A Day Visit to the Terminal Neige-Refuge in Montenvers, Chamonix
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On our way to Courmayeur, this year we stayed for two nights in Chamonix. We had the luck to go this time up to the Gare du Montenvers and take the train up to the mountain to see the glacier of the Vallée Blanche. That in itself was a great day out! The train goes over a rack and pinion railway and through some nice forests and then climbs up giving travellers amazing views of Chamonix and the mountains surrounding the valley. Most people go up the station and then climb down the stairs to the ice cave, which needs to be carved each year in the glacier, as each year the glacier retreats many meters. It is impressive to see how high the glacier was not so many years ago. There is a small gondola that takes you to the top of the stairs, and then each year the stairs have to be extended down and down to reach the entrance of the ice grotto.
The day we choose was amazing, pretty warm in the sun, with some clouds menacing a storm that did not materialise, and we were happy to be up the mountain, as in the valley of Chamonix it was 31 C (this summer was way too hot all over Europe!). This considering that Chamonix is by Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe and even here it was hot!
Not too many people know, that 100 metres from the train station (gare), walking back to the valley, you find the Terminal Neige-Refuge. This hotel was built in 1880 to accommodate the first mountaineers and travellers who went to visit the Mer de Glace. From outside is a typical ‘rifugio’ of the Alps, with granite façades and small windows. The hotel is perched at 2049 meters over sea level (6725 feet) with magnificent views to the Mer de Glace glacier, the mythical Aiguille des Drus, the Grand Jorasses, and also the Valley of Chamonix.
St. Anton am Arlberg: Revitalise, be dynamic and discover pastures new:
Just the way summers should be.
Many people know St. Anton am Arlberg as a world famous winter sports destination. But when temperatures start to climb, St. Anton am Arlberg reveals its multifaceted summer life – where visitors can experience the birthplace of alpine skiing, as an original mountain village. This is the time to discover the hidden treasures of this holiday destination, get better acquainted with the mountain lodge hosts and immerse yourself in the pristine natural landscapes. A Tyrolean alpine setting and the perfect stage for a whole host of sporting events. For example, those seeking an adrenalin rush will find it at the ”Arlberg Adler“ mountain triathlon and “ARLBERG-Giro“, while more peace-loving guests will find their inner selves at the „Mountain Yoga Festival“. The spotlight is on the extended Verwalltal Valley during summer 2018.www.stantonamarlberg.com
Gotthard Tailbacks: Alpine San Bernardino tunnel closure causes major holiday traffic disruption.
Traffic queues of up to 28 kilometres were reported at the northern entrance to the Gotthard tunnel on Saturday, owing to a long weekend and the closure of another major Alpine road tunnel because of a fire.
Saturday has seen the longest tailbacks at the Gotthard tunnel since Pentecost 1999, entailing waits of some five-hours.
As well as being a holiday weekend, the San Bernadino tunnel in southeast Switzerland was closed on Friday afternoon after a German tourist bus caught fire in the tunnel, leaving two people with minor injuries. It is expected to remain closed over this Pentecost weekend, since the tunnel needs to cool down and be checked for any infrastructure damage.
How to deal with high prone avalanche terrain – A talk with Coco Torres, former Mountain Manager in Las Leñas and now Operative Consultant for numerous ski resorts.
Jorge “Coco” Torres has left Las Leñas in the year 2010, having worked for several years as the Mountain Manager in charge of all the avalanches control operations, amongst all other mountain matters.
I’ve contacted him as I’ve always found fascinating how Las Leñas took control of their avalanches. Every time there was a storm at Las Leñas, which could last a whole week, we went on hearing bombing all day and all night. I know that Las Leñas is a high prone avalanche terrain.
Skiing in Europe, I cannot say I have heard too many bombs at all, so this prompted me to start putting together a couple of stories that will come out on the next months, on how the avalanches are prevented or controlled in different countries of the world.
