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Massive Spring Snowfall Dumps in New Zealand

There have been huge snowfalls to start the week in New Zealand, with ski areas reporting up to 70cm of fresh snow, and snow falling at rates of up to 10cm per hour at the height of the storm. The heavy snow caused logistical and operational issues initially leading many areas on the country’s South Island, which has had most of the snow, to close on Monday and delay opening on Tuesday until access could be made safe. Once they were able to open, conditions were superb. “We want to thank everyone for their patience today while we got the mountain open. Such a heavy fall of snow on top of the spring snow pack meant patrol had a lot…

Some South American Ski Areas End 2018 Season Early

A number of South America’s best-known ski areas have ended their 2018 seasons early due to poor conditions. Although there were some significant snowfalls through winter 2018 in the Andes, they were few and far between, with the famed Andean powder hard to come by for much of the season at most resorts. (Las Lenas reminded its guests that things looked good back before the season even began ion 29th May) The world-famous resort of Portillo in Chile closed at the end of last weekend – it’s base rarely got above 50cm/20 inches all winter. Most other ski areas in Chile including El Colorado and La Parva also closed on September 10th. However some, including Nevados de Chillan (pictured below…

Investigations Continue Following Chamonix Valley Lift Station Fire

A major fire at the cable car mid-station above Argentière in the Chamonix Valley in France has caused serious damage to the two main lifts serving the famous Grands Montets region less than three months before the start of the 2018-19 ski season. The fire began in the early afternoon and spread very quickly throughout all the buildings of the  station.  It broke out during roof repair work being carried out by a specialist sub-contractor, nobody was injured.  However it has caused severe damage to the infrastructures of the two cable-cars above and below the station. “Of the eight cables which equip the two sections of the cable-car, five gave way as a result of the heat generated by the…

CORTINA’S HIDDEN CHARMS

No one would call this your average ski experience – three skiers peeking out of a porthole-like opening in the massive rockface of 2,800m Mount Lagazuoi above Cortina, with a view across some of the most spectacular mountains in Europe. We looked down upon a sprinkling of skiers enjoying the wide, open run beneath us, realising that they could never have guessed they were being observed – which was exactly the point. For the spot where myself, David and Fiona were crouched was an observation post that had been excavated out of the solid limestone peak during the First World War when Italian and German troops fought a two-year battle for control of Passo Falzarego beneath. You can…

French Ski Area Adds New Slopes and Lifts for 18-19

A (these days) rare expansion of a French ski area will open this winter in the Tarentaise Valley, as  La Rosière plans to open its new Mont-Valaisan sector this December. La Rosière is a popular resort sitting on the border and linked by ski lifts and runs to the slopes above La Thuile in Italy.  The shared ski region is called Espace San Bernardo and is well known for its above average snowfall (it received more than 10m of total snowfall last season 2017-18). The Mont Valaisan expansion means not only new terrain but also a new higher lift, up to 2800m.  This is one of two new six-person detachable chairlifts which are being installed to make the expansion, which…

First Snows of Autumn in North America

Snow has been reported on high slopes across North America over the past week - during the final few days of summer and since the start of meteorological Autumn - which begins on September 1st. Ski areas in the Northwest of the continent in Wyoming in the US and on the Alberta/BC border a little further north were the first to report snowfall.  In the past 24 hours however there's also been fresh snow in Colorado with high resorts like Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge (below) and Copper Mountain (pictured top yesterday) all reporting snow. The sight of snowfall has raised excitement levels for the coming winter in the region and through social media posts as well as focused minds on completing…

Second Wave of Summer Snowfall in the Alps

High slopes in the Austrian Alps have received heavy snowfall for the second Saturday in a row. Last weekend ski areas in the Austrian Alps reported up to 50cm of snowfall (on the Molltal glacier) even though it was still August and summertime.  There was also snowfall down to about 1400 metres in the Italian Dolomites. This weekend the snow has so far been reported falling on Austrian glaciers, with the Stubai Glacier (pictured) reporting 20cm of snowfall on Saturday morning, 1st September, which is also the first day of meteorological Autumn – although still summer be the astronomical measure. Snowfall at the time of year is not really unusual on high slopes, although this year is a few weeks…

Where’s the Snow in September 2018 – Where Can You Ski or Board this Month?

There have been some exciting signs of autumn across the Northern Hemisphere in the last week of August with snowfall recorded in the Alps, Scandinavia and Northwestern North America - up to 50cm of snow in fact. Meanwhile the southern hemisphere's ski season is in full swing with 4-6 weeks of winter left at most resorts there.  Australian areas are having what several report is their snowiest winter for 14 years and in New Zealand base depths have passed 3 metres at a number of centres, the deepest anywhere south of the equator. The Alps We begin the month with just six ski areas currently open in the Alps.  Hintertux and Molltal in Austria were the two that posted the…

August Snowfall in the Alps – Up to 30cm Falls

There’s been heavy snowfall on some high slopes in the Alps as forecast, many other areas have had at least a  dusting of snow. The fresh snow has resulted from a cold front moving across Europe.  The biggest accumulations reported have been, as forecast, in the Austrian Alps where two glacier ski areas – Hintertux and Molltal – are currently open for skiing and boarding. Hintertux, (pictured at the bottom of this report this morning), has reported 30cm of fresh snow so far meaning that it’s an August/ summer powder day! Zermatt, which expected to get around 5cm of snowfall has so far not reported anything.  Italy’s Passo Stelvio (below above morning) does look to have had the 8cm it…

Last Week of the French 2018 Summer Ski Season

Summer glacier skiing and boarding bin France will end this Sunday as Les 2 Alpes winds up its summer ski season. The resort has operated its glacier area – one of the largest in Europe – since late June and most reports have indicated it has been a much better summer for snow depth and quality than recent years, thanks in part to the well above average winter snowfall preceding it. The French national squad are currently training on the glacier. France has two other summer ski destinations – Val d’Isere and Tignes, but they both ended their summer snowsports operations several weeks ago. The next lift-served skiing in France will be from September 29th when Tignes re-opens for the…