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May 2021

Greenland “Becoming Darker” As Less Fresh Snow Falls

American researchers have found that Greenland is “becoming darker” as the ice and snow that formerly permanently covered much of it is melting away due to climate change. The increasingly darker landmass means the rate of melting is likely to accelerate as the darker land absorbs heat, rather than reflecting it away as white snow does. The findings of a 2016-17 study of Greenland's ice sheet by scientists from Dartmouth College have been published in Geophysical Research Letters. "As snow ages, even over hours to a few days, you get this reduction in reflectivity, and that's why the fresh snow is so important," says Erich Osterberg, associate professor of earth sciences and the principal investigator of the study. The scientists…

Resorts Open on Both Sides But Europe’s Summer Ski Border Currently Closed

Cervinia has re-opened its ski slopes this week, marking the return of lift-served skiing to Italy following an easing of restrictions by the country’s government earlier this month. However, currently the border between Italy and neighbouring Switzerland remains closed to tourists, meaning that initially there’s no cross-border skiing and boarding over the world’s only cross-border summer ski area. “The border between Switzerland and Italy will remain closed until the 12 June. Skiers and snowboarders entering the ski area from the Zermatt side can therefore not ski in Cervinia and use its facilities/pistes until then. After the 12 June, the border should be opened so that guests from Cervinia can come to Zermatt to ski/snowboard,” a spokesperson from Zermatt’s lift company…

Plan For New Vallee Blanche Access Lift Takes Shape

Chamonix has confirmed an ambitious 27 million Euros project, involving a new lift to provide access to the glacier for skiers and boarders reaching the end of the skiable section of the Vallee Blanche, is moving forward. The Vallee Blanche, a world-famous off-piste descent and also the longest lift-served run in the world by most measures, has become increasingly problematic in recent years at its lower end as global warming has dramatically reduced the glacier’s depth and extent. 30 years ago there were just three steps up from the snow-covered blue ice surface to the lift up to Monenvers for the train ride back to Chamonix.  By 2000 the declining thickness of the glacier meant that gap had grown to…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #193

Issued: 26 May 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia RoundupSouthern Hemisphere WORLD OVERVIEW There’s quite an upbeat mood in the Alps this week. After unseasonal snowfall last week gave a very late boost to snow quality and quantity, easing of pandemic restrictions has led the first ski areas to open with lifts operating for 2021 in France and Italy. More centres are to open in Austria as pandemic restrictions have been eased.   In North America, warm weather has led to more areas. including Breckenridge, Killington and Snowbird, closing earlier than usual leaving just a handful still operating lifts and runs. The last area that had still been open in Canada has also closed, with Sunshine, near Banff, ending…

Les 2 Alpes in Summer – Insider Tips

After the French government relaxed rules that have kept French ski lifts operating all winter, allowing La Clusaz to re-open for two days only at the weekend (pictured below), the country’s three summer ski glacier resorts are preparing to open for 2021, just as they did after the pandemic’s first wave a year ago. Amazing conditions for late May in the mountains after fresh snowfall over the past week. Val d’Isere and Tignes open next month but first up is Les 2 Alpes, home of Europe’s largest skiable glacier. English born local Alexandra Armand, owner of TipTop Coaching, and self-declared outdoors addict, told us what to look out for if we’re lucky enough to be able to visit this summer:…

Four Italian Ski Areas Confirm May Skiing as Re-Opening Gets Official Go Ahead

Four Italian ski areas have so far announced they’ll be opening before the end of the month as the country’s Council of Ministers give the go ahead for ski lifts and runs to re-open from this Saturday, 22nd May. The first to open, on Saturday 22nd looks set to be the Presena Glacier in Trentino.  It is not yet clear how long it plans to remain open after this initial weekend. Cervinia, which shares a summer ski area with Zermatt, says it will re-open its ski lifts from next Wednesday 26th May.  It has put tickets on sale for the following two weeks initially but is usually open for much of the summer and autumn. The resort says that the…

French and Italian Ski Areas Start Seasons this Weekend

Lift-served piste skiing will return to France and Italy for the first time this season this weekend. The French ski resort of La Clusaz will run its ski lifts free of charge on Sunday and Monday whilst Italy’s Pontedilegno-Tonale in the province of Trentino will open for skiing on the Presena Glacier on Saturday and Sunday. Both ski areas will require advanced ticket reservations and have limited numbers available. In the case of La Clusaz the resort has announced tickets will be free of charge. La Clusaz say there’s plenty of snow left on their Balme ski slopes and the snow is also reported to be lying deep on the Presena glacier.  There has also been fresh snowfall this week…

Ski Resorts Opt to Remove Waste Bins That Aren’t For Recyclables

Two New Zealand ski areas won’t offer waste bins for rubbish that can’t be recycled when they open for winter 20-21 in a few weeks’ time. Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone Ski Area this ski season, which are under joint ownership, say that having “be no public-facing landfill bins” at either resort is just one of several significant changes being made across their operation. “We’ve made a lot of small changes over the years, like removing single use coffee cups and PET plastic bottles from our food and beverage outlets, and we’ve been proud to be an industry leader in this space,” says Cardrona and Treble Cone General Manager, Bridget Legnavsky. “But now it is time to make big…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #192

Issued: 19 May 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia RoundupSouthern Hemisphere WORLD OVERVIEW It is a little over a week until the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere, by the meteorological measure of the seasons. In the Southern Hemisphere that means the 2021 ski season start is just over a fortnight away. In most countries conditions look promising with temperatures dropping away as they should and fresh snow reported in Australia and New Zealand, so currently things are looking hopeful. Elbrus resort this week It is a little more mixed, depending on continent, in the north. In Europe, there seems to be an upbeat feeling with the continent's nations opening up,…

Ski Season Extended To At Least End of Month on Europe’s Highest Mountain

It has been announced that the ski season has been extended to at least the end of May with the possibility of skiing in to June of Europe’s highest mountain, Elbrus, in Russia. “There is enough snow on the highest mountain in Europe to prepare quality trails for guests,” a spokesperson for the ski area said.  Around 10km (six miles) of prepared runs are open between the upper station of the Gara-Bashi lift, the at an altitude of 3847 m down to Stary Krugozor at an altitude of 3000 metres. The season had previously been expected to end on May 16th, but a new closing date has not yet been set. “The exact end date of the season is not…

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