Coco told me that he left Las Leñas (Mendoza, Argentina) in the year 2010, and since then he has been working as a consultant in mountain projects and developments. He is going to tell me the process used in Las Leñas at least until he left the valley.
Sportpass Top4 goes into the second season. Adelboden-Lenk, Gstaad, the Jungfrau Ski Region and Meiringen-Hasliberg have launched the Top4 Sportpass this winter. Following a successful launch with 36,200 sold subscriptions in advance sales, the offer will continue unchanged in the upcoming winter sports season 2018/2019.
In the fiercely contested winter sports market, the four largest Bernese ski resorts have decided on a common forward strategy and in autumn 2017 launched the new season subscription Top4. The winter sports pass with access to 666 km of piste was sold in advance for 666 francs. 36’200 times the subscription to the advance sale discount went over the counter, which clearly exceeded the target of 20’000. The responsible persons have decided to continue the offer after the successful premiere.
Sierra Nevada has 70 km of open pistes until the end of the ski season, and is expecting to offer all their vertical drop for skiing until 6th May, which is the last day of the ski season.
This Saturday all entries to the downhill skiing in bathing suit are sold out.
Sierra Nevada ski área has maintained 70 km of skiable pistes on all its áreas (Veleta, Borreguiles, Laguna, Cauchiles, Rio and Loma Dílar) and all its vertical drop (1,200 meters) until the end of the ski season, if the meteorological previsions and snow conditions allow.
Following the invitation of the Ministry of Economy, expert-instructors of the Doppelmayr will once again visit Georgia and provide additional inspection of the cableways installed by the Doppelmayr in Hatsvali, Goderdzi, Bakuriani and Gudauri resorts in the nearest future and make the cableways operators in Georgia undergo additional training in safety.
The decision was announced at the meeting of the First Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili and the representative of the Austrian Doppelmayr, Valery Yashin. Deputy Minister of Economy Genadi Arveladze and the Chair of the Mountain Resorts Development Company, Aleksandre Onoprishvili also attended the meeting.
As it was mentioned at the meeting, every employee operating at the cableways installed by the Doppelmayr is properly trained, but, however, in line with the recent accident in Gudauri, all the employees will undergo additional practical training, which involves practical exercises for developing skills to be used in extreme situations via the special simulator that the Doppelmayr will provide as well. All the employees will receive relevant certificates upon the completion of the training.
Tirol’s ultimate adventure park at the entrance of the Ötztal valley, AREA 47, remains at the top of its game going into its ninth season. The park, which is the only one of its kind in the Alps, offer action on water, land and up in the air. Cult sports such as wake-boarding, innovative pro camps and fantastic events make AREA 47 the place to be for fans of the outdoors in summer 2017.
As soon as AREA 47 opened its doors in May 2010, it was clear there would be no standing still here. The location, named after the 47th degree of latitude, has a passion for innovating. The largest outdoor adventure park in Austria – with close to nine hectares – has been setting benchmarks every year since it’s opening.
Visionary Hansi Neuer relentlessly pursued his life-defining project of creating a unique adventure paradise. In the first decade of the century, outdoor pioneer Hansi Neuner, the initiator of the project who died in 2015, already had the idea of creating an ‘ultimate outdoor playground’. After years of research across the world into similar top facilities and a lengthy planning and project development phase, Neuner finally got the go-ahead to complete his ambitious project. After construction officially began in August 2009, AREA 47 opened its doors in spring 2010. This was the start of a success story that continues today. The attraction has up to 250,000 visitors each summer.
News from Swissinfo.ch – Two people fell to their deaths in the Swiss Alps in separate incidents at the weekend. The victims were a 55-year-old Austrian ski tourer and a snowboarder from Germany, aged 19.
On Saturday, the ski tourer fell from the 3,698 metre high Balmhorn mountain on the border between cantons Bern and Valais, near to the popular resort of Leukerbad. The accident occurred when a snowdrift came loose, sweeping the man over the edge of the mountain.
Three companions who were also on the climb escaped unscathed from the accident.