also excitement and some relief in Scotland when 2.5cm (an inch) of snow

La Grave – Saved

The classic French ski resort of La Grave in the Haute Alpes appears to have been saved from the threat of closure. La Grave is centred on a 12th century village which accesses a massive vertical drop accessed by a three stage gondola that was installed in the 1970s. The lifts climb 2100 vertical metres above the village – one of the 10 biggest vertical in the world – and connect the area to the neighbouring  huge Les Deux Alpes ski area, but there are few groomed runs at La Grave. But in recent years the famous off-piste skiing destination had been threatened on two fronts – firstly it’s lift structure is getting old and the lift operating company was

2017-18 Ski Season Starts on Saturday In The Alps (Maybe With Fresh Snow)

When does one ski season end and another one start?  With ski areas like Zermatt and Hintertux open year-round and others opening and closing on dates that are unusual compared to the standard December to April model, it can be hard to tell. But the ski year in the northern hemisphere doers have two big dip months: May, when almost everywhere has closed and the summer glacier ski season hasn’t started and September, when most ski areas that had opened for summer glacier skiing in June or July have closed again for a few months until their winter season. Currently only four areas are open for snow sports in the northern hemisphere – Saas Fee and Zermatt in Switzerland, Hintertux

It’s Snowing on Mars this Summer (Probably)

A new scientific study has determined that it is snowing on northern Mars every night. New atmospheric simulations indicate that occasional observations over the past decade from orbiting reconnaissance spacecraft and landers that appeared to show snow or frost on Mars, and potentially snow-bearing clouds in the atmosphere, are correct. Details of the new study have been published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Scientists found that flakes of water ice fall from clouds high in the planet’s atmosphere, sometimes failing to reach the ground, but sometimes leaving a frosty covering. (A frost avalanche seen by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2015) The simulations appear to confirm earlier physical observations. Early in 2000 space scientists reported  on the

Where To Ski or Board in the USA During The Solar Eclipse

There’s a lot of excitement in the US about the coming solar eclipse this Monday 21st August, the first to cross the entire country in just under as century,  and some commentators have been debating whether it’s possible to be skiing or boarding on snow when the eclipse occurs, for the full cosmic experience and a probably once-in-a-life-time on-snow achievement that will give you bragging rights for the rest of your life. Skiing or boarding in North America in August is always a possibility if you’re prepared to hike up to your snow.  There’s even been some fresh snow reported in the past week on northerly high peaks on the continent.  There’s only one ski areas on the continent at

An Evening of Skiing on Real Snow in Summer in Italy

The Italian ski region of Alta Badia has plans for a very special night of snowsports celebration later this month. The ski and snowboard school at the village of La Villa are so dedicated to their sport that they have kept a big stock of real snow, left over from last season, preserved under a tarpaulin and they’ll be getting it uncovered and spread out on a slope by their office in the village on the evening of  Thursday 17th August. Their “Summer Ski Show” – back for its second year – promises a night of skiing celebration, excitement and fun during one of the hottest month of the year. And once the show is over, the ski school throw

52m High Crane Flown In At 3775m to Work on World’s Highest 3S Lift

One of the most exceptional feats of lift construction work is currently in to the second of its three successive summers of extreme building work. The new 3S gondola lift that will access the highest lift station in Europe, on the Klein Matterhorn above Zermatt alongside the existing cable car, has reached the halfway point in its 300 day construction schedule. The lift, being built by the Italian lift company Leitner, will be the highest three-cable gondola lift in the world, reaching nearly 3,900m above sea level. The state-of-the-art facility, powered by the efficient and low-emission DirectDrive system, will  provide an additional capacity of 2,000 people per hour on the route. When complete it will operate with 25 comfortable cabins

Ski Holidays to Iran Available Next Winter

A British-based ski company better known for its well-serviced chalets and apartments in the French Alps than for organising ski holidays to what might be considered exotic destinations is to offer packages to Iran next winter. Mountain Heaven boss Nick Williams visited and skied Iran with his son in spring 2016 after UN sanctions against the country had ended and international trade became possible again.  He had hoped to offer holidays for small guided groups there last winter, but faced logistical problems. “We did not run the trips last year because although we had a lot of interest getting a visa was very complex,” said Nick, “However as Iran now has an embassy open in London, it’s much easier for

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