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Patrick Thorne

Japan Ski Resorts You May Not Have Heard Of

By Contributor Mike Humphrey  Intrepid travelers, are you looking to find unknown wintery Japan Ski destinations? Japan's powder, vast expanses, and friendly locals make it a favorite destination for international skiers. Most end up heading to Niseko, Hakuba Valley, Nozawa Onsen, or Shiga Kogen. But Japan has over 500 other resorts offering unique Japanese ski experiences. The following list is different from what you find on most sites. For those adventurous few we’ll have you clicking into your bindings away from the crowds. Not for the faint of heart, this list will require you to brush up on your Japanese and get out of your comfort zone. We scoured Japan's renowned alpine resorts to bring you a list of 11…

Snowy Weather in Western North America As More Resorts Open For 22-23

The weather had taken a turn for the better in western North America over the past week with heavy snowfall for many at the start of the week followed by low temperatures and more snow up high over the past few days. Arapahoe Basin was the first in Colorado to open last Sunday (pictured top), more down to its snowmaking efforts through October than the snowfall but looking good. A second Colorado area, Keystone, will open tomorrow (Friday) and says it has a two-mile long slope ready to roll.  A third area, Loveland, has groomers on the hill and also appears close to opening. The heaviest snowfall so far though has been reported in Utah and Montana where Alta and…

Glaciologists Produce Timelapse of Glacier Melt

Glaciologists in Italy’s Lombardy region have produced a timelapse film of the summer melting of the country’s Fellaria glacier, which accelerated dramatically, as did the melt of most other glaciers in the Alps, during the long hot summer of 2022. The film has been produced by a camera first installed in June 2019 which has since recorded a total loss of 26 metres (86 feet) of ice thickness over four summers or 16 summer months. https://youtu.be/WPMzK8uK0Gk  The glaciologists say that the 7.55m (25 feet) of ice thickness lost on the eastern tongue of the Fellaria glacier at 2650 m is a quantity never previously recorded on any Lombardy glacier. “It is not easy to find the right adjectives to describe…

Japan’s 22-23 Ski Season Gets Underway

Japan’s 22-23 ski season has got underway with a small slope made from artificial snow opening at a ski area located at the base of Mt. Fuji. The Yeti ski area in Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture has a reputation for being the first to open in the country in recent years and there’s a carnival atmosphere on opening day with skiers and boarders often in fancy dress. Local media reports that the resort began snowmaking on October 11th and had made over half a million tons of artificial snow in order to open the slopes. Around 400 skiers and boarders arrived for opening day. All being well the coming season will be the first time since early 2020 that skiers and…

Laax Open Adds Freeskiing

Europe's most prestigious snowboard contest, the Laax Open, will opening its doors to freeskiing this winter. The internationally renowned event taking place at Crap Sogn Gion mountain at 2,252m above sea level will see 300 riders from all over the world will compete at the FIS World Cup from 18-22 January 2023. The freeski athletes bring new momentum to the competition, but they’re not actually new to Laax. “Freeskiers have been sharing the parks in Laax with snowboarders ever since parks were built there. Laax also committed to Freesking already by hosting the European Freeski Open from 2006-2011 and 2014-2016, so it was a natural thing to finally include them in the LAAX OPEN,” explains event director Donald Nader.The Laax…

Midwest Ski Hills Set to be First to Open For 22-23 in North America

Two small ski areas in the Midwest state of Minnesota will open for the season later today, Tuesday 18th October. Wild Mountain plans to open at noon, Andes Tower Hills at 1pm - both with very limited terrain available. "Keep in mind that we’ve only had two nights of snowmaking, so our terrain will be extremely limited. We’ll be opening with the Front Stage trail serviced by the Front Stage rope tow. We’ll have 4-6 terrain park features available as well," a social media post from Wild Mountain explained. Andes Tower Hills, which describes itself as, “…a local ski resort with family values, integrity, and heavy ambitions,” released video yesterday of skiers enjoying a small snow slope. It's plans to…

