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SINGAPORE – I have never seen snow, and the prospect of falling headfirst into snow chills me.
So when I walked into Urban Ski at Millenia Walk, I was pleasantly surprised to realise that it was a comfortably cool environment, and no snow  was in sight.
Instead, the adjustable ski slope is covered with a layer of nylon carpet that is sprayed with water to mimic the smoothness of snow.
The slope at Urban Ski, which opened in July 2015, is essentially a giant treadmill that simulate a downhill motion.  I am told it’s easier and better to learn skiing indoors, as feedback can be given immediately.
For a start, I was given tips on how to stand and hold onto the bar in front of me, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for the sudden jerk when the slope began to move. Thank goodness I held on to the bar, tight.
In time, I recovered my composure, stayed on my feet and got the hang of skiing on the slope.
The tough part came at the snowboarding segment. Having both legs bound to a board made it extremely difficult to manoeuvre.
At the end of the 30-minute session, I felt like I had just done a full body workout, along with all the aches and pains.

 (Editor’s note: This post is part of our Dispatches Detours continuing series of travel stories about unconventional destinations accessible to Europe-based expatsTerry Boyd also contributed to this post, which has been updated with new information.)


For many American expats, and even Brits and Europeans, Eastern Europe is terra incognito.

cherveno_zname_ski_run1446545745But as Dispatches found out earlier this year, Bulgariaand other countries such as Romania have a lot to offer, especially to adventurous expat travelers in Europe broadening their horizons.

One thing is for certain: Southeastern European ski resorts are well worth checking out for 2017.

For example, Bulgaria offers some of the best skiing in Europe at resorts that are sophisticated yet affordable. And, because they’re so far south, Bulgarian mountains get significant moisture that guarantees snowfalls between sunny days.

For example, right Switzerland is pretty much snow-free as of early January. But starting 6 January, a blizzard swept through Bulgaria and Romania dumping up to 60 centimeters (2 feet) of fresh snow. Yet another reason to check out Bulgarian resorts in 2017.

The largest and most developed ski resorts in Bulgaria are Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo. The resorts draw skiers from all over Europe, but Brits seem to make up the largest single visitor category.

Bulgaria has some of Europe’s sunniest slopes, cheapest prices and friendliest locals.


Borovets is the oldest and biggest international mountain resort in Bulgaria. It’s located at 1,350 meters above sea level (with highest pistes at 2,600 meters), on the Northern slopes of Rila Mountain. The location is famous for the surrounding pine woods at the foot of Mt. Mousala (2,925 meters), the highest mountain on the Balkan peninsula.

Borovets is easily accessible to the main airport in Sofia, the capital and largest city, at about 70 kilometers, and 126 kilometers from second-city Plovdiv, which also has an airport.

From the Borovets website:

The total length of the ski pistes is 58 km. The ski runs vary in difficulty. The pistes are grouped in 3 ski centers: pistes of Sitnyakovo – Martinovi Baraki region; 4 pistes of Markudjik region and 3 pistes of Yastrebets region. The best ski slopes are those of Yastrebets ski center where all winter sports competitions take place.

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For months, we’ve been posting snowy photos and videos of North American territories. Just about everyone on the West Coast got dumped on in September. Then, recently, the Pacific North West in particular saw a massive storm. Even way back in July, Jackson Hole got a summer dusting.

But, now, it’s the East Coast’s turn. Below, browse through a collection of media that gives us hope for a powder-filled season at some of our favorite resorts. From Vermont to New Hampshire to Maine to New York to Virginia, winter has begun.


Mount Snow


Mount Snow

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There will be no men's World Cup races at Lake Louise this year due to a lack of snow.

There will be no men’s World Cup races at Lake Louise this year due to a lack of snow. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Warm temperatures in Alberta have forced the cancellation of the men’s World Cup downhill races at Lake Louise, Alta.

It’s the first time in 29 years the International Ski Federation has called off a World Cup at Lake Louise, according to Alpine Canada.

“We’re crushed by having to make the decision, we worked very hard with the resort staff and our volunteers to get the racetrack prepared, said race chairman Brian Lynam. “But weather worked against us. It was just too warm to make the amount of snow that we needed on the lower part of the mountain. But we’ve got plans, obviously to push forward because we have ladies races to hold coming up.

