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January 2022

World’s Most Northerly Ski Area Opens for 2022 Season

The world’s most northerly full ski area has opened for its 2022 ski season today, 29th January. The volunteer-run Nordvågen ski area on Norway’s North Cape is located far north of the Arctic  Circle and hundreds of kilometres north too of internationally better known ski areas like Narvik and Riksgransen. It opens each year as the period of 24-hour night at its latitude begins to end although its slopes are fully floodlit anyway. There are two varied slopes served by a modern 837 metre long T Bar lift. “We have an alpine cabin with ski rental and a small cafe which is also run on a voluntary basis,” a statement from the Nordkapp Alpinklubb (North Cape Alpine Club) which runs…

New “World’s Largest Indoor Ski Resort” is “Expected to be Completed by End of Year”

Reports from China, where the focus is on in imminent Winter Olympics and Paralympics around capital Beijing, indicate that a new “world’s largest indoor snow centre”, including an indoor Olympic standard ski run, will be completed in the country’s second city, Shanghai, before the end of 2022. Now known as WintaStar Shanghai, the spectacular project was first unveiled as Winterland Shanghai in 2015 with a price tag of 13.5 billion yuan ($2.1 billion). Located in the coastal Lingang area it is currently being billed as “the world's largest integrated indoor ski resort.” This follows claims at its launch announcement that it would contain, ”the world's longest indoor ski trail.” (Original image from 2015 announcement) The detailed stats on the snow…

Japan Posts World’s Most Snowfall & Deepest Bases But Still Closed to International Travel

Ski areas in Japan are posting the world’s deepest bases at present and some have already had over 10 metres (33 feet) of snowfall in the 21-22 ski season. SnowJapan.com reports that Kiroro has gone through the 10 metre/33 feet seasonal-snowfall-to-date stat over the past week and is posting the world’s deepest snowpack for a leading ski area with the snow lying 4.7m (over 14 feet) thick at the top of the runs.  Geto Kogen (255/400cm) has also just passed the 10-metre seasonal snowfall to date total (it’s on 1111cm, in fact). Due to the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Japan closed its borders to all new foreign arrivals again from November 30, 2021 until at least…

Survey Finds “Over 1/3 Of People Missing Mental Health Benefits of Snow Sports”

A survey of over 2,000 snowsports enthusiasts carried out on behalf of snowsports retailer Snow+Rock has revealed that more than a third (38 percent) have missed the benefits of snowsports to their mental health. 81 percent of respondents said they have missed the mountains more than a summer holiday and 94 percent say the pandemic has made them appreciate a winter sports holiday more. Mountain views and “the feeling of being alive on the slopes” topped the moments they most wished for. "We know that snowsports enthusiasts have pined for the positive impact of being on the slopes and that the current uncertainty is concerning, especially now that restrictions and cancellations are starting to impact holidays. We are all united…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #227

Issued: 26 January 2022 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup WORLD OVERVIEW Bjorli earlier in the week There has been a welcome return of snowfall to the Alps after a few weeks of sunshine with snow falling through the weekend at many resorts giving powder conditions to start the week.  Other regions reporting decent dumps included parts of Scandinavia with big falls at last in western Norway as well as some parts of Sweden although across the North Sea Scottish hills remain brown. Down in southern Europe, it remained sunny in the Dolomites too although further east there was more snowfall in Bulgaria. In North America, it has been a largely dry week for much of the western…

Snow Bobsleigh Wins Sculpture Competition

A bobsleigh sculpture created by Ralf Rosa and Peter Fechtig from Germany has been declared the winner of the annual Shapes in White snow-sculpture competition staged at the Austrian resort of Ischgl. The 28th snow-sculpture competition asked teams to create spectacular winter-sports visions up to 10 metres high, with a British team opting to recreate famous ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” for their entry (below). Other entries included "Ice Skates", a pair of oversized ice skates and "Big Air", which shows a snowboarder performing aerial acrobatics. Guests in Ischgl can admire the icy winter sports landmarks on foot or on skis as they enjoy the resort for as long as they last. Dietmar Walser, Managing Director of the Paznaun -…

