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World Resorts News
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A ski area in Connecticut USA has reopened six years after it last operated and now plans to now stay open year round for snow sports with the aid of a dry slope.
Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort will re-opened on November 29th for the first time since 2007.
The ski area, which opened in 1959, has been closed because of bankruptcy and sale proceedings. Extensive work needed to be done to get Powder Ridge ready for skiers, said Laura Loffredo, director of sales and marketing at Powder Ridge for new owners Brownstone who say they’ve spent €3m on work required to re-open. While the park was closed, buildings were damaged by the elements and vandalism, she said.
Italy’s first ‘learning’ snow park just for children has just opened in Carezza, South Tyrol.
A special and varied course has been developed so young skiers and snowboarders can experience turns, jumps, rails, boxes and kickers, whilst their parents can rest assured that everything has been built especially for children and to the highest standards of safety.
The snow park also runs a kindergarten area complete with slides, mini snow hills and a conveyor belt so juniors aged three and over can get used to the snow and learn how to handle a lift in a child-friendly environment.
Plus, if the weather turns bad, the snow park has special heated lounges for warming up and indoor play.
The Méribel ski area, in the heart of Les 3 Vallées opens for business on Saturday 7th December, when the Savoyard station will offer a lively program of activities throughout the day.
Following on from the success of the last year's initiative, Méribel Tourism has decided to once again offer "Free Ski Passes for Méribel Vallée and Free breakfast" giveaways to the first 100 people that show up at the reception of the tourist office of Méribel- Mottaret at 8.00 am. For the next 300 people that follow, a free breakfast will be offered at 8.30 am.
If you miss the free passes and breakfast, everyone can get a discounted Méribel Vallée ski pass for 38 Euro / day (instead of the normal 47.5 Euro rate) until the 13th of December.
If you are a fan of Les 3 Vallées, why not join us in January for the SCUK Winter Bash!?
We just got word of a mouth watering deal from our friends and SCUK partners over at Dragon Lodge in Tignes. How does a week trip with accomodation, full area lift pass, gear hire, transfers and some SuperRad coaching, all for £555 sound!?
And don't forget, if you are a SCUK member you can save another 10% off on top of that!
Check out the details:
It’s been a great November in Tignes with excellent snow conditions on the glacier and all the way down into town already.
SuperRad’s Lewis Sonvico layback slashing the November pow in Tignes last week
It’s dumping again now, so it’s looking like it’ll be a great start to the season proper when the full Espace Killy area and all the lifts open on 30th November.
To mark the season opening 4 of Tignes best – Dragon Lodge, Tignes Spirit, Tignes.co.uk & SuperRad – have got together to offer a great deal for anyone wanting to get out for an early snow fix:
- 1 week 1/2 board stay at Dragon Lodge
– Return airport transfer by Tignes.co.uk
– 6 day full area Espace Killy lift pass
– 1/2 day SUperRad coaching session or lesson
– Gold or Platinum level equipment pack (board or skis & boots) from Tignes Spirit.
– Use of Endeavor and Signal test snowboards
30th November to 7th December
7th to 14th December
For more info, or to book, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
View from the lodge balcony of Lavachet Wall & Trolles piste 19th November
Visit the Dragon Lodge website.
View SCUK discount offer here.
You can join SCUK here for just £15.
View Membership Pack & Benefits here.
In an unusual twist, St. Anton am Arlberg have decided to kick off the 2013/2014 winter season with an American country music festival and new season ski testing. Under the title, “Country meets Snow,” plaid shirts, cowboy boots, jeans and hats will be converging with skis, helmets and skiwear from 6th to 8th December.
During the opening weekend, visitors can test the latest models of skis and boards at the base station of the Galzigbahn lifts – where up to 20 brands and manufacturers will be represented.
“With the appropriate musical accompaniment, loud “Yeee-haaas” will be heard from the lips of many as they head down their first downhill of the season,” said a statement from the resort.
Events begin on Friday evening with the Wicked Wildcats in concert at ARLBERG-well.com. Bands nominated for the Country Star Award 2013, including Rick Allen, Franz Lippert, Lewis Niderman & Band, Keana Rose and Ben & Carmen Steneker, will be performing on Saturday from 11am to 3pm on the slopes at Galzig and at Gampen. Almost simultaneously, the “Iron-dance” will be danced as a line dance in the WM Hall down in the Valley.