“Basically half of the race course is covered with excellent coverage of snow that will be race-ready, it’s just the lower half of the racetrack that we’re having some problems getting good coverage. Mother nature is someone to be respected.”

The season-opening downhill was scheduled for Nov. 26 followed by a super-G on Nov. 27. Training runs for the downhill were to start Nov. 23. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal won both races last year.

Recent temperatures “remained above freezing too often, eliminating the chance to make the required snow” for the bottom section of the mountain, Alpine Canada said in a statement Wednesday.

“While we have good snow conditions on the upper mountain, we didn’t have enough cold to get to the finish line for the men. We will continue our efforts for successful races for the ladies and look forward to the men returning next year,” said Lynam.

Each World Cup race undergoes a snow control to determine whether or not the competition can take place or not. The International Ski Federation (FIS) said “a possible replacement will be communicated in due course.”

The women’s World Cup downhills and super-G scheduled for Dec. 2-4 have not been cancelled.

Last year, Lindsey Vonn won all three races at Lake Louise for the third time in her career. The American was not going to compete at Lake Louise this year as she’s still recovering from a broken arm suffered in a crash.

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This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

From Stevens Pass

STEVENS PASS, Wash. — The wait is almost over! Stevens Pass Mountain Resort is opening Tuesday for skiing and snowboarding.

Officials at Stevens say they got 11-14″ of “fantastic base building snow” in the last 24 hours and is ready to kick off the season. Lifts will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two other local ski areas have already opened for the 2016-17 season, but a few others need just a bit more snow first.

Here’s a rundown of other local ski areas:

  • Crystal Mountain has already opened for the season and says it is open daily.
  • Mt. Baker is also open daily — it has a snow base of more than 68″ at Heather Meadows, the deepest base in the U.S.
  • The recent snowstorm has given Snoqualmie a big boost but not enough to open just yet.
  • And White Pass is getting closer and closer to opening, but officials there say they need a bit more snow first.

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(CNN) — Are you ski or snowboard obsessed? Do you crave an endless winter?
If ski lifts closing at the end of the season is a time to mourn, you’ll be keen to scout out those summer spots.
Summer skiing, on dazzling-white glaciers high above lush green valleys, can help feed that addiction without flying to the southern hemisphere.
Here’s seven venues where you can stave off those winter withdrawal symptoms.

Hintertux, Austria

Hintertux is the only ski resort in Austria open 365 days a year and boasts extensive high-altitude summer skiing and snowboarding at the head of the Ziller valley south east of Innsbruck.
With up to 10 lifts and a possible 18 kilometers of slopes above 3,000m, Hintertux offers a range of skiing for all levels below the Olperer peak at 3,478 meters.
The quality of the snow means the Hintertux glacier is a favorite spot for international ski teams to train in the off season.
The Betterpark Hintertux is one of the highest freestyle parks in Austria at 3,200m with terrain for all levels from April to early June and from mid-September to December.

Les 2 Alpes, France

High above the resort in the shadow of the mighty La Meije (3,983m) sits Les 2 Alpes’ spectacular summer skiing venue.
The 120-hectare glacier, 70 kilometers from Grenoble, is one of Europe’s biggest summer spots offering slopes from 2,900 meters to almost 3,600 meters on the Dome de la Lauze.
The ski area contains 11 runs (1 red, 9 blue, 1 green) plus a snowpark, accessed by 17 lifts. It is open for skiing and boarding from 7am to 1230pm from June 24 to September 2.
Les 2 Alpes is set to be connected to nearby Alpe d’Huez by an 18-minute gondola by the 2021, taking the winter ski area to a whopping 475 kilometers of piste.

Tignes, France

What could be better for the obsessed snowsports fan than a slide around the glacier in the morning, followed by a dip in the Tignes lake in the afternoon?
Tignes’ summer skiing area is perched high up on the slopes of the Grande Motte (3,656 meters), reached by a high-speed underground funicular and then cable car up to a high point of 3,456 meters.
There are 20 kilometers of varied runs open from the end of June until early August with views over to the giant Grand Casse in the heart of the Vanoise National Park.
Acrobats with energy to burn can launch themselves on ski, board, back or bike down water ramps into the lake.
Many of the world’s top freestyle skiers and borders use the facility for summer practice.
Tignes is connected to the ski area of Val d’Isere in winter, forming one of the world’s most celebrated skiing destinations.
Historic Zermatt is a popular summer training base for international ski teams.

