The strongest El Niño in 50 years has been predicated this winter. The deputy director of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, Mike Halpert, has commented “this could be among the strongest El Niños in the historical record dating back to 1950.”
Getting an El Nino this winter is fantastic news for skiers and snowboarders as this means we could receive much more snow and many more powder days than an average winter.
Every 2 – 7 years an area of the tropical regions in the Pacific Ocean warms up and distorts the weather patterns from the western Ocean, including Australia, North and South America and even parts of Europe and Africa, this is called El Niño.
The National Oceania and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) recent report predicts the El Niño will persist through winter before settling down in spring. There have already been signs of the start of El Niño this summer, such as the record number of storms during the central Pacific hurricane season.
The 2 strongest previous events were in 1982-83 and 1997-98, in 1997-98 there was powder day after powder day and amazing conditions across the Alps. Now the World Meteorological Organisation is predicting that this phenomenon could be one of the strongest on record. “At the moment, this year’s El Niño is stronger than it was at this time of year in 1997” - Bill Patzert (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist) It’s had been reported that the start of winter in December and January will be quite mild, then in February we will see a change to a colder winter that will most likely feature several storms and significant snow.
California - Resorts could receive between 30-40% more precipitation. This could mean great things for ski holidays in Heavenly, Northstar, Mammoth and Lake Tahoe. Colorado – After a wetter than usual spring, the trend should continue through the winter to create a much more seasonable winter than last year. Vail Resorts are optimistic for a fantastic winter in their resorts, including Park City, Vail, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek. An El Niño often means that Europe are prone to heavy rain and storms and a colder than average winter, which could mean lots of powder days!
If you are looking for the best snow this season, take a read of our top 5 snow sure ski resorts in Europe
For years I’ve had a fascination about visiting Norway. When I’m not dreaming of soaring mountains or powder fields, I’m thinking about majestic fjords, the northern lights and road trips down the Norwegian coastline. While I make plans for a longer Scandinavian adventure, I decided to end off summer with an impulse city break to Norway’s capital, Oslo. After a 2 hour flight from London and a 45 minute train from the airport to the city centre we were in the extraordinary city. What strikes you first is the fascinating combination of modern architecture with stunning natural wonders. The south of the city is overthrown by the glorious Olso Fjord scenery, and then the east and west are covered in rolling hills of forests. During our 2 nights in the city we squeezed in as many of the top attractions as we could including Ekeberg Park (Ekebergparken), the Oslo opera house (Den Norske Opera and Ballett), the Royal Palace, Vigeland Park (Vigelandsparken) and a Fjord sightseeing cruise.
Cross country skiing dates back thousands of years ago in northern Scandinavia where skis were used as transportation across the snowy landscape. Norway’s rich history is closely linked to skiing, and many ‘ski firsts’ happened in Norway, so it’s no wonder that the national landmark is a ski jump.
As our weekend adventure came to close, we saved the best attraction until last. Luckily my friend Andrea is a keen skier so there were no objections when I brought up the idea of visiting the famous Oslo ski jump.
From the city centre you can see the huge structure up on the hill and it is super easy to get to. Catch the number ‘1’ Metro (T-Bane) to Holmenkollen, we got on at the National Theatre and the journey took about 25mins. Once off the metro it is a fairly strenuous uphill walk to the ski jump, just follow the signposts that lead the way up the hill and you’ll see the jump after the 10 minute walk.
You can actually walk around the stadium and about the third of the way up the jump for free, but for the full experience and access to the views and ski museum you need to pay the entrance fee of 120NOK (approx £9.50). At the first floor you can experience the top of the ski jump and view of the 60m-high drop from a skier’s perspective. The Holmenkollen ski jump is the most modern ski jump in the world. The arena has changed considerably over the years but the standing structure was opened in 2010. This new design features world class engineering, permanent wind protection, improved snow making and more.
I can’t describe how big and steep the slope looks from the top, and the photos don’t quite do it enough justice either. I can’t believe people ski off of this!
On the second floor viewing platform there are breathtaking 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape. The mixture of scenery is just phenomenal; from the sunshine glistening off the fjord, to the acres of forest, the alpine cottages and the contemporary harbour buildings. The photos can do the talking...
The museum is so much more than just a bunch of old skis on display (which is what I expected!). It opened in 1923 and is the oldest ski museum in the world. You can discover more than 4000 years of ski history here at Homenkollen, from ancient rock carvings through to the latest ski technology.
The ski jump and arena have been rebuilt many times, these are a few models depicting the changes
Collections include the development of skis through the ages, early ski clothing, Norwegian polar exploration artefacts, snowboarding history and modern day snowsports. One of the most interesting objects on display are the first ever skis used by man.
I don’t want to give too much away as I hope you will experience the surprise and joy that I did discovering this marvellous place. Olso is a fantastic and stunning city, and the ski history running through the country’s core will delight any skiers or snowboarders farther.
If you wanted to take a city break in Oslo to the next level, travel in winter and you can explore the ski areas near the city. From Voksenkollen (4 stops on the metro line after Holmenkollen) you can take the ski bus to Oslo Winterpark which has 18 slopes and 11 lifts. You can be from the centre of Oslo to the ski area in about 30 minutes... Is there anything this city doesn’t have?
Find out more about skiing in Norway
The experts at Iglu Ski have come together to offer you the ultimate guide to St Anton – one of the Alps’ snowiest resorts. Think Monaco Grand Prix blended with the Munich Beer Festival amongst skiing that rivals Val d’Isere.
St Anton is home to 380km of pistes, over 200km of off-piste and is served by more than 94 state-of-the-art lifts. Restaurants, bars and clubs are amongst some of the best in the Alps. Iglu Ski offers ski holidays to nearly 50 ski chalets in St Anton suitable for a range of group sizes. View our favourite St Anton chalets here.
It was tough to narrow down our favourites, but here are just some of our recommendations and top tips to make the most of your trip to St Anton.
St Anton has a well-deserved reputation for its exciting and varied runs. Below are some of our favourites on the Alberg Mountain.
For the more hard-core amongst you, some of the best runs can be found off-piste. Things are a little quieter around Sonnenkopf where the views are magnificent. We recommend heading out with a guide so they can show you their hidden gems.
Check out the St Anton piste map here.
The bars in St Anton are some of the craziest in the Alps with classic Austrian après madness, you’ll find beer steins galore accompanied by the occasional lederhosen.
Après the après ski, there are two main places to party until 3am. The Kandahar Bar hosts some fantastic live music and DJs from all over the world; Piccadilly is also a popular go-to for late night fun.
St Anton in February for the best skiing, but we recommend a March trip for the best après. As always, the weather can be unpredictable so with that in mind – we’d say St Anton is a great destination all year round.
View St Anton ski chalets | St Anton hotels | St Anton apartments
Any other recommendations? Disagree with us? Comment below.
We hope you enjoy!
The Iglu Ski team x
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