The musical highpoint of the weekend will take place on Saturday evening with the Country Star Awards, as well as an appearance by Marco Gottardi and his Silver Band. This Swiss performer is already a celebrated country music star in Europe and will be presenting the prizes in the evening.
The lift company which runs most of the ski areas in the Chamonix Valley has announced plans to spend nearly half a billion Euros over the next 40 years and been the most specific on new chairlift and gondola plans for the next six years. The plans will need to be approved by Chamonix’s mayor before they can be definitely given the go ahead.
The proposed developments include a new Plan Joran gondola at Grands Montets ski area for 2014-15, a new beginners area at (Brevent – Flegère ski area) for 2015-16, a new detachable chairlift Parsa, also at Brevent Flegère and a new beginners area at Argentiere’s Grands Montets ski area both for 2016-17. Then for 2017-18 a new Charamillon gondola at Le Tour ski area and for 2019-20 a new chairlift Tabé / Marmottons at Grands Montets ski area and a new access gondola to Flegère.
"This agreement is the culmination of nearly a year of intense work to imagine the future of the ski areas of Chamonix,” said Mathieu Dechavanne, CEO of Compagnie du Mont -Blanc, “The contract provides the opportunity to invest heavily in the early years and to plan for the long term . This new dynamic to meet the expectations of our customers and partners , enabling them to create a unique sports and entertainment experience at the foot of Mont Blanc."
A debate on whether the amount of piste kilometres claimed by ski areas was really true has had a new real world result with Austria’s giant SkiWelt region employing an independent surveying company to claim that it really offered the 279km of piste it claimed it did.
The issue came to a head last year when ski resort journalist and cartographic expert Christoph Schrahe used online digital mapping to compare leading ski areas’ claimed terrain sizes with a precise online measurement, he found most did not measure up.
A resulting media furore in Austria and Switzerland (although the issue is worldwide) lead to calls for standardised measurements when it was found that some ski areas were counting wide ski slopes three times due to different lines that could be taken on them and earlier this year the Ziller valley announced it was reducing the size of terrain claimed.
The surveying company that the SkiWelt employed, however, found that they had exactly measured their slope length correctly already.
“Now we have it in black and white: SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental really is Austria’s largest interconnected ski resort. Precisely 279 kilometres of slope has been calculated in the SkiWelt by an external surveying company. Leaving no doubt that no other ski region can offer more uninterrupted skiing pleasure,” said a statement from the area.
Fresh from being voted the world’s best ski resort at the World Ski Awards in Kitzbühel at the weekend, from a total of 188 ski resorts from 20 different countries that were competing, Val Thorens will open this week, with the added bonus of plenty of fresh snow.
Never been? Well there are about 10 places left on the SCUK Winter Bash to Val Thorens next January.
The official opening is on Saturday 23 November 2013, but the resort will open two days before, on the 20 and 21, for ski clubs and locals, to make sure that everything is perfect for the big opening on the Saturday. The resort expects to welcome around 5,000 skiers during this opening weekend.
Thanks to recent heavy snowfalls, the conditions are reported to be excellent. There is currently 60cm of snow at 2,300m and 90cm at 3,200m. 12 lifts and 19 runs will be opened, and the day pass will cost €37.60. The full ski area will be opened from 7 December.
During this first weekend, Val Thorens is hosting the Ski Force Winter Tour. Skiers can test for free new equipment from 18 of the biggest international ski brands. DJ Jay Style NRJ Extravadance will be playing from 9pm to 1am on Saturday.
Four chair lifts will be renovated or replaced this winter (part of a total investment of20 million Euros), bringing the transportation rate up to 65,470 people per hour.
Val Thorens will also open Europe’s highest zip wire this winter from which adrenaline addicts will launch themselves from the start at 3,230m, at the top of the Bouchet chairlift in Orelle, and whizz down a 1,300m long cable, at 250m above the glaciers, to arrive at 3,000m, at the Col de Thorens. It will open to the public early February.
In the last five years, new upmarket hotels and residences have opened every winter. This winter, on 5 December 2013, Europe’s highest five-star hotel, the Koh-I Nor will open its doors. The legendary Fitz Roy hotel has undergone a “full redesign” for this winter and has earned a 5th star in the process. Val Thorens now has 2,000 upmarket beds and more will be created in the next two years. In December 2014, a Club Med will open, and another five-star hotel in December 2015.
Although the southern hemisphere is fast approaching summer, Perisher ski area in Australia’s New South Wales was once more transformed white,
“We’ve had 20cm so far and it’s expected to continue into tomorrow! Can you believe it?” said a resort statement, “It’s nice to see Perisher covered in white again, it makes us think of next season already!”
