Just in case you haven’t heard, Superpark Dachstein in Austria addressed the future of their glacier park (of 15 years) leading into summer. Sadly, they made the decision not to rebuild. It was heartbreaking news and a heavy blow to snowboarders everywhere. Also as it was so soon after hearing that the Camp of Champions held in Whistler, Canada (of 28 years) have sadly moved on due to the accelerated retreat of the glacier.

R.I.P. Superpark Dachstein
R.I.P. Superpark Dachstein

Superpark Dachstein has been helping scratch that hard to reach place over summer. You just need to strap in and have some fun slushy hot laps through a stomping ground of rails and bangin’ jump lines. Not to mention the heavy line up of riders that have cruised through each year. Clemens Millauer, Marko Grilc, Anna Gasser and Silvia Mittermüller just to name a few.

Is this the end for High Cascade?

High Cascade located at Mt Hood, Oregon has now seen rumours floating around of their closure as well due to glacial retreat but were put to rest (for now) through Transworld’s channels. That being said, next season is headed for a merger now sharing on & off snow “facilities” with its brother/sister camp, Windells.

Just in the last 2 months, 2 heavily influential areas can no longer bring stoke to those that have none. High Cascades main decline has been cited as shrinking camper groups each season.

All while this has been happening to our friends up north, down unda we have been having a fairly average season with the only major snowfall happening in early July, before the current (#Blizzard of Oz) blizzard conditions that has just hit all major alpine areas. With Perisher claiming 117cm, Thredbo 135cm, Hotham 114cm and Buller with 75cm of fresh snow.

#blizzardofoz – Credit: Mt. Hotham Facebook

Australian resorts invest so heavily on snowmaking to see us through a winter season. With the push for better snow making systems on the rise each season. Evident especially at Mt Buller, recently investing into a similar snowmaking system to the one currently being used in Boreal, Tahoe.

Thredbo team with snowboarding conservationist Jeremy Jones

With the current trending mentality that snowmaking is the answer to make sure profit keeps turning, it’s a dangerous game. This 2017 season we have seen a few refreshing initiatives happening at Thredbo. They’re teaming up with big mountain shredder Jeremy Jones and his POW (Protect our Winters) movement.

Jeremy Jones POW
Jeremy Jones and Thredbo at the Protect Our Winters Launch – Credit: Mountain Watch

At The same time Vail have announced its “Epic Promise”, committing to a zero operating footprint which their goal will be to have; “Zero Net Emissions, Zero Waste to Landfill and Zero Operating Impact on Forests & Habitat”. This will include Perisher to the 12 other area’s Vail currently operates under it’s Epic umbrella.

Unpredictable times lie ahead

Time will tell how long it will be before we start seeing the effects of this promise at Perisher. Let’s hope for our winters sake that down here in Australia, money will be used wisely and effectively. We need to help our winters to ensure there survival for generations to come or the decline in snowfall will only get worse. By the time 2030 rolls around there might not be a winter to save in Australia anymore? Our winters get shorter and harder to judge each year. Mother nature will have a bigger hand to play of course but visually it’s hard to deny.

But in saying that, this year Mammoth Mountain’s (in California) 2016/2017 season just ended on August 6th, only to be back doing it all again in less than 85 days on November 9th! The American Snowboarding team even held a late season