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Avalanche Danger Very High As Snow Keeps Falling in Alps and Pyrenees

Ski areas in the Alps and Pyrenees have reported the avalanche danger has hit 4 on the scale of 5 as huge amounts of snow continues to fall across Europe. A number of areas have now had over a metre of snowfall in just a few days following moderate to heavy snowfall over the previous fortnight.  Many resorts are warning that access roads are becoming more and more difficult and than carrying chains is essential.  They’re also warning that the off-piste avalanche risk is extremely high. “The Savoie department has an orange avalanche risk and yellow vigilance for snow/black ice. For the moment, the Tignes - Val d'Isère ski area remains open, but the off-piste is not recommended (risk 4/5)”…

A Foot of Snow Forecast for Hawaii

The US National Weather Service currently has severe winter weather warnings with heavy snow forecast in place for two states, Alaska and …Hawaii. The tropical islands are expected to receive at least 30cm (12 inches) of snow, driven in on 100 mph winds. "Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility at times, with periods of zero visibility. The strong winds will likely cause significant drifting of snow," the alert warns. Although world famous for its sunshine and surf, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea (library pics used in this piece) is actually one of the world’s tallest mountains, rising around 9,300m from its base making it taller than Everest, and snow-capped year-round.  However about two thirds of…

Åre Builds a Windshield For a Ski Lift Station

Strong winds are often a problem for ski lift operations at resorts the world over, but some are more prone to it than others. There are many techniques in ski area design to try to ensure that lifts can run as many days of the season as possible, with one of the simplest options being choosing a surface tow rather than an aerial lift, if possible, in an exposed location. Now Scandinavia’s leading ski resort of Åre has announced plans to make its lift network more  “wind and weather safe”. One of the first parts of the plan is a new structure designed to “steer” the wind away from a major lift, the Sadelexpressen 6-seater.  The new ‘wind rack’ or…

Half A Metre (20”) of Fresh Snow and Sunshine in the Alps this Weekend

The series of storm in the Alps over the past few days are beginning to clear leaving a largely cold and sunny weekend ahead. A number of already open glaciers including Hintertux, Kitzsteinhorn and Stubai (pictured top) have all reported around 50cm/20 inch storm totals so it is looking like the best weekend of the autumn so far is ahead of us for those lucky boarders and skiers able to get to a glacier. Zillertal reports up to 60cm (2 feet) of snow. There are around 20 ski areas already open for the 21-22 season in the Alps including Andermatt, Engelberg, Les 2 Alpes, Saas Fee, Solden, Tignes and Zermatt. Ski areas opening for the season this weekend include Davos,…

Japan’s 21-22 Season Underway

Japan’s Fujiyama Snow Resort YETI has become the first in the country to open for the ski season, as it has been most years in recent times. The resort, which also markets itself as the nearest ski area to Mount Fuji uses an all-weather snowmaking machine to create a short stretch of snow. Opening day always brings skiers and boarders in fancy dress to celebrate to the centre near  Hadano City in Shizuoka Prefecture. Most of Japan’s well-known resorts open in the latter half of November.  There have been some light to moderate snowfalls reported in recent weeks. Niseko on 17th October The country’s borders are currently closed to international leisure travel arrivals due to the pandemic but travel companies…

Two Californian Ski Areas Opening Early For The Season, This Friday

Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley) and Mammoth Mountain have both announced they’re opening early for their 21-22 ski seasons – this Friday – in time for Halloween weekend. The decision comes after a huge snowstorm deposited “over three feet” (90cm) of snowfall on their upper slopes. “Friday will be only the third time in 72 years of operation that the resort has opened in October. The last time we were able to open in October with comparable terrain was in 2004,” a spokesperson for Palisades Tahoe said, adding “We can’t wait to kick off winter and make some Halloween weekend turns!” The resort will be kicking off the season with the Funitel, Gold Coast, and Shirley Lake lifts spinning 9am-3pm…

Mammoth Mountain To Open A Fortnight Early, For Halloween Weekend

Mammoth Mountain ski area in California has announced that thanks to October snowfalls and with more heavy snowfall on the way, it plans to open a fortnight earlier than expected. With its original opening day target already one of the world’s earliest on November 13th, the new dates of October 29th will make it one of the first in the world without a glacier to open for the 21-22 season. Forecasts indicate the resort will receive up half a metre (20 inches) of snowfall from a storm due to hit at the start of the new week from lunchtime Sunday 25th. Three Colorado ski areas have already opened, the first in North America. Wolf Creek opened on the 16th and…

French 21-22 Ski Season Underway

Tignes has opened for its 21-22 Ski season, the first in France to do so. The glacier has 50cm (20”) of snow lying on it. Although the French alps have not had the heavy snowfall of some Austrian and Swiss glaciers in recent weeks, there has been some snow this month and Tignes reports 8cm (3”) freshly fallen in the past few weeks and current temperatures on the glacier at -4C. There’s about 6km of slopes open so far with Tignes reporting the funiculaire and cable car are running from 8:30am to 3:15pm and the Vanoise and Panoramic chair lifts as well as the Champagny and Termignon lifts running too. The French national ski team were training on the slopes…

North American Ski Area Announces 21-22 Season Starts This Sunday

Arapahoe Basin in Colorado says it will open for the season this Sunday, possibly sparking a race among other US areas to open before it and claim the title of “first in North America to open for the 21-22 ski season. *** Update: Wolf Creek says it will open a day before A Basin, on Saturday 16th October *** After along hot, spring, summer and early Autumn there’s been unusually heavy snowfall for the first-half of October coupled with low temperatures giving excellent snowmaking conditions. Many resorts like Mammoth in California and snowbird in Utah have announced snowmaking is underway whilst Keystone says its system is now running 24-7. “Black Mountain Express will be running and skiers and riders can…

Mixed Weather Forecast for North American Ski Areas This Winter

It’s mixed news for the likelihood of heavy snowfall this winter in North America’s with the news of a La Niña winter being “70-80% Likely” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US. La Niña conditions alternate with El Nino and are used to describe conditions over the Pacific which tend to impact climate for many months.  A current rapid cooling of the Pacific means it is very likely it’ll be a La Niña winter. Typically La Niña is good news for heavy snowfall in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, as far inland as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but further south it can bring drier conditions. El Nino tends to bring more precipitation to more southerly…

New Zealand Ski Areas Extends Seasons as Australia’s Season Ends

At least five New Zealand ski areas have announced they’ll be staying open to the latter half of October as ski areas in Australia appear to be largely ending their 2021 seasons this Sunday, October 3rd. Cardrona say they’ll stay open to October 24th, and Mt Hutt (*pictured), which was the first in the country to open last June, until the 25th. “We’re extending our season by a week - our new Closing Day is October 24th. Facilities for the last week will depend on snow and resources, but we’re aiming for at least McDougall’s and the Learner Conveyor,” a Cardrona statement reads. On the country’s North Island the two ski areas on Mt Ruapehu, Turoa and Whakapapa are usually…

First Turns of 21-22 Reported in Romania

“Martin, Andy and Santiago” have filmed themselves making the first turns of 21-22 at Păltiniș ski area in Transylvania, Romania, on snowboards. The area, along with many ski areas across Eastern Europe, reported a moderate snowfall at the end of last week, the first of the autumn. Although eight ski resorts have opened in Austria, Italy and Switzerland for the 21-22 season already this is possible the first ride on fresh snow this autumn in the northern hemisphere at a ski area  below 2000m altitude and without a glacier. The Arena Platoș ski area at Păltiniș is located 1440m up in the Cindrel Mountains.…