Perisher took the snowy news opportunity to announce some results on its Dashboard computer service tied to lift passes sold to its visitors in 2013.
In total the programme revealed that participating Perisher guests skied and snowboarded over 1.1 billion vertical metres during the 2013 winter season – equivalent to travelling 27.9 times around the world.
“Perisher's Dashboard allows you to complete fun challenges to earn badges, track your personal milestones reached on the slopes to compare and compete with your family and friends if you wish!” a resort statement explained.
Along with the news that Whistler has opened 10 days early this weekend and Marmot Basin is starting its 50th season too, Sunshine Village near Banff opened on Friday 15th November after 10cm (4in) of snowfall in the last 24hrs and with a 59cm (23in) snowpack.
Conditions are near perfect as the resort will open with twenty runs and three lifts; Strawberry Express, Wolverine Express Quad and Jackrabbit Quad. The resort also opened the Strawberry Terrain Park with two lines and six features including a 24ft. tubby tube, a wide box and propane tank.
It joins already open Lake Louise and Mt Norquay to complete the ‘Big 3′ openings of ski areas around Banff in Alberta, Canada.
Lake Louise Ski Area has officially opened of the Grizzly Express Gondola on Saturday for upper mountain and front side access. The Sunny Side Carpet in the beginner area is also now open. Mt. Norquay will be open weekends until Nov 29th, when it will then open for full seven day operation.
Bormio has spent €2m upgrading their 44 year old cable car which runs between Bormio 2000 – and Cima Bianca.
The lift, known as the ‘White Peak’s Lady’ is the only one at the famous Italian resort which can carry pedestrians as well as skiers and boarders all the way to the top of the slopes from where there are breathtaking view of the Alps and a cosy restaurant “Heaven 3000.″
The cable car which first opened to public on July 10, 1969, is also the only lift on Bormio’s upper mountain that can remain open in strong winds.
It will re-open at the start of the season in December 2013.
Crystal Ski are promoting the benefits of going on one of their holiday packages by rail, rather than flying.
“Admittedly, a plane’s speed is faster, but on a train you can travel in comfort, your skis or snowboard is free, and, if you travel on Friday night out and Saturday night back, you get eight days of skiing instead of six,” said a crystal spokesperson.
Skiing by rail offers ski holidays by train not just at the same prices as flight packages, but without all the restrictions if you fly, and on arrival in the Alps, the train stations are close to the French Alpine ski resorts, with most being under an hour’s drive away. So if you’re on the Eurostar overnight service, you could have a lift pass, ski hire sorted and be up on the mountain skiing early on Saturday morning, say the company.
Rail services also offer free carriage of skis and no baggage weight limit and Crystal customers can upgrade to Standard premier for £40 which brings many benefits including complimentary drinks, a meal, roomy seats and newspapers.
Direct weekly Eurostar trains run to stations in France serving all resorts in the 3 Valleys, Paradiski, L’Espace Killy and Valmorel.
Prices from £499 per person (based on two sharing) for eight days on the slopes including rail travel on Eurostar, transfers, half board accommodation at the three-star Hotel Curling in Tignes departing on 3 January 2014.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in BC, Canada, which has been trying to point out that it is not JUST about challenging terrain for experts ever since it opened a little over a decade ago, has added a new Kids Zone and childcare centre in its bid to cater better to skiing families.
Located just steps away from the resort’s existing Learning Centre and adjacent to the snow school, the new Kids Zone is a huge haven to play and socialize in a fun environment. It’s a one-stop-shop for parents looking to explore the more gnarly terrain of Kicking Horse knowing that their skiers-to-be are in good hands.
Kicking Horse also has a new Slopeside Café as well as a new Kicking Horse Brand Store in the day lodge this winter.
This Week’s Headlines:
• Still more heavy snow in the Alps.
• Aspen, Big White and Whistler opening early, this weekend.
• Scottish ski season’s earliest start for five years.
• First non-glacier resorts in the Alps
The sun is finally out in the Alps after the best part of a week of nearly non-stop snowfall which at many areas was at its heaviest over the weekend, with some reporting up to 50cm of snow accumulating. Of course only 20 or so glacier areas are currently open and are the only ones actually taking official measurements, but it’s a great pre-season boost across the region.
But things are looking snowy in North America too with Aspen and Whistler both announcing they’re going to open 10-12 days earlier than planned, this Saturday, because of the good conditions. More than 20 US ski area are now open across the country, more than any other.