First 22-23 World Cup Races on in Austria, Switzerland and Italy, Off In France

Hopes of not one but three FIS World Cup tours kicking off this month have had a setback with homes that the World Cup Ski Cross and Snowboard Cross tours would be able to begin in France later this month now ruled out with events postponed or cancelled due to inadequate snow cover on the glacier. The longer established start to the Alpine tour at Sölden is officially go for the coming weekend with GS races given the greenlight International Ski & Snowboard Federation (FIS) and the Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV). The third planned October World Cup races due to take place on an all-new high altitude cross border course between Zermatt and Cervinia crossing the Swiss Italian border, with…

Several of Japan’s Resorts Included in Multi Resort Passes

By Contributor Mike Humphrey After a two-year hiatus, Japan has fully reopened to travellers this week, with only minimal pandemic travel requirements remaining. As of October 11th, 2022, Japan's borders are open, and ski resorts eagerly await the return of international guests. Powder-hungry adventurers looking to take advantage of cheap travel and snowy conditions may want to consider heading to the land of the rising sun. A trip skiing powder in Japan's world-renowned resorts awaits those interested in beating the crowds. Japan is one of the world’s leading ski nations and is home to more than 500 ski resorts spread across the country, ranging from famous international resorts like Niseko to numerous hidden gems. The ski season in Japan typically…

New Zealand’s Largest Ski Area Enters Voluntary Administration

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Limited (RAL), which runs the Whakapapa and Tūroa ski fields on Mt Ruapehu on New Zealand’s North Island, claiming the two areas combined are the country’s largest ski resort,  has gone into voluntary administration. The move follows tough operating years during the pandemic when New Zealand’s ski areas were able to operate but could not receive international visitors, then a disastrous winter 2022 for snowfall. "The Company has had a very difficult last three years, with the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, paired with poor weather this season, meaning that the business has been placed under significant cash flow pressure," a statement from the newly appointed administrators explains. Local politicians have called for Government support saying the move…

Heliski with Bode Miller & Chris Davenport in Greenland (For €60,000)

World-famous Olympian Bode Miller and several other well-known names have signed up as hosts on a heliskiing holiday to Greenland next April, 2023. The trip will be based onboard a former Arctic Research Vessel, the MV Nansen Explorer, and cover 150 miles beyond the Arctic Circle to Disko Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to some of the largest icebergs in the world. Days will be filled with deep powder runs—some stretching more than a mile—on the narrow fjords down to the water’s edge. The stops will include the island of Maniitsoq on the western coast of Greenland, widely considered one of the most remote places in the world to heli-ski, where it’s possible to ski from slope to…

New Zealand’s Ski Season Continuing into November

Most of New Zealand’s ski areas have now ended their 2022 seasons, but half-a-dozen or so are planning to keep open for a week or two more, with one aiming for at least partial operation into November. Mt Hutt currently has the deepest base in the country and plans to keep its runs open until November 24th.  It then plans to keep its terrain park operating for ‘spring sessions’  for another fortnight through to at least November the 6th - …less than four weeks from the start of summertime in the country. “Bust out that Hawaiian shirt, pack the sunscreen and get the rig ready for an additional two weeks of park focused skiing and riding. Some choose to don…

Study Reports Unprecedented Melt Of Glaciers in 2022

A study by the Swiss Academy of Sciences released this week reports that the country’s glaciers’ ice volume declining by 6% over the spring and summer. Switzerland has more glaciers than any other Alpine nation. The Alps saw unprecedented high temperatures even at 3000-4000m altitude,  far above freezing. The hot temperatures followed below average snowfall last winter meaning there was less of a snow cot to reflect the heat from the ice and it quickly melted away. “2022 was a disastrous year for Swiss glaciers: all ice melt records were smashed by the great dearth of snow in winter and continuous heat waves in summer,” the academy said in a statement. The academy based its report on data collected by…