Patrick Thorne, Author at The Whiteroom
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Patrick Thorne

WWF Seek Global Support to Persuade UNESCO to add ‘Seasons’ to the World Heritage list

The Norwegian branch of the World Wildlife Fund, WWF, working with clothing company Bergans, have launched an initiative to ‘Save the Seasons’ in a bid to have them added, and thus preserved, as part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Pyramids, temples, Stonehenge, reefs and... seasons? Everything previously included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list is either a physical object, building or city, but WWF think that the changing seasons due to climate change threaten much of what is on the list, yet, aren’t considered in the preservation of these sites or as a heritage for future generations. “The seasons are the very foundation of life, which in turn is directly linked to our cultural heritage. The seasons must therefore be declared…

Dave McCoy, Founder of Mammoth Mountain, Dies Aged 104

Dave McCoy, one of the remaining legends from the early history of downhill skiing, and one of the biggest names in ski resort development through much of the twentieth century, has died at the age of 104. Born in 1915, McCoy’s legend include the fact that he made his first skis himself whilst still at school, and then became Californian state skiing champion aged 22. He set up his first rudimentary ski area in 1938, before hitting on the more snowsure location for Mammoth Mountain in 1942. Mammoth started with a simple home-made roadside rope tow, powered by an old truck engine, but over the next 63 years, McCoy and his wife Roma, whom he’d met in the late 1930s,…

Deepest Snow This Century as Swedish Lapland Spring Ski Centres Open For 2020 Season

There’s reported to be the most snowy lying on the Kiruna mountains in Northern Sweden for more than 20 years, as ski areas there begin to open for their 2020 ski season. Measuring depths at Katterjåkk, 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of the region’s capital Kiruna, the Swedish Meteorological Institute found the snow currently lying 169cm (just under six feet) deep,  the largest amount of snow at the start of February in just over 20 years. The last time snowfall was measured deeper was in January 1997 when it measured 180 cm. The two ski areas operated by Lapland Resorts within the Arctic circle in Northern Sweden don’t open for skiing until February each year due to the darkness at…

Brit and Aussie Win First Ever ‘Augmented’ Skiing World Championships GS Races

The first ever Augmented World Skiing Championships has taken place in the French ski resort of Alpe d’Huez with hundreds of people attending the weekend of competition and just under 50 people entering the race itself. The event is designed for skiers who are assisted with exoskeleton devices and included a giant slalom race and a ski trail tournament. The men’s giant slalom winner was former British Team skier Ashley Kay with a time of 61.61 seconds with the women’s number one spot going to former Australian Winter Olympic skier, Marilla Guss with a time of 63.32 seconds, giving her second place overall in the competition. “It was great to be part of this competition, the first ever of its…

Up To a Metre (40 Inches) of Snowfall Reported in the Alps

The sunshine is back out in much of the Alps after heavy snowfall over the past three days – particularly Tuesday and Wednesday. Resorts reported up to 107cm (just under four feet) of snow falling, the biggest accumulations reported in the Swiss Valais region. Bonneval Sur arc, over the back of Val d’Isere in the French Alps posted the biggest accumulation there – 90cm (three feet) with Cervinia topping the Italian snowfall table with 80cm (2.7 feet). Les Menuires in pictured top and La Rosiere (which has had 80cm/32") below. But there was snowfall right across the region with many resorts posting 30-60cm (1-2 feet) accumulations,. Transforming conditions after the mostly dry and sunny five weeks since Christmas. In Austria…

Massive Snowfalls in the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees mountains, home to around 50 ski areas in Andorra, France and Spain, have seen huge snowfalls over the past three days. Official snow total stats are up to  1.5 metres (five feet) over the past 72 hours though some skiers have found pockets they believe 1.8 metres (six foot) deep and drifts of up to three metres (10 feet). A number of resorts closed ahead of the snow storm arriving as along, with heavy snowfall, gale force winds were forecast, but these resorts are starting to re-open now as the storm eases.  Initially the biggest snowfalls were expected to impact Spanish ski centres but in the end it was French areas that posted the biggest falls.  Ax 3…

Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort Project Appears Finally Over

Plans to build a year round ski area on a pristine site on the BC side of the provincial border with Alberta in Canada appear to finally be over. The plans for Jumbo Glacier were first mooted almost 30 years ago back in the early 1990s and the project has ridden the wave of public opinion and political changes over the decades.  Five or so years ago it appeared that it might finally be coming close to actually happening as the site was given official status, some statutory state funding and the first base buildings almost appeared. But construction in zones with high avalanche risk and on land that was both of high environmental value and sacred to the Ktunaxa…

Jackson Hole Reports Record Early January Snowfall

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming says it has had more snow ion the first fortnight of 2020 than in the first half of January in any previous year.  As a result its upper slope base depth is also the deepest it has ever been for this early in the season. The resort has had snowfall every day of the year so far with over a foot (30cm) of snow falling in five of the 14 days, all but one of them in the past week. Altogether this has added up to more than 11 feet (134 inches / 335cm to be precise) of snowfall giving a current 91 inch (2.3 metre) upper slope base depth – and very deep…

Scottish Ski Centres re-Open With Fresh Snow

Scottish ski areas have begun re-opening after nearly a week of storms which brought winds of up to 75mph (120kph) but also considerable hill snow. The country’s five Highland ski areas have had another challenging season so fare, with stormy weather and record warm temperatures stopping them from establishing bases. Cairngorm on Wednesday. This winter though they have all been able to keep at least some terrain open, typically small areas for novice skiers, as all five areas now have variants on all-weather snowmaking systems which can make snow even when traditional snowmaking systems can’t. Cairngorm in January 2020 before the snow arrived. The latest snowfall, which has been heaviest in the West, has accumulated the most at mid-mountain, with…

Kathmandu Styper Snow 3 in 1

New Zealand-based adventure gear manufacturer Kathmandu have a great range of skiwear and other kit available for winter 2020. Unlike many competitors, the company’s Styper range of jackets for both men and women come in every version you might prefer – a shell, a fully insulated jacket or a 3-in-1 jacket that combines shell and a fleece inner. We got hold of the 3-in-1 jacket to test out the company’s pitch that for 30 years, they have designed their gear to take on the rugged landscapes of their homeland, using Kiwi ingenuity and an open mind to continuously adapt their gear to endure different weather conditions, diverse terrains, and different needs. So we took the jacket out on the slopes…