With temperatures dropping across the Alps this week, resorts have held onto the consistent snowfall received across the weekend and into the start of this week.
The biggest snowfall was recorded in Monday night with 20-30cm falling in Chamonix, Val d´sere, Tignes and across the 3 Valleys. With more snow falling overnight there is healthy coverage and new powder across most French resorts.
Italy paints a similar picture with 30cm recorded in the Sella Ronda yesterday adding to the 200cm+ upper piste and 100cm+ base already established in Arabba and Cortina.
Switzerland also received some healthy snowfall Monday and Tuesday with 20cm recorded in Grimentz, Saas Fee, Verbier and Zermatt whilst Austria had fantastic conditions in the Ski Welt after 60cm fell across the weekend. St Anton and Lech also received 20cm on Monday night making for glorious powder skiing Tuesday.
Looking forward, the snow returns to France tonight and spreads through Switzerland and Austria to Italy by Thursday morning where heavy snowfall should continue through to the weekend. With snow falling overnight and cool blue skies opening through the day, it´s time to get out and remember why winter is the best season of all!
If 173cm of fresh powder isn’t enough to have you scrabbling for your skis and jumping on the next flight to the Alps then nothing will.
Whilst they may have come up short in the rugby, Italy were the winners in the Alps with over 1m of snow arriving in Selva (105cm) and Arabba (173cm) on Sunday. Other resorts such as Cortina and Passo Tonale also received 20cm offering excellent on and off piste conditions.
Switzerland continued their consistent snowfall with 20-30cm falling in Zermatt, Wengen and Saas Fee over the weekend. France and Austria also received 5-10cm across most resorts but the big snowfall is expected this week.
Light snowfall across France and Italy this afternoon will give way to huge snowfall throughout France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy where up to 30cm can be expected in several French resorts. Thursday opens up for brilliant bluebird powder day conditions before the snowfall returns thick across the Alps on Friday, bringing a huge dump of snow in time for the weekend.
February is shaping up to be just the snowy month we´ve come to know and love and the perfect solution to Winter Olympic fever.
If all the skiing and snowboarding action from Sochi has you inspired to hit the slopes, there has never been a better time to get out to the Alps with consistent snowfall over the weekend making for ideal, powdery conditions. Our Men in the Mountains report from a snowy chairlift in Morzine.
It has been another week of huge snowfall across the Alps providing exceptional conditions for the all-important half term week. As one of the busiest weeks of the year, hundreds of British families are waking up to powdery pistes with new snow recorded in France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland yesterday, continuing today. Our agents in Morzine have been enjoying the lion’s share of the powder with 40cm falling in the Portes du Soleil. The 3 Valleys received another 30cm with the rest of France, including Tignes and Val d’Isere, receiving another 20cm.
As predicted the skies have opened and delivered a blanket of snow over the last two days. Our sales consultants in resort are enjoying perfect conditions and are looking forward to more snow due on Thursday.
All other French resorts received 10 - 20cm of new snow
Other Austrian resorts received 5-10cm of new snow
Other Italian resorts received 10-20cm of new snow
Other Swiss resorts received 10-15 cm of new snow
It´s official - there will be 19 skiers and snowboarders heading to Sochi 2014!
Ideal conditions are reported for the rest of January with consistent snowfall over the next week. Sales Consultant James Pickford reports from the beautiful slopes of Morzine.
For snowsports enthusiasts in the UK, the winter season got underway with the ski show last weekend and the UK´s most prestigious competition gets underway with the Freeze Festival today.
First up is the Battle of Britain, where you expect the likes of Billy Morgan to be throwing down double back-flips and for Jamie Nicholls to get his double corks dialled in for tomorrow. After that we have the international Freestyle Ski Big Air this afternoon, with the likes of Jossi Wells on show, before tomorrow´s headline event, the FIS World Cup Snowboard Big Air.
So, with the Freeze getting us into the winter mood, you´ll all be glad to hear it´s still snowing in the Alps. Switzerland is taking the lion´s share with over 30cm of snowfall across the weekend, but there is also good snowfall in France, Italy and Austria, and of course, Whistler.
The Swiss resorts are having a fantastic start to the winter, with the main resorts due to open next month and glacier skiing already available, this weekend is sure to offer some early season skiers with great conditions. Saas Fee has been forecast a whopping 39cm of snow, which is incredible for October, with Zermatt pretty close behind with a huge 36cm of fresh powder.
The French glaciers are also coming into their own this week. Les Deux Alpes has an impressive 29cm on its way and the Espace Killy´s Val d´Isere and Tignes are expecting 24cm of early season snow. The Three Valleys resort of Val Thorens is expecting 16cm this weekend, though could boast up to 40cm by next Friday! Those mid-November opening dates are looking pretty good right now!
