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September 2020

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #159

Issued: 30 September 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE INTRO|  There’s a definite end-of-the-season feel to the southern hemisphere as we move further into October and further into spring. The season does seem to be winding down a little faster than normal and all of the open ski areas in Argentina closed on Sunday, leaving only two areas still open in South America, both in Chile, one only open at weekends.  That said, New Zealand still has the most ski areas open in the world but the season is definitely winding down and Austria looks set to overtake it next weekend as the torch is unofficially passed from southern to northern…

Two New Zealand Ski Areas Aiming To Stay Open to Late Spring

The 2020 ski season is rapidly winding down in the southern hemisphere with the last areas open in Argentina closing at the weekend leaving just a few centres open in Chile and Australia and half-a-dozen or so in New Zealand. Almost all of these will close over the next few weekends. However two centres, Turoa and Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu on New Zealand’s north island have announced plans to stay open to mid-November if they can. The decision is said to be down to the management wating to give New Zealanders more ski time in a difficult year.  That’s more than a month after most other ski areas have closed and only a few weeks before the start of summer…

Huge September Snowfalls in the Alps (and Snow in Many Other Ski Areas Worldwide too)

Ski resorts in the Alps have reported up to 50cm (20 inches) of snowfall in the past 48 hours. The Pitztal glacier, which opened for its 2020-21 season a week ago, is pictured top. On the other side of the world ski areas in Australia have reported up to 45cm (18 inches). Most are already closed for the season, Perisher is still open. (Falls Creek in Australia) There's also been snow reported in the Dolomites, Himalayas, Japan, Pyrenees, Scandinavia, New Zealand and up in Alberta and BC in Canada. There' even been a dusting of snow for Cairngorm and Glencoe ski areas in Scotland (below). Two more glacier ski areas have opened in the Alps this weekend, taking the total…

Lake Louise Adding New In-Bounds Terrain

Lake Louise is expanding its in-bounds terrain for the first time since the 1990s. The world-famous ski area in Alberta, Canada, is building a new chairlift to access terrain previously only available to backcountry skiers, that was previously outside the patrolled area boundary. The former Summit Platter drag lift which used to access the resort’s Whitehorn Peak has been upgraded to the new Summit Chair, accessed via the top station of Top of the World chairlift, which then drops skiers and snowboarders off at the same summit location as the old platter. It’s a four-minute ride on the new quad up the ridge of Whitehorn Mountain to access a combination of the newly accessible terrain and runs previously accessed by…

France Plans Near Normal Ski Centre Operations This Winter

Although stressing that anything could change, the body which represents most leading French ski resort, France Montagnes, has said they hope operations will be pretty normal this winter …but with masks on, social distancing, and a lot of cleaning and sanitising. In common with most announcements from European ski nations so far, there are no plans to limit the number of people on the mountain, nor riding on lifts. There are no plans to limit the numbers taking group ski lessons together either, beyond whatever the normal maximum is. This contrasts with North America where limited numbers on the mountain and on lift chairs and cabins are planned by (it so far appears) all Canadian and US resorts. The main…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #158

Issued: 16 September 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE INTRO|  Spring is here in the Southern Hemisphere and it is certainly feeling spring-like at the remaining still-open-for-2020 ski areas.  The numbers are dropping with more areas closing in Australia, Argentina, Chile and New Zealand at the weekend so we are now down to about 20 areas open, 75% of them in New Zealand with two each in the other three countries. To be fair, it is the normal time to end the season anyway, but with the added pressure of pandemic restrictions on the economic viability of operations in low season, and the fact that ski areas in Australia and New…

First 8 Seat Chairlift Coming to New Zealand

Mt Hutt ski area in New Zealand has announced that it will be installing the country’s first eight-seater express chairlift during the coming southern-hemisphere summer, subject to regulatory approval and any virus-related limitations on the project. Mt Hutt is often the first ski area in the southern hemisphere to open for the ski season each autumn, and is also already home to the South Island’s highest chairlift. https://youtu.be/jc6PM1viNAw The lift should dramatically improve access to the mountain, taking two-minutes to ascend against the seven-minutes of the quad chair it will replace. It will also double capacity on the route from 1500 to a capacity of 3000 people per hour. “This lift will follow the same path up the mountain as…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #157

Issued: 16 September 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE INTRO|  There’s a definite ‘end of the season’ feel in most Southern Hemisphere ski areas right now. Indeed, some are closing for 2020 earlier than they might otherwise have been expecting to due to the impact of the pandemic, in some cases because they can’t open due to lockdown, in others because it’s not viable to operate due to the extra costs vs possible end of season revenue. In any case, we're hearing of centres closing in South America and New Zealand, joining those which closed in southern Africa a fortnight ago.  As of yet there's no sign that ski areas in…

Snow Competency Centre Aims To Cut Snow Waste

A novel new organisation based in Norway has begun operations with the aim of helping ski resorts manage snow more efficiently, and thus cut energy use and help the environment. The Snow Competency Centre has grown out of a research project called Snow For the Future and has won some big name backers including the International Ski Federation (FIS). The centre’s website, published in English and Norwegian, is choc-full of ideas on how ski destinations can make best use of their snow resources, with the minimum energy use. Ruka snow-farming The four key sections of the site include: Snow Production – how to maximise efficiency in a warming climate; Snow storage – efficient storage through summer (the increasingly popular “snow-farming”…

Snow In The Rockies After 60 Degree Temperature Plunge

Ski areas in Western North America have been reporting record high temperatures in recent weeks with Mammoth Mountain and Timberline among resorts closed to summer visitors due to forest fire danger. But the start of this week saw a massive temperature drop in a little over 24 hours with the mercury plummeting from the high 80s (and even over 100F in some cases) to the low 30s in the Rockies and other mountain areas nearby. The result was a late summer snowfall from Alberta (Banff pictured above on Tuesday) and BC in the north down to southern Colorado and New Mexico. There had been an earlier light snowfall a week earlier reported on high slopes but this time the snow…

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