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Sun, Sand, Snow and Spain

Snow Enthusiast’s Rob Stewart takes a family February half-term break in Southern Spain – combining sightseeing, Spanish culture, skiing and even a little beach time. I’d known about Spain’s southern ski resort, Sierra Nevada, for many years and had always had it on the list of ‘must do places’, so when I spotted an opportunity during the February half term week for a multi-activity holiday that didn’t look too price sensitive for a school holiday week, I had to go for it. The itinerary, more enticing (and varied) than a spread of evening tapas served up with a fine sherry, took in the city of Grenada – along with its famous Alhambra palace – four days skiing in the Sierra…

The ultimate ski and snowboard trips for the 2018-19 winter season

At Snow Enthusiast, we’ve been scouring the airways, social media channels and hanging around in dodgy bars for months looking for information to bring you the very best and most interesting ski and snowboard trips for the 2018-19 winter season. Here are some of our favourites: Heliskiing with Chemmy Alcott in Italy Britain’s most successful female skier and BBC sports presenter, Chemmy Alcott, is hosting a four day epic heliskiing trip in Alagna, Italy, this winter. The chance to explore the vast Monterosa ski region, access terrain via a helicopter, eat glorious Italian food and enjoy the company of like-minded skiers and of course the charismatic Chemmy, is surely a trip that should be scrawled on any bucket list. Experienced…

Arlberg Region Opens for 2018-19 Season

Lech, Zurs and St. Anton in Austria’s famed Arlberg ski region have kicked off their 2018-19 winter. So far snow cover is a little limited with the base given as 20cm and 14 runs, representing a combined 14km of slopes, open for early arrivals. However heavy snow is forecast for Sunday/Monday December 2nd/3rd with up to 40cm of new snow expected in the region within a 48 hour period. (Lech during snowfall on Wednesday 28 November) St Anton has a number of events and attractions laid on to start the winter season over the weekend under the heading of a new event called "Catch Me if you Can". This includes the chance to test new season ski and snowboard gear…

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Opening 34 New Runs Served by New Quad Chairlift

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (A-Basin) in Coliorado, USA will today open its newest terrain expansion, The Beavers. The 468-acre terrain expansion is served by a new quad chairlift running from 9am to 3:15pm daily and marks an expansion of the existing ski area - one of the world’s highest, by almost a third. The 34 new runs of the expansion include two new intermediate groomed runs, open bowls and what the centre claims is some of the best glade (tree) skiing in Colorado. “We’ve been fortunate to have received good snow in October and November. This past week’s storm of an additional 22” has given us the opportunity to put the finishing touches on the new terrain. The conditions are…

Europe’s most Southerly Ski Area Opens Early with its Biggest Ever Area Open For Last Weekend of November

Europe’s most southerly mainland ski resort and also Spain’s highest ski area, Sierra Nevada, is opening for the 2018-19 ski season tomorrow, Saturday November 24, 2018, a week earlier than planned. What’s more the terrain available will be the largest amount the resort has ever offered this early in the season, staff believe. https://www.facebook.com/sierranevada2.0/videos/2608979242445447/   A total of 9 lifts and 43 kilometres of slopes will be available, providing a vertical drop of 1,100 metres with accumulated snow between 20cm and 150cm depending on the altitude. The news of Sierra Nevada’s early opening came after another Spanish resort, Masella, was one of the first in Europe to open for the season on November 1st following big snowfalls in the Pyrenees…

Les Arcs Invites Ski Tourers to Test The Snow a Week Before Opening

Les Arcs , which will celebrate its 50th season this winter, has announced that it will be opening for one day only a week ahead of its main season opening date of December 15th – but in a novel move it will open the ski area to ski tourers only, and not turn on the ski lifts. The special one day opening on Saturday 8th December has been christened ‘La Belle Aventure’ by the famous French ski resort and will be free of charge to participate in, with all ability levels welcomed. Skiers will gather from 9am on the day in Arc 2000, then from 10am in groups accompanied by mountain guides, steadily go up to either the Igloo Village or…

Family Plagne’ing

Michael Wolstenholme travelled to the resort of La Plagne for what was their first time together as a family on a ski holiday. With a 14- year-old and a two-year-old in tow, he describes his first experience with a family specialist operator in what is the most popular destination for UK skiers. We are travelling with Esprit Ski (a specialist family ski tour operator) in the week leading up to Christmas. Previously, it has just been me and 14-year-old step-daughter Chloe, hitting the slopes, but this year the dynamics have changed. My wife (Letang) is back with us along with our two-year-old daughter Lilly who is experiencing her first ever holiday and as the coach ascends up to La Plagne,…

First of the Big Areas Opening in the Alps This Week

Although several dozen ski areas are now open in the Alps for the 18-19 season, few offer more than 20km of terrain so far and most less than 5km. That’s due to change this weekend however as several of the big hitters are scheduled to open on Friday and Saturday meaning that ski areas offering at least 50km of runs will be operational. The French Alps have not had a very snowy Autumn on the whole leading to Tignes opening for its glacier skiing a fortnight later than planned last month and both les 2 Alpes and Val Thorens cancelling planned pre-season snowsports opening. However Val Thorens has now confirmed it will open at least 30% of its terrain this…

Unprecedented Numbers of US Resorts Open Early For Season

An unusually high number of ski areas in the US have opened already for the 2018-19 ski season, with more planning to open this weekend, whilst it's still October. Last winter only Arapahoe Basin and the near-year-round snowfield above Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood in Oregon were open before November and there's are rarely more than two or three areas open before Halloween in any year. This October however has seen unusually big pre-season snowfalls, particularly in states like Colorado and Utah; as well as consistent cold weather for snowmaking. Wolf Creek in Colorado (above) opened first, the weekend before last, and it was joined by Arapahoe Basin and Loveland last weekend. But ski areas on the US East coast…

New Red and Black Runs For Courmayeur

Courmayeur by Mont Blanc (or Monte Bianco as it is known on the Italian side) in the Aosta Valley has announced 1.3km of piste which is roughly divided between successive red and black slopes. The new lift is in the resort’s Arp sector which is in the process of being reborn decades after the Apetta ski lift which used to serve the area was dismantled.  A new lift is reported to be now in the works over the next few years, but in the meantime, the new runs will be opening. The Arp sector provides wonderful views of the southern side of Mont Blanc but until this winter only freeriders have been able to ski there, setting off from the…