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November 2018

Highest Resolution Photograph Yet Created Shows Mont Blanc in Incredible Detail

A remarkable new photograph is reputed to be the most detailed ever created. The incredible 46 terabytes image (that’s 46,000 gigabytes) depicts Western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, which has the ski towns of Chamonix below it on the French side, and Courmayeur over the border on the Italian side (where it is Monte Bianco). The image was created over several months with a team of photographers working to create the picture at the highest resolution yet achieved – a resolution of 365 gigapixels (365,000 megapixels!). Working in often difficult conditions, 3,500 metres up, more than 70,000 individual shots were required to create the massive image. “How to celebrate Her Majesty the Mont Blanc? We just wished to represent it…

Preparations

23rd November is ‘Labour Thanksgiving Day’ in Japan, or kinro-kansha-no-hi in Japanese. Various events are often held on this national holiday. Importantly for us snow lovers, it is the date when some of the major ski resorts in Japan hope to be able to open from - whatever day of the week it falls on. This year, the 23rd was a Friday, and at the time of writing that was one week ago. Famous ski resorts in Niseko, Hakuba, Nozawa and Yuzawa (amongst others) always have the 23rd November as their planned opening date of the ski season, though in reality it is always a rather optimistic target. It is perhaps more of a marker, with that date being the…

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…

Autumn is here

At last! Autumn is here, and temperatures have dropped. We can now even say that a handful of ski resorts will be opening ‘next month’. There might even be a bit of snowfall on the mountains in Hokkaido tonight. Look towards the end of the month for some big names to open. As the ski resorts around Japan busily prepare for the 2018-2019 season, I have two main things to introduce to you this time round. Brand new hybrid lift at Ishiuchi There are some very interesting new developments happening at the Ishiuchi Maruyama ski resort Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture. Ishiuchi Maruyama is about 10 minutes from the main station of the perhaps more well-known Yuzawa town, which is less than…

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…

Zermatt Opening Over 90km of Runs this Weekend, and New 3S Lift with Solar Power Plant

The combined Zermatt-Cervinia ski area will have the biggest ski area in the world open this weekend with more than 90km of runs accessible on the Swiss and Italian side of the border surrounding Europe’s highest ski lifts. Zermatt will also be running it’s new 3S gondola up to the Klein Matterhorn which has been operating daily since 1st November having taken there years to build during 100-day summer construction weather windows at its high altitude around 3,800 metres above sea level. The new lift, which will run alongside the existing cable car, has won attention for lots of features including some cabins with glass floors and others encrusted with Swarovski crystals, but it is also a very environmentally friendly…

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…