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Last Weekend of the Californian 2017-18 Ski Season

In 2017 they made it to August after one of the snowiest winters on record, in 2018 the last Californian ski area still operating, Mammoth Mountain, will close for the season at the end of the ski day on Sunday, June 17th.   It’s quite a good result considering the poor winter snowfall in much of western North America, but Mammoth Mountain benefited from a snowy spring and will have clocked up more than 220+ days of skiing and riding by the time it closes its 17/18 winter season on Sunday. In celebration resort staff will be giving away Mammoth Beanies, coffee and pastries at the base of Face Lift Express [Chair 3] at 7:30am while supplies last.  The lifts will…

Ski Areas Open Early in South America After Up To A Metre of Snowfall

Ski areas in Argentina and Chile in the Andes mountains of South America, where the ski season is due to kick off this weekend or the next at most ski areas, are reporting some big pre-season snowfalls. Valle Nevado, one of the world’s newest major ski resorts which will celebrate 30 years in business this season, as reported the biggest totals from the latest snow storms, saying up to 1 metre has fallen there.  It will open tomorrow (Thursday 14th), several days early, thanks to the snow. https://www.facebook.com/vallenevadoskiresort/videos/10155343569810759/   Portillo, meanwhile, reported 28cm overnight and 40cm in the last 48 hours. Another resort opening early in Chile is El Colorado (pictured top and below), which has fully opened for the…

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

The start of June marks the turning of the seasons with meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere, winter beginning in the southern. A low point in ski area numbers open – with less than 20 operational as we enter the month – that’s all about to change over the next few weeks as most of the 100 or so ski areas in the southern hemisphere will be open by the start of July, along with a number of glacier summer ski destinations north of the equator. Southern Hemisphere Most of the leading ski resorts in Argentina, Australia, Chile and New Zealand will be opening in June, the majority on 9th, 16th or 23rd of the month. It’s difficult to know…

Beartooth Basin Delays Opening Due To Too Much Snow

North America’s only ‘summer-only’ ski area, Beartooth Basin, has delayed its 2018 season by a week due to there being too much snow. “We have so much snow! Too much in fact - all this snow has given us a big load of lift maintenance to attend to. We are now planning to open on June 2nd. Thanks for understanding. The good news is that we'll easily be skiing the Basin until mid July!” The ski area, located on the border of Montana and Wyoming, is one of half-a-dozen or so ski areas in the northern hemisphere worldwide that only open during the summer months, either because the roads that access them are closed mountain passes in winter, or because…

Where’s Open For Snowsports in May 2018?

May is one of the quieter months of the world’s snowsports calendar as most of the ski areas in the northern hemisphere close but those in the southern hemisphere haven’t yet opened. That said as we enter May about 50 ski areas (less than 1% of the world total) are still open, and there are even a few areas set to open through the month. But against that about three quarters of these will close through the month leaving only a dozen or so open at the start of June …when the southern hemisphere’s 2018 season will begin to kick off. Europe https://www.facebook.com/valthorens.resort/videos/10156467493617764/   Although a dozen or so ski areas will see it through to May 1st in the…

Japan Update & Focus on Nozawa, Shiga Kogen and Madarao

At the time of writing, it is early April and it is once again feeling colder and there is actually some fresh snow falling on some higher Japanese mountains. This return-to-winter spell is probably going to end up as no more than a quick ‘last blast’ and just a dusting of snow – or perhaps a little more in places if we are lucky… Even so, any fresh snow is very welcome after the somewhat dry March that we just experienced. After a decent-to-great season in terms of snowfall in many of the mountain regions of Japan, March arrived, and it was almost as if a big switch had been turned to the ‘OFF’ setting all of a sudden. Fresh…

Small Swedish Ski Area to Become International Destination Ski Resort

SkiStar, the corporation which runs half-a-dozen of the leading ski areas in Scandinavia, including the biggest, Sweden’s Åre, and also ventured in to the Alps, buying St Johann in Tirol a few winters ago, has said it plans to make the little known Swedish ski area of ‘Hundfjället’ an international destination ski resort in just over 18 months. They’re starting by investing 10 million Euros this summer in the area, with the majority of the investment going on what the company say will be Scandinavia's most modern chairlift, an 8-seater express lift built by Italian company Leitner and designed by Pininfarina who work on Ferrari car design. Hundfjället will also get new ski runs, expanded snow-making facilities and an overhaul…

Japan update and focus on Nagano (Hakuba)

Here we are in March. And for most of Japan, nature seems to have taken that as a clear sign to quickly switch to spring mode. It has been a generally mild and spring-like start to the month along with some nasty rain in lots of places. It might not feel like it right now, but historically March has a habit of delivering some good surprises and can offer some really feel-good conditions on the slopes. At the time of writing its early days yet, so hopefully, we might get some of that this season. Come the end of March and early April, lots of ski hills in Japan will be closing for the season, but a fair number of…

In search of whitegold on the silk road – adventure skiing in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is a country few skiers could spell and fewer still confidently locate on a world map. Once the centre of the world at the heart of the Silk Road and later part of the mighty Soviet bloc, the “Switzerland of Central Asia” (a topographic rather than economic likeness) is bordered by China to the east and a trifecta of fellow ‘Stans- Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan- to the north, south and west. The vast peaks of the Tien Shan and Pamir mountain ranges dominate three-quarters of the country. Once popular with holidaying Russians, the fall of the Soviet Union decimated its tourism industry. But, thanks to its considerable natural attributes and an increasing number of enterprising local and international operators,…

The Italian Drop

Bruce Pope explores the vast terrain of the Monterosa region and experiences heliskiing for the very first time Crouched in the snow, I try to keep my excitement in check as the ‘WHUP-WHUP-WHUP’ sound of the approaching helicopter echoes up the valley towards me. I’ve never been in a helicopter before, but in a couple of minutes, I’ll be whisked between the mountain peaks of the Monte Rosa massif for my introduction to heliskiing. In my head, I run through the instructions I’ve been given by our mountain guide, Roberto Valzer: “Keep low, protect your eyes from the downwash, wait until called forward, be careful climbing aboard, follow the pilot’s instructions. “And leave room for me!” he adds, with a twinkle…