The snowy picture even continues to the southern hemisphere, where the season ended in October and summer is a little over a month away, but Australia’s Perisher reported 20cm of snow on Monday, getting them in the mood early for winter 2014!
Now the snow storms have eased, Austria’s eight open glacier areas have been measuring there deepening bases. The compacted accumulation at Hintertux, which has some of the most terrain open, has increased by 20cm on a week ago to 155cm and the terrain open is up to 37km too. In common with most resorts the snow is now lying down to valley level. The Stubai glacier reports a 110cm base one metre base depth with 15cm of fresh snow while at Kaunertal it’s up to 181cm (or over six feet!) and seven lifts are operating. The Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun is up to 150cm and expects more snow on Friday.
Obergurgl will be the first area in Austria and indeed the Alps to open without glacier skiing to rely on, is scheduled to open for the season today Thursday 14th October. It has a 15-45cm base.
France was blasted by the same snow storm that covered much of the Alps this past week, but with only Tignes open there are few official stats available as to just how much fell. That official stat however adds up to, about, 50cm at Tignes. The famous glacier resort remains the only open option in France for a final week until Val Thorens, the continent’s highest major resort, begins the four week deluge of openings in the alps a week on Friday, 22nd November.
Val Senales is still claiming the deepest snowbase in the world at present at 2.6m. It is one of three ski areas open in Italy. The other options are Cervinia with a 1.3m base and skiing over the border in to Switzerland and the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale has a single red run open and a one metre based above 3,000m.
Swiss resorts sit at the top of the world snow depth league at the moment and they’ve also seen some of the biggest snowfalls of the past seven days.
Saas Fee and Zermatt both have around 2m snow depths on their glaciers and there’s now snow cover down to resort level. Glacier 3000 near Gstaad has reported half-a-metre of new snow over the weekend and the Divaolezza Glacier near St Moritz is also looking good.
Verbier is now open at weekends in November and there’s 50cm of snow on the glacier there. Engelberg is also due to reopen after its annual maintenance closure and Crans Montana and Davos will also be operating.
There are now more than a dozen ski areas open in Lapland, Norway and Sweden and there’s been more fresh snow in Scandinavia this week. World wintersports focus is also moving its focus north this weekend as the World Cup rolls in to Levi, Finland. Snow depths so far are in the range of 10-30cm. Areas open in Norway now include the leading resorts of Geilo, Voss and Lillehammer.
There’s no report of any fresh snow in the Pyrenees and temperatures are a few degrees above zero. Resorts are expecting to open from 30th November onwards.
The Scottish ski season had its earliest ever opening last weekend when Cairngorm opened a chunk of the upper mountain served by the Ciste tow. It was a good weekend with blue skies and clear days. Temperatures rose briefly on Monday but have dropped again and there’s a cycle of snow showers and strong winds. Cairngorm is closed during the week but considering re-opening at the weekend, a decision will be made shortly before, depending on the weather. Elsewhere Nevis range and Glencoe on the west are both looking increasingly white, although Glencoe has lift maintenance anyway so won’t open this weekend. In the east Glenshee (which has not updated snow reports since the end of last season) and the Lecht have snow cover but from the cams it does not yet look to be enough.
It’s all kicking off in Canada, after the opening of resorts in Alberta over the past two weekends (Nakiska, Norquay and Lake Louise), a fourth option in the province, Marmot Basin near Jasper to the north, who had delayed their opening for a week due to mild temperatures, are opening for their 50th season this weekend. However the continent’s biggest resort Whistler Blackcomb, along with fellow BC resort Big White, now plans to open on Saturday too, 10 days early and the first in British Columbia, due to good conditions they say. In the East Mont Sainte Sauveur in Quebec, actually the first in the country to open for the season back in late October, remains open thanks to snowmaking.
The US is currently leading the world for the number of open ski areas, more than 20 already (the only country in double figures) and the numbers opening is also growing rapidly as many more plan to open this weekend and next in order to cash in on the major Thanksgiving holiday in a fortnight’s time.
The biggest news is arguably the planned opening of Aspen Mountain at the weekend, 12 days earlier than planned, due to good conditions, and the mountain promises top to bottom skiing.
However there’s snow cover across the country and its Killington and Okemo in Vermont, both claiming two foot bases that have the deepest sow cover in the country at the moment.
