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October 2018

Where’s Open to Ski or Board Already in November?

It's early days of course and it might yet all go wrong but October has been a very promising early start to the 18-19 season, and we begin November with about 30 resorts already open, many of them having seen several feet of snowfall already. The USA received some record-breaking biggest-ever-October snowfalls in the middle of the month allowing Wolf Creek in Colorado to claim the kudos for being the first on the continent to open, but since then eight more have joined it from East to West coasts, and November will see dozens then hundreds more open through the month. In Europe things weren't looking great until the final weekend of the month when huge snowfalls arrived in the…

Weekend of October Snowfall Totals Up to 1m In Alps

A huge snowstorm currently hitting the Alps has now deposited up to a metre of snow over the past 72 hours, and some areas may see another metre before the end of October, with the heaviest snowfall yet expected today, 29th October. Passo Stelvio in Italy (pictured top yesterday) has reported a metre of snow.  It is a summer ski area open for six months from May to November and scheduled to end its 2018 season  this coming weekend.  The Diavolezza glacier ski area in Switzerland's Engadin region reported 85cm in 48 hours yesterday.  It opened for its 2018-19 ski season just over a week ago. In Austria, Solden, which was staging the first weekend of Wild Cup racing for…

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…

SPRAYWAY OBSIDIAN DOWN JACKET REVIEW

Sprayway Obsidian down jacket £160 www.sprayway.com If you’re looking for a good value, practical down jacket for the winter the Sprayway Obsidian is well worth checking out. Its lightweight, packable and has minimalist good looks, but best of all is that it offers a great warmth to weight ratio thanks to insulation of 700+ fill power 90/10 (down/feather) duck down, which is also treated to be water resistant. Add to that the TecSHELL 30D polyamide, quick drying outer fabric with DWR coating and you’re getting a lot for your money with the Obsidian. Features are pretty minimal as is usually the case with down jackets – there’s an elastane bound hood (i.e. it’s not adjustable, although it’s still pretty effective)…

HAGLOFS L.I.M. TOURING PROOF JACKET REVIEW

Haglofs L.I.M. Touring PROOF jacket £300 www.haglofs.com Designed specifically for ski touring, this jacket has been pared right down to reduce weight and bulk, but at the same time retains all the essential features for a day out on your skins. It features Haglof’s ‘PROOF’ four-way stretch fabric which allows for good freedom of movement at the same time as providing durable, waterproof and windproof protection. The fully-adjustable hood with laminated peak helps to keep foul weather at bay as does the high collar and microfleece chinguard. Below this is a small zipped chest pocket and two generously-sized, mid-mounted torso pockets that also act as vents when the zips are open. The cuffs and the hem are partly elasticated, which…

SCHOFFEL SIERRA NEVADA 2 JACKET REVIEW

Schoffel Sierra Nevada 2 £590 www.snowandrock.com This top of the range offering from Schoffel comes with all the whistles and bells and has excellent build quality and insulation, albeit at a price. With its thick polyester insulation it’ll keep you warm on cold chairlifts, whilst the addition of elastane to the waterproof and windproof outer fabric provides plenty of mobility although less than you’d get with a shell – that said you won’t need to layer up as much under the Sierra Nevada 2 as you would with a shell. You get a stack of features, amongst which are an insulated, detachable and adjustable hood beneath which is a snug chin guard, pit zips, snow skirt, four outer pocket (two…

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…

Second French Ski Area Unable To Open For Autumn Glacier Skiing

Les 2 Alpes has cancelled its autumn glacier skiing week due to a lack of snow cover on its glacier, joining Tignes, which has been unable to start operating its autumn glacier skiing, which had been scheduled to start in late September. Les 2 Alpes (library picture above) doesn’t open for the season until December, but for several decades has opened for a special week of snowsports on its glacier, which it says is the largest in the Alps, at the end of October and the start of November. A statement issued by the resort says, “The Security Commission decided that it is impossible to open the glacier to the skiers because of high temperatures and lack of natural snow, as…

North American Ski Season Starts on Saturday

A ski resort in Colorado has announced it will open for the 2018-19 ski season on Saturday, 13th October, 2018. The decision by Wolf Creek ski area follows heavy snowfall in Western North America which saw some ski areas report as much as 70cm of snow in 72 hours during the week.  Wold creek says it has had 69cm.  A blue sky day is expected on Saturday, although with temperatures still low. “Wolf Creek received 10 inches in the last 24 hours and 27 inches in 72 hours.  The all-natural settled base is 21 inches at the midway with 27 inches year-to-date this season,” a resort spokesperson said, adding, “Treasure Stoke, Bonanza and Nova lifts will also be operating with…

When Was The First Ever Snowfall?

It’s long been established that planet earth is about 4.5 billion years old, but an equally important fact for snow lovers has never really been established: when did it first snow? This year a team from the University of Oregon has set to work to try to get an answer to that very question, and their conclusion, the mirror image of the famous answer to the question of life, the universe and everything in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, not 42, but 2.4 billion years ago. The team decided that 2.4 billion years ago was the time when large land masses rose relatively swiftly from the oceans, kick starting the same climate models we have today. Those new…

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