The strongest El Niño in 50 years has been predicated for this winter. The deputy director of the NOAA (National Oceania and Atmospheric Administration) Climate Prediction Center, Mike Halpert, has reported “this could be among the strongest El Niños in the historical record dating back to 1950.”
Experiencing an El Niño this winter is awesome news for skiers and snowboarders as this could mean we receive much more snow than an average winter... and more snow means more powder days!
Every 2–7 years an area of the tropical regions in the Pacific Ocean warms up and distorts the weather patterns in 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 is prone to heavy rain and storms and a colder than average winter.
If you are looking for the best snow this season, take a read of our top 5 snow sure ski resorts in Europe
The Tirol region in Austria is one of the most exciting places to be this winter. With the rise in UK arrivals in the area last season there have been lots of new and improved innovations in Tirol over this summer. From new linked ski areas, to enhanced lift infrastructure and new accommodations, there has never been a better time to visit Austrian Tirol. Find out more about what's new for the Austrian Tirol this season.
Here are the top 5 ski resorts that will be well worth the visit this season:
After years of talk about linking up with Saalbach, this will finally be a reality from December 2015. This area will become the talk of Austria as huge possibilities will open up. The new, high speed Tirol S gondola will link Fieberbrunn in Tirol with Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang in Salzburgerland. This new connection will join up 270km of piste and will become the largest interconnected ski area and most varied in Austria.
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Sölden will be the talk of the town when it hits the silver screen this winter in the James Bond film, Spectre. Anything good enough for 007 will be popular amongst fans and will be the place to be this season. Sölden is an Alpine Ski World Cup venue and one of the most famous ski areas in the world. The state of the art lift system teamed with the 145km of perfect pistes makes this resort a dazzling diamond in Tirol. The 3 mountain peaks over 3000m and 2 glacier ski areas makes the resort one of the most snow-sure in Austria. Powder hounds will bask in the freeride ski and snowboard area at the Gaislachkogl peak. If you heading over this way this winter, don’t forget to ski down the 15km route from Schwarze Schneide at Rettenbach Glacier.
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Mayrhofen is popular among Britons because it is a great all-round resort for both skiers and snowboarders. This season Mayrhofen will be unveiling the new and improved Penkenbahn which is now a state of the art 3S gondola. This will dramatically reduce the lift queues and waiting times getting up the mountain. Mayrhofen and the Ziller Vally resorts (which are linked by easy bus and train links) have a hugely varied circus of pistes which cater for all levels, including high glacier runs, expert parks, pretty tree lined runs and leisurely slopes. The après is up there with the best of Austria; from on-mountain après at the igloo White lounge to dancing on the tables at Brück'n Stadl to late night partying at Harakiri. With brilliant skiing, fun après, large town with plenty of shops and restaurants, plus easy transport links to explore the surrounding areas it’s no surprise that thousands of Brits head here.
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This first rate ski resort is consistently our top seller in Austria. Whilst you’re not skiing or snowboarding on your holiday you want to be discovering the best après ski, and St Anton is renowned as the best ski party town in the world. Intermediate and advanced riders will love the range of challenging pistes across St Anton and the Arlberg region, plus there are plenty of back country areas if you are looking to head off piste with a guide.
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The charming fairytale town, large ski area and friendly Austrian atmosphere keep skiers and snowboarders coming back year after year. Kitzbuhel is the text book example of Austrian skiing and offers everything you would want for a ski holiday in Tirol. In the recent Ski Club of Great Britain consumer research report, Kitzbuhel had the biggest jump in the Top 10 ski resorts, jumping up an incredible 36 ranks to spot number 8 confirming its popularity over last season. The home of the prestigious Hahnenkamm ski race offers 170km of varied ski slopes across the large mountain range. From the mix of blues and red runs on the home mountain, to the fun freeride areas around the 3S and Jochberg to the wide blues at Pass Thurn and the beginner slopes at the Kitzbuheler Horn, there is something for everyone.
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You know winter is just around the corner when the new ski and snowboard film trailers start getting released. Even with 3 months to go there are already lots of trailers online. If you are anything like us at Iglu Ski and spent the entire summer dreaming about snow, then these trailers will get you super stoked for the upcoming season and your first touch of snow. Grab a cup of tea, sit back and start dreaming about untouched powder fields and epic alpine views.
Go big or go home
Absinthe films are a heavy weight in the snowboard film world. Their film’s feature the best snowboarders around in jaw-dropping mountain terrain. Eversince stars Nicolas Muller, Brandon Concard, Bode Merrill, and many more.
Prepare to be consumed by wanderlust
Any ski film by Teton Gravity Research is a cinematic spectacle. This season’s film ‘Paradise Waits’ follows a group of skiers and snowboarders for an entire season as they travel around the world. Ski destinations include Alaska, Japan, Greece, Boston, Kosovo and more.
Support your home grown skiers
Perspective Studios are a UK based film production company, their 2015/16 film Misconcetions follows a group of UK skiers. View more about the film in our ski film blog.