There’s also skiing in California (Mammoth and Boreal), Utah (Solitude and Brighton), Colorado (Breckenridge, Keystone, Winter Park, Loveland, A Basin, Wolf Creek) and Bretton Woods and Loon (New Hampshire). Bases are typically 30 to 45cm.
Several New Mexico resorts led by Sipapu are also planning to open for the season, early, this Saturday, reputedly their earliest ever opening.
The most expensive lift ticket in Europe, excluding Switzerland, has passed the 280 Euros mark for the first time.
The Mont Blanc Unlimited pass which covers all skiing in the Chamonix Valley, as well as providing access to the slopes of Courmayeur in Italy and Verbier in Switzerland has reached 282 Euros for an adult six day pass. Children aged four to 15 are charged at 239.7 Euros, the highest child price, (up to age 13 when the 3 Valleys is more expensive for young teens) in Europe, including Switzerland.
Discounts are offered to families booking tickets together however and there are also lower rates in December, before Christmas, and at the end of the season from 12th April to 11th May, 2014.
The ticket is marginally more expensive than the Paradiski pass (277 Euros for adults, 208 Euros children aged six to 13) and the 3 Valleys pass (277 Euros for adults and children aged over 12, 221.60 for children aged five to 12). Both offer discounts for families, in low season and the 3 Valleys when two or more people buy passes together.
The most expensive six day lift pass in Europe is the Aosta Valley / Matterhorn pass when bought on the Swiss side at 441 Swiss Francs – around 358 Euros.
The Dolomiti Superski pass, at 262 Euros, is the most expensive outside of France/Switzerland.
The latest stage in a court case between British tour operator Le Ski and the main French ski school, the Ecole du Ski Français, has been postponed to next spring at the request of both parties.
The court case surrounds the issue of ‘ski hosting’ or ‘social skiing’ where a representative from the holiday company takes guests on familiarisation tours of the slopes, show them good lunch spots and how to avoid queues.
The Ecole du Ski Français argues that this breaks French employment law on ski guiding which requires a ‘ski host’ to have a certain level of ski teaching qualification to lead such social groups.
Le Ski, supported by most British tour operators to France, argue that as their hosts do not instruct, teach or train the guests, go on steep runs or go off piste, they do not.
An initial local court case in the spring found in favour of the ESF, who were awarded damages from Le Ski in what is being seen in a test case in an issue that has flared up several times over the past 30 years.
Le Ski have appealed the original decision and on 6 November, the Court of Appeals in Chambery (France) agreed to defer the hearing about social skiing being illegal, to mid May 2014, at the joint request of the Ecole du Ski Français (ESF) and Le Ski.
Both parties concur in considering that the European legal issues raised by the case are complex and require careful examination. This highlights the importance of the decision which the Court will take and of the need to ensure the best possible preparation of such decision by all parties concerned.
Social skiing in various forms is offered in many ski resorts around the world, without involving ski schools. It does not appear to cause any difficulties except in France, the leading country for British ski tourism.
British tour operators supporting Le Ski are Alpine Elements, Crystal Ski, Inghams, Mark Warner, Neilson, Ski Esprit, Ski Olympic, Ski Total, Skiworld and Thomson.
All tour operators have suspended ski hosting while the court case is on-going, although some like Crystal and Thomson have organised alternative options including having non-skiing staff provide advice at lifts, and working with other ski schools in some resorts to provide a similar service.
This Week’s Headlines:
• Heavy snow in the Alps, set to continue.
• Some of North Americas biggest resorts – Lake Louise and Mammoth, opening this Friday.
• Scottish slopes may open imminently after week of snow.
• US first country in North America to have the number of ski areas open hit double figures.
• More areas open in Scandinavia.
• First eastern North American ski areas have opened in Quebec and Vermont.
As we enter November the build up to the full start of winter 2013-14 continues almost unabated in most of the world’s main skiing regions. There has been heavy snow in the past week first in the Eastern and then in the Western Alps bringing large accumulations to Austrians then French ski areas, in many cases right down to valley level. The heavy snowfall is expected to continue over the coming weekend. Up to 20cm of snowfall in 24 hours was reported in Scandinavia and temperatures have been unseasonably cold in Scotland where all five areas are no under a white coat of snow.
In North America momentum continues too with ever bigger-name resorts opening, in most cases thanks to a mix of snowmaking and the big snowfall in the West in the last few days of October. The first eastern ski area has opened too.
