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Not long to go now!

It is always an interesting and exciting time of the year. While some areas of Japan are in various stages of enjoying spectacular autumn foliage across the mountains, others are experiencing the first blizzard of the winter season. Over the last week or so many parts of the northern island of Hokkaido and some northern parts of the main island of Honshu have enjoyed the first snowfalls of the season down to base level. And as of today, Monday 18th November, there has been over 30cm of snow in Hirafu village recorded at the base of Niseko. Excellent! November 23rd November 23rd is Labour Thanksgiving Day in Japan and it is a national holiday (either on that day or the…

Autumn is here

At last! Autumn is here, and temperatures have dropped. We can now even say that a handful of ski resorts will be opening ‘next month’. There might even be a bit of snowfall on the mountains in Hokkaido tonight. Look towards the end of the month for some big names to open. As the ski resorts around Japan busily prepare for the 2018-2019 season, I have two main things to introduce to you this time round. Brand new hybrid lift at Ishiuchi There are some very interesting new developments happening at the Ishiuchi Maruyama ski resort Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture. Ishiuchi Maruyama is about 10 minutes from the main station of the perhaps more well-known Yuzawa town, which is less than…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #115

It's less than a week until meteorological summertime in the Southern Hemisphere but one New Zealand ski area, Whakapapa, is still open at weekends for skiing and boarding. Issued: 27 November 2019 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne INTRODUCTION It has been another exceptionally snowy week in the Alps with much of the snowfall coming over the weekend, althou wfall was reported with the southern Alps along the French/Italian border seeing the heaviest snow. Some areas have now had more than 3 metres (10 feet) of snowfall this month with more to come in the final days of November. Along with the snowfall, there were strong winds in many areas, temporarily closing a lot of the resorts that have already opened and…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #114

Issued: 20 November 2019 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne Saas-Fee had access roads closed by record November snowfall a little while ago but now have the world's longest run (9km) and biggest vertical (1,800m) open anywhere so far this season :) INTRODUCTION It has been another fairly sensational week of snowfall in the Alps as more ski areas open for the 19-20 season.The biggest snowfall total fort the past seven days was reported at Cervinia (80/265cm) in Italy which claims it has had 2.2 metres (over seven feet) of snowfall since this time last week. Other areas haven’t had so much but some now far off. Austria’s Pitztal glacier (60/300cm) for example says it has had 1.8 metres (six feet) of…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #113

Free skiing for dads at Lapland's largest ski area, Levi, as Finland celebrated their Father's Day. Less than a fortnight now until the World Cup tour is in town... Issued: 13 November 2019 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne INTRODUCTION: Winter (by the meteorological measure) is now less than three weeks away in the Northern Hemisphere and the 19-20 ski season continues to build on both sides of the Atlantic. There are now more than 50 areas open worldwide, with a fairly even split between Europe and North America. The snowy November conditions have continued in the Alps where a few more big-name resorts, including Gstaad and Verbier, opened at the weekend. The snow kept falling, interspersed with dry, sunny days to…

Biggest Snow Storm of the Autumn so Far Moves in to the Alps and Pyrenees

A large storm system has begun moving up the Western side of Europe, bringing heavy snowfall to the Pyrenees and Western Alps which is expected to continue for the next two to four days. Named ‘Storm Amélie’ in France, where some regions are currently under an amber warning, the storm is expected to deposit anywhere between 50cm (20 inches) and 150cm (five feet) in many mountainous areas, with the heaviest snow forecast above 2,000 metres. Alpe d'Huez in France this morning The snow is being driven in on strong winds in many areas leading a number of the 15+ ski areas already open for the 19-20 ski season in the Alps to close their slopes whilst it blows through. There…

The Second Edition of Probably the Greatest Skiing Book in the World Has Finally Been Published

Back in 2005 ski writer, powder hunter, world traveller and self-titled 'ski bum' Jimmy Petterson published one of the biggest and best ski guide books ever written.  Probably THE best. While Jimmy includes chapters about the classic resorts such as Aspen, Verbier, Chamonix, and the like, he is a true connoisseur of obscure, off-beat, and exotic ski destinations. Skiing Around The World Volume I instead, takes skiers on an exciting and entrancing travelogue through the snow slopes of no less than 47 countries. And whilst the great descents of the famous resorts of the Alps and Rockies are all in there, so, too, are more unusual and often exotic destinations many of us might never think of skiing – Hungary, Albania, Uzbekistan,…

Lake Louise and Winter Park Opening Early, This Weekend

More than twenty ski areas are already open for winter 2019-20 in Europe, North America and Japan but the pace of opening is quickening from November 1st as an increasing number of big name resorts open, some of them several weeks earlier than planned. In Canada and the US the early openings are in part thanks to record-breaking October snow totals in some areas. Steamboat, although it has not yet announced it will open early, has had over 1.5 metres (five feet) of snowfall this month and Keystone (44 inches/110cm), which was one of the first in North America to open a fortnight ago, almost as much. Verbier had announced that it was planning to open this weekend on Saturday…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #111

Banff's ski season start's this Friday at Mt. Norquay. Lake Louise and Sunshine Village to follow a week later. Issued: 30 October 2019 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne Our latest roundup of snow conditions around the world. Each section that follows below goes into detail country by country. Clicking the map thumbnail will take you to our dynamic snow forecast map for the latest detail (where you can also overlay live weather & reported conditions). Weather outlooks for Europe and North America can be found at the end of this roundup. Already skiing in October with the northern lights brilliant overhead? That would be Levi in Finland. INTRODUCTION: The days are getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere and temperatures are dipping…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #110

Looks like Loveland is opening Friday then. Issued: 23 October 2019 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne Our latest roundup of snow conditions around the world. Each section that follows below goes into detail country by country. Clicking the map thumbnail will take you to our dynamic snow forecast map for the latest detail (where you can also overlay live weather & reported conditions). Weather outlooks for Europe and North America can be found at the end of this roundup. INTRODUCTION: The start of the 2019-20 ski season continues to gather pace as more ski areas open in the Northern Hemisphere taking the tally past the 20 mark at the weekend. Among the new openings were Kitzbuhel in Austria, the first area…