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Patrick Thorne

The Skiers Helping in the Fight Against Coronavirus

There are numerous reports of ski resorts, ski businesses and individual skiers trying to help in the fight against coronavirus all over the world. A common theme is creating protective clothing for everyone working in health on the front line against the virus. The medical teams at ski resorts have been donating their stocks of now hard-to-obtain goods in many countries, including gloves, sanitisers and masks to hospitals and in the US an organised campaign to get ski googles to medics has got thousands of sets of protective eyewear to hospitals, particularly in New York state in just a few days. Individuals are doing their bit too. In the French resort Alpe d 'Huez ski instructor Françoise Berthet, is making…

Open Top ‘Gondola Cabriolet’ To Debut in Ski Resorts

A new model of gondola which will has windows removed from the cabin is to go into service in ski resorts. Swiss company Bartholet has designed the Cabriolet Gondola so that its windows are open all the time with a fixed opening. It will not be a case of the windows coming down when the weather is good. “The glass cannot be closed when the weather is bad but if a ski area also has regular glass-enclosed  gondolas on the line, the gondolas can be easily exchanged depending on the weather and the garage system,” said Bartholet’s Denise Linder. Bartholet say the first cabins have even already been sold to several ski resorts, although we don’t yet know which resorts.…

Fonna Glacier Reports 11 Metre (36 Feet) Snow Depth

Norway's Fonna Glacier reports that the snow is lying 11 metres (36 feet) deep on its glacier. The centre is one of three summer-ski areas in the country and had planned to open for the season at Easter. All ski areas in Norway are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic so that date looks unlikely.  However the huge snow depth means the centre could open later in the spring or early summer if restrictions can be lifted. The ski season in Scandinavia has been very mixed, even without the impact of the virus.  Record average high temperatures in central and southerly parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden had caused operating difficulties due to lack of snow for many areas.…

Crowdfunding Keeps US Centre’s Slopes Groomed and Open, But Lifts not Running

A small US ski resort has successfully crowdfunded $6,000 in the past week or so to keep its slopes groomed even though the lifts aren’t running. Snow King Mountain is one of a large number of ski resorts in states not yet in complete lock down where people can hike up the hill and ski down. “It’s a little different picture for us because we’re shut down, and there’s no income for us, but I think it’s a positive thing people are getting out and enjoying the hill, and that’s why we’re doing this campaign,” Snow King General Manager Ryan Stanley told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. More than 150 people contributed to the fundraising since the centre closed…

Is This The Last Ski Area in North America That’s Still Open?

Ski areas in North America have been closing down over the past fortnight due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there has not been the national lockdown that several European countries have enacted, and decisions have been made at state or province level and in some cases left to individual resorts. The last ski area open in Canada, the fairly remote Hudson Bay resort in northern BC (pictured below) had its last skiing day on Sunday and the number of centres still open in the US has been declining by the day too.  Montana, Idaho and Washington State in the lightly-populated North-western US still had more than half-a-dozen areas operating at the weekend between them, each arguing that they had measures…

Les Arcs Commits to ‘Flocon Vert’ Sustainable Development Strategy

French ski resort of Les Arcs-Bourg Saint Maurice has announced that it will commit to the ‘Flocon Vert’ (or 'green snowflake') label, as the resort continues to grow its sustainable development strategy. The ‘Flocon Vert’ was created in 2011 by the ‘Mountain Riders’ association, which has been working for over 20 years to help support mountain resorts work towards more sustainable operations. The label is issued based on fulfilling 20 criteria divided into four themes: local economy, social and cultural, governance and destination, environment and natural resources. By joining the ‘Flocon Vert’ approach, Les Arcs - Bourg Saint Maurice is pledging to becoming more eco-responsible and make environmental issues a corner stone of its future development. Les Arcs – Bourg…

Ski Areas in Finland Decide to Close At End of Month

Finnish ski areas have begun announcing plans to close early for the ski season, with several of the country’s larger centres announcing they’ll be doing so the weekend after next, at the end of the ski day on Friday 27th or Saturday 28th. Finland is one of five countries where ski areas have mostly stayed open since the sudden mass closure of ski areas in Europe and north America. Along with Finland ski areas in Sweden, Iceland, Scotland and Japan have also stayed open. “Thanks to all of you who we got to enjoy the joys of snow on the fell this winter. Due to the current state of emergency, we will close Ruka slopes and rental services earlier than…

World’s Biggest Resort Operator Closes All Centres For the Season, But Hopes Some Could Re-open Late Spring

Vail Resorts, the world’s largest operator of ski resorts, has announced that all of its North American resorts will remain closed for the 2019-20 winter ski season amidst the continued challenges associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Company’s had initially announced a one week closure from last weekend as mass ski resort closures picked up speed across Europe and North America but has now decided that’s it for winter 2019-20. “The Company will consider reopening Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado, Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia in late April/early May, dependent on the situation with COVID-19 as well as weather conditions,” a statement from the group says. Whistler Blackcomb normally stays open in…

Most (But Not All) Californian Resorts Close Due To Coronavirus Just as Huge Snowfall Hits the Region

Ski areas in California, like in most in the USA, have closed in the battle to slow the spread of the coronavirus just as a huge snowfall brings some of the best snowfall of the season to the region. Ski resorts in the state reported up to a metre (40 inches) of snowfall over the weekend (at Sugar Bowl), Homewood reported 89cm (three feet). The coronavirus closure come after some areas were forced to close over the weekend by the extreme weather which at sometimes in some places included weather phenomena such as lightening as well as the very heavy snowfall. Although most ski areas in the state have closed, some are still open, or at least were at the…

Many Major US and Candian Ski Areas Start Closing Early Due to Coronavirus

Many of the leading ski resorts in the USA are closing due to the coronavirus outbreak in a major change from the policy of the past week. The country's two biggest groups Vail Resorts and Alterra, which together operate nearly 50 of North America's resorts, flipped from saying they intended to stay open at the start of yesterday to announcing closure of their resorts later in the day. This includes resorts such as Whistler, Heavenly, Vail, Breckenridge (pictured above last week), Park City, Stowe, Tremblant and many others. Aspen, which has had at least nine positive coronavirus cases but had said it would keep operating, is also now closing, as are quite a few other resorts. Vail says the closure…