Mürren Celebrates Centenary of the First Ever Timed Slalom Race

The famous Swiss ski resort of Mürren is celebrating the centenary of the first ever modern slalom race this week. The anniversary itself is this Friday, January 21st but the celebrations began on Monday 17th January with William Lunn (great grandson of Sir Arnold Lunn who set the first ever race) and Swiss slalom queen Erika Hess (41 world titles) unveiled a tribute to Arnold. Wooden poles Ski racing pioneer Arnold Lunn set the course for, “a turning race around flags on the practice slope” at Mürren in the Bernese Oberland’s spectacular Jungfrau region on January 21st, 1922. It was the first time that a race was decided on time alone, over two runs with no marks for style, it…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #226

Issued: 19 January 2022 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup WORLD OVERVIEW Quite a settled week in much of the skiing world with little or no snowfall reported over the last seven days in much of Europe and much smaller snowfalls on the whole in North America than were seen over Christmas and into the start of the New Year.  That said smaller falls in some areas have added up to several feet more snow, particularly up in Canada.  Some of the heaviest falls have again been reported in Japan where several areas have now had well over six metres (20 feet) of snowfall so far this season and are reporting some of the world's deepest snow depths,…

Four Race Lauberhorn World Cup Meeting Underway

Following cancelled races in 2021 due to an outbreak of Covid in the area, the 2022 edition of the Lauberhorn World Cup ski races is due underway with 4 races, a GSD, two downhills and the slalom, taking place up to Sunday 16th in the resort of Wengen, Switzerland, part of the Jungfrau Ski Region that also includes the resort of Grindelwald. Spectators who show proof of Covid vaccination status (or evidence of recovery from Covid or a negative test) are allowed to attend and British tourists are permitted to enter Switzerland without quarantine under certain conditions. The four days began on Thursday with perfect conditions for a GS race which has been twice rescheduled. It was won by the…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #225

Issued: 12 January 2022 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup WORLD OVERVIEW Approaching mid-January should be cold and snowy in most of the northern hemisphere's ski regions and the past week hasn't disappointed. The heaviest snowfall has been reported in North America's Pacific Northwest, the Rockies and Japan, as is often the case. But it has also been snowing almost everywhere else, including a heavy snowfall for more southerly states in the eastern US, which was one of the regions which had been suffering a prolonged warm and dry start to the season until now. Most areas have stayed below freezing too, with Scottish centres re-opening slopes beyond their beginner runs for the first time since mid-December.  Some…

Colorado Resort Dig Up Buried Snowcat

Although Colorado, in common with much of North America started off with a largely warm and dry first month of the season, more recent weeks have seen a succession of snowstorms bringing huge snowfall accumulations for some areas. Wolf Creek ski area reported a remarkable 127” (12 feet/4 metre) snowfall to start the New Year and now the weather has settled down a bit went searching for their buried Horseshoe Bowl Snowcat, having left a marker post "Horseshoe Bowl at Wolf Creek is prominently displayed on the trail map, but what is not shown are the details of the journey required to get there. From the top of the Alberta Chairlift one can take a short hike to the Knife…

Swiss Region Steps up Efforts To Reduce Avalanche Risk

The Swiss canton of Valais, home of several of the world’s leading ski resorts including Crans Montana, Verbier and Zermatt, has introduced additional measures to minimise the danger posed by avalanches. During the 2020/2021 winter season 11 people were killed by avalanches in the canton and about a dozen bodies involved in mountain safety, guiding and tourism in Valais have come together to  revisited existing measures and see which could be further strengthened or better publicised. The resort of Verbier has agreed to act as a test resort for this benchmark programme. The group noted that the number of deaths on the roads in Valais has fallen sharply over the past 50 years few decades (117 deaths in 1970 versus…

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