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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…

Second French Ski Area Unable To Open For Autumn Glacier Skiing

Les 2 Alpes has cancelled its autumn glacier skiing week due to a lack of snow cover on its glacier, joining Tignes, which has been unable to start operating its autumn glacier skiing, which had been scheduled to start in late September. Les 2 Alpes (library picture above) doesn’t open for the season until December, but for several decades has opened for a special week of snowsports on its glacier, which it says is the largest in the Alps, at the end of October and the start of November. A statement issued by the resort says, “The Security Commission decided that it is impossible to open the glacier to the skiers because of high temperatures and lack of natural snow, as…

When Was The First Ever Snowfall?

It’s long been established that planet earth is about 4.5 billion years old, but an equally important fact for snow lovers has never really been established: when did it first snow? This year a team from the University of Oregon has set to work to try to get an answer to that very question, and their conclusion, the mirror image of the famous answer to the question of life, the universe and everything in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, not 42, but 2.4 billion years ago. The team decided that 2.4 billion years ago was the time when large land masses rose relatively swiftly from the oceans, kick starting the same climate models we have today. Those new…

Tignes Delays Planned 18-19 Season Opening This Weekend Due to Warm Weather

Tignes ski area in France has decided not to open this Saturday 29th September as planned as warm weather through the summer has depleted the snow cover, according to a resort statement issued today. "While last winter's impressive snowfall foreshadowed a serene summer and autumn in terms of ski quality on the Grande Motte glacier, the record temperatures recorded in Europe this summer and in recent weeks have have not spared the altitude ski area of Tignes.” Tignes, which back in the 1990s was open 365 days a year, still has the longest ski season France by some distance and is usually open in October and early November when no other French area is. It still normally endeavours to open…

The World’s Most Northerly Ski Camp

A company part run by a former ski instructor that specialises in building 'world first' experiences that push the boundaries of travel is offering what it believes is the world’s most northerly ski camp this winter. Cookson Adventures has set up the camp from a base on Baffin Island in northern Canada, 70 degrees north within the Arctic Circle. The company’s clients can explore the Arctic Cordillera mountain range via snow-cat or helicopter, skiing some slopes that have never been skied before and getting the opportunity to then name the lines skied themselves. Cookson’s heli-ski base is located among the remote fjords near the small Inuit community of Clyde River, further north than the world’s most northerly ski resort (Riksgränsen…