It has been a snowy week in the Austrian Alps. The country’s eight glacier ski areas have regularly been reporting 10-30ccm snowfalls in 24 hour periods all week. Some f the biggest falls were reported at Pitztal, with Austria’s highest lifts and already nearly two months in to its season. It reported a 30cm snowfall on Monday, it has had nearly 3 metres of snow fall since it started its season in mid-September and 70cm over the past week. More recently Kaunertal reported 20cm in 24 hours on Wednesday morning. Hintertux still reports a 135cm base although it has been snowing there all week and continues to do so. The stubai glacier reports a one metre base depth with 15cm of fresh snow.
What’s different abut this wave of snow to earlier ones, apart from the volume, is that the snow is falling down to high valleys rather than just at glacier level. Obergurgl, the first area in the country without glacier skiing to rely on, is scheduled to open next Thursday.
After the 10 day opening of Les 2 Alpes over the half-term holiday period, it closed again on Monday, leaving Tignes the sole open French ski area. Anyone lucky enough to have been there on Tuesday this week would have enjoyed 30cm of fresh snow falling in 24 hours for great powder skiing. The snow was of course across the many yet-to-open French areas too, boding well for the start of the season in the area, now just weeks away. For now though Tignes is the only centre open in France again for a few weeks until Val Thorens starts the charge for the main 13-14 openings in two weeks on 23rd November.
Three glacier areas are currently open in Italy with Val Senales with a 2.6m base claiming the deepest snow in the world at present. Cervinia is now open full time after weekend opening in October and has a 1m base with some fresh snow. The third option the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale is also reporting a one metre base and two intermediate grade runs open.
Switzerland has perhaps had a little less fresh snow than its neighbours but is still looking good for early November. Four areas are currently open as a fifth, Engelberg has a scheduled 11 day maintenance closure running until next Friday 15th November. Year round Zermatt has a 1.9m base. It expects more fresh snow at the weekend with temperatures in the minus-five up to zero range. Also open are Saas Fee, Diavolezza near St Moritz and at Glacier 3000 between Gstaad and les Diablerets which has a 70cm base depth and nine runs open.
Crans Montana and Davos are among resorts planning to open in a week’s time.
After last week’s warm spell in Norway, the snow has returned with up to 20cm in 24 hours reported by some resorts. Bases continue to slowly build across the region and more areas are opening. So far it’s mostly small Norwegian areas like Gol and Gala with 20-30cm base depth but big names like Voss will open at the weekend and Hemsedal is also expected to open soon. In Scandinavia Ruka and Levi (which hosts World cup racing in just over a week’s time) are also going strong and expected to be joined by Pyha, new in the Inghams brochures this season, on Saturday.
There’s been more fresh-snowfall reported in the Pyrenees. It seems unlikely any areas will open for another 3 – 4 weeks but a healthy base appears to be building for their opening days.
It has been a week of low temperatures and frwquent snow showers on Scottish mountains, leading to speculation (well, from us), that Cairngorm at least (which is looking whitest) may be about to open for the season, they say the snow level is down to 700m and that they’re assessing conditions daily.
It’s all been happening in Canada. North America’s first East Coast resort to open for 2013-14, Mt Sainte Sauveur in Quebec, started turning its lifts at the end of last week thanks to rapid snowmaking and in the West Nakiska and Mt Norquay (Banff) opened at the weekend thanks to a mix of around 50cm of fresh snow and snowmaking. They’re due to be joined in the next 48 hours by some bigger hitters in Canadian skiing – Sunshine and Lake Louise, as well as Marmot Basin at Jasper to the north are all due to open this Friday, 8th November, taking the Alberta open areas count to five.
There’s been more snowfall rolling around Western North America and some serious accumulations reported in Colorado. The list of resorts open in the famous ski state continues to grow with Breckenridge the latest to join (On Friday 8th October). Mammoth has also opened in California (on Thursday 7th November) joining Sugar Bowl and Boreal. Utah’s Solitude is also expected to be the first in the state to open tomorrow (Friday, 8th November). Along with Wild Mountain in Minnesota and Timberline in Oregon, the US is the first northern hemisphere country to report the number of open areas in double figures for 13-14.
Many thanks to www.J2ski.com
Bulgarian media are reporting that the leading French chain Accor, which operates 3,500 hotels on five continents, is planning to spend 550M Euros on a new ski resort in Bulgaria.
The project, planning for which is said to be ‘at an early stage,’ (although with €1m invested on planning to date) would see the creation of the neew ski area, with 155km of piste making it by far the largest in Eastern Europe, built near to the existing ski area of Borovets in the Rila mountains.
