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‘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…

The Off-Piste Awareness Tour 2019

Henry’s Avalanche Talk (HAT), which over recent years has become a leading source of advice on the dangers of avalanches and how to avoid them when heading off piste, is launching a tour of venues in the UK to give skiers and boarders the chance to gain valuable advice on saying safe in the mountain. The 2019 Off-Piste Awareness Tour will kick off next month and includes more than 30 live events in venues across the UK, along with several in  France. The talks focus on how to manage risk when skiing or snowboarding off-piste and are aimed at all levels of riders from off-piste first timers to experienced veterans looking to reinforce their knowledge. Participants can sign up for…

Three Alpine Glaciers Open in 24 Hours Following Heavy Snowfall

Three glacier ski areas have opened in Austria and Switzerland this weekend following the heavy snowfalls a week ago. The Stubai and Solden (above) glaciers in Austria opened for their 2019 - 20 seasons on Friday and were joined by Val Senales in Italy on Saturday.  All four areas reported at least 40cm of fresh snowfall in the past week, the Stubai (below) 55cm. Ski conditions were reported to be superb today with blue skies and fresh snow. They joined four currently open glacier areas in Austria, Italy, Norway and Switzerland to bring the total number of areas open in Europe and the northern hemisphere to seven, the most open since July. Austria's year-round Hintertux ski area (below) has the…

Heavy September Snow Forecast for Alpine Glaciers

Snowfall map for the Alps. A cold front is expected to cross the Alps over the coming week bringing up to 60cm (two feet) of snow to higher slopes over the next six days. Currently only five glaciers are open for late summer/early autumn skiing but half-a-dozen more will open over the latter half of September, although in some cases this is snow-cover dependent. Hintertux, (pictured above in late summer last year), one of the world’s two year-round open ski areas and currently the only centre open in Austria, posted that it expects heavy snowfall today then three days of 10-15cm of snow daily snowfall from Saturday to Monday. The other open areas – Saas Fee and Zermatt in Switzerland…

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…

Molltal Glacier Latest Summer Ski Area to Close As Snow Melts From Glacier

Austria’s Molltal glacier is the latest summer ski area to report an unscheduled closure as warm summer sunshine and high positive temperatures even above 3,000 metres altitude in the Alps melts the snow cover from glaciers. Molltal aims to operate for more than 10 months a year from mid-June to early May and was two months in to its 2019-20 ski season when forced to close as the glacial ice was exposed directly to the sunshine. It usually operates about 3km of runs in summer used by race training teams as well as recreational skiers and boarders.  However it has been forced to close for periods during August in several recent years. The same view two months ago as the…

Austria Gears Up for Big Autumn Ski Season Less Than a Month Away

The start of the 2019-20 ski season in Austria may be less than  a month away, although it’s a bit snow dependant. Austria has more glacier ski areas open in late spring and in early autumn than the rest of Europe combined with potentially eight areas, five of them in Tirol alone, likely to be open from early October. In fact two Austrian areas are open year-round, or in one case, almost. The Hintertux glacier is open for skiing every day of the year, weather permitting, the Molltal glacier for nearly 11 months, just closing for a period in May/June, so its 2019-20 season already started. Stubai last week. It has been another hot summer though and although Austrian glaciers…

“Watermelon Pink Snow” on Yosemite’s Mountains

Pink snow has been spotted up on Yosemite’s peaks in California. According to rangers at Yosemite National Park the pink coloured snow, which has been lying for some months, is not that unusual in the area, but now the news is out, it’s getting a lot of media attention. The snow from last spring and winter is still lying in abundance above 2,900 metres altitude, and the pink, sometimes red colour results from an algae bloom, rangers at the national park have explained. This particular algae, called Chlamydomonas nivalis, thrives in freezing temperatures and liquid water, living on the snow. The rangers further explained that whilst the algae is naturally green, the pink-red pigment, called carotenoid, is created as a…

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…

Heavy Snowfall in the Andes

There’s powder conditions on the slopes of Argentina this week after a huge snowstorm deposited up to 60cm (two feet) of fresh snow on the country’s ski slopes. The snowfall, described as, “one of the most important of the last 20 years” by a spokesperson at Catedral ski area did cause some problems at some resorts as it fell. Catedral near Bariloche, South America’s biggest ski area by uplift capacity, initially closed terrain as the avalanche danger level reached very high, and then a power outage knocked out the ski area’s electricity supply, along with that of 15,000 homes in the area. The local airport was also closed yesterday by the snow with one airplane reported to have made two…