Italy is benefitting from the great snow hitting Switzerland, as on the other side of the Matterhorn, Cervinia should boast 31cm of snow over the next few days. Perfect for a cheeky early Club Med if you ask me.
Austria has been enjoying a cracking start to the season with several 20cm+ forecasts in recent weeks, though this week is not as impressive, the 8-10cm forecast in Kaprun, Hintertux and the Stubai glacier will be welcome. There should also be snow hitting the Arlberg region, with St. Anton due a dusting toward the end of next week.
As for North America, Whistler appears to be picking up where it left off last winter, having seen some great October snowfall already, there is 39cm forecast for the coming week. Banff should also be getting a top up of 10cm or so, and is already looking good (see above, photo courtesy of SkiBig3.com). We should also see a light dusting across Colorado and the Lake Tahoe resorts toward the end of next week.
So, it´s time to get that early season trip booked, your skis or board into the shop for a service and to dig your ski gear out of the loft. The snow is arriving and it´s almost time to get those first runs of the winter in.
Written by Stephen Adam
As reported last week, it looks like we are going to benefit from a very snowy start to the winter. Over the weekend there was 40cm of snowfall in Whistler, with many Austrian resorts, including Kaprun and Hintertux, boasting a comfortable 25cm of snowfall.
Not to be left out, there was also snowfall in the Three Valleys, Tignes and Les Deux Alpes, toward the end of the week, which is great news for Val Thorens, who plan to open on the 19th November. The Espace Killy will also be happy with the early forecasts, as they are due to open the following week, 26th November.
Early season snow is already topping up the glacier in Tinges.
This week we are also looking at some pretty decent snowfall hitting the alps. Switzerland is once again benefitting from a good early winter sprinkling, with 18cm forecast for Saas Fee and 17cm in Zermatt. France is having a comfortable start to the winter with 13cm expected in Les Deux Alpes and a light dusting across the Tarantaise region. Italy is also expecting reasonable snow, with 14cm of snow due to arrive in Cervinia this week.
For fans of skiing in North America, you´ll be pleased to hear that Whistler is forecast somewhere between 35cm and 44cm over the week, so it´s looking like another bumper season is on its way for Canada´s most famous resort. There are also light dustings expected in California and Colorado, but not of quite the same magnitude.
So, if you are thinking of an early season ski deal, things are definitely looking good for some pre-Christmas turns and glacial skiing.
Written by Stephen Adam
Northstar-at-Tahoe has announced plans to expand its boundaries and increase its ski domain by offering cat-skiing and guided sidecountry tours to advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Northstar have expanded to areas of the mountain, adding 170 acres of sidecountry skiing, along with the additions of cat-skiing and additional guided skiing. For those who are wondering what sidecountry is, it is essentially inbound backcountry skiing accessed by lift and can include hiking or traversing — essentially easy access backcountry skiing.
Bill Rock, chief operating officer at Northstar Resort said: "Northstar already had some of the best tree skiing in Tahoe, but with the expansion of our boundaries, skiers and riders will now have access to even more powder stashes and incredible glade skiing. And, for those interested in learning the ins and outs of these areas with someone more familiar, guided tours will be available both within and outside the resort’s boundaries."
The extended terrain will be part of Lookout Mountain and will offer around 1,000 vertical feet of skiing within the new Lookout Glade, accessed off the Martis Camp Express chairlift. There will also be be terrain off the Logger Loops ski trail, providing around 800 vertical feet of skiing within the Sawmill Glade, accessed from the Vista Express chairlift. The new terrain will be open to advanced skiers and snowboarders this coming season and the new guided tours, offered through Northstar´s ski & snowboard school, will take advantage of these new areas along with existing terrain on the White Rabbit and Sawtooth Ridge.
The snow cat accessed skiing and snowboarding will be offered for the first time this year on Sawtooth Ridge, with fantastic access to a popular sidecountry area that was already previously open to advanced skiers and riders when snow conditions permitted, within the resort’s boundary.
With resorts like Revelstoke gaining in size and popularity it is no surprise that Vail resorts have opted to offer cat-skiing and more accessible off-piste skiing this coming season. With a La Niña looking to be on its way, why not make the most of Lake Tahoe´s great snow and Northstar´s cracking terrain?
Written by Stephen Adam
As the winter approaches, and rumours of another La Niña on North America´s West Coast, the snow continues to fall in Europe. It may be early days, but a steady sprinkling is rarely bad news and will help the glaciers get ready for their early openings.
