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April 2020

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #137

Issued: 29 April 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup This week in Africa. (Afriski) SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW There have been positive signs, with regard to the coming ski season, throughout the Southern Hemisphere. In the past few days snow has fallen and areas may be able to open for winter 2020 as lockdown rules are eased. In terms of snowfall, New Zealand areas posted reports of some snow up high last week and some centres in Chile reported their first pre-season snow of 2020.Afriski, in Lesotho, which is due to open (pandemic permitting) in a little over a month, reported its second significant pre-season snowfall of 2020 on Tuesday.In Australia, it is turning wintery with rainfall…

Riding A Ski Lift in a Pandemic

A number of ski areas in Norway and so far one in the US have re-opened following a period of pandemic lockdown and many others are now looking at how they’ll re-open. So far they re-opened areas are small, using with T Bar or Poma rope tow lifts or a double chairlift and it’s a case of one person per t Bar/chair and with limited numbers on the slopes this isn’t causing many problems.  Mt Baldy in California this week But what of the world’s leading ski resorts next winter which operated gondolas, cable cars, funicular lift and 4, 6 or 8 seater chairlifts to whisk bigger numbers up the slopes.  They’ll need to get enough people on the slopes,…

Norwegian Ski Centres Sell Out of Lift Tickets as More Re-Open

At least half-a-dozen smaller Norwegian ski areas have re-opened in the past five days and the move is proving popular with the country’s skiers and snowboarders. In order to re-open under the country’s slightly-eased lockdown rules there are various social-distancing measures in place, most indoor facilities are closed, skiers need to wear masks and gloves at all times and ski areas are selling limited numbers of day passes in advance. This has led to all ski tickets selling out in advance in some cases. For example Roldal announced on Friday it had sold out of passes for Saturday. This could be a vision of things to come when ski areas re-open more widely next autumn. The ski areas so far…

Austria and Norway Move Towards Re-Opening Ski Areas, US Resort Re-Opens Too

Austria and Norway are leading the way towards carefully re-opening ski centres as countries that have not been so badly hit by the COVID-19 epidemic as some others examine ways to ease out of their lockdowns as safely as possible. Norway is allowing small centres to re-open if approved by their local municipalities, which has happened in a few cases where centres still have enough snow left.  Strict social-distancing and other initiatives to minimise any risk of operations leading to the spread of disease are in place. The country has three glacier areas and one of these, Fonna, has reported it will open for its 2020 season on May 1st. In Austria, although there is as yet no announcement of…

The 2020 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism Published

The 12th edition of the only fully credible report into the worldwide mountain sports business has been published. The annual International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism compiled for more than a decade now by industry expert Laurent Vanat, appears at a time when the global ski industry has never been so badly hit as it is by the current pandemic. However the report’s focus is on the results of winter 2018-19, which Mr Vanat says results show was, “…the best ski season of the millennium so far!” “It is a pleasure to see that despite adverse conditions the ski industry is facing, with climate change, increasing competition and the demographics, it still has the potential to see growth for…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #136

Issued: 22 April 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW Broken River this week After the snowfall reported in South America, Australia and New Zealand over the past few weeks it was southern Africa’s turn to report pre-season snowfall last week, just a day after we got our last report published. There was a heavy dusting for both Afriski, in Lesotho, and Tiffindell, in South Africa, meaning all three (or four, if you take the view that Australia and New Zealand are on separate continents) of the Southern Hemisphere’s glaciers with ski lifts on them (ok, possibly five if you include Antarctica which perhaps still has one or two) have now had autumn pre-season…

Norwegian Glacier with 12 Metre / 40 Feet Base Opening For 2020 Summer Ski Season on May 1st

Norway’s Folgefonn (“Fonna”) Glacier summer ski area has announced it has reached agreement with its local municipality to open for the ski season from Friday May 1st. The area, one of three small Norwegian glacier summer ski areas, has been posting pictures of incredible snowfall over the past month and reports the snow lying over 12 metres / 40 feet deep. It is still in the process of just digging out the access road to the ski area, a job which has been going on for five weeks. Norway relaxed its lockdown rules slightly last week and now allows small gatherings of people and small ski areas in the country have been able to apply to their local municipalities to…

Some Ski Areas Re-open in Norway, the Czech Republic and China; Some Still Haven’t Closed in Japan and Sweden.

The reaction in terms of how skiing is treated during the pandemic in countries around the world continues to vary, slightly, against a common approach of minimising risk of spread. The approaches vary from a complete ban in most places to limited access at others, normally with very strict health protection measures in place. Although all countries agree that it's important to stay home and avoid travel and social-interaction for non-essential activities, and most say that means shutting ski resorts and in most cases banning or at least strongly-advising-against backcountry skiing/ski touring; a few countries have decided skiing can continue if there's plenty of social distancing between skiers and other efforts to minimise the spread of the pandemic. Now there…

Austria To Allow Ski Touring To Resume from 1st May

Austria’s Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler has announced a wide number of non-team sports will be able to resume in Austria from 1st May as the country gradually moves out of pandemic lockdown. Tennis, golf, horse riding and athletics will be able to resume operations. Asked at a press conference whether ski touring would also be allowed, Vice Chancellor Kogler said yes, but urged anyone doing so to stick to “something easy” to avoid accidents. Austria has been in lockdown for a month and several of its ski resorts have been identified as ‘hot spots’ for coronavirus infection, accused of spreading cases around Europe and further afield, but the country itself has reported relatively few infections and deaths compared to many…

New Longest Gondola in The World Ready to Open

Serbia is reported to be set to open what is claimed to be the new longest gondola lift in the world once the country’s coronavirus pandemic lockdown is eased. Dubbed the “The Zlatibor Gold Gondola” the new lift in nine kilometres (5.5 miles) in length and will carry skiers and boarders from the centre of Zlatibor, a small mountain town in western Serbia, to the local ski area at Tornik. The lift will be a mile longer than the current holder of the world’s longest gondola lift title, the 7.4km (4.5 mile) long Tianmen Shan cable car in Zhangjiajie National Park in China, according to the local Municipality of Čajetina who are behind the development. The lift was officially due…

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