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World’s Largest Ski Resort Operator Announces Limits on Skier Numbers on Their Slopes

Vail Resorts, which operates more than 40 ski areas in the USA, Australia, Canada and Switzerland, say they’ll be limited the number of people allowed on the slopes at each of their North American resorts every day of the coming ski season. “Lift tickets will be limited every day, across every resort, during the 2022/23 season in order to preserve the guest experience at each resort,” a company statement explains. Limiting guest numbers is not new, resorts like Lech in Austria have done so for decades to preserve the quality of the experience, while all ski areas have safety limits on skier numbers too. “Guests planning to visit this winter – whether one day or every day – are encouraged…

China’s Ski Resort Building Boom Slows But Skier Numbers Grow

The 2022 edition of the China Ski Industry White Book has been published – updating the statistics available on skiing in the country as of the end of the 21-22 season, which included the Olympic and Paralympic period in February this year. China has seen a meteoric rise in the number of ski areas operating across the country from just a handful at the turn of the century to reaching over 700 in 2020.  This gives them currently the most ski areas in the world numerically – although many are small, simple centres with just one or two carpet lifts and a snowmaking machine. The new China Ski Industry White Book, authored by long-time China ski industry expert Wu Bin,…

2022 Ski Season Underway in South America

Most of the leading ski areas in Argentina and Chile have opened for the 2022 season. For some it is their first operations since 2019.  It is also the first time in three years that skiers from around the world can head back to the Andes. Various restrictions remain in place, but it is possible at least to travel so long as you meet the criteria – now largely focused on ensuring you have adequate medical insurance to cover repatriation if required. Conditions at most areas are good after up to a metre (40”) of snowfall in June and generally low temperatures this month. Portillo in Chile opened a week early after big snowfalls there. The centre just managed to…

New Zealand Hit by Huge Snowstorm as 2022 Season Starts

New Zealand’s 2022 season was due to start last Friday at Mt Hutt but that has been delayed due to a huge storm hitting the area over the weekend. There also hadn’t been a lot of natural snowfall or cold weather for snowmaking until the storm began last Tuesday. But now, with up to 1.2m (four feet) of snow lying and three metre (10 feet) drifts left by the storm, resort managers and marketing staff are describing conditions as “epic” and “Perhaps the greatest opening conditions ever”. Cardrona, scheduled to open on Saturday, did so as the storm was still building, with just beginner terrain.  It was forced to close again Sunday as the storm intensified. Cardrona said then it…

Australian Area Opening For Winter 22 Early, This Weekend

A huge snowstorm currently hitting Australia has led the country’s largest ski area, Perisher, to announce it will open a week earlier than planned, this coming weekend. With perfect timing for the start of the 2022 ski season, the storm has already brought more than 30cm (a foot) of snowfall to Perisher’s slopes and another end of the week.  Other Australian ski areas are reporting similar accumulations with Mt Buller describing the storm as, “A ripper start to the season.” The resort has announced that the Perisher Front Valley slopes served by the Village 8 Express chairlift, Mitchell T-Bar and Carpet #4 will be open and that lifts will begin loading at 8:30am. “Early season protocols are in place: Early…

Australian Ski Resorts Start Snowmaking as Snow Falls Before 2022 Season Starts

There’s excitement in Australia as cold temperatures have led to the first dustings of snow on ski slopes in Victoria and New South Wales.  The country’s 2022 ski season is just over a month away, all being well. The country’s largest ski resort, Perisher, is reported to have fired up their snow guns to make snow on top of the light natural falls. Most Australian ski areas start their seasons in early June every year, coinciding with the Queen’s Birthday holiday long weekend in the country. They open whether there’s snow or not, although the arrival of all-weather snowmaking systems mean that several have some snow cover regardless of natural conditions. Hotham 4.5.22 Recent seasons before the pandemic also saw…