The snowfall is into double figures again this week. Les Deux Alpes in France boasts 19cm, with 8 cm falling in Tignes and Val d´Isere. Saas Fee and Zermatt, in Switzerland, are expecting 12cm and 11cm respectively and Cervinia, on the other side of the Matterhorn in Italy, will benefit from 10cm.
Austria is again having a good pre-season week, with the resort of Kaprun boasting 15cm and Stubai glacier gaining a whopping 22cm of snow. Up the valley from Mayrhofen, in Hintertux, there is another 12cm falling on the already open glacial slopes.
Across the pond Mother Nature´s infamous weather pattern is about to drop around 18cm on Whistler, though will the resort manage to recreate the epic conditions of last winter? We can but hope.
Written by Stephen Adam
There are less than six weeks to go until Europe´s big resorts begin to open and less than ten weeks until the first Christmas ski holidays depart and it is already snowing in the Alps.
October usually sees the first dusting of the winter, giving the glaciers a shiny new coat and getting us in the mood for winter, but this weekend saw the first blizzards of the season, with half a metre of snow falling across many of Austria´s high resorts and double figure snowfall in parts of France, Italy and Switzerland.
As mentioned, Austria led the way over the weekend with a snowstorm that hit resorts from Kaprun to St. Anton. Zell am See and Hintertux, the glacier a short bus ride from Mayrhofen, both boasted around 50cm of fresh, early season powder. With Hintertux´s glacier already open, any early season skiers would have been in for a great weekend to get their ski legs back.
France, Switzerland and Italy also benefitted from the weekend´s snow storm, but the snowfall resembled what you expect from an early Autumn storm. Val d´Isere and Tignes enjoyed around 10cm of snow, with the Grand Motte open for the weekend, it made for some pleasant skiing. Saas Fee and Zermatt also enjoyed a similar dusting of fresh snow and good conditions for weekend skiing.
Not all the locals were happy with the snow in Val d´Isere this weekend.
In North America there is already talk of a back-to-back La Niña weather systems. La Niña´s tend to happen around every four years, but last year´s storm led to record snowfall from Whistler and Lake Tahoe to Colorado. If another La Niña is on it´s way then the skiing in North America will be phenomenal again this winter.
So with the winter seemingly fast approaching, the first notable snowfall arriving and rumours of a big, snowy weather pattern on its way, lets hope that this winter offers amazing snow across the globe — even if it means we can´t make it to work occasionally!
Written by Stephen Adam
After a massive 18 metres of snow last season, the resorts of Lake Tahoe are embarking on multi-million dollar upgrade in time for what we are all hoping will be another epic season.
Possibly renowned as Lake Tahoe´s most freestyle-friendly resort, thanks to local rider Shaun White and the Burton Stash terrain park, Northstar will be investing heavily thanks to a $30 million dollar injection from parent company, Vail Resorts. The double Olympic gold medallist will be based in the resort this coming winter and Northstar have announced that they will be working with White to produce a new 22 foot half pipe for himself and other aspiring snowboarders to enjoy.
There will be a new high-speed chairlift accessing the backside of the mountain, that´s already been dubbed the Promised Land Express by locals — the new four-man chair will offer tree-lined skiing and two new intermediate runs. The resort will also benefit from a new 500 seater mountain restaurant, the Zephyr Lodge, with 200 outdoor deck seats, to enjoy the California sunshine on. The restaurant will be accessible from four high-speed chairlifts and will boast panoramic views of the Pacific crest. There are also plans for a new in-resort restaurant.
Heavenly will be benefitting from several mountain improvements this winter. The resort sits on the California and Nevada border, with the California side working on widening their pistes, while the Nevada side will be adding three new runs, all accessed via the Galaxy chairlift.
Families will be pleased to hear about the new 2,200 square foot ski school facility and its kids´ adventure zone being built at the top of the gondola. The specially-designed area, Black Bear Hollow is an entry-level progression park featuring mini rails, boxes and gentle jumps for kids to enjoy and build their confidence on.
One of the region´s largest resorts, Squaw Valley, has just announced plans to unite with the nearby resort of Alpine Meadows, creating 6,000 acres of skiing on one lift pass. The resort has also recently invested $15 million into the base area and on-mountain improvements for this winter.
Ski runs with established names and the addition of 200 new signs designating trails and difficulty ratings will feature alongside grooming flipper signs, which will advise riders which runs were groomed overnight as well as adding signs marking the easiest way down. The ski school will also be benefitting from major investment with the addition of three new magic carpet lifts, new rental equipment and a more streamlined reservation and registration process. The Squaw Kids facility will also be unveiling a refurbished and remodelled 17,000 square foot interior.
