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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…

Late May in the USA: Aspen To Re-Open And Heavy Snowfall Hits California

Aspen ski area has announced it will re-open for the US Memorial Day long holiday weekend at the end of the month (May 25-27). The resort will re- open 130 acres on Aspen Mountain for skiing and boarding. It will mean that three Colorado ski areas will be open for the last weekend of the month as Breckenridge (pictured above earlier this month) and Arapahoe Basin are yet to end their 2018-19 ski seasons, Arapahoe Basin will stay open daily to June 2nd and recently announced it will re-open the following weekend. Meanwhile in California, where four ski areas are still open, there’s a heavy snowstorm dumping down at present.  Mammoth (pictured top and below) reported 20cm of snowfall in…

100% Electric Piste Groomer Unveiled

One of the big factors in the battle to make ski resorts 100% green powered has been the grooming tractors (or ‘piste bashers’). Whilst it is possible to power lifts, snowmaking and almost everything else with renewable electricity, in quite a few cases now actually generated on site with local wind, solar or hydro schemes, sometimes producing much more than the ski area needs and exporting to the grid, the groomers have still needed diesel.  There are somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 groomers working on the world’s ski slopes each evening through the season too. There have been big steps forward in efficiency with attempts to run groomers on bio-diesel, with hybrid engines and diesel electric drives. The introduction of…

Big Snowfalls to Start May in the Alps

There has been up to a metre (40 inches) of new snowfalls reported at still open ski areas in the Alps to start May. Several glaciers in Austria have reported up to 50cm of fresh snow so far over the weekend, and the Presena Glacier in Trentino, Italy, says it has had a metre (40 inches) of fresh snow above 3,000 metres over the past 72 hours.  It is scheduled to stay open for another fortnight. Temperatures have dropped in to double digits below zero and although the snowfall is now expected to ease off, it will remain very cold all week at most ski areas. For most ski areas this meant it was a powder weekend, although as it…

Midnight Sun Skiing and Boarding Season Gets Underway in Sweden

A period that lasts about three weeks for skiing and boarding under the midnight sun is due to get underway at Riksgränsen in the Arctic Circle this weekend. The resort in northern Sweden and known as Europe’s spring skiing capital will run two of its lifts;  Nedre stolliften and Övre stolliften between 10pm and 30 minutes past midnight on Mondays and Fridays during May, so that resort guests can make the most of 24-hour daylight at their northerly latitude. https://www.facebook.com/riksgransen/videos/10159240549865533/ Riksgränsen’s ski season only begins in late February or early March each year as it is so cold and dark there in winter.  It traditionally stayed open through to Midsummers Day in late June but last season there was not…

Only North American Summer-Ski Only Area is Crowd Funding

Beartooth Basin, the only summer-ski only ski area in the US, is crowd-funding to raise much-needed finance to maintain and improve its existing operation. The centre, then known as The Red Lodge International Ski and Snowboard Camp, was originally established in the mid-1960’s by Austrians Pepi Gramshammer, Eric Sailer and Anderl Molterer as an Alpine Ski Racing summer training ground. It aims to open every year from late May to early July with a mission to keep the spirit of skiing alive with two surface lifts atop the iconic 10,000 foot elevation Beartooth Pass, over the Montana/Wyoming border. The centre usually opens when the road is cleared. Since 2003 a younger generation of skiing enthusiasts now open the area to…

Summer Ski Areas Opening Take World’s Deepest Snowbase to 10 Metres (33 Feet)

Two ski areas that open only for spring and summer skiing in the northern hemisphere opened at the weekend, both claiming they have more snow lying on their slopes than the resort that had been open all winter and had previously claimed the current deepest base in the world. Gassan’s famous Tsukiyama Ski Area in northern Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture opened for its 2019 ski season at the weekend, immediately posting the world’s deepest snow depth at 10 metres (33.3 feet). Normally open for 3 months to mid-July, subject to snow conditions, it says it's closed today due to a whiteout. Pictured above and below from Sunday. Meanwhile, Norway’s Folgefonn or ‘Fonna’ glacier also opened for spring and summer skiing at…

The Deepest Bases and the Longest Ski Seasons 2019

The ski season will draw to a close at most of the northern Hemisphere’s ski areas over the next five weekends, although a good selection will stay open later in to May and June, when the southern hemisphere’s 2019 season gets underway. Several ski areas are currently sitting on bases at, or near, 6 metres (20 feet) and they’re open in to May or beyond. Here’s the lowdown*: 636cm / 21.2 feet, Switzerland, Engelberg, open to 26 May. The current world’s deepest base is in Engelberg (pictyured top and above), where it often reaches 5 or 6 metres on the Titlis glacier by the end of the season. There’s still almost two months of snowsports left here for winter 18-19…