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March 2021

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #185

Issued: 31 March 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION Europe’s 20-21 ski season is winding down more quickly than usual as ski areas decide to stretch this strange pandemic winter up to Easter weekend, but for many, no longer than that. The fact that many areas have had a predominantly warm and sunny week with temperatures well into double-digits above freezing down in the valleys and a fast thaw underway has only added to that end of season feel.  Verbier is among areas announcing plans to close a week earlier than originally envisaged, in mid rather than late April. But the week has not been without snowfall. After a warm spell, there’s been more snow in…

Scottish Ski Centre Hopes To Re-Open For A Few Weeks From End of April

The operators of Glencoe Mountain in the Western Highlands have said they hope the centre will be able to open for a week or two when Scottish ski centres are allowed to re-open at the end of April. In an interview with the regional Press and Journal newspaper, Andy Meldrum, the centre’s boss, said, “We hope to open on April 26 and get one or two weeks in for the skiers and boarders. We should have enough snow left. Unfortunately, the ski season will come down to a short period despite the great conditions.” Glencoe has a reputation for skiing late into the spring and often opens for a morning of midsummer skiing on remaining snow patches at the turn…

New Terrain Opens at Jasper

Marmot Basin ski area near Jasper in Alberta, Canada, has been in existence for more than 50 years now, but this month it has debuted access to some new terrain for the first time ever. “The long-coveted and jaw-dropping slopes to the skiers right of Marmot Peak have been opened for the first time in Marmot Basin’s 56 year history,” said Brian Rode, the resort’s Vice President, adding, “This is the epitome of high alpine riding - steep, snow-filled, treeless terrain with breath-taking views of the surrounding Rocky Mountain Peaks.” “There was a tremendous amount of planning and work that went into getting this exciting advanced and expert terrain open. Hats off to our safety and operations team for making…

Former World Champion Snowboarder Killed in Avalanche

Julie Pomagalski, the former World Champion in Snowboard Cross, has been killed in an avalanche. Julie was riding with guide Bruno Cutelli, who also worked in a mountain rescue, at a location in the Swiss Alps, when they were caught in the avalanche which killed them both. Julie, originally from Méribel where she ran a ski school and sports shop, was also the grand-daughter of Jean Pomagalski, founder of the Poma ski lift company. Julie began competing at a young age and became a member of the French snowboard teams, being crowned World Champion in snowboard cross in 1999, Vice-World Champion in parallel giant in 2003 and winner of the Snowboard World Cup crystal globe in 2004. In a statement…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #184

Issued: 24 March 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European Roundup North American Roundup Asia Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION The big news in Europe this week were the big snowfalls in the final week of winter, which brought big accumulations and high avalanche danger to many resorts. Austria, France and particularly Switzerland posted the biggest snowfall totals, up to 2.4 metres (eight feet).  In fact, it was the snowfall this year, rather than the pandemic last year, which caused problems for the Alpine Skiing World Cup finals at Lenzerheide, in Switzerland. Downhill and Super G races scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday were cancelled although other races did take place.  The team Parallel took place on Friday, for the first time in two years, once…

Cervinia Tells Italians Don’t Give up on 20-21 Season

Italy’s Cervinia ski area, which is one of only three that has managed to open last Autumn before Italy began its second lockdown, has told Italian skiers that it has not yet given up on opening this season. In a social media post late on Tuesday, a resort spokesperson posted,   “The last year has tested the world of mountain and winter tourism but everything is not lost. The Cervinia area, where you can always ski until late spring, has not given up. We are awaiting guidance from the Government regarding the possible opening of Breuil-Cervinia ski lifts in April and we are preparing for an amazing summer skiing season, always in compliance with safety standards and existing protocols.” After…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #183

Issued: 17 March 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION With less than a week until the start of springtime theAlps are currently enjoying the biggest snowstorm since early January, with an increasing number of ski areas reporting more than a metre (40 inches) of snowfall since it all began at the weekend.  By midweek some Swiss areas were claiming totals approaching two metres (80 inches). The snowfall is being driven in on strong winds causing logistical and safety issues leading to some ski area closures.  All the snow, along with the strong winds, have inevitably pushed the avalanche danger level up high in many areas. It is typically at level 4, on the scale to 5,…

Major Snowstorm in the Alps

The Alps have seen one of the biggest snowfalls of the year with resorts reporting up to 1.8 metres (six feet) of snowfall over three days at the start of this week. The heaviest snowfall was reported in Switzerland but there were also big snowfalls in France, Austria and Northern Italy. It’s the first major snowstorm for two months in the mountain range, where snow conditions are generally good, but snow levels had been a little below average Glacier 3000 near Gstaad and Les Diablerets (pictured above on Monday) has reported 157cm (over five feet) of snow and Laax and Meiringen a metre a piece. Many other centres got between 60 and 90cm The deepest base in Europe has now…

Heliskiers Warned to Act Now To Secure 2022 Trip, As 2023 Goes on Sale

As with many things ski-holiday related the world over, operators of Heliski holidays are warning that availability for next winter – when it is hoped that much of the world will be out of lockdown and some sort of normality returned – is fast selling out. The long-standing independent specialists in the sector, Heliski Holiday, are warning that those who have decided in lockdown that the coming season will be the one when they tick off that indulgent bucket-list dream, of a heliski trip to deep Canadian powder, need to start moving on those plans now if they want it to happen next winter 2022.  Heliski Holiday’s Nina Kaufman, who has been a specialist in Heliski holidays for more than…

Austria Provides Roadmap to Re-Opening of Tourism

Austria is looking to gradually reopen its economy, including tourism, after Easter, although some steps are due to begin as soon as next week. The country has allowed ski areas to open since Christmas Eve, after a second lockdown in late autumn, but only to local people, with hotels and restaurants closed. Back in December there were hopes tourism might restart during the winter, but the second wave of the pandemic intensified across Europe and Austria tightened restrictions on skiers, initially requesting they wear surgical quality FFP2 face masks, then that a negative coronavirus test was required. Some Austrian ski areas, most notably Ischgl, have not opened this season because of these and other pandemic operating related issues.  Others, like…

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