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Avalanche Danger Reaches Maximum Level 5 in Parts of Austria

The avalanche danger level has been moved up to the maximum level 5 in several provinces of northern Austria today after several days when safety services were thought likely to make the move. Some ski areas in Austria, Eastern Switzerland, southern Germany and Slovakia have had 3 metres (10 feet) of snow in the past week and the amount of snow falling has intensified again. The snow has also been falling accompanied by winds reaching at times 100kph in places, increasing the instability of the snow pack. The Austrian regions where the danger level has been raised to level 5 (“extreme: black”) risk are Salzburgerland, Oberösterreich (Upper Austria) and Steiermark (Styria). The description for this is: “The snowpack is generally…

More Huge Snowfalls in BC as Kicking Horse Opens New Terrain

A second wave of massive snowfalls in the Pacific northwest region of Canada is seeing powder conditions across the province of British Columbia and in to Western Alberta. Totals for the first three days of 2019 include 45cm (18 inches) at Whistler, 39cm at Fernie (pictured top, image by Jordan Vlasschaert from Shred Kelly) and 28cm at Lake Louise. Revelstoke Mountain Resort , (pictured below yesterday) which usually is in the world’s top dozen for snowfall totals by the end of the ski season, passed through the 6 metres (20 feet) snowfall-to-date-this-season figure with 29cm in the last 24 hours taking it to 619cm so far. Forecasting models are showing more of the same with potentially up to 70cm more for Big White…

French Resort Using Three Green Technologies To Cover 30% of Energy Needs

The largest ski resort in the Southern Alps, Serre-Chevalier in France, has announced it will be meeting 30% of its energy needs by 2021 using a combination of green energy sources. Work on the project that will mean hydroelectric, photovoltaic and micro-wind turbine electricity will all be generated in the Vallée, is now underway. The resort will generate the energy in a €3.6m project that will create solar power from Serre Chevalier’s average 2,500 hours of sunshine per year, hydro power from its snowmaking water system and wind power from its exposed high-altitude passes. Altogether this provides a multiple natural resource capable of producing nearly a third of the total consumption of electricity (4.5 gigawatt hours out of a total…

Highest Resolution Photograph Yet Created Shows Mont Blanc in Incredible Detail

A remarkable new photograph is reputed to be the most detailed ever created. The incredible 46 terabytes image (that’s 46,000 gigabytes) depicts Western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, which has the ski towns of Chamonix below it on the French side, and Courmayeur over the border on the Italian side (where it is Monte Bianco). The image was created over several months with a team of photographers working to create the picture at the highest resolution yet achieved – a resolution of 365 gigapixels (365,000 megapixels!). Working in often difficult conditions, 3,500 metres up, more than 70,000 individual shots were required to create the massive image. “How to celebrate Her Majesty the Mont Blanc? We just wished to represent it…

Les Arcs Invites Ski Tourers to Test The Snow a Week Before Opening

Les Arcs , which will celebrate its 50th season this winter, has announced that it will be opening for one day only a week ahead of its main season opening date of December 15th – but in a novel move it will open the ski area to ski tourers only, and not turn on the ski lifts. The special one day opening on Saturday 8th December has been christened ‘La Belle Aventure’ by the famous French ski resort and will be free of charge to participate in, with all ability levels welcomed. Skiers will gather from 9am on the day in Arc 2000, then from 10am in groups accompanied by mountain guides, steadily go up to either the Igloo Village or…

Zermatt Opening Over 90km of Runs this Weekend, and New 3S Lift with Solar Power Plant

The combined Zermatt-Cervinia ski area will have the biggest ski area in the world open this weekend with more than 90km of runs accessible on the Swiss and Italian side of the border surrounding Europe’s highest ski lifts. Zermatt will also be running it’s new 3S gondola up to the Klein Matterhorn which has been operating daily since 1st November having taken there years to build during 100-day summer construction weather windows at its high altitude around 3,800 metres above sea level. The new lift, which will run alongside the existing cable car, has won attention for lots of features including some cabins with glass floors and others encrusted with Swarovski crystals, but it is also a very environmentally friendly…

Vail Resorts To Cover Its Entire Group Energy Use By Wind Power

One of the world’s largest ski resort operators, Vail Resorts, have announced investment in wind power which will ensure enough wind generated energy to offset 100% of the power needs of its 17 Canadian and US ski resorts by 2020. The agreement with Lincoln Clean Energy will produce enough wind energy to reduce the emissions associated with Vail Resorts’ estimated North American electricity use by 100 percent, which includes all of the company's 17 Canadian and US resorts and their associated retail, hospitality, and corporate offices. The company has announced a multimillion-dollar long-term wind energy contract with Lincoln Clean Energy which, among other things, will enable the development of the Plum Creek Wind Project, which is expected to be completed…

Eco Heroes

The snowsports holidays we all love can sometimes be tough on the environment. But in every part of the industry, passionate pioneers are working hard to give them a sustainable future. Rupert Mellor goes out to investigate who the leaders of the eco movement are in the winter sports industry and discovers just a few of the initiatives of athletes, resorts and brands who are going that one step further to help our planet out. ACTIVISM For Gretchen Bleiler, US Olympic medallist and four times X Games champion snowboarder, days of rain and a melting halfpipe at 2006’s FIS World Cup in Saas-Fee, Switzerland were a wake-up call. ‘I’d seen Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth that year, and now…

11 Year-Old is Next Big Name in Freeride Skiing

An 11-year-old extreme skier from Wyoming is reported to be taking the world of extreme skiing by storm. Kai Jones, who comes from the town of Victor in Idaho, but skis at Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee resorts in Wyoming as a member of TVSEF/Grand Targhee Freeride. Here he is reported to be skiing everything from the infamous Corbet’s Couloir to tackling the rarely attempted Central Couloir. Kai is described as, “an exceptionally well spoken regular 11 year-old kid who happens to be a prodigy on skis,” by his PR team, who add, “Kai is skiing extreme lines at the infamous Jackson Hole Mountain Resort that most adults won’t even consider.” Kai, who has already been sponsored by Atomic, Teton…

Unprecedented Numbers of US Resorts Open Early For Season

An unusually high number of ski areas in the US have opened already for the 2018-19 ski season, with more planning to open this weekend, whilst it's still October. Last winter only Arapahoe Basin and the near-year-round snowfield above Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood in Oregon were open before November and there's are rarely more than two or three areas open before Halloween in any year. This October however has seen unusually big pre-season snowfalls, particularly in states like Colorado and Utah; as well as consistent cold weather for snowmaking. Wolf Creek in Colorado (above) opened first, the weekend before last, and it was joined by Arapahoe Basin and Loveland last weekend. But ski areas on the US East coast…