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New Red and Black Runs For Courmayeur

Courmayeur by Mont Blanc (or Monte Bianco as it is known on the Italian side) in the Aosta Valley has announced 1.3km of piste which is roughly divided between successive red and black slopes. The new lift is in the resort’s Arp sector which is in the process of being reborn decades after the Apetta ski lift which used to serve the area was dismantled.  A new lift is reported to be now in the works over the next few years, but in the meantime, the new runs will be opening. The Arp sector provides wonderful views of the southern side of Mont Blanc but until this winter only freeriders have been able to ski there, setting off from the…

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…

North American Ski Season Starts on Saturday

A ski resort in Colorado has announced it will open for the 2018-19 ski season on Saturday, 13th October, 2018. The decision by Wolf Creek ski area follows heavy snowfall in Western North America which saw some ski areas report as much as 70cm of snow in 72 hours during the week.  Wold creek says it has had 69cm.  A blue sky day is expected on Saturday, although with temperatures still low. “Wolf Creek received 10 inches in the last 24 hours and 27 inches in 72 hours.  The all-natural settled base is 21 inches at the midway with 27 inches year-to-date this season,” a resort spokesperson said, adding, “Treasure Stoke, Bonanza and Nova lifts will also be operating with…

Where’s Open For Skiing and Boarding in October 2018?

Winter 2018 is coming to an end in the southern hemisphere as October begins but winter 18-19 is beginning to gather pace north of the equator with fresh snow falling on high slopes in many areas last month, snowmaking underway in Colorado and more glaciers opening in the Alps. Here's our round up. Austria Austria has the most ski areas open in the northern hemisphere in October.  The Hintertux, Kaunertal and Pitztal (pictured above) glaciers are all open with the Kitzsteinhorn due to open the first weekend of October and the Dachstein, Stubai and Solden glaciers expected to open soon too - the latter is hosting World Cup races at the end of the month.  The Molltal glacier was open…

World’s Highest 3S Gondola Opens, Coming Next: 540km Ski Area

After around two-and-a-half years’ construction work, the “Matterhorn glacier ride” – the world’s highest 3S cableway – has finally opened as planned above Zermatt, forming a new link between the Trockener Steg mountain station and the “Matterhorn glacier paradise” on the Klein Matterhorn (at 3883 metres above sea level). However the new gondola is just the first stage of a series of fast new lifts which will create an ‘Alpine Bruidge’ between Switzerland and Italy and open up an  expanded ski area with 540km of linked pistes, one of the biggest in the world and potentially THE biggest as some cartographers believe the 3 Valleys, regarded as the biggest with 600km of piste, actually has less than 540km of runs.…

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…

Massive Spring Snowfall Dumps in New Zealand

There have been huge snowfalls to start the week in New Zealand, with ski areas reporting up to 70cm of fresh snow, and snow falling at rates of up to 10cm per hour at the height of the storm. The heavy snow caused logistical and operational issues initially leading many areas on the country’s South Island, which has had most of the snow, to close on Monday and delay opening on Tuesday until access could be made safe. Once they were able to open, conditions were superb. “We want to thank everyone for their patience today while we got the mountain open. Such a heavy fall of snow on top of the spring snow pack meant patrol had a lot…

Some South American Ski Areas End 2018 Season Early

A number of South America’s best-known ski areas have ended their 2018 seasons early due to poor conditions. Although there were some significant snowfalls through winter 2018 in the Andes, they were few and far between, with the famed Andean powder hard to come by for much of the season at most resorts. (Las Lenas reminded its guests that things looked good back before the season even began ion 29th May) The world-famous resort of Portillo in Chile closed at the end of last weekend – it’s base rarely got above 50cm/20 inches all winter. Most other ski areas in Chile including El Colorado and La Parva also closed on September 10th. However some, including Nevados de Chillan (pictured below…

Investigations Continue Following Chamonix Valley Lift Station Fire

A major fire at the cable car mid-station above Argentière in the Chamonix Valley in France has caused serious damage to the two main lifts serving the famous Grands Montets region less than three months before the start of the 2018-19 ski season. The fire began in the early afternoon and spread very quickly throughout all the buildings of the  station.  It broke out during roof repair work being carried out by a specialist sub-contractor, nobody was injured.  However it has caused severe damage to the infrastructures of the two cable-cars above and below the station. “Of the eight cables which equip the two sections of the cable-car, five gave way as a result of the heat generated by the…

CORTINA’S HIDDEN CHARMS

No one would call this your average ski experience – three skiers peeking out of a porthole-like opening in the massive rockface of 2,800m Mount Lagazuoi above Cortina, with a view across some of the most spectacular mountains in Europe. We looked down upon a sprinkling of skiers enjoying the wide, open run beneath us, realising that they could never have guessed they were being observed – which was exactly the point. For the spot where myself, David and Fiona were crouched was an observation post that had been excavated out of the solid limestone peak during the First World War when Italian and German troops fought a two-year battle for control of Passo Falzarego beneath. You can…