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Norwegian Ski Area Hits 15.9 Metre (53 Feet) Base After Metre of May Snowfall

A Norwegian glacier ski area reports that its base has grown to 15.9 metres (53 feet) after a mid-May weekend of blizzards. Glacier ski areas in the region reported up to a metre of snow in 48 hours, leading two to delay  planned season start dates. The Fonna glacier (pictured top this afternoon) opened for its 2020 season a few weeks ago after Norway eased its lockdown rules having posted remarkable pictures of diggers tunneling through deep snow for several months to reach the area, then dig out the buried lifts. The weekend blizzards, which closed the centre, brought a further metre (40 inches) of snow and whilst conditions cleared on Monday, the area remained closed whilst lifts were dug…

No Limit To Numbers on the Mountain in New Zealand, But Later Start and Reduced Operations

In further good news for the 2020 ski season in New Zealand, which is due to start in just over a fortnight, an agreement between the country’s ski areas and government means there’ll be no limit on the number of people allowed on the mountain. The news came after the country moved to a loosened ‘Level 2’ lockdown earlier this week allowing many small businesses to re-open, but there had been a concern in the country’s ski resorts that an ongoing limit on the number of people who could be in one place at the same time would make in impractical for ski areas to operate. But the ski areas have agreed specific guidelines for operations this winter, including managing…

Several US Ski Areas Re-Opening – Lift Tickets Sell Out Fast

Several US ski areas in the state of Oregon are re-opening after the state’s governor signed an executive order allowing them to do so. However one immediately sold out of lift tickets – which must be bought online in advance, the other is only allowing existing season pass holders on its slopes. Timberline is open from today (15th May) although it sold-out of lift tickets for today within an hour of them going on sale.  The centre, on Mt Hood, has North America’s longest ski season, running almost year round from early-autumn through to later-summer the following year, subject to snow conditions. A second Oregon area, Mt Bachelor, has also announced it is re-opening, for nine days, from Saturday 16th…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #139

Issued: 13 May 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American Roundup European Roundup Asia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW Hotham Resort this week. There’s been more snowfall reported in Australia, New Zealand and a few other southern hemisphere ski nations over the last seven days although not so much as the previous week Temperatures seem to be on the downward trajectory, as they should be for an approaching winter. But with the start of the season less than a month away for many areas, there's increasing concern about a lack of clarity as to what will be able to open due to the virus pandemic, although restrictions are being gradually eased in most ski nations. It's not yet clear if the…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #138

Issued: 6 May 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW This week in Hotham Resort The biggest news of this week south of the Equator is probably the huge snowfalls in Australia in the run-up to last weekend. Most ski areas in the country got at least 50cm (20 inches) of fresh snowfall about six weeks before the season is due to begin there, some as much as a metre (4 inches) over about 48 hours. It has warmed up since but more snow is forecast. There’s also been snowfall reported in southern Africa again in the past week as well as New Zealand.Of course, all areas are looking at whether they will be…

Norway Glacier Area Opens With Nearly 15 Metre (49 Foot) Base

The Fonna Glacier late spring/summer ski area has opened for its 2020 season in Norway. The centre is reporting an exceptional 14.9 metre (49 feet) depth of snow on its upper slopes, with only slightly less at the bottom of the runs. It took well over a month for diggers to dig out the access road to the centre. A few weeks ago there was a concern whether Norway’s three summer ski areas would be able to open due to the pandemic, but the country has begun easing its lockdown and has allowed smaller ski areas to re-open if agreed by their local authorities. At least half-a-dozen smaller centres have re-opened for domestic skiers based locally.  They have strict virus-spread-risk…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #137

Issued: 29 April 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup This week in Africa. (Afriski) SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW There have been positive signs, with regard to the coming ski season, throughout the Southern Hemisphere. In the past few days snow has fallen and areas may be able to open for winter 2020 as lockdown rules are eased. In terms of snowfall, New Zealand areas posted reports of some snow up high last week and some centres in Chile reported their first pre-season snow of 2020.Afriski, in Lesotho, which is due to open (pandemic permitting) in a little over a month, reported its second significant pre-season snowfall of 2020 on Tuesday.In Australia, it is turning wintery with rainfall…

Norwegian Ski Centres Sell Out of Lift Tickets as More Re-Open

At least half-a-dozen smaller Norwegian ski areas have re-opened in the past five days and the move is proving popular with the country’s skiers and snowboarders. In order to re-open under the country’s slightly-eased lockdown rules there are various social-distancing measures in place, most indoor facilities are closed, skiers need to wear masks and gloves at all times and ski areas are selling limited numbers of day passes in advance. This has led to all ski tickets selling out in advance in some cases. For example Roldal announced on Friday it had sold out of passes for Saturday. This could be a vision of things to come when ski areas re-open more widely next autumn. The ski areas so far…

Austria and Norway Move Towards Re-Opening Ski Areas, US Resort Re-Opens Too

Austria and Norway are leading the way towards carefully re-opening ski centres as countries that have not been so badly hit by the COVID-19 epidemic as some others examine ways to ease out of their lockdowns as safely as possible. Norway is allowing small centres to re-open if approved by their local municipalities, which has happened in a few cases where centres still have enough snow left.  Strict social-distancing and other initiatives to minimise any risk of operations leading to the spread of disease are in place. The country has three glacier areas and one of these, Fonna, has reported it will open for its 2020 season on May 1st. In Austria, although there is as yet no announcement of…

The 2020 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism Published

The 12th edition of the only fully credible report into the worldwide mountain sports business has been published. The annual International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism compiled for more than a decade now by industry expert Laurent Vanat, appears at a time when the global ski industry has never been so badly hit as it is by the current pandemic. However the report’s focus is on the results of winter 2018-19, which Mr Vanat says results show was, “…the best ski season of the millennium so far!” “It is a pleasure to see that despite adverse conditions the ski industry is facing, with climate change, increasing competition and the demographics, it still has the potential to see growth for…