With Lake Tahoe boasting some of the highest snowfall in North America, including last year´s 800+ inches, great resorts and the laid-back Cali attitude and all this investment a twin-stay holiday to a couple of these resorts may just be on the cards this winter...
Written by Stephen Adam
The Californian resorts of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have announced that they will be joining forces in time for the 2011/12 winter season. The two Lake Tahoe resorts will effectively merge their holding companies and offer twin resort lift passes as of this winter.
With two of Ski Lake Tahoe´s resorts combing forces it´s great news for skiers, though the merger is yet to complete, the two resorts are already offering lift passes that will cover both ski areas, including full season passes, but they have also announced a new six day all-access lift ticket valid in both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
Squaw Valley is renowned for its legendary terrain and boasts local rides such as Jeremy Jones, the resort hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics and boasts 3,600 acres of terrain, the new infrastructure means the lift pass will cover 6,000 ski-able acres an area that boasted over 800 inches of snowfall last winter. Prior to the decision to combine forces Squaw Valley had announced $50 million of investment over the next five years and it is now expected the Alpine Meadows will benefit from a cash input.
The huge investment is expected to see several new bars and restaurants, both in resort and on the mountain, with some of the current venues benefitting from a revitalisation. The resort will also be investing in 10 new piste bashers, new snow park equipment and a renovation of the upper Funitel terminal, among many other resort improvements.
Andy Wirth, President and CEO of Squaw Valley said: "Combining Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley will provide our guests something truly remarkable — a mountain experience unmatched in California, inclusive of expansive and family friendly terrain. In today´s economic environment, skiers and snowboarders are looking for more — more terrain and value. The all new Tahoe Super Pass and Tahoe Super Six allow guests, with one pass, access to both of these incredible mountains, providing unmatched value."
The two resorts are currently owned by JMA Ventures (Alpine Meadows) and LSL Capital Partners (Squaw Valley) and have agreed to combine operations under common ownership with the transaction expected to commence before the start of the 2011/12 season. The new company will see the current owners of Squaw Valley take the majority shares, with their current CEO due to talk the helm of the combined entity.
Todd Chapman, President and CEO of JMA Ventures (JMA), owner of Alpine Meadows, said: "As a long-time skier with a family dedicated to Tahoe, I’m excited to bring these two remarkable resorts together and we agree that a key element of success is maintaining each resort’s character. While both resorts are unique, this partnership is a natural fit, as what unites our brands and the spirit of our mountains is our guests’ desire for exploration and adventure."
More resorts under one lift pass is always good news, especially in an area that boasts Northstar and Heavenly within driving distance for a couple of extra nights. The only thing this news leaves me to speculate about is whether any of this investment could be used to add new lifts and ski area to further link the two domains.
Written by Stephen Adam
In preparation for next season the Swiss resort of Zermatt have sent through their pre-season resort update and there´s plenty to look forward too. This year there is open access to one of the resort´s spas and more options to enjoy a mountainside fondue— an integral part of a Swiss skiing holiday.
The first piece of exciting news is that Zermatt will feature in Google maps street view from this winter, you will be able to use street view to check out the slopes and the village. Zermatt is following in the footsteps of Whistler having their slopes for people to view online.
Hotels are upping the ante too this winter, with some new ideas coming the the table. The Hotel Silvana will be offering evenings that consist of a meal at the Restaurant Gitz-Gädi, located at the top of the Matterhorn Express, followed by a four kilometre toboggan run, or hike, back into the resort — I know which one I´d prefer!
Not to be outdone by the competition, the Hotel Europe is offering a fondue-picnic. The picnic consists of a fondue and bread for two people, a black-nose sheepskin to sit on, insulated picnic blanket, one bottle of white wine, a thermos of tea, local sausage and rye bread for starters, a surprise dessert and some schnapps to wash it all down with. They will also provide hand-warmers, cutlery & crockery and a sleigh to carry it to your picnic spot.
The Hotel Europe will also be opening their spa to the general public between the hours of 4pm and 8pm. They are offering non-residents of the hotel a package which consists of a partial massage, entry into the wellness area and a five-course meal with aperitif.
The resort´s nightlife it also gaining a small boost, as the ever popular Papperla Pub has undergone a major refurbishment over the summer and a new venue, the Time Out Sport Bar & Grill, will open. The aparthotel Monte Rosa in Täsch will boast a new restaurant, the Tschifferli, this winter, offering Welsh and Swiss specialties and complimented with local Swiss wine.
Written by Stephen Adam
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