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Technique / Safety

Exceptional Snow Depths on Alpine Glaciers

Snow depths in the Alps are at historic highs after more heavy snowfall over the past 10 days on top of already deep accumulations built up through one of the snowiest winters this century.  Probably THE snowiest this century in many areas. Engelberg (below) in Switzerland’s Titlis glacier is reporting a 7.4m (nearly 25 feet) base after almost 1.5m (five feet) of snowfall there in the last week of March.  It’s the deepest base in the world at present and believed to be the first time  ski area in the Alps has posted a 7m+ snow depth for many years.  It’s open for snowsports until mid-May. In Austria the Dachstein Glacier (below) has gone past the 6m (20 feet) base…

World’s Most Advanced Chairlift Yet Coming to Montana

What is believed to be the most advanced chairlift yet built will be installed at the Montana ski resort of Big Sky this summer and be operational for winter 2018-19. The new lift, which will also be the first eight-seater chairlift to be installed in North America will feature a host of hi-tec functions, some of them visible to users, others to the lift’s operators. The next generation Doppelmayr D-Line chairlift will provide feature the signature Big Sky blue bubble covers for added warmth and seats that are heated, form-fitting and wider than any ever made, providing what Doppelmayr say will be the most comfortable chairlift ride yet conceived. Other features include an integrated 30’ x 10’ high resolution LED…

Location, Location, Location’s Phil Spencer Amongst Team Raising Over £1m For Charity in Gruelling Ski Touring Challenge

A charity fund-raising ski expedition in Switzerland which took place over four days at the end of February to raise funds for research into paediatric brain tumours looks set to raise over £1 million. Along with 30 other intrepid challengers, Phil Spencer, the Channel 4 presenter of Location, Location, Location and Love it or List It joined the charity’s epic ski tour in Verbier, ski-touring a gruelling total of 8,848 metres uphill, the height of Everest.  “It was a personal Everest for everyone. It was simply incredible and something I would never have thought I would have been able to achieve. It was the epic challenge of my life!” Phil said after completing the challenge. Teams ski tour the height…

Chairlift Operator Blamed For Georgia’s Ski-Lift-Going-Backwards Accident That Went Viral

The operator of a fixed-grip chairlift which went in to revere at apparently high speed, flinging skiers on the lift of backwards with centrifugal force, has been blamed for the accident. Video of the accident on March 16th went viral and news media outlets all over the world broadcast footage of the incident, causing the Georgian government to launch a major damage imitation exercise to try to salvage the reputation of the Gudauri ski area which has seen major investment in recent years in an attempt to build its status as an international destination resort. The Georgian government employed an organisation called ‘Bureau Veritas’ to look in to the accident, describing them as international safety experts. The Bureau Veritas report…

Education for off-piste skiing & snowboarding

Thinking about heading off-piste? If so, then training is essential – even if you hire a qualified mountain guide or off-piste instructor, understanding the terrain, conditions and how to avoid getting caught in avalanches means you can self-manage and stay safer. If the unthinkable happens and one of your group is buried in the snow, then understanding how to find them quickly, with the right equipment, can seriously extend the chances of survival. Here’s our pick of some of the best courses and organisations that provide training for skiers and snowboarders in off-piste mountain safety: 1. ISTA – International Snow Training Academy Set up by legendary freeride skier, Dominique Perret in 2016, ISTA is an organisation dedicated to training recreational…

Big Snowfalls for the Start of Spring in the USA

After a largely quiet February for snowfall in most of North America, March and the start of  meteorological spring, has seen some big snowfalls on both the West and East coasts of the US. The snow is welcome on both coasts – in Califiornia because they’re still battling from low snowfall totals and warm weather through much of the season to date, in the east because temperatures had been unseasonably warm and some more southerly areas had been forced to close for the season early.  Here precipitation was expected to fall as rain at most areas but has fallen as snow at many resorts in Vermont and New York State, where swain ski centre reported 20 inches/51cm of snow overnight.…

World Record Broken for Speed on a Snowboard

Britain’s Jamie Barrow has broken his own world record for speed on a snowboard. Barrow hit 149.65 km/h (92.99mph) being towed behind a Maserati Levante SUV car on his snowboard on frozen Lake St. Moritz on Monday, 19 February. Barrow broke his own record of 99.87 kilometres per hour which he had set almost exactly two years previously at the same location. This time however the snow was less sticky and his course longer. https://www.facebook.com/barrowboarder/videos/1693783640672213/   Barrow, who has dual Swiss citizenship, has made his name in recent years getting faster and faster on a board, but usually travelling horizontally, often being towed behind a car or even a plane, across a frozen lake, usually in St Moritz.  On one…

Climbers Make First Winter Summit of Highest Peak in Polar Arctic

Two climbers have successfully completed an ascent of Gora Pobeda (Pik Pobeda), the highest mountain in Siberia, in the Polar Arctic Circle, the coldest inhabited place on earth. Tamara Lunger and Simone Moro successfully reached the mountain’s 3003m summit on Sunday, 11th February at 3.37pm then returned to their base within a total time of 11 hours, covering 27.3km and 2047m of elevation gain whilst avoiding the need to camp out in the extreme conditions. Had they fallen, a rescue would have been impossible. “It snowed all day long, but luckily there was good visibility. It was cold but thankfully cloud cover was in our favor, warding off the extreme temperatures. Low wind and -30/35 is what we can realistically…

The Weather Extremes of PyeongChang

It was clear as the Olympics got underway on February 8th that Pyeongchang was going to set records for the coldest recorded Games, but initially it wasn’t clear quite how many different ways this would impact on the competitions.  The wind was not immediately factored in to our thinking either but as soon as events started being cancelled due to the wind, rather than the fact that team coaches were reporting skis warping after one run due to the cold, it became clear that was a factor too. (The presence of a wind farm at the Alpensia Olympic ski venue shows that wind is not unusual here) The “PyeongChang Gust” Strong, gusting winds were the main issue for the first…

The Skier Climbing Everest To Raise Funds for Snow-Camp and Protect Our Winters

On the 1st April 2018, professional chef, Dave White, whose day job is that of a professional chef on a super yacht, will be boarding a plane from London to Kathmandu in Nepal to take on a life changing expedition, attempting to summit the North Col of Mt Everest. Why? Well apart from wishing to challenge himself, Dave will be raising funds for snowsports charity  Snow-Camp, the snowsports youth charity dedicated to changing the lives of inner-city young people with snowsports. He is also going to be raising money for POW UK (ProtectOurWinters) as well as documenting the changes in the Himalayas on my journey to raise awareness about climate change . “Being on mountains has become a big part…

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