With the 2012-13 ski season about to get underway, there are early indications that we could be in for a busy one. Snow has already fallen in the Central Alps, while some of America’s western states have already seen more than a dusting on their peaks.
And the very good snowfall across the Alps in 2011-12, and in the west of Canada, is another cause for optimism. A strong snowfall one season more often than not means there’s likely to be strong demand the following season.
Keep your eyes peeled on the many available online snow reports to see if the white stuff has arrived wherever you want to ski this winter.
Snow fever has already got underway this autumn, with events like the Ski and Snowboard Show and the British Ski and Board Show kicking off the fresh season in London’s Earls Court and Birmingham’s NEC respectively.
This year, there’s lots to look forward to, with some new options offering new twists to the standard ski break.
If you’re keen to ski without having to get on a plane, for example, the big news this year for rail travellers is that Eurostar is operating a new route to Switzerland.
The Swiss Alps Ski Train runs on Saturdays between 22 December and mid-April, from London to Lille, where you can change trains easily to catch the TGV train to Switzerland. There are many handy stops once there, including Brig, Saas Fee and Verbier.
For daredevils heading for the Swiss resort of Zermatt, a new super-steep black run is operational on the Italian side of Cervina, in the shadow of the Matterhorn. You’ll descend more than 800 feet in and more 750 metres of run – you’ve been warned!
Still in Switzerland, one of Verbier’s satellite resorts, Bruson, is to get a new ski lift linking the hamlet to the town for the first time. This could potentially herald other developments in the area, so if you like the region as it is, now’s the time to go. The new eight-seat gondola starts running for the 2013-14 season.
There are some amazing ski deals with Crystal, the UK’s biggest ski tour operator. In France, for those skiing with Crystal Ski, two new lodges are on offer for snowboarders in Val Thorens and Tignes. These come complete with an Xbox, snowsports DVDs, in-house bar and pool table and a ‘snow guru’ to act as your guide and also show you the best party spots.
Young fun-seeking skiers and boarders wanting to head to France will be looking forward to the Brits ski and snowboard contest and music festival, to be held in party town Tignes from 23-30 March – a change from its previous home in Laax, Switzerland.
Family skiers in France’s Courchevel have extra peace of mind – all 10 chairlifts have the new Magnestik Bar safety system, making them even safer for parents riding on them with young children.
In Austria a new ski-ing area called Ski Jewel has been opened. This connects Alpbach and Niederau with a new gondola to the Schatzberg mountain in Auffach. It means a new hooked-up playground of nearly 150km of ruins, almost 50 ski lifts and three terrain parks to enjoy.
Finally, in terms of ski gear, the latest toy is a US-made revolutionary pair of goggles with a built-in HD video camera – so you can document your adventures on the slopes while keeping your gloves on.