Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dozens Of Ski Areas Open In Northern And Southern Hemispheres

Skiinfo reports that Les 2 Alpes is the first of France’s three ski areas that still offer summer glacier skiing and boarding to open for the season, today Wednesday, June 16th. The lifts open from 7.15am daily until the 28th August, the resorts there is 2.4m (eight feet) of snow lying on the glacier. The resort’s summer ski area, one of Europe’s largest, covers 200 hectares and has eight runs and a large snow park complete with two half pipes and a superpipe located between 2900 and 3600m of altitude. The other two glacier summer ski areas still operating since Alpe d’Huez, La Plagne and Val Thorens all stopped offering summer snow sports in recent years, are neighbours Tignes and Val d’Isere which will both open within days of Les 2 Alpes for their summer seasons. So France is open for skiing again after six weeks when it was the only one of the big four Alpine ski nations to not offer snow sports. Glacier ski resorts in Austria, Italy and Switzerland remain open.
The Dachstein glacier in southern Austria has re-opened for summer skiing this weekend, two weeks later than planned. A technical issue following the replacement of the steel cable, for the first time since the lift was installed in 1969, on the Dachstein access cable car led to the postponed opening. As a gesture of good will operators the Planai-Hochwurzen-Railways decided to lower season-ticket prices. The area’s popular Horsefeathers Superpark has now opened however, with a new design for summer 2010b and is reported by the operators to be in perfect shape. New features include a row of four rails and a line of new boxes designed for beginners and intermediates. Following Stubai’s closure at the weekend, all other Austrian glaciers are now closed except Tux which has 25km of runs to enjoy on a 295cm (10 foot) deep snow pack with nine lifts operating. The Kitsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun and the Molltal glacier will both re-open in the next few weeks.
Three glacier ski areas are now open in Italy following the re-opening of Val Senales at the weekend. It joins Passo Stelvio and the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale, which had one red and one black run open at the weekend but it likely to close in the near future. However Cervinia will re-open a week on Saturday for summer skiing and boarding keeping the Italian choices up at three. Val Senales, in Italy’s South Tyrol, opened its Nitro Snowpark for the summer season on Saturday with a special opening party including barbecue BBQ, beer and "Tirolerpfeif".
Events coming up during the six-week summer snow season includes Girls Weekend on the 25th-26th June , a Rookie Camp for children from July 23rd to 10th and a ‘Koolt Action Weekend’ with Skate/Snow/BMX and soccer and beach volleyball tournaments.
In Switzerland only Zermatt is open still, with Europe’s highest lifts in operation touching 3,900m.

In Northern Europe Scotland’s Cairngorm and Finland’s Ruka finally ended their long seasons last week leaving only Norway with ski slopes open on its three glaciers of Folgefonn, Galdhoppigen and Stryn.
In surprise news a second Canadian resort will be joining Whistler for snow sports next weekend. The Blackcomb glacier re-opens for summer snow sports from June 19th through to July 25th, but over on Vancouver Island, Mount Washington (picture attached) has also announced it will re-open its snow slopes, at least for the weekend of June19th/20th, at the start of its summer season. Mount Washington was top of the world snowfall table for most of last winter with over 6 metres (20 feet) lying and the resort, which was the main pre-Olympics training base for international teams immediately before the Winter games in February, had over 15m (approximately 50 feet) of snow through the season. It is now trying to clear snow that’s still lying deep on the higher mountain bike tracks ready for the summer season, but has decided to offer summer skiing for the first time in its 32 year history too. "The running joke at the end of the winter season at Mount Washington was that the snow would last until June and you would be able to ski and snowboard the opening day of summer operations. Joking aside, Mount Washington is announcing it will indeed open for skiing on the first weekend of summer", said resort spokesperson Brent Curtain. "We will be loading skiers and boarders onto the Eagle Express from 11am to 4pm on opening weekend", says Don Sharpe, Director of Business Operations at the resort. "Anybody wanting to head up for summer turns can do it for a special $25 lift ticket. As an added bonus, dads can ski or board for $10 on Father’s Day when they head up the lift with their child". Linton’s Loop will be the chosen run for the summer skiing weekend. "Imagine telling your friends and family across the country that you skied on Vancouver Island on the first day of summer", adds Curtain. "It really is unbelievable". Mount Washington Alpine Resort is located 30 minutes above The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. WestJet, Central Mountain Air and Pacific Coastal Airlines service the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ).
In the USA Snowbird decided to end their season after last weekend due to a rapidly melting snowpack, leaving only Mammoth in California and the year-round Timberline ski area in Oregon open.
In the southern hemisphere fresh snow in Australia, Lesotho and New Zealand has led to more resorts opening.
Fresh snow across Australia’s ski areas helped get the season off to a positive start at the weekend when the country’s resorts began opening for winter 2010. Temperatures have been low for the best part of a month allowing for plenty of pre-season snowfall and with 10-15cm (4-6 inches) of natural snowfall just before the resorts were scheduled to open, it’s been a verey good start to the seadon. Perisher in New South Wales was the first to open, on Friday, reporting 10cm of new snow on a base the resort had been building for over a month with their snowmaking equipment. Mt Buller has four lifts open with the resort’s Bourke Street run is in good shape. Mt Hotham has three lifts operating and Thredbo six lifts, four runs and a basic terrain park. Falls Creek has 10cm (four inches) of snow lying too, and three lifts running.
In New Zealand conditions are some of the best in the southern hemisphere with Mt Hutt the second resort to open last weekend, a week after Coronet Peak and most of the country’s other skiu areas opening over the next two weekends. Most have at least a metre (3.3 feet) of snow lying ready for a good start to the season.
In South America more resorts are opening too. In Chile one of the claimant’s to the continent’s largest ski areas, the "Three Valleys of South America" including the linked ski areas of El Colorado and Valle Nevado is now open with more snow expected in the next few days. Portillo has delayed plan to open on Saturday (19th) by a week to the 26th as the 40cm of snow lying at present is not enough apparently. Resorts in Argentina are yet to open but expect to start doiing so shortly.
In Southern Africa it’s all white at Tiffindell in South Africa and at Afriski in Lesotho. 200m of the main slope is open at the latter where there’s 50cm (20 inch) deep snow lying and snowmaking is on-going thanks to low temperatures.


Frank said...

Argentina proved to be one of the best places to go skiing. When the snow comes, skiing in Argentina becomes irresistible.
And when there is not enough snow, you can rent an apartment in Buenos Aires and enjoy the wonderful city!

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