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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…

Australian Resort Reports Best Snow Conditions for 14 Years

Heavy snowfall in Australia throughout August has led at least one of the country’s ski areas to report ski conditions there are now the best for 14 years. “The snow depth is the best in over 10 years and its awesome.  It’s officially the best snow we've had in 14 years!” a spokesperson for Mt Buller ski resort said today. Many of the country’s ski areas reported 30cm or more of fresh snowfall over the weekend and base depths have now reached the 2m mark at four ski area. (Mt Baw Baw) Falls Creek and Mt Hotham (below) both report 215cm bases and it’s at 203cm at Perisher (top) which has more than 100 trails open at present. Of the big…

World’s Coolest Ski Lift Version 2 Unveiled

A new version of arguably the world’s coolest ski lift has gone in to service. The Tschuggen Express lift which first began operating in 2009 is a private ski lift for guests of the luxuriuous Tschuggen Grand Hotel in the Swiss ski resort of Arosa, which also boasts one of the biggest and best spa facilities in the skiing world. The lift is a small and luxurious private funicular railway which quickly climbs a steep and undulating track to deposit skiers up on the slopes of the huge Arosa – Lenzerheide ski area in just two and a half minutes. Guests leave the hotel’s boot room and board the lift, which has two self-levelling, six-seat cabins using their hotel room key.…

Ski Areas Begin Announcing 2018-19 Oct-Nov Opening Dates

Some ski areas in Europe and North America are gearing up for the start of the 2018-19 ski season already with a number of Colorado ski areas announcing their target opening dates in early November – now less than 100 days away. Colorado has some of the world’s highest ski areas and is home to some of the earliest opening ski areas on the planet, with the temperatures often low enough to begin snow making at some in late September some years and mid-late October opening also a possibility if the weather complies. Arapahoe Basin (pictured) and Loveland are usually the first in the state (and the first in North America if you exclude the year-round Timberline snowfield on Mt Hood…

SATMAP ACTIVE 20 SOLO GPS UNIT REVIEW

SATMAP ACTIVE 20 SOLO GPS UNIT £395 www.satmap.com Although not designed specifically for skiing and boarding, the Active 20 Solo is a large screen sports mapping GPS which displays highly detailed topographic mapping that can be extremely useful if heading off-piste. Operating the Active 20 is pretty easy to get the hang of initially, and as you get to know your way around it better you can easily move on to more advanced features. It will connect to GPS, Glonass and Galileo, ensuring coverage pretty much anywhere on the planet, and it has wireless connectivity through both wi-fi and Bluetooth Smart. The unit comes with a 3.5” hi-res touchscreen plus the option of touch button operation should you prefer it,…

SEARCHING FOR YOUR INNER JAMES BOND IN VERBIER

Verbier brings out the James Bond in all of us reckons Alf Alderson To get some measure of how good the skiing is in Verbier you simply have to meet Aussie mountain guide John Falkiner. Falkiner has skied all over the world; when I shared a ski lift with him in Verbier he was just back from British Columbia and about to leave for Kashmir, and he regaled me with fascinating accounts of his travels with the Australian and K2 freestyle ski teams, not to mention employment as a stunt skier in a James Bond spectacular or two. And he chooses to live in Verbier. John has been there for close on forty years in fact, simply “because…

AOSTA VALLEY ROAD TRIP

AOSTA VALLEY ROAD TRIP Alf Alderson Around 90-minutes’ drive north of Turin’s humming autostrada you can find some of the best skiing in the Alps. The Aosta Valley has a range of ski resorts that face different directions and are high enough to ensure that you’ll always find good snow conditions somewhere. You’ll also get spectacular views – the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc (known hereabouts as Monte Cervino and Monte Bianco) are just two of the better known mountains that you may have in your sights. And if you like variety the Aosta Valley is ideal, since not only can you experience Italian ski culture you can also head into Switzerland and France on your skis. All you…

SKIIING IN MANCHESTER

Alf Alderson visits Slovakia – and finds himself skiing in Manchester… Jamming the revolving doors of Slovakia’s newest five-star hotel is not the best way to make an impression as you stride (unsuccessfully) towards reception, but at least it ensures the staff remember you. And if like me you’re dumb enough to try and get through a set of revolving doors with a pair of skis over your shoulder what else can you expect? I’d arrived at the beautifully refurbished Habsburg Empire-era Hotel Grand Kempinski in Slovakia’s High Tatra mountains fresh from three days skiing in Jasná, the country’s biggest ski resort some 60km away in the Low Tatras. When I tell you that Jasná boasts just 46km…

PERFECT TREES

Alf Alderson enjoys some ski touring on Norway’s Arctic coast The island of Senja is located at 69 degrees north, off Norway’s west coast, and with a population of just 7,800 souls spread over almost 1,600 square kilometres it’s out there in every sense of the word. So the advice of our Swedish ski guide Dick Johansson make good sense - “Remember, we’re in a remote area, so ski carefully”. Dick is leading us up the 839-metre peak of Litgemoa on the Norwegian island of Senja. The area’s remoteness means that when you go ski touring here, you’re pretty much guaranteed first tracks – both up and down the mountain. So it is that as our mixed group of Swedes…

GET CONNECTED

Despite less than ideal conditions Alf Alderson finds the Utah Interconnect is still a great ski adventure “’Highway to Heaven’? More like bloody ‘Highway to Hell’” gasped James as he sucked in the dry mountain air. We were on a long traverse some 10,000 feet up in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, enjoying (or maybe enduring) the most testing part of the ‘Utah Interconnect’. Despite the fact that it sounds like an urban transport system the ‘Interconnect’ is actually one of North America’s great days out on skis, a 27-mile long guided adventure that uses a combination of ski lifts and easy backcountry skiing to take you between the best resorts in Utah. Open to any decent intermediate skier, over…