The "Destination Rila" project would be a completely new development and offer year round leisure facilities including an aqua center and a golf course among 80 activity options for visitors.
There will be a range of accommodation options from 2 – 5 star and the facility would aim to attract around 200,000 guests per year. No formal plans have been submitted and no target opening date announced as yet.
Kronplatz ski area in the Dolomites has shown its commitment to rail access to its 100km of slopes with a €25m spend on new railway station.
The station is perfectly connected to the ski slopes with a gondola lift linking direct to the station platform and a new 7.2km long ski slope reported to have been created to allow ski-in, ski-out access to and from the slopes.
“This ambitious project connects the slopes to the local railway network making getting to the slopes much more relaxed and scenic whilst also reducing traffic on the roads,” said a statement on behalf of the area.
Although Zermatt’s lift company’s management described a 1% growth in business last season as “disappointing,” the board did note that business was strong for summer skiing with sometimes too many teams wanting glacier access and space needing to be rationed. The company say they see this as a growth area for the coming seasons.
Zermatt’s lift company has also celebrated ten years of operating its innovative Furggsattel Chairlift which was the first in Switzerland to be built on glacier. The 2.5km long six-seater chairlift which rises to 3,365m above sea level has 18 lift support towers, a dozen of which are built on the slowly but perpetually moving glacial ice and this need to be re-aligned each year. Another innovation, a special snowmaking machine which bridges the 700m gap between the bottom of the glacier and the Trockener Steg lift station.
This Week’s Headlines:
• First Canadian area aims opening Friday, November 1st
• Norwegian ski area delays planned Nov 1 opening due to mild conditions.
• Heavy snow in the Alps – 30cm at Les 2 Alpes.
• Pyrenees get a white coat.
• More US resorts open as heavy snowfall reported around Lake Tahoe
• 2013 season over in southern hemisphere – last ski area still open closes.
Momentum for the 2013-14 ski season is continuing to build with substantial snowfalls in the past 48 hours in the Alps (up to 50cm) and western North America (up to 35cm). More ski areas have been opening and the season is due to kick off in Canada this weekend.
Snow has also been reported in Scotland and the Pyrenees, the only area were things aren’t going quite to plan is Scandinavia, where its been a bit too warm for snowmaking in recent days. The snow in the alps is expected to continue in to next week and the waves of snowfall in the US that has brought heavy snow first to the west coast mountains and then to the Rockies is also rolling on
As we enter November Austria still has more ski areas open than anywhere else, as it has for the past two months, and Hintertux with 34km of runs open served by 15 lifts and with a 135cm base is the largest open ski area on the planet at the moment.
All eight Austrian glacier ski centres are reporting powder conditions and have been posting impressive snowfall pictures on their sites and social media feeds.
The Kitzstein Glacier has a 1.1m base depth and is reporting another 10cm of snowfall in the past 24 hours and it’s a similar story at the other six glaciers – Molltal, Stubai, Pitztal, Kaunertaln (20cm in the past 24 hours), Dachstein and Solden, the latter seeing Ted Ligety win in the first northern hemisphere World Cup Ski competition of the 13-14 season last weekend.
Les 2 Alpes is about to enjoy the second weekend in its 10 day October run, closing on Sunday. But there’s a foot of fresh snow and a metre base on the glacier for anyone lucky enough to able to make it out there for the ski tests and parties. Tignes, which won’t be closing on Sunday and will stay open until next May in fact, also has excellent conditions. It will be the only centre open in France again for a few weeks until Val Thorens starts the charge for the main 13-14 openings in mid November.
Passo Stelvio’s summer ski season will end this Sunday, November 3rd, leaving three glaciers open in Italy. Cervinia’s ski area linked to Zermatt will now be open every day after being open weekends only during October, and The Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale along with Val Senales are the other two Italian options with snow depths at around the metre mark and fresh powder on top.
Five ski areas are open in Switzerland at present although one of them, Engelberg will have a scheduled 11 day maintenance closure from next Monday 4th November to Friday 15th November. Three runs are currently open served by the famous ice flyer chairlift. You can also ski on the glacier slopes of Zermatt (25km of runs open), Saas Fee, Diavolezza near St Moritz and at Glacier 3000 between Gstaad and les Diabelerets where nine runs are open, served by five lifts.
More Scandinavian ski areas look set to join already-open Levi and Ruka in Finland shortly, although the planned opening of Trysil in Norway – due to have happened on Friday 1st November, has been postponed until a current mild spell ends. Operations Manager Jan Lindstad in SkiStar Trysil, says everyone is on alert and ready to start up the snow production again when the weather is cold enough. However Hemsedal, one of the country’s largest resorts, still hopes to open a week on Friday, November 8th.
