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December 2021

New Drink, COVID & Helmet Laws On Italian Slopes for January

Italy will bring in a number of new legally-enforced rules for skiers on its slopes in the first few weeks of January. Several that come in to force on January 1st have been in the works for years, but others and the latest strengthening of measures aimed at slowing the latest wave of COVID. The new rules from January 1st are: Mandatory helmets for all under 18s (previously it was a legal obligation to age 14).Public liability insurance to be taken out by all skiers and boarders.An alcohol drink-ski or board limit for slope users. In addition Italy will tighten the Covid-19 rules with the 2G rule (vaccinated or recovered) in accommodation establishments and on lifts in place from January…

December Snowfall Totals Pass 199” (5 Metres) in California

Exceptional snowfalls over the past fortnight has taken December totals past the 199 inches (5 metres / nearly 17 feet) for at least one resort in California, others are getting close to that total. The highest total reported by The Palisades ski area (pictured above and below) is now the resort’s snowiest December on record. Most of the snow has fallen in the latter half of the month after a warm and dry November and December. The palisades had initially opened in late October after an unusually heavy snowstorm then but had been forced to close and had then been unable to open on its originally planned November date due to lack of snow. There have been two huge snowstorms…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #223

Issued: 29 December 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup WORLD OVERVIEW The world’s ski areas continue to walk something of a tightrope as we enter 2022. The good news is that ski areas have opened in almost every Northern Hemisphere country where they can, with the lifts now turning in more than 55 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Some of the countries we hear less about as ski destinations, including Albania, Azerbaijan and Iraq, have all started their 21-22 seasons over the past week. For most the weather is fairly favourable too, allowing European centres to have one of their better season starts and while North America's Fall weather was a little lacklustre for…

World’s Largest Ski Areas Close To Full Operation

Most of the world’s largest ski areas are nearing full operations for the first time since the start of March last year. Last season many were forced to remain closed and those that did open only opened a fraction of their terrain due to very limited demand because of coronavirus restrictions on numbers visiting. In many cases that meant it was not financially viable to open all the lifts and prepare large amounts of terrain. The world’s largest ski area, the3 Valleys in France, reported 550km (357 miles) of its 600km (375 miles) of runs open for the peak Christmas – New Year period.  Les Portes du Soleil (pictured top) said it had 500km (213 miles or nearly 90%) of…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #222

Issued: 22 December 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup WORLD OVERVIEW The pandemic and the omicron variant, in particular, continues to hang heavy over the start of the ski season keeping fears alive that it will suddenly be stopped by one government or another in an attempt to slow the speed of its spread. For now, though every ski nation is allowing ski areas to open under various pandemic operating restrictions and so we have the most ski resorts open since early March last year when it all stopped. Almost all ski areas in the Northern Hemisphere that can open are open. In terms of the week's snowfall and snow forecast it has been a second largely…

Over 3,000 Ski Areas Open in 50+ Countries

It is believed that somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 ski areas may currently be operational in more than 50 countries across the northern hemisphere. The numbers are back to the norm for late-December after thousands in leading ski nations in Europe were kept closed due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic this time last year. This season everywhere is open and most ski nations have their borders fully or partially open, with increased restrictions on arrivals from some countries, and/or unvaccinated people. Over 1,200 ski areas are believed to be open in China and Japan but they have their borders closed to tourists.  France has blocked tourism from the UK due to high numbers of the omicron variant…

Scotland Hoping for Bounce Back Season After Setbacks

Snowsport Scotland’s CEO Trafford Wilson has spoken of his optimism for a successful ski season this winter, following a string of setback for the country’s ski areas lover the past few years. “It’s fundamentally important we have a good season. We want people to ski and snowboard in Scotland, enjoy it, and make it a habit going forward. This winter season presents a great opportunity for people to make the most of the varied terrain on offer, explore our backcountry playgrounds and to learn how to ski or snowboard on home soil,” said Mr Wilson. Trafford Wilson CEO, Snowsport Scotland at Glencoe Mountain Resort. Mr Wilson (above) was speaking ahead of Scotland’s 21-22 season getting underway this weekend with surging…

‘Melting Gondola’ Artwork Appears

This winter, visitors exiting the Silver Queen Gondola atop Aspen Mountain in Colorado will see a “melting” gondola car. “A symbol of a warming planet, the new art installation launches a climate action campaign in partnership with the non-profit Protect Our Winters (POW) to mobilize outdoorspeople in the fight against climate change,” an Aspen statement explains.  Since Aspen Snowmass first opened in the winter of 1946-47, the region’s average temperature has warmed by three degrees Fahrenheit. The resort has calculated that it has lost 30 days of winter since 1980 alone. “As part of Aspen’s 75th anniversary this season, The Melted Gondola has been installed as a push for people to think about the next 75 years, and to draw…

Super Storm Dumps up To Five Feet of Snow on US West

A major snowstorm that hit the West Coast of America between Sunday and Tuesday has led to accumulations of up to five feet (1.5 metres) of snow on ski slopes in California. It’s a massive change after the region was impacted by a six-week warm and dry spell following an unusually heavy late October snowstorm. The Palisades above and top today. Many of the resorts that had had to postpone opening for several weeks due to too little snow are now scrambling to open after too much arrived too fast. Mammoth Mountain has managed to stay open throughout the dry spell after opening early in late October. It reported snow drifts reaching the top of its 24 foot (8 metres)…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #221

Issued: 15 December 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup WORLD OVERVIEW The mood has continued to improve in Europe over the past week after the setbacks of mini-lockdowns and omicron fears. The season remains on a knife-edge because of that latter issue. But, in positive signs for now at least, both Austria and Slovakia, the only two nations to announce short-term lockdowns, have ended them and resorts re-opened to tourism. There's also ongoing euphoria as ski areas that had not been able to open for over 600 days continue to do so.  For a final bonus, there have been huge amounts of snowfall across the Alps for one of the best starts to the season in years.…

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