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US 2019-20 Ski Season Underway

The 2019-20 ski season in North America has got underway this weekend at two of the world’s highest resorts up in Colorado’s Summit County. Three ski areas – Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Loveland – had all been snowmaking and building up bases here for more than a week before heavy snowfall arrived late on Wednesday and continued through Thursday, bringing up to about a foot (30cm) of fresh snow to the highest slopes. Keystone was the first to announce it would open, saying on Friday that it would open next morning, Saturday 12th October. At that point Arapahoe Basin announced it would be opening too, but even sooner, just a few hours after it’s announcement at 3.30pm on Friday 11th. …

‘Snow-Cannon’ on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus

Saturn’s moon Enceladus seems to be acting like a "snow-cannon," pumping water into Saturn's orbit and covering its neighbouring moons in snow, which has made them highly reflective, new research suggests. A team of researchers looked at 60 radar observations of Saturn's inner moons — Mimas, Enceladus and Tethys — made by NASA’s spacecraft Cassini, and found that the radar brightness of these moons is double that than previously thought. The researchers determined the extreme brightness is a result of ice and snow falling and coating their surfaces, which are not protected by any atmosphere, after it has been ejected by powerful geysers on Enceladus, in as process described in the report as being like a “giant snow cannon.” The…

Fresh September Snow in Norway as 19-20 Scandinavian Ski Season Starts Nears

Norway’s Galdhøpiggen ski area has targeted Friday, 20th September as it’s re-opening day after 10cm (four inches) of snow fell overnight (pictured below) and forecasts pointed to cooler weather in September after the hot temperatures of July and August. The ski slopes are one of three summer ski areas in Norway, located on the country’s (as well as Scandinavia and Northern Europe’s) highest peak at 2,469 m (8,100 ft) above sea level. The centre normally has a six month ski season from spring to late autumn, but this year was forced to close in late July by hot weather causing “unprecedented melting).  It had originally stated its intention to re-[open on September 15th, but the latest date is five days…

Battle of the American Super Ski-passes Intensifies as Ikon Pass Adds Zermatt

The Ikon Pass, one of the two big American season passes, has added Zermatt to its offer for the 2019-20 ski season, taking the tally of mostly top-level ski resorts around the world included on its season pass to 41. The pass, offered by the Alterra ski resorts group in North America, competes with Vail Resorts' Epic Pass, with both offering access to the dozen or so ski areas they own or operate in Canada and the US, plus more limited access to partner ski areas in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to Zermatt and the Matterhorn ski paradise network on the season ticket with no blackout dates, and five-day access on…

Storm Totals Pass the Metre Mark For Fresh Snowfall in Australia

There are incredible powder snow conditions in Australia after the country received its third big snowstorm of 2019.  This one has been given the hashtag #SlamminSAM https://www.facebook.com/Thredbo.Resort/videos/360858208146851/ Thredbo officially reported its 72 hour snowfall total had reached 90cm (three feet) by Friday morning (with 60cm/2 feet in the previous 24 hours alone) but has since said it’s storm total has now passed the metre mark.  It currently has the country’s deepest base at 2.2 metres. The snow started falling on Wednesday and is expected to continue through the weekend, although easing a lot on Saturday and Sunday. Falls Creek has reported 70cm so far with a further 20cm forecast, Perisher (pictured above this morning), which was forecast to get 95cm in…

Are Vail Resorts Now The Biggest Ski Resort Operating Company Ever?

The news today that Vail Resorts have bought another 17 ski areas in what must be the largest single ski resorts purchase in history, taking its total count if ski areas now Vail Resorts owned to 37, begs the question is this now the biggest group of ski resorts ever created? The 17 newly added ski areas, previously owned by the Peak Resorts group and sold for around a quarter of a billion dollars, are mostly small to mid-sized urban areas in seven states in the North Eastern USA, include many areas that are the key local hills for major metropolitan centres in the area including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Columbus, St. Louis, Kansas City and…

Now There Are Two Places To Ski or Board in Egypt

A second indoor snow centre has opened in Egypt, close to the capital. Snow City Cairo which has opened in the past week joins Ski Egypt, which opened a little over two years ago and was created by the same company that runs Ski Dubai, and is currently working on a third giant mall with indoor ski slope in Saudi Arabia (you can guess what the name is to be). The new indoor snow centre, Africa’s second, has been built by the Abdullah Al-Othaim Leisure & Tourism Company as part of the huge CityStars mall in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. Covering 5,500 square metres (60,000 square feet) the centre’s onus is on snow and ice play rather than skiing…

New Gondolas With Saunas in Japan

Japanese ski area Happo One will unveil several grounded gondola cabins designed to be used as saunas later this month. The sauna-gondola-cabins are part of a new ‘Mountain beach’ wellness facility being created 1400 metres above sea level at the Hakuna Valley ski area in the Nagano Olympic Prefecture.  It is set to open on July 26th as a the resort’s latest year round attraction, with the saunas due to remain operational through the winter season too. So far it is unclear whether the saunas are in converted gondola cabins or sauna cabins designed to look like gondola cabins. Sauna above the slopes in Yllas Happo One is not, however, the first ski area to put a sauna in a…

New Zealand and Southern Africa’s 2019 Seasons Start

New Zealand’s 2019 ski season has got properly underway today (Friday 7th June), six days after the first skiers and boarders took to the slope of the small snow fun area at Whakapapa ski area, part of Mt Ruapehu on the country’s North Island. Mt Hutt ski field (50/100cm), pictured top and below, opened with top to bottom skiing and all lifts operating and all sector opening after significant snowfall there through the past week. One keen snowsports enthusiast, named as Josh from Christchurch in local media, which didn’t say if he was a skier or boarder, spent Thursday night ‘sleeping’ on the chairlift in order to claim first on the chair at 7am this morning. "Not sure if I…

Southern Hemisphere 2019 Season Underway

The 2019 ski season has got underway in the southern hemisphere. Three Australian ski areas have so far announced they are opening early over the coming three days due to the heavy snowfall in the country this week which has seen accumulations of up to 70cm (28 inches) reported so far. Selwyn Snow Resort in New South Wales (pictured above this morning) was the first to open, earlier today.  It says it will be running its new Chum Chair for free through the weekend. Perisher on 28 May 2019 It will be joined by Australia’s biggest resort, Perisher, also in New South Wales, which announced earlier this week that it would open from tomorrow. A third Australian area, Mt Buller…