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The World’s Biggest Season-End ‘Pond Skimming’ Contest

The concept of the end-of-season meltwater pond skimming competition is long-established and has spread to ski areas around the world. The world’s oldest, The Slush Cup, at Sunshine ski area near Banff in Canada (below) will take place on Monday, May 20th – it will be the 91st. But one French resort takes the ‘skiing/boarding down a snowy slope and then seeing how far you can get across a pool of water’ to another level. La Clusaz in the Aravis mountains near Lake Annecy stage their Défi Foly contest, not on a pool of meltwater, but on the local Lake Confins with competitors seeing how far they can get across it before they sink. The hope is that one day…

Top of Grands Montets Ski Area Only Accessible to Ski Tourers For Next 3 Years

A new lift to the top of the Grands Montets Ski Area in the Chamonix Valley is at least three years from completion, according to the boss of the Compagnie du Mont Blanc lift company which is responsible for managing the ski area. Speaking six months after a fire destroyed the recently renovated Lognan Cable Car mid-station, destroying lift access above and below the station, Mathieu Dechavanne said that the company was looking at multiple options including repairing the existing old cable cars, or building all new lifts, possibly on a new route. Mr Dechavanne said there would be no fast decisions and said he thought it would be at least three years before the old lift was working again…

Who turned the tap off?

This is how I ended my last piece as we were approaching the middle of February: “Once we get towards the end of February various signs of early spring start to appear, even in the mountainous regions. I always try to ignore them at first but come March it gets more difficult to, and people start talking about spring skiing. More on that next time. Here’s to the second part of the Japan winter season!” Soon after that was written, the fresh snow supply to Japan dried up. At first, we all believed that it was going to be a short-term blip - just some of those early signs of spring that I mentioned last time. Surely, we’d be getting…

Now More Ski Areas and Snowdomes in China Than Any Other Country

China now has 742 ski areas, according to Wu Bin, author of the country’s annual ‘White book.’ Depending on how you determine what constitutes a ‘ski area’, this may be the most of any country in the world. However what constitutes a ski area in China is different to most other countries. The vast majority of these areas are fairly flat centres the size of a football field with one or two conveyor lifts and a few snowmaking machines.     There are only 149 chairlifts in the country and most of these are located at a small number of larger destination areas. Despite the ongoing political drive to grow winter sports ahead of hosting the next Winter Olympics in 2022,…

North America Overtakes Europe for World’s Deepest 2019 Snow Base

North American ski resort Squaw Valley in California (pictured in the past few days) has overtaken Andermatt in Switzerland to report the deepest snow base in the world, today at 617cm (20.5 feet). https://www.facebook.com/squawvalleyalpinemeadows/videos/564106037332504/ Andermatt had been reporting the deepest base in the world throughout 2019, at 6 metres (20 feet) following huge snowfalls on the Eastern side of the Alps through the first three weeks of this year. However record-breaking snowfalls in February in California has left ski resorts there with very deep bases with many resorts now reporting the snow lying at least 4.5m (15 feet) deep.  Mammoth Mountain had been reporting the North American continent’s deepest base for over a month, but in the past 24 hours…

Winter Sports Travel Insurance

Snow-forecast.com releases travel insurance for its users, with up to 15% off for members. Members can save more on their insurance than the membership cost itself, which starts at £3.99 / €4.50 that also includes: Advanced dynamic weather maps (12 days instead of 6)Extended forecasts multi elevation 12 day, instead of 6 dayHourly detailed forecasts (instead of 6)Full App functionality20 years of snow-history analysis (compare resorts on the same screen)More membership discounts (i.e. up to 50% off ski hire - rental with our additional 10% off promo code etc) Some myths about ski insurance: My bank account or credit card has all the travel insurance cover I needIf I forget to buy insurance when I’m already travelling I can buy…

Second Iraq Ski Rally Highlights Tourism Opportunities in Kurdistan and Unites Skiers from Around The World

The second annual Iraq Ski Rally staged earlier this month brought international skiers from the United States, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Finland and Slovenia to Choman, Kurdistan in northern Iraq. They joined a group of skiers from around Iraq, including as far away as Baghdad, to compete in a backcountry ski race event. 20 skiers competed in total and the event included a long course and short course in the Zagros mountains of Choman, near the border of Iran. The goal of the event was to shed a new and positive light on the recreation and tourism opportunities of Kurdistan, and to bring together a global community around the sport of skiing. The 1st Iraq Ski Rally was held in the same…

First Ski Lift For 40 Years Begins Operating in Afghanistan

What is believed to be the first ski lift to operate in Afghanistan for more than four decades has begun operation. The lift is the latest development at the Bamyan ski area, located 100 miles west of the country’s capital Kabul. The rudimentary ski lift, like many of the early ski lifts in North America and Europe, utilises a motorbike engine to pull a simple cable lift. The bottom pulley wheel is fixed in an upturned wheelbarrow.  The lift is reported to have been created by an American family who live locally. The lift is the latest development since the creation of the annual Afghan Ski Challenge, originally established by a Swiss journalist in 2011 and now organised by the…

Skiing Without Snow on World’s Tallest Mountain “Disrespectful to Hawaiians”

A video that appeared online that shows people skiing and snowboarding over dry land on the slopes of Maunakea in Hawaii has been described as disrespectful and damaging to the environment. Maunakea is a dormant volcano with its peak is 4,207 m above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaii. Most of the mountain is under water, and when measured from its oceanic base, Maunakea is the tallest mountain in the world measuring over 10,000m. The top of the mountain is often snow-capped in winter and can be skied, although there are no lifts.  Official policy is that people are allowed to ski or board on the snow, but not to ski, board or engage…

Tour of Duty

Chamonix and Geneva based journalist Katy Dartford gives us the lowdown on the highs of ski touring, including some suggestions for where to start getting involved. It’s been one of the fastest growing areas in the winter sports sector over the past few years, but is it all just an uphill struggle? Formerly the domain of ‘old beardy’ mountaineer types, with the main aim being the climb to the summit - ski touring - off-piste skiing which involves both uphill and downhill travel - is now growing rapidly. But with lift tickets becoming increasingly expensive and more competition for first tracks on the mountain, it’s now also about the downhill - finding adventurous skiing lines whilst venturing out into remote,…