Search Our News Hub

The Quiet Months in Japan

June and July is traditionally the quietest part of the year for people involved in the ski industry here in Japan. Ski areas that offer summer activities - such as sightseeing lift operations, camping, golf and the like - are currently busy getting on with those activities, while others take some time off while at the same time try to make their plans for the winter. Of course, this year those plans have been hugely complicated by the covid-19 situation which has brought up many unanswered questions and delaying of decisions. Japan seemed to have done well in keeping (official) case numbers lower than many other countries, helped along by a period of many businesses voluntarily closing during May and…

Will 20-21 Be A La Niña Winter?

In the hunt for good news ahead of the northern hemisphere’s 2020-21 ski season, ski resorts around the Pacific have been getting very excited by the announcement that it may be a ‘La Niña winter’.  What does La Niña mean and refer to? Well La Niña and El Niño are opposite phases of what is known as the ‘El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle’ a scientific term that describes the fluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific (approximately between the International Date Line and 120 degrees West). La Niña is sometimes referred to as the cold phase of the cycle and El Niño as the warm phase. It’s a lot more complicated than that, of course,…

Biggest Ski Area in South America Likely To Re-Open Next Week

Reports from Argentina indicate that the country’s largest ski area – by uplift – Catedral near Bariloche (pictured above last October), will begin running its ski lifts again next week, with a target opening date of Tuesday 21st July. If this happens as planned it is believed this will be the first resort in South America to open its runs for winter 2020, about a month after the usual season-start in the country. But it’s important to stress that the skiing will only be open to local people.  Argentina has been easing its lockdown by region, with first the ski area of Cerro Castor in the south of the country opening a week ago for people living nearby.  It however…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #148

Issued: 15 July 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE INTRO|  There’s a lot to report from the southern hemisphere this week and it's difficult to know what to mention first.  The best news is that there’s been snowfall almost everywhere. This has differing implications though. In New Zealand, where everything is open and operating pretty normally, its generally great news and resorts have been full by early in the day as people have tried to get to it. In the Andes, where bases have now reached almost 5 metres (17 feet), it is generally frustrating that skiers can’t get on the slopes due to the pandemic lockdown. The only possible news is…

Southern Hemisphere Overtakes Northern Hemisphere For Terrain Open

It has been a slow start to the 2020 season in the southern hemisphere. First, of course, because of the virus. Then when areas could finally open in Australia and New Zealand, there was limited early-season snow cover.  Ironically there were huge snowfalls in one mountain range – The Andes – but ski areas there remain in lockdown. Although there are still less than half the usual amount of ski areas open in the southern hemisphere than there would be without the virus, the numbers are slowly moving in their favour. Last week there were, for the first time, more ski areas opened in the southern hemisphere in 2020 than there were in the northern, where about 15 glacier type…

Australia’s Victoria State Ski Areas Divided on Opening

Two of the four main ski areas in the Australian state of Victoria have closed just a few days after their delayed winter 2020 opening, but two others have decided to stay open, as the region suffers an increased number of virus cases. Falls Creek and Mt Hotham (pictured above at opening last week) have however closed their ski lifts just a few days after opening for the 2020 season a month later than planned, due first to pandemic restrictions then to limited snow cover.   Vail Resorts, which operates the downhill ski infrastructure at both resorts, say they’ll be closed to at least August 19th – about six weeks before the end of the season. Mt Baw Baw (pictured…

Signs Some Argentinian Ski Areas Might Still Open This Winter

The world’s most southerly ski area, Cerro Castor in Argentina, down towards Tiera del Fuego, has announced it is opening its restaurant and ice rink today, July 9th, with all the now normal pandemic-spread-prevention measures in place. There is no word yet on when or if its ski slopes might re-open, but opening any facilities seems a step forward. The pandemic picture in Argentina is complex, as it is in most countries. The country locked down early and has suppressed infections better than most other south American countries. It was easing its lockdown last month when there was an increase in infections in the capital, leading to a renewed lockdown there, but elsewhere cases have been relatively low and restrictions…

Resorts in Australia’s Victoria Province Temporarily Close As Virus Spikes in Province

Only a few days after all of the major ski areas in Australia were finally open for the 2020 season, last Monday, when pandemic easing and adequate snow cover allowed, several have announced they’re closing again due to the surge of cases in Victoria. Cases are surging in Melbourne, hundreds of kilometres to the south of the ski areas, they are not believed to be an issue in the resorts themselves. “Due to the Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions for the state of Victoria and the border closure with NSW, we have made the difficult decision to suspend lift operations at Hotham and Falls Creek, effective Thursday, 9 July through at least 19 August,” a statement from Mt Hotham today announces,…

Eurostar Cancels Direct Ski Train Service From UK to French Alps

In a blow to the ski industry, and to the environment, Eurostar appears to have cancelled the direct Ski train service between England and the French Alps. “Skiers and snowboarders are gutted by the loss of this hugely popular train. This cancellation is a damaging step backwards by Eurostar. While there are indirect train routes to the French Alps, these can’t compensate for the loss of the direct Ski Train,” said Daniel Elkan, founder of independent rail-ski guide Snowcarbon . Since 1997, the train has run twice weekly in the ski season from London and Ashford to the popular Tarentaise region of the French Alps, dropping skiers at Moutiers, Aime la Plagne and Bourg St Maurice stations, a short hop…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #147

Issued: 08 July 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne North American RoundupEuropean RoundupAsia Roundup SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OVERVIEW SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE INTRO|We’re now into the second month of the 2020 ski season in the southern hemisphere, a least in terms of the time since the first ski area opened for the winter at the start of June, this being Afriski in Lesotho. Most of the 20 or so ski areas which have opened since then, all in Australia and New Zealand, have done so much more recently, but the good news is that after more opened last weekend almost all ski areas are open.  At least the big players are now open. It is not a vintage start to the winter so far. …