Ruka, Open to May 8th, Posts Record Skier Numbers

The 21-22 ski season which began nearly seven months ago at Ruka in Finland is not yet over, but the resort has already set an all-time record of ski days recorded passing the half-million for the first time in its history. The new historic half a million ski days was exceeded in sunny spring weather on Friday 22 April, with more than a fortnight of the season there left to run. The winter season started in Ruka on October 8th last year and will continue to May 8th for a seven month/ 213 day total – one of the world’s longest for a non-glacier ski area.  “Winter has been really successful due to the snow situation and the weather, and…

French 21-22 Season Business Above Pre-Covid Season Average

France has seen a return to pre-covid business levels at its ski resorts this past winter, and in fact is reporting numbers above the average for the winters prior to the first impacted by the pandemic, 2019-20. The good results come despite ongoing covid restrictions, particularly in the first half of the season, and the fact that travel from the key oversea ski market of the UK was banned over the peak Christmas/New Year period due to the Omicron surge at the time. “The season is good, with 4% more skier-days compared to the average for the last three seasons, before Covid-19,” Alexandre Maulin, president of Domaines skiables de France, told French newspaper Le Monde. The figures cover the period…

International Report Finds 20/21 Season Worst of 21st Century For Skier Numbers

This 14th edition of the global ski industry’s main ski trends and stats has just been published, and, unsurprisingly, reports that skier visit numbers worldwide in winter 2020-21 were the worst this century, beating the previous worst, the season before, curtailed as it was by the start of the pandemic. The 14th edition of expert consultant Larent Vanat’s annual International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism 2022 was unveiled at the opening conference of Mountain Planet International Exhibition in Grenoble. Vanat noted that although only six countries of the 68 ski countries included in the report were in full lockdown throughout winter 20-21, the global total dropped to 201.2 million skier visits, down by more than a third from the…

Spring Terrain Park Shaped Daily Until June in Austria

Betterpark Hintertux on the Hintertux glacier in the Austrian Tirol is launching its annual Spring Park Sessions from Saturday, April 23rd onwards. The park, 3,200m up on the glacier, will be shaped daily until June 6th so that the freestyle can enjoy the best conditions for all riders, who haven’t had enough of winter yet. “The park is calling, with good snow conditions at the glacier right now,” a Hintertux spokesperson said. The park is built and maintain by Wille Kaufmann from betterparks.at who has worked on the park for 18 years and whose mission has always been to build parks, where everyone feels welcome with features for every riding-level. There’s something for everyone from first-timers enjoying their first freestyle-experiences…

Ogiwara’s Backside 2160 Caps Off Unforgettable Week at The Nines in Crans Montana

Sixteen-year-old Japanese snowboarder Hiroto Ogiwara landed the world's first backside 2160 to cap off a breathtaking week of freestyle ski and snowboard action in Crans-Montana, Switzerland at The Nines progression session. Crans-Montana was the location for the 30th edition of the action sports series The Nines and the newly-designed course quickly became a breeding ground for world-first trickery, massive sends and viral moments. Matej Svancer performs at The Nines in Crans-Montana, Switzerland on April 5th, 2022. Pic Credit: The Nines / Red Bull Content Pool This year's edition included a massive big-air jump with additional bowl features, a mushroom-shaped obstacle called "The Sphere" and an innovative "Downward Spiral" inspired by skateboarding. Ogiwara's historic trick was one of many memorable moments…

South America’s Biggest Ski Centre Adding Lifts and Runs for 2022

Argentina’s Catedral Alta Patagonia ski area near Bariloche is working to install a new quad chairlift  and create new slopes ahead of the 2022 season start in just under three months’ time. It has already been snowing there over the past week though, with autumn just getting started. The new lift and runs are the latest part of a modernisation master plan announced in 2020 as the ski centre, which has the most ski lifts on the continent, celebrated 80 years of operations. The plans also include snowmaking upgrades a remote avalanche triggering system. The new French-built POMA quad chairlift is being erected in the resort’s "Connection" sector climbing up to 1,900 metres above sea level with an uplift capacity…