One for the ladies
Watch the Burton girls flying high, shredding hard and partying all night in this all female snowboard series featuring Kelly Clark, Kimmy Fasani, Hailey Langland, Yuka Fujimori and more. The 3 part video series will be premiering online in October.
View all of the best ski and snowboard films coming this winter in our new ski video guide. Keep checking back as we’ll be updating this page weekly on the run up to ski season with all the latest trailers.
It’s a truly gratifying feeling when you finish one of the world’s longest ski runs. Stretch your ski legs to the maximum and conquer one of the greatest pistes known to skiers and snowboarders. Everyone has different ideas about what makes a great ski run. You could prefer tree lines, steep drops, roller coaster terrain or just a long gentle slope. Rather than choosing the top 5 longest ski runs ever, we have selected a variety of favourites amongst the team which you can enjoy on this winter’s ski holiday. Get the most out of your ski holiday and gain those vertical ski miles with these best long ski runs.
Selected by Phil, Sales Team Leader Peak to Creek is an 11 km intermediate run with a variety of terrain and iconic views. You’ll experience a bit of everything on this ski run – from tree glades, to rollers, to steep sections and huge alpine bowls. From Whistler’s Peak Chair to the base by Creekside Gondola, you can rack up to 1544 vertical metres whilst riding this epic piste.
Find out more about skiing in Whistler
Phil on his descent down Peak to Creek in Whistler
Selected by Laura, Digital Marketing Manager One of my favourite aspects of the Saulire is the stunning mountain views at the peak (2700m). The Saulire/Creux range is a network of red and black runs between 2700-2000m, which then open up into blues as you ski down into the villages. Whilst skiing down Saulire you can view the famous Couloir formations, including Grand Couloir which you may like to tackle towards the end of your trip once your ski legs are fully warmed up! Even Great Britain’s number one ski cross athlete, Emily Sarsfield, calls this one of her favourite ski runs.
Find out more about skiing in Courchevel
Selected by AJ, Sales Director
If you are an expert skier or snowboarder and love a challenging piste, La Sache in Tignes down to Le Bréviere is brilliant and very long. La Sache is a long black run that gets steep and fast as long as it’s done before Lunch. After lunch it gets VW Beetle size moguls that really throw the intermediates who clutter up the steepest part of the Run. If conditions are good, you can discover great off-piste on the left hand side as well.
Find out more about skiing in Tignes
Selected by Krystelle, Ski Editor Alpe d’Huez is famous for its long ski runs, which is perfect if you love a holiday packed with plenty of skiing. Did you know that the Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine de Ski offers 5 descents with a total vertical drop of 10,000m between them? My favourite line is the Pic Blanc (3330m) to L’Enversin d’Oz (1125m) – that’s over 2000m vertical meters! From the peak of Pic Blanc it is a black run down to 2700m, but after that it is a mix of red and blue pistes to the finish. The runs take you right across the ski resort over a mix of terrains. Alpe d’Huez is known for its great snow conditions, so even in late season you can still conquer this huge run all the way to the bottom. Or for the more adventurous, Alpe d’Huez is home to the longest black run in Europe, La Sarenne. The illustrious Sarenne is 16 km long and starts at the peak of Pic Blanc. The legend is quite deceptive, as the last half is a gentle slope along the river. Even though it’s not a particularly scary black run, your legs will be burning by the end (if not in the middle!) Read more about Alpe d’Huez in our recent blog 10 reasons Alpe d'Huez is a must-ski destination
Selected by Thomas, Senior Ski Sales Expert This run has it all, not least the heritage of one of the oldest World Cup Downhill courses but also its varied terrain. Named after local legends Oreiller and Killy, OK run means a thousand metres of vertical drop set in stunning surroundings. Access is by underground funicular, cable car or two stage chair lift. The OK confers plenty of bragging rights to ‘intermediates’ who compare times with Ski Sunday stars thanks to generous width enabling plenty of turns if necessary. Skiers marvel at the start of Mont Blanc views and soon find their pace along the well-groomed rollers gradually building up in steepness. Passing the Folie Douce is when one can stretch legs and let gravity tow you into speeds beyond comfort zone. The increasingly blur of surroundings becomes more acute as after the cable car the gradient becomes more of a wall than a slope. Manage this section in a schuss before the tree line will certainly turn heads, especially from those on the terrace of the rustic Le Triffolet restaurant or those on the chairlifts above. The relentless vertical drop within the tree line also starts to take its toll on the thighs, turning at will highly recommended as the piste narrows and crowds increase. The last section is a nice drop finishing in La Daille but not before plenty of bumps present themselves on the sides of the piste should you want to mix up your style. .
Find out more about skiing in Val d'Isere
Other long favourites that narrowly missed out in the top 5 are – Best for beginners - Cascades, Flaine: The longest blue run in Europe Best for off piste - La Vallée Blanche, Chamonix: A 22km glacier route starting from the Aiguille du Midi Best ski circuit- Sella Ronda, Dolomites: Ok it’s not just one run, but it’s very gratifying to complete. Best for rollers – Jerusalem, Meribel Best for destroying your legs – Olympic, Avoriaz
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