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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

Where’s Open For Skiing in September 2017 and What’s the Snow Like?

September is traditionally one of the two quietest months in the world skiing calendar (along with May) The summer ski season in the Alps is over, the southern hemisphere’s season is winding down and the first areas to open for the coming northern hemisphere’s season are just starting to open, it’s a period of lull, or the calm before the storm if you’d prefer. This year is a little different.  The summer ski season is indeed over and the southern hemisphere’s 2017 season is winding down after a mostly snowy August – indeed the two ski centres in Southern Africa, Afriski (Pictured below on 18th August) and Tiffindell, have already called it a day on their winters, but the question

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

Will Romania Create A Ski Area Four times Bigger than Anything It Has So Far?

Romania’s Minister for Tourism, Mircea Dobre, has announced plans to build the country’s biggest ski area by some distance. The planned new resorts, in the Fagaras Mountains, known colloquially as the ‘Transylvanian Alps’ though actually a part of the Southern Carpathians, would have 150km of ski runs – nearly four times as many piste kilometres as the country’s current largest ski area at Sinaia. The project is included amongst a number of proposals listed in a new Tourism Master Plan just approved by the Romanian government. Minister Dobre told media who asked him about the proposal that in fact the idea was almost 50 years old. “Actually the idea dates back to 1968,” he said adding that resort plan was,

Resort Bases Pass 2m Mark As Huge Snowfalls Continue in New Zealand

Bases have been building fast in New Zealand as huge snowfalls have continued to bring deep snow to the country. It’s looking good for the rest of the season at most of the country’s ski areas now but in the short term the extreme weather has closed many areas with travel made hazardous, power outages, operational difficulties and high avalanche risk amongst the issues being faced. When areas are open they are very busy as this is one of New Zealand’s peak school holiday periods and some areas have had to close to new arrivals at times as their slopes reach capacity. Mt Dobson (pictured yesterday, video today) is one of the areas that now has more than 2.1m of

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

Ski Holidays to Antarctica this Winter

Australian-owned adventure company Aurora Expeditions, who specialise in polar trips, is expanding its portfolio of Antarctic activities for the 2017/18 season with the introduction of ski touring as well as snowshoeing trips to Antarctica this winter. “Fuelled by a passion for thrilling new wilderness experiences, these unique skiing and snowshoeing activities will take intrepid travellers to sights of unimaginable beauty in the most exhilarating way possible,” Emma Savage of Aurora Expeditions commented. Antarctic Ski Touring will offer the experienced and the bold the opportunity to ski near-virgin glacial slopes, traverse remote areas to iceberg-studded bays rarely seen by human eyes, gaze at penguin rookeries and breaching whales in hard to access locations, or even follow in Shackleton’s footsteps across South

Is a City in Northeast China About To Become One of the World’s Great ‘Ski Towns’ ?

‘Harbin’ up in China’s northeasterly province of Heilongjiang is not known as one of the world’s best-known ski destinations, but that could all change in the coming decades as China’s richest man (or second richest depending on which report you read) has decided to spend $6 billion (or $3 billion according to some reports) on the world’s biggest indoor snow centre to date.  It officially opened at the weekend after four years of construction. Former army officer and now business tycoon Wang Jianlin, who has an estimated net worth of more than €30 billion, and who’s Dalian Wanda Group already runs several conventional ski areas across China  said that he was committed to make Harbin one of the leading winter

Is Greenland About To Get A ‘Proper’ Ski Resort?

Greenland, variously described as ‘Europe’s North-western Frontier’ and ‘North America’s most Easterly point’ (Wikipedia describes it as: “physiographically a part of the continent of North America  (but) politically and culturally associated with Europe”), is of course famous for its glaciers, snow, and for generally not being very green to look at. It’s also an amazing spring ski-touring and heli-skiing destination (the pictures used here were taken by Hans Solmssen who runs spring Heliski trips here each year), it’s also good for dog sledding and polar bear or iceberg watching, and the northern lights look amazing from there. What Greenland has lacked though, so far, is much of a developed ski infrastructure.   There are reported to be a few drag lifts

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