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December 2019

Italian Ski Resort Goes “Plastic Free”

An Italian ski area has declared that it is Europe's first plastic-free ski resort. Pejo 3000 in Italy’s Trentino region is aiming to become “the most sustainable ski area in the Alps” according to the director of the local tourist board. The resort, which is already powered by green electricity from local hydro electric power plants, has grabbed global media attention by announcing it is the first to go “plastic free.” What this means is practical terms is that the use of plastic bottles, bags, cutlery, plates, straws, cups and condiment sachets are banned at Pejo.  Plastic covers from one day lift tickets will also be removed from January onwards. The decision to go plastic free followed the publication of…

New Longest Dry Slope in Wales Opening 4th January 2020

Llandudno Snowsports Centre have completely renewed their main slope with a new Ski-Tech surface using Diamond Mat Technology. The new 200 metre long slope, which required a £250,000 investment from Sport England, Sport Wales and The Nike Group of Companies. It has taken three months to install, required 430 anchors, each drilled more than a metre in the ground to ensure it stays fixed during the extremely windy weather that can affect the area. The new slope has a number of sub-layers beneath it, including one designed to give a bouncier feel to the surface to make it more comfortable to ski and improve grip and  a second to allow moisture to drain through but stop mud coming up. There…

Get Avalanche Aware (in Val d’Isère)

Henry’s Avalanche Talk (HAT) have launched a new season of on snow training courses, complete with avalanche safety modules for off-piste riders running, running over one or three days. For recreational skiers or instructors looking to improve their skills and train for their mountain safety examinations, the courses, based in Val d’Isère, provide training in terrain management, risk reduction methods and rescue techniques if the worst-case scenario happens. Courses take place between Tuesday and Thursday throughout the winter season and are led by HAT founder Henry Schniewind, otherwise known as ‘Mr Avalanche’ who has been operating for more than 30 years.  “Our big focus is on applying the knowledge we have learned because evidence suggests that complacency is one of…

Leki Neolite Airfoil Pole

Ski poles should be a bit of a no brainer but they can be surprisingly clumsy and hard to get a handle on if you’re unlucky enough to end up with a low quality pair. Leki are however masters in the art of pole design and with their new Neolite pole, available in the UK through Ellis Brigham, they’ve created a low profile, lightweight pole with superb grip. The poles feature Leki’s new Pro PAS grip which has been designed around the racing grip created on poles used in World Cup racing – where ole design and grip are a crucial issue that’s studied in incredible detail to create the best performance where hundredths of a second and incredibly high…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #119

Issued: 25 December 2019 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North America's Pacific Northwest region looks to be making up for lost time after a warm, wet autumn. The good news is it's finally dumping down big time.  Cypress Mountain in BC reported 39cm in 24 hours. INTRODUCTION NORTH AMERICA The news is largely good for North America over the past seven days. There have been some large snowfalls in the north and west of the continent, parts of which had not received any snow worth counting. So, it's an improving picture up in the Pacific Northwest at last. On the east side, where it had been too warm and dry (or wet rather than snowy) in several areas, there hasn't been…

Huge Snowfalls in North-Western North America

There have been some huge snowfalls in north-western North America in the past few days. The biggest snowfall reported is 45 inches (112cm) in the last 7 days, with 33 inches (83cm) of that in the past 72 hours.   In Canada ski resorts in Alberta and BC have posted big snowfall totals, the heaviest along the border between the two provinces, south of the US border the biggest dumps have been in Washington State and further south in California. Sunshine ski area at Banff (pictured above yesterday) has posted the biggest totals with Panorama just over the BC border not far behind on 41 inches (103cm) – most of which has fallen in the past 48 hours. “100cm in…

New ‘Skier’s Airport’ Opens in Sweden

The new Scandinavian Mountains Airport welcomed its first flight today (December 22nd), with direct SAS flights from London Heathrow starting next Saturday December 28th. The new airport is situated by the Norwegian border in Sweden between SkiStar’s twin resorts of Sälen in Sweden and Trysil, Norway. The closest skiing area in Sälen, which was recently named Sweden’s Best Ski Resort at the prestigious World Ski Awards, is a 10 minute transfer. Trysil, Norway’s biggest ski resort, is only 40 minutes away. Yesterday Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg posted on social media that domestic air travel in Sweden was down 11%, but the new airport targets the international market. The first flight from London, departing on Saturday December 28th, will bring…

Up To 80cm Of Snowfall in 24 Hours Reported in the Alps

The forecast heavy snowfall has begun to build up in the Alps, Dolomites and Pyrenees as Storm Elsa batters a large swathe of Western Europe. Accumulations of up to 80cm (32 inches) of snowfall in the past 24 hours have been reported – although more commonly 20-40cm (8-16 inches). Val d'Isere today: https://www.facebook.com/valdisere/videos/1071480676525376/ Sauze Super Sauze pictured top. The snowfall has been driven in on very strong winds in most areas, with gusts of up to 150kph (90 mph +) reported in some areas so far. There are expectations that some area may see 200kph (125 mph) gusts and many resorts were closed yesterday, with some today too, as a safety precaution. It is also fairly mild still at lower…

A slow start to the season in Japan

I have been holding off on posting this article for a week or so in the hope that I might be able to bring the exciting news about typical Japan-style heavy snowfall across the country, but unfortunately it is looking like we are going to have to wait a little longer for that to happen. It has been a slow start to the snow season here in Japan. There have been short bursts of snowfall over the last few weeks, but there has also been prolonged periods of milder weather and rain meaning that in many regions any snow on the ground has been wiped about before any kind of base got established. Parts of the northern island of Hokkaido…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #118

Issued: 18 December 2019 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne INTRODUCTION EUROPE It has been a snowy week again in the Alps as the main season gets started with some resorts receiving more than a metre of snowfall in total between Monday and Sunday. This was mostly from two big snowstorms at the start and end of that period; however, it wasn't entirely good news with some of the precipitation falling as rain at times and in places up to about 1600 metres altitude. There were also gale force winds bringing blizzard conditions. The experts at Henry's Avalanche Talks have warned that the off-piste avalanche danger has climbed to 4 out of 5 on the danger scale. The rain froze after hitting…

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