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‘Snow Play’ at New Zealand Ski Area 10 Weeks Before Season Starts

Ski areas in New Zealand have reported heavy snowfalls this past week with up to 50cm of fresh snowfall in total. The ski season in New Zealand and much of the southern hemisphere does not normally start until June and whilst no ski area is officially opening yet, several have seen people hiking up to ski the fresh snow. Mt Ruapehu (pictured top) reported up to 20cm of fresh snow and drifts of up to a metre. https://www.facebook.com/mthutt/videos/10156241361114500/   The early snow was reported to be due to an Autumnal southerly blast of cold air from Antarctica. Mt Hutt, which is due to open for its 2018 ski season on June 8th, was one of the resorts to report 50cm…

Exceptional Snow Depths on Alpine Glaciers

Snow depths in the Alps are at historic highs after more heavy snowfall over the past 10 days on top of already deep accumulations built up through one of the snowiest winters this century.  Probably THE snowiest this century in many areas. Engelberg (below) in Switzerland’s Titlis glacier is reporting a 7.4m (nearly 25 feet) base after almost 1.5m (five feet) of snowfall there in the last week of March.  It’s the deepest base in the world at present and believed to be the first time  ski area in the Alps has posted a 7m+ snow depth for many years.  It’s open for snowsports until mid-May. In Austria the Dachstein Glacier (below) has gone past the 6m (20 feet) base…

‘Warm Snow’ Falling in Colorado

A new study claims that it snows in Colorado at temperatures so warm the precipitation would fall as rain elsewhere. The research published by a team from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado actually finds that Colorado gets snowfall at some of the warmest temperature on the planet, with snow falling even when temperatures are approaching 4 degrees Celcius. Keith Jennings, a graduate researcher and lead author of the study, said his team was surprised to find that freezing point at zero degrees Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit was not the key factor in whether precipitation fell as rain or snow, but more where the precipitation was falling. For snow to form naturally in…

Southern Hemisphere Ski Resorts Celebrate Early 2018 Snow

Ski resorts in Australia and New Zealand have been celebrating their first significant snowfalls of 2018 - with more than two months to go until the ski season is due to begin for most of the southern hemisphere.  The snow fell first in New Zealand where some areas reported up to 30cm of snow and even operated lifts for sledging - if not skiing and boarding. This was Coronet Peak. https://www.facebook.com/coronetpeak/videos/10155419235972014/   Australian ski areas such as Perisher (pictured above) then reported a dusting of overnight snow at the start of the week. Of course much of the Australian snow quickly melted away as temperatures moved up towards their early autumnal norms in double digits plus Celcius, but the snow…

Ski Slopes Turn Orange in Eastern Europe

We’re used to green, blue, red and black slopes in skiing, but orange? This time it’s not a grading of a ski run either, but the colour the snow has turned across a large swathe of mountainous regions in Eastern Europe. Orange-tinted snow has been falling across Georgia, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries with ski areas in eastern Europe. The orange snow has become a tourist attraction in its own right at the 2014 Winter Olympic venue of Sochi in Russia Weather experts report that the unusual phenomenon is the result of sand and dust stirred up and carried into the atmosphere from the Middle East and/or North Africa hitting colder air in Eastern Europe after travelling east and…

Under the Radar in La Plagne’s Backcountry

Ski journalist and photographer Alf Alderson gets more than he bargained for – in every sense of the word – in La Plagne’s backcountry. La Plagne – most ski guides describe it as ‘perfect for intermediates’, ‘great cruiser runs’, ‘popular with families’ – that kind of thing. So, it’s not a ski resort where you’d expect to find world-class off-piste and backcountry; but you’d be wrong in your expectations. In fact, from where I’m standing now, on the east shoulder of 3417m (11,200ft)  Bellecôte, I’m enjoying views to match any in the Alps as line after line of snow-shrouded mountains extends to the horizon like the lines of a monstrous ocean swell. Amongst the peaks in view are some of…

Kicking Horse: Dave Treadway’s 5 top tips

Dave Treadway is a professional freeride skier and Peak Performance ambassador. He’s hosting a trip this winter with UK tour operator, Kicking Horse Powder Tours, in his home resort of Kicking Horse, British Columbia. We caught up with him to ask for his top tips in this legendary Canadian resort. What’s your favourite place for some great powder skiing in KH Dave? Super Bowl - a short hike to fun, long run with good snow and easy cliffs! Kicking Horse is well-known for its lift accessed, super steep chutes that are too numerous to mention, what’s your favourite? CPR Ridge - so many steep run options! After all that adrenaline, where’s your favourite spot for a nice lunch? Eagles Eye…

Legend interview – Dominique Perret

Rob Stewart catches up with freeride pioneer and legend Dominque Perret – founder of the International Snow Training Academy (ISTA), an organisation dedicated to training skiers and snowboarders in off-piste and mountain safety. Dominique Perret has defined himself and his career by the passion to look beyond the norm, to travel a path where there are no pioneers and no finish lines. Press and media have lost little occasion to highlight Dominique’s multiple skiing achievements, films, expeditions, and events crowning him “Best Freeride Skier of the Century” as the most outstanding radical free-skier of his generation. Skiing runs thick in Dominique Perret’s blood. His first skiing experience took place at the age of two and, he spent the next 15…

World’s Most Advanced Chairlift Yet Coming to Montana

What is believed to be the most advanced chairlift yet built will be installed at the Montana ski resort of Big Sky this summer and be operational for winter 2018-19. The new lift, which will also be the first eight-seater chairlift to be installed in North America will feature a host of hi-tec functions, some of them visible to users, others to the lift’s operators. The next generation Doppelmayr D-Line chairlift will provide feature the signature Big Sky blue bubble covers for added warmth and seats that are heated, form-fitting and wider than any ever made, providing what Doppelmayr say will be the most comfortable chairlift ride yet conceived. Other features include an integrated 30’ x 10’ high resolution LED…

Location, Location, Location’s Phil Spencer Amongst Team Raising Over £1m For Charity in Gruelling Ski Touring Challenge

A charity fund-raising ski expedition in Switzerland which took place over four days at the end of February to raise funds for research into paediatric brain tumours looks set to raise over £1 million. Along with 30 other intrepid challengers, Phil Spencer, the Channel 4 presenter of Location, Location, Location and Love it or List It joined the charity’s epic ski tour in Verbier, ski-touring a gruelling total of 8,848 metres uphill, the height of Everest.  “It was a personal Everest for everyone. It was simply incredible and something I would never have thought I would have been able to achieve. It was the epic challenge of my life!” Phil said after completing the challenge. Teams ski tour the height…