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Fonna Glacier Reports 11 Metre (36 Feet) Snow Depth

Norway's Fonna Glacier reports that the snow is lying 11 metres (36 feet) deep on its glacier. The centre is one of three summer-ski areas in the country and had planned to open for the season at Easter. All ski areas in Norway are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic so that date looks unlikely.  However the huge snow depth means the centre could open later in the spring or early summer if restrictions can be lifted. The ski season in Scandinavia has been very mixed, even without the impact of the virus.  Record average high temperatures in central and southerly parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden had caused operating difficulties due to lack of snow for many areas.…

Dave McCoy, Founder of Mammoth Mountain, Dies Aged 104

Dave McCoy, one of the remaining legends from the early history of downhill skiing, and one of the biggest names in ski resort development through much of the twentieth century, has died at the age of 104. Born in 1915, McCoy’s legend include the fact that he made his first skis himself whilst still at school, and then became Californian state skiing champion aged 22. He set up his first rudimentary ski area in 1938, before hitting on the more snowsure location for Mammoth Mountain in 1942. Mammoth started with a simple home-made roadside rope tow, powered by an old truck engine, but over the next 63 years, McCoy and his wife Roma, whom he’d met in the late 1930s,…

Deepest Snow This Century as Swedish Lapland Spring Ski Centres Open For 2020 Season

There’s reported to be the most snowy lying on the Kiruna mountains in Northern Sweden for more than 20 years, as ski areas there begin to open for their 2020 ski season. Measuring depths at Katterjåkk, 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of the region’s capital Kiruna, the Swedish Meteorological Institute found the snow currently lying 169cm (just under six feet) deep,  the largest amount of snow at the start of February in just over 20 years. The last time snowfall was measured deeper was in January 1997 when it measured 180 cm. The two ski areas operated by Lapland Resorts within the Arctic circle in Northern Sweden don’t open for skiing until February each year due to the darkness at…

Ready, set, go! Active winter holiday in Zillertal

Creating the very first tracks in the snow early in the morning, feeling the fresh air on your skin and a unique alpine panorama all around you ... This is the start to a perfect skiing day. But it takes a bit more to fully enjoy the mountaintops. You can experience what that is in Zillertal in Tyrol. The valley combines fun in the snow in every conceivable form with mountain cabin fun, romantic excursions and off-piste action. The following is an inspiration of what it takes to make the winter holiday with your loved ones perfect. © Zillertal Tourismus GmbH, Andre Schönherr Hintertuxer Glacier: What the King of the Valley has to offer A valley that guarantees piste fun?…

The season so far in Japan

Last time round I was very hopeful that the snow taps would have been turned on from Christmas onwards and over New Year. Unfortunately, it pains me to say that those taps have yet to be turned on properly and when thinking about what to write about this time round, there was only ever one topic this time round. But before I continue, it is important to say upfront that there is good to be had - I have so far enjoyed quite a few days in some excellent quality snow. While many lower ski resorts are indeed struggling, snow cover is generally not a problem in higher areas even as they have less snow than usual. A few (admittedly…

Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort Project Appears Finally Over

Plans to build a year round ski area on a pristine site on the BC side of the provincial border with Alberta in Canada appear to finally be over. The plans for Jumbo Glacier were first mooted almost 30 years ago back in the early 1990s and the project has ridden the wave of public opinion and political changes over the decades.  Five or so years ago it appeared that it might finally be coming close to actually happening as the site was given official status, some statutory state funding and the first base buildings almost appeared. But construction in zones with high avalanche risk and on land that was both of high environmental value and sacred to the Ktunaxa…

Tourers Invited to Ski Afghanistan in 2020

Although Afghanistan sadly may not have the favourable image it deserves on the world stage, the country is home to some great  back-country skiing in the Koh-e Baba mountain range and in recent years there has been an effort to both revive and encourage snowsports in the country. This winter ISHKAR Explore, a social enterprise that runs trips to places including Afghanistan and Iraqi Kurdistan are launching a completely unique backcountry skiing experience. The group are organising a small ski trip to the historic Bamiyan valley which they say is a stable region of Afghanistan. “This is a chance to see the country that exists beyond the headlines and ski mountains that only a handful of foreigners have ,” said…

Jackson Hole Reports Record Early January Snowfall

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming says it has had more snow ion the first fortnight of 2020 than in the first half of January in any previous year.  As a result its upper slope base depth is also the deepest it has ever been for this early in the season. The resort has had snowfall every day of the year so far with over a foot (30cm) of snow falling in five of the 14 days, all but one of them in the past week. Altogether this has added up to more than 11 feet (134 inches / 335cm to be precise) of snowfall giving a current 91 inch (2.3 metre) upper slope base depth – and very deep…

Huge Snowfalls in North-Western North America

There have been some huge snowfalls in north-western North America in the past few days. The biggest snowfall reported is 45 inches (112cm) in the last 7 days, with 33 inches (83cm) of that in the past 72 hours.   In Canada ski resorts in Alberta and BC have posted big snowfall totals, the heaviest along the border between the two provinces, south of the US border the biggest dumps have been in Washington State and further south in California. Sunshine ski area at Banff (pictured above yesterday) has posted the biggest totals with Panorama just over the BC border not far behind on 41 inches (103cm) – most of which has fallen in the past 48 hours. “100cm in…

A slow start to the season in Japan

I have been holding off on posting this article for a week or so in the hope that I might be able to bring the exciting news about typical Japan-style heavy snowfall across the country, but unfortunately it is looking like we are going to have to wait a little longer for that to happen. It has been a slow start to the snow season here in Japan. There have been short bursts of snowfall over the last few weeks, but there has also been prolonged periods of milder weather and rain meaning that in many regions any snow on the ground has been wiped about before any kind of base got established. Parts of the northern island of Hokkaido…