Patrick Thorne, Author at The Whiteroom
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Patrick Thorne

Canadian Resorts Top Comprehensive Scientific Study Of World’s Top Areas For ‘Skier Comfort’

A new study has rated the top six ski areas in the world for ‘skier comfort’ as locations in North America, and five of them in Canada. What’s unusual for a global survey that puts mostly North American ski areas in the top 10, is that this one has been published in Europe, not the US, and is very methodical, detailed and scientific. In fact the table which ranks the top 50 ski areas for ‘Skier Comfort’ is just one in the latest edition of the annual ‘List of the Worldʼs 100 Largest Ski Areas’ which has just been published by the global ski area experts Ski Welweit and Montenius Consulting. More of a report than a list, the 40…

Are Vail Resorts Now The Biggest Ski Resort Operating Company Ever?

The news today that Vail Resorts have bought another 17 ski areas in what must be the largest single ski resorts purchase in history, taking its total count if ski areas now Vail Resorts owned to 37, begs the question is this now the biggest group of ski resorts ever created? The 17 newly added ski areas, previously owned by the Peak Resorts group and sold for around a quarter of a billion dollars, are mostly small to mid-sized urban areas in seven states in the North Eastern USA, include many areas that are the key local hills for major metropolitan centres in the area including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Columbus, St. Louis, Kansas City and…

Heavy Snowfall in the Andes

There’s powder conditions on the slopes of Argentina this week after a huge snowstorm deposited up to 60cm (two feet) of fresh snow on the country’s ski slopes. The snowfall, described as, “one of the most important of the last 20 years” by a spokesperson at Catedral ski area did cause some problems at some resorts as it fell. Catedral near Bariloche, South America’s biggest ski area by uplift capacity, initially closed terrain as the avalanche danger level reached very high, and then a power outage knocked out the ski area’s electricity supply, along with that of 15,000 homes in the area. The local airport was also closed yesterday by the snow with one airplane reported to have made two…

New Charitable Association Aims to Improve Access For All to Verbier

A new charitable organisation ‘Verbier4All’ has been launched with the aim of working towards providing access to all of the many activities that take place in Verbier and the mountains that surround it. By providing access to the necessary equipment and trained ‘buddies,’ Verbier4All aims to ensure that anyone, regardless of physical or visual deficit, can access the mountains all year round. Verbier4All has already received the backing of Téléverbier which is now actively planning to make its infrastructures more user-­friendly for people with a physical or visual deficit, with some improvements will already be apparent this summer. Verbier4All is the result of a long-­cherished dream of Valérie Vaucher and Annick Meystre. Valérie Vaucher, who has extensive experience of running…

Major Snowstorm Hits Australian Ski Slopes

A major storm is bringing big snow accumulations to Australia. Resorts in New South Wales and Victoria have reported up to half a metre of snowfall over the past few days, and those totals may almost double by the ends of the weekend. The heavy snowfall, at times accompanied by strong winds, is the first major dump in the country since the season got underway five weeks ago. https://www.facebook.com/FallsAustralia/videos/486383178788448/ It follows good pre-season snowfalls at the end of May and in early June which led four areas to open up to a fortnight earlier than planned for the season. There was a warm spell in early June however followed by mostly cold, clear conditions until now. Perisher 12 July 2019…

Self-Driving Shuttles For Val Thorens

Val Thorens will debut what are believed to be the first four wheel drive self-driving shuttles for guests in a ski resort next winter. Europe’s highest major ski resort will begin operating ‘Berto’ the all-electric self-driving electric shuttle when the ski area opens for the 2019-20 season on 23rd November. In fact Berto has already made its first appearance on the resort’s streets fort a test operation last  March but this coming season it will be fully operational. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoTY5yXu2VQ Seating 15 passengers, the autonomous shuttle will transport skiers and locals around the resort – for free -while protecting the environment. Packed with cutting edge multi sensor technology, cameras and GPS it can operate at up to 25 Kph. And Berto…

Zermatt Adds Plastic to Road Surface in Unusual Environmental Initiative

The famous Swiss ski resort of Zermatt, one of only two in the world that endeavours to offer snowsports every day of the year, has taken an unusual step in its long line of initiatives on the environment and the fight against climate change. Working with the award-winning Scottish firm MacRebur, the resort integrated the type of waste plastic that could not be recycled and would otherwise have gone to incineration or landfill to be used in the asphalt when they were resurfacing a road in the resort last month. This new road surface was laid in a pilot project in June 2019 and the amount of plastic in the tarmac was small at 0.3%. However someone did the maths…

Now There Are Two Places To Ski or Board in Egypt

A second indoor snow centre has opened in Egypt, close to the capital. Snow City Cairo which has opened in the past week joins Ski Egypt, which opened a little over two years ago and was created by the same company that runs Ski Dubai, and is currently working on a third giant mall with indoor ski slope in Saudi Arabia (you can guess what the name is to be). The new indoor snow centre, Africa’s second, has been built by the Abdullah Al-Othaim Leisure & Tourism Company as part of the huge CityStars mall in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. Covering 5,500 square metres (60,000 square feet) the centre’s onus is on snow and ice play rather than skiing…

New Gondolas With Saunas in Japan

Japanese ski area Happo One will unveil several grounded gondola cabins designed to be used as saunas later this month. The sauna-gondola-cabins are part of a new ‘Mountain beach’ wellness facility being created 1400 metres above sea level at the Hakuna Valley ski area in the Nagano Olympic Prefecture.  It is set to open on July 26th as a the resort’s latest year round attraction, with the saunas due to remain operational through the winter season too. So far it is unclear whether the saunas are in converted gondola cabins or sauna cabins designed to look like gondola cabins. Sauna above the slopes in Yllas Happo One is not, however, the first ski area to put a sauna in a…

First Big Snowfalls of the 2019 Season as Big Name resorts Open in The Andes

The 2019 ski season in the Andes mountains of South America had got underway at half a dozen smaller ski areas over the past few weeks but most resorts in the Andes have been waiting a big snowfall. That has arrived over the past week with a number of resorts reporting up to 40cm (16 inches) of fresh snow in 48 hours, transforming thin cover to deep powder. Nearly all of the continent’s biggest resorts including Portillo, Valle Nevado and Nevados de Chillan (pictured top) in Chile and Catedral and Las Lenas in Argentina, along with several others, have opened with fresh powder this weekend. Caviahue after the sunshine returned on 30 June Argentinian ski areas including  Caviahue and Las…