Significant snow fall in the Pyrenees has given a white coat the mountains down to valley level, although no ski areas ion the area are known to be thinking of opening imminently.
Snowfall has returned to Scottish mountain tops now that temperatures have dropped again. Webcams are showing snowfall at Glencoe and on Cairngorm, although there’s no snow-reporting from the centres themselves as yet.
Opening day is very close for the 2013-14 ski season in Canada. Officially Lake Louise, Sunshine, Marmot Basin and Mt Norquay, all in Alberta, aim to open in a week’s time on Friday, November 8th, but following recent snow storms and good snowmaking conditions Mt Norquay is now saying it will open this Friday, 1st November with 17cm of fresh snow and machine made snow too. Fellow Alberta resort Nakiska will open on Saturday, 2nd November.
Heavy snowfall in California on Monday and Tuesday led to reports of up to 14 inch (35cm) accumulations around Lake Tahoe with the biggest accumulations at Alpine Meadows. The snow has led to speculation that one of the smaller areas, Boreal, may open this weekend.
The snow is expected to continue East and bring similar accumulations to Colorado by the weekend. Loveland, Arapahoe Basin and Wolf Creek (weekends) are already open so well placed to make the best of that, while Copper Mountain and Keystone which open on Friday 1st November look to have timed it perfectly.
Elsewhere Wild Mountain in Minnesota and Timberline in Oregon are also operating.
The 2013 season is over in the southern hemisphere. Turoa in New Zealand which still has 97cm of snow has decided to close for the season rather than continue in to ‘Snovvember’ as in recent years.
Many thanks to www.J2ski.com
A ‘combination lift’ with eight-seat gondola cabins and six-seat chairlifts complete with pull-down weather protection hoods will open this December on the slopes of Adelboden in Switzerland.
The new lift will run from Geils – Hahnenmoosstrasse, rising 244 vertical metres over its 1,386 metre length, taking just six minutes to reach Hahnenmoosstrasse.
The lift ascent will take six minutes travelling at five metres per second and the lift’s carrying capacity will be 2,400 people per hour.
Avoriaz has announced it will offer a special lift pass from 29 March to 6 April 2014, the six day SkiAquariaz ticket priced at €156 for adults / €114 for children, around 35% less than the usual Portes du Soleil pass.
The special ticket will allow holders to ski in the morning then gain admission to the tropical swimming pool complex, Aquariaz,, which opened in 2012, in the afternoon.
Last season Avoriaz received 70,000 visitors to this new facility in the heart of the resort which offers a range of aquatic activities for all ages in tropical surroundings. Water there is heated to 30°C and the complex includes 1,570 real plants including 183 trees, totalling more than 260 species brought over from Cambodia.
Paradiski (the French ski area comprising Les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry and la Plagne) has unveiled an artistic make over of its iconic Vanoise Express double-decker cable car in celebration of its ten years in operation, making Paradiski possible.
The fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was commissioned to decorate the cable car cabins, giving him carte blanche for his design, which was unveiled this week at a 10 year anniversary party at the Musée Grévin , Paris.
Jean-Charles described his work with the following translated phrases, “Go dreaming on a wire. The wonder of a white dawn. Reincarnate as a bird on a branch. At the heart of the subtle valleys. Dance, beauty, magical nature. Flying from one side to the other. A sensual cable car. Cool, space-powder snow. Invite the angel to fly.”
The lift will re-open for use from 21st December.
With the ski season a little over a week old in Colorado, the first signs of ski area attitudes to the legalisation of personal marijuana law in the state are beginning to emerge.
A report by CBS Denver said that several visitors to Arapahoe Basin had had their ski passes confiscated by ski patrol for “public use” of marijuana.
The new law allows for personal use of a small amount of marijuana but explicitly prohibits use in a public area – such as on the ski slopes.
Resort communities across Colorado are currently deciding whether to allow licensed shops to sell marijuana in their towns.
Some commentators are also noting that most Colorado ski areas are located on US Federal land and possession, as well as consumption, of marijuana on Federal land is against US national law and can result in a fine or jail sentence.
However there is also debate about where responsibility lies to police these new laws – the ski area operators, the state or the national authorities.
There is also debate as to whether the new laws will help or hinder Colorado’s $1.5 billion tourism industry.
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