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More Western North American Ski Areas To Go Fully Renewable Energy Powered

More ski resorts in Western North America are moving to be 100% green energy powered with solar the next big target. Some resorts like Whistler Blackcomb – which runs its own on-site hydro-electric system – and Aspen Snowmass - which has invested in a company that captures waste methane vented from a nearby coal mine to generate carbon negative electricity and produces as much energy from that process as the ski centre uses annually AND at the same time also destroys methane, eliminating three times the carbon pollution created by the resort each year – are already 100% green energy powered by some measures, but others are looking to join them. Another of the region’s big ski areas, Squaw Valley…

How Much Snow Is There in the World?

NASA is reported to have launched a multi-year project to try to accurately measure how much snow cover the world has at any one time, and particularly how much water content there is held in that snow. Winter snow cover in the northern hemisphere is known to extend to over 46,000,000 square kilometres or just under a third of the Earth’s land area each year but scientists are keen to more accurately measure just how much snow there is at any one time – particularly is water content. In some areas snow is a critical water source and its volume can have both positive and negative  effects, supporting agriculture, recreation, and other aspects of local economies, but too much of…

Riksgransen Cancels Midsummer Skiing

Riksgransen ski area in Northern Sweden has cancelled its annual midsummer ski in late June and will close for the season this Sunday, May 27th, not making it in to June. The resort which has a long standing reputation as Europe’s spring skiing capital is located 200km north of the Arctic Circle and on the Norwegian border has been a ski destination for about a century, since the railway line arrived here. Riksgransen is located in an area of 24 hour darkness in midwinter and does not open for its ski season until late February each year, normally ending a four month ski season with a sell-out midsummer ski festival in late June. This year however the snow cover has…

Val d’Isère To Re-open Winter runs in Summer After Huge 17-18 Season Snowfalls

Despite the huge snowfalls in the Alps at the start of this year that led to resorts like Zermatt and Val d'Isère having to go in to lock down for periods in January, very few resorts have decided to extend their ski seasons much, if at all, in the Alps. In contrast to North America where late season snow allowed dozens of resorts including Mont Sutton, Sugarbush and Winter Park to announce extended seasons in to May, resorts in the Alps have been closing for the season even with the snow still lying 5 metres deep. However, one exception has come to light this week. Although the winter skiing season will come to an end in just a few days’…

Exceptional Snow Depths on Alpine Glaciers

Snow depths in the Alps are at historic highs after more heavy snowfall over the past 10 days on top of already deep accumulations built up through one of the snowiest winters this century.  Probably THE snowiest this century in many areas. Engelberg (below) in Switzerland’s Titlis glacier is reporting a 7.4m (nearly 25 feet) base after almost 1.5m (five feet) of snowfall there in the last week of March.  It’s the deepest base in the world at present and believed to be the first time  ski area in the Alps has posted a 7m+ snow depth for many years.  It’s open for snowsports until mid-May. In Austria the Dachstein Glacier (below) has gone past the 6m (20 feet) base…

‘Warm Snow’ Falling in Colorado

A new study claims that it snows in Colorado at temperatures so warm the precipitation would fall as rain elsewhere. The research published by a team from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado actually finds that Colorado gets snowfall at some of the warmest temperature on the planet, with snow falling even when temperatures are approaching 4 degrees Celcius. Keith Jennings, a graduate researcher and lead author of the study, said his team was surprised to find that freezing point at zero degrees Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit was not the key factor in whether precipitation fell as rain or snow, but more where the precipitation was falling. For snow to form naturally in…

Ski Slopes Turn Orange in Eastern Europe

We’re used to green, blue, red and black slopes in skiing, but orange? This time it’s not a grading of a ski run either, but the colour the snow has turned across a large swathe of mountainous regions in Eastern Europe. Orange-tinted snow has been falling across Georgia, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries with ski areas in eastern Europe. The orange snow has become a tourist attraction in its own right at the 2014 Winter Olympic venue of Sochi in Russia Weather experts report that the unusual phenomenon is the result of sand and dust stirred up and carried into the atmosphere from the Middle East and/or North Africa hitting colder air in Eastern Europe after travelling east and…

Big Snowfalls for the Start of Spring in the USA

After a largely quiet February for snowfall in most of North America, March and the start of  meteorological spring, has seen some big snowfalls on both the West and East coasts of the US. The snow is welcome on both coasts – in Califiornia because they’re still battling from low snowfall totals and warm weather through much of the season to date, in the east because temperatures had been unseasonably warm and some more southerly areas had been forced to close for the season early.  Here precipitation was expected to fall as rain at most areas but has fallen as snow at many resorts in Vermont and New York State, where swain ski centre reported 20 inches/51cm of snow overnight.…

Dutch University Study Finds Increasing Irrigation May Lead to Glacier Growth

Climate change is causing most of the world’s glaciers to slowly melt away. Some glaciers and once permanent ice fields have already lost 80 or 90% of their mass compared to their size in the middle of the last century, others, for example the snowfield that was home to the world’s former highest ski lift at Chacaltaya in Bolivia, have already melted away completely. Glaciers that are home to the only snowfields in a dozen or so countries in Africa and Asia look set to have disappeared by the middle of this century, or sooner. But not all glaciers have been shrinking.  A small percentage appear to have actually increased their mass and now a team from Utrecht University in…

Climbers Make First Winter Summit of Highest Peak in Polar Arctic

Two climbers have successfully completed an ascent of Gora Pobeda (Pik Pobeda), the highest mountain in Siberia, in the Polar Arctic Circle, the coldest inhabited place on earth. Tamara Lunger and Simone Moro successfully reached the mountain’s 3003m summit on Sunday, 11th February at 3.37pm then returned to their base within a total time of 11 hours, covering 27.3km and 2047m of elevation gain whilst avoiding the need to camp out in the extreme conditions. Had they fallen, a rescue would have been impossible. “It snowed all day long, but luckily there was good visibility. It was cold but thankfully cloud cover was in our favor, warding off the extreme temperatures. Low wind and -30/35 is what we can realistically…