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May 2020

Australian Ski Resorts Publish 2020 Season Opening Dates

Following the news that ski resorts in the Australian province of Victoria could open from 22nd June, made by the province’s government a few days ago, ski areas in New South Wales where most of the rest of Australia’s main ski areas are located have also been given the go ahead from the same date.  However only some ski areas say they’ll open on Monday 22nd, with others opting for Wednesday 24th. Ski areas are also stressing there’ll be fewer people allowed in the mountains for virus-safety reasons and that advance booking is essential to ensure your space. Skiers and snowboarders will only be able to access the resorts with a pre-purchased pass or lift tickets; on-the-day lift ticket purchases…

Re-opening US Ski Resort Sells Lift Tickets by Lottery

Arapahoe Basin ski area in Colorado has resorted to selling lift tickets for its re-opening day, 27th May, by lottery after an online ticket reservation system failed to cope with demand. “Due to incredibly high volume, we are not able to use our original reservation system. Access to Arapahoe Basin, at this time, will be via a random drawing. We are only doing one day at a time. …No need to rush. One entry per person. No purchase necessary to enter this random drawing,” an online statement posted on the 26th said. Those who win in the lottery will then be contacted have the option to purchase up to four $99 lift tickets. Arapahoe Basin is the fourth US ski…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #141

Issued: 27 May 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American Roundup European Roundup Asia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW Falls Creek Resort this Week It’s the start of winter, by the meteorological measure, in the Southern Hemisphere next Monday and it is beginning to feel like that in most countries with ski areas. There’s been more fresh snow in the Andes and New Zealand in recent days and Australian slopes got another dusting in the past week too. Dry in the mountains of southern Africa but cold enough to fire up snow-making systems. Things continue to develop in terms of what's going to open when and what's not, as the usual start date of the Southern Hemisphere's ski season comes closer. …

No Restrictions In On-Slope Numbers As Alpine Summer Ski Areas Re-open

One of the big questions surrounding the re-opening of Alpine glacier ski areas this summer, and in the longer term the opening of resorts next winter, is whether limits will be placed on the numbers of people allowed on the slopes. So far the message has been fairly consistent when it comes to ski-lifts and indoor facilities that have re-opened in countries like Norway and the USA, with two-metre social distancing rules largely in place. But so far most re-opened ski areas have also set dramatically reduced limits on how many people can be on the slopes at any one time.  Mostly they’ve required skiers to buy tickets online at least a day in advance, and at many areas resorts…

Number of Ski Areas Open on Planet May Hit Historic Low This Week

The number of ski areas open on earth may be five or less for a few days next week – probably the lowest number since the rapid growth in ski area openings in the 1960s and the first summer ski areas opening. Although the pandemic closed most resorts for much of the past 10 weeks or so, ski areas kept operating in some countries like Japan until mid-May, and that overlapped with ski areas that had been closed starting to re-open in countries like Norway, meaning the world total open didn’t drop in to single figures. Late May is traditionally the quietest month of the year though as most northern hemisphere ski areas have closed and most southern hemisphere centres…

Leading Argentinian Ski Area Cancels 2020 Ski Season

The leading Argentinian ski area of Las Leñas appears to have decided not to open for winter 2020 – due to commence next month and run to late September or early October. In a media statement the resort essentially said that the realities of operating with the additional limitations that working during the pandemic would entail meant it was not feasible for them to open this season, even when restrictions on doing so were lifted. “We are obliged to act with the greatest responsibility and safeguard both our workers and the general public,” the statement concludes. Argentina has had one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns, most recently extended to this Sunday May 24th. The government there has also banned…

Riksgränsen To Re-open For Midsummer

Riksgränsen in the Swedish Arctic Circle, the only ski area in the world to have kept operating through the global pandemic, has confirmed it will re-open at the end of June for its traditional ‘midsummer’ long-weekend skiing and snowboarding festival. The resort, which has an unusual ski season running from early March to late May each winter (this year its closes on Sunday 24th May), decided to keep operating when most other Swedish ski areas closed in April.  It decided that as I already had an on-site medical team and clinic, and a big drop in visitor numbers, it could continue to operate with pandemic-prevention measures in place. However it did have to make its biggest event of the season,…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #140

Issued: 20 May 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW There’s not been much snow to report in the Southern Hemisphere this week. For most areas temperatures are getting lower with the start of meteorological winter less than a fortnight away. Most of the talk has been about whether ski areas will be able to open next month for the start of the 2020 ski season. The good news for New Zealand and Lesotho is that the answer is probably yes; however, both with closed borders.  For Australia and Chile, it's looking more likely to be July; however, nothing is certain yet. For Argentina and South Africa, again, the current picture remains uncertain. AUSTRALIA…

Norwegian Ski Area Hits 15.9 Metre (53 Feet) Base After Metre of May Snowfall

A Norwegian glacier ski area reports that its base has grown to 15.9 metres (53 feet) after a mid-May weekend of blizzards. Glacier ski areas in the region reported up to a metre of snow in 48 hours, leading two to delay  planned season start dates. The Fonna glacier (pictured top this afternoon) opened for its 2020 season a few weeks ago after Norway eased its lockdown rules having posted remarkable pictures of diggers tunneling through deep snow for several months to reach the area, then dig out the buried lifts. The weekend blizzards, which closed the centre, brought a further metre (40 inches) of snow and whilst conditions cleared on Monday, the area remained closed whilst lifts were dug…

Scottish Ski Centre Plans Post Lockdown Events

Nevis Range ski area near Ben Nevis and Fort William in Scotland is facing the biggest challenge in its 30-year history, according to a resort spokesperson.  With safety for staff and visitors always the main priority, Nevis Range closed its doors on Friday 21 March 2020 as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The venue had already had a tough winter season, with unprecedented storms affecting the first few months. At the end of February things were starting to look a lot brighter, with lots of snow on the hill and beautiful blue bird days; it truly promised to be one of the best spring ski seasons for many years. “Following last year’s difficult winter and this year’s Covid-19…