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Are Vail Resorts Now The Biggest Ski Resort Operating Company Ever?

The news today that Vail Resorts have bought another 17 ski areas in what must be the largest single ski resorts purchase in history, taking its total count if ski areas now Vail Resorts owned to 37, begs the question is this now the biggest group of ski resorts ever created? The 17 newly added ski areas, previously owned by the Peak Resorts group and sold for around a quarter of a billion dollars, are mostly small to mid-sized urban areas in seven states in the North Eastern USA, include many areas that are the key local hills for major metropolitan centres in the area including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Columbus, St. Louis, Kansas City and…

New Charitable Association Aims to Improve Access For All to Verbier

A new charitable organisation ‘Verbier4All’ has been launched with the aim of working towards providing access to all of the many activities that take place in Verbier and the mountains that surround it. By providing access to the necessary equipment and trained ‘buddies,’ Verbier4All aims to ensure that anyone, regardless of physical or visual deficit, can access the mountains all year round. Verbier4All has already received the backing of Téléverbier which is now actively planning to make its infrastructures more user-­friendly for people with a physical or visual deficit, with some improvements will already be apparent this summer. Verbier4All is the result of a long-­cherished dream of Valérie Vaucher and Annick Meystre. Valérie Vaucher, who has extensive experience of running…

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…

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…

New Gondolas With Saunas in Japan

Japanese ski area Happo One will unveil several grounded gondola cabins designed to be used as saunas later this month. The sauna-gondola-cabins are part of a new ‘Mountain beach’ wellness facility being created 1400 metres above sea level at the Hakuna Valley ski area in the Nagano Olympic Prefecture.  It is set to open on July 26th as a the resort’s latest year round attraction, with the saunas due to remain operational through the winter season too. So far it is unclear whether the saunas are in converted gondola cabins or sauna cabins designed to look like gondola cabins. Sauna above the slopes in Yllas Happo One is not, however, the first ski area to put a sauna in a…

Summer Snow Camp in Quebec

The Quebec ski area of Saint-Sauveur is to stage a five-day summer snowsport camp at the end of June, running into July. Named the AKAMP it will take place from June 28 to July 3, 2019 at the Saint-Sauveur Versant Avila Summit. The snowpark will be open for day sessions from 10am to 4pm and / or for evening sessions from 5pm to 9pm. Packages are currently on sale for day visitors, including coaching; or with overnight accommodation included; or with overnight accommodation and travel. A number of as yet un-named snowsports stars are expected to take part in the camp. Mont Saint Sauveur on 18 May A week ago Saint-Sauveur was one of the last three ski areas still…

More Snow Falling in Southern Hemisphere as 2019 Season 10 Days Away

Excitement is building for skiers and boarders waiting to hit the slopes of Australia, New Zealand, South America and Southern Africa as each area receives news of snowfalls, snow forecasts or snowmaking underway …and in some cases all three.   New Zealand is likely to see the first ski areas open a week on Saturday, June 1st.  Whakapapa will open its Happy Valley snow play area using an all-weathers snowmaking machine and Cardrona ski area has also said they’ll open some terrain. Then the focus switches across the Indian Ocean to the resorts of Afriski (pictured below on 9 May) in Lesotho and Tiffindell in South Africa which are scheduled to open the following week on June 6th and 5th…

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…