Historic Zermatt is a popular summer training base for international ski teams.

Zermatt, Switzerland

High above the glitz of Zermatt under the watchful eye of the majestic Matterhorn lies 25 kilometers of summer skiing on the Theodul glacier.
The 13 blue and red runs are reached by the Klein Matterhorn cable car, which rises to the high point of the Matterhorn glacier paradise ski area — shared with Cervinia in Italy — at 3,883m.
There is also a terrain park with half pipe, kickers and rails for gravity-challenging snowsports fans.
Zermatt’s glacier skiing area, more than two kilometers above the historic town, is a favorite summer training spot for racers and international ski teams.
Hiking, mountain-biking and climbing surrounded by some of the Alps’ highest peaks make Zermatt a popular summer destination.
In winter the area combines with Cervinia in Italy to offer 360 kilometers of connected trails.

Canadian biathlete Rosanna Crawford, centre, with brother Jordan, right, and sister Chandra, left. Jordan Crawford died of a suspected alcohol overdose on April 17 in Calgary. He was 30. (Photo courtesy Glen Crawford)

Canadian’s brother died of a suspected alcohol overdose on April 17

In recent years, Rosanna Crawford became accustomed to competing on the World Cup biathlon circuit in a personal cloud of uncertainty and fleeting hope.

You see, her brother Jordan — battling addiction and mental health challenges — often vanished for long stretches. Some nights, he showed up drunk on the doorstep. Some days, he cleaned up and flirted with sobriety, only to slip and start the cycle all over again.

Jordan Crawford died of a suspected alcohol overdose on April 17 in Calgary. He was 30.

For Rosanna, debilitating grief has replaced uncertainty and fleeting hope as she targets her third Olympic appearance at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“Jordan was always such a huge cheerleader for me,” says Rosanna, whose older sister Chandra won gold in cross-country skiing at the 2006 Torino Olympics. “He always felt so bad that he was causing me stress.

“I want to honour his memory. Even though his death caused me a lot of stress, it’s not going to stop me from chasing my dreams.”

In spite of his troubles, Jordan chased and achieved his own dream of becoming a professional chef. He worked at some of the finest eateries in his hometown of Canmore, Alta., and eventually went to film school.

But addiction derailed him at every turn.

“You could always tell Jordan had anxiety,” says Rosanna, who won World Cup silver in 2015 with Nathan Smith in the single mixed relay. “He was a scared little boy. And when he got into his teens, he might have turned to drinking and drugs to feel more comfortable in his skin.

“He used humour as a coping mechanism. It was always so hard to get past the outer shell with Jordan.”

Rosanna, 29, has totally shed her own outer shell while training for Pyeongchang. Physical endurance is key to success in biathlon, a Nordic sport that combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. So too is mental focus.

With less than five months to the Olympics, she often feels like she is skiing uphill and shooting through dense fog.

“I think I underestimated how much of an impact grief can have on you,” says Rosanna, who posted a career-best fourth place in a World Cup individual sprint race in the 2014-15 season. “It takes a lot of energy to cry and be sad all the time.”

Embracing the tears

With the help of her teammates and coach Roddy Ward, Rosanna has learned to embrace the tears. After all, fighting them off is pointless when her heart is screaming for attention.

“Biathlon training at this level takes all of your energy — 100 per cent focus and commitment,” says Ward, high performance director for Biathlon Canada. “When you add in something like the death of a brother into the equation, it’s really something that needs to be watched and balanced. It obviously takes a lot of energy to deal with that and start to heal.

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TEHRAN, Sep. 25 (MNA) – Iran’s women’s alpine skiing team have departed for Austria in order to hold a one-month ski training program Hintertux campsite.

National female skiers of Iran, led by Samira Zargari, left Tehran for Hintertux Glacier in Austria for a one-month ski training.

In addition to intense skiing sessions, Iranian athletes are also slated to conduct bodybuilding activities.

Presently, besides Iranian skiers, national athletes of 50 world countries have been deployed the the Austrian campsite.

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