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New Zealand “Border Exemptions” For International Ski Workers

New Zealand has issued a number of “border exemptions” to ski resort employees allowing them to enter the country and work for centres there during the upcoming 2021 ski season despite being from countries outside the Australia/New Zealand travel bubble. Ski areas had feared they would not be able to find enough workers from the domestic labour pool to be able to open fully and put in an appeal to the New Zealand government in March. This has now resulted in 27 people from outside the Australia / New Zealand bubble being permitted the right to come and work at ski field this season meaning they can be 100% open. The highly-skilled staff are reported to include high level ski…

Haute Route Skied in Just 31 Hours Non-Stop

British adventurer Aaron Rolph has completed the famous Haute Route between Chamonix and Zermatt in just 31 hours. Rolph’s achievement is believed to be the first successful, single push of the most popular Verbier route. Rolph reached the Swiss mountain town of Zermatt after ski touring non-stop for 31 hours from Chamonix covering a distance of 125km (78 miles) and climbing almost 8000m (26,247 feet) in ascent. Upon doing so, he joined a very short list of ski mountaineering elite to complete the iconic ski challenge in a “single push”. The Haute Route is one of the world’s most coveted ski tours. Many experienced off-piste skiers aspire to complete the route over 7 days, staying in mountain huts en route.…

Ski Areas Extending Seasons Past Mid-May

A number of ski areas in Europe and North America that wouldn’t normally be open to the latter half of May have announced extended ski seasons for at least another week. Some are crediting good snow conditions for their decisions, others the e4asing of pandemic restrictions where they’re located, some both. Around 50 ski areas remain open this weekend, but for about a third of these, this Sunday will be the last of the season, including three resorts still open in Finland, two of which (Levi & Ruka) have clocked up a seven month season since opening in early October and now have less than five months to wait until the 21-22 season starts for them. Winter Park Among the…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #190

Issued: 5 May 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia RoundupSouthern Hemisphere WORLD OVERVIEW Åre resort this week Moving into May, the six months of debate over whether or not thousands of ski areas can operate in the Northern Hemisphere (due to different pandemic restrictions in different countries) begins to seem less important as more than 99% of ski areas have now closed anyway as a result of the natural end to the season. Indeed, May is normally one of the quietest periods in the global ski year anyway as the Northern Hemisphere’s season winds down but the Southern Hemisphere’s has not yet started and 2021 is looking no different.  Actually, there may be just slightly more ski areas…

K2 Skier Summits & Descends Previously Unconquered Peak

Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel has become the first man to summit Yawash Sar II (6,178m  / 20,269 ft) in the Karakoram range in Pakistan. He is then reported to have skied down to the mountain’s base. Andrzej Bargiel, who was the first man top successfully summit and ski down the world’s second highest peak, K2, in 2018, climbed with Yendrek Baranowski setting off from Base Camp before camping at 5,100m, then departing for the top at 4am. Images from Andrzej Bargiel Instagram The duo are reported to have made the ascent sooner than originally planned as Pakistan intends to enforce a tourism travel shuts down on May 8 to limit COVID spread during the end-of-Ramadan holidays. Laila Peak Before…

Billy Morgan Splitboarding in the Scottish Highlands

British snowboard star Billy Morgan stayed close to home this past winter with many of Europe's alpine resorts closed and he used the time to become a splitboarding convert on a fun trip up to Scotland. Southampton-born Morgan broke through onto the global scene with second place overall in the 2012-13 FIS World Cup snowboard Slopestyle rankings before placing 10th at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Billy Morgan / split boarding / hiking up Bold Rush Gully at Aonach Mor In April 2015, Morgan landed the world's first "quad cork" then went on to win his first Winter X Games medal with Big Air bronze in 2016 and repeated that feat at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. For this…

Northern Hemisphere’s Spring-Summer Only Ski Centres Opening for 2021

There are around half-a-dozen ski areas in Europe, Asia and North America that operate to a different season schedule than the thousands of others which typically open in late autumn and close in early spring. There are in fact seven – nearly half of them in Norway – in locations that are so dark, cold or simply “snowed in” in winter that they aren’t really viable ski destinations until the springtime. At that point though, in a normal spring (in some cases summer and autumn too), they’re ready to provide great conditions when 99.5% of other northern hemisphere ski areas have closed for the season. Norway’s Fonna ski area (pictured below prepping) is aiming to open from May 8th, Galdhoppigen…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #189

Issued: 28 April 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION There is, overall, a feeling of optimism in Europe, even if it is rather ironic that it has arrived as the main ski season nears its end. Vaccination numbers are increasing and infection numbers decreasing in most countries now.  After Slovenia and Slovakia allowed their slopes to re-open, the big alpine nations of France and Italy have been easing restrictions now too and Austria says tourism can resume from mid-May. The result of all that is increased confidence that glacier summer skiing will be back in France and Italy in about a month and in Austria more glacier areas plan to open now they have a hope…

No Skiing When Scottish Ski Centres Can Re-open on Monday

The last Scottish ski centre that had hoped to be able to offer some very late season skiing when Scottish centres are allowed to re-open to the public on Monday (26th April) has decided it won’t be able to do so. Glencoe ski area issued a statement on Friday afternoon saying, “Sorry folks only ski touring or hiking for turns available from Monday when we re-open. Unfortunately while it will still be good for touring there is no longer a complete run back to the bottom of the Main Basin. Without the groomer having moved snow around during the winter lots of gaps are now appearing and the snow is currently too soft for the groomer to get around to…

Australian Ski Area Starts Snowmaking, Expects Busy Winter

At least one of Australia’s ski areas say they have started making snow ahead of the 2021 ski season, due to start there in less than 50 days’ time, at the start of June. The country has seen cold weather in April and two periods of natural snowfall. Mt Buller reports that the latest cold snap brought a light covering of fresh snow earlier this week and the resort’s all-weather ‘SnowFactory’ snowmaking machine is helping out with huge mounds of snow now taking shape on the Bourke Street ski run. (You can see it on the live cam) Mt Buller’s SnowFactories can make snow in any conditions and produce up to 330m3 of snow per day, building an important stockpile…