Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Guest blogger: Felice Hardy of welove2ski ... on snow

Travel writing is my business but skiing was where it all began. I first put on a pair skis in Switzerland at the age of four and gradually became so hooked that I later found I had to make my living out of it.

The first time I fell in love was in Obergurgl in Austria. I was seven years old and his name was Walter. He was my ski instructor and seemed ancient at 25. My heart broke when I had to fly home without him. Next year I was back again, but by then Walter had moved on to Squaw Valley in California. Another instructor, Pepi, swiftly replaced him in my affections.

And my heart is still in skiing today. I have been to hundreds of resorts – from well-known destinations in Austria and France to lesser-known villages in Japan and Chile. I have skied fresh deep powder in winter and on sunny glaciers in summer, and I am never bored.

It’s the reason why I enjoy my job as co-editor of the ski information website welove2ski.com. Every day is different and every skiing year varies enormously. No more so than this season, which started in late November without a flake of the white stuff. “Snow drought!” The newspapers yelled. But they were wrong.

Within a week the skies dumped bucketfuls of snow on the worryingly brown Alps. By Christmas more snow had fallen in France’s Three Valleys than during the whole of last season.

At other resorts across the Alps similar records were broken – and still the snow continues to fall. High resorts such as St Anton, Zermatt and Val d’Isère have been cut off from civilization for days at a time; even if there wasn’t a drop more snow all season they’d still have enough to last until April.

It’s the best start to a European winter in a generation – maybe two generation –  and a huge boost to the British ski industry in these hard times. For a decade, global warming experts have spouted gloom and doom. But the storms in early January have made a travesty of it.

It can all be viewed on my website, which has some of the most accurate snow and weather maps on the internet. They're produced exclusively for us by the Swiss forecasting service meteoblue, and are based on cutting-edge NASA technology. It's complex stuff that allows us to make precise predictions, and we run two forecasts daily.

But welove2ski isn’t just about weather forecasts. ‘No bull no bias’ is our motto. It’s a specialist website loaded with independent information compiled by acknowledged experts for all things in skiing and snowboarding. There are detailed reports on over 100 ski resorts, equipment and fashion, fitness, ski news and competitions. All of it is a vital tool to help people enjoy what is surely shaping up to be the best Alpine ski season ever.

Felice Hardy is editor of www.welove2ski.com, an independent guide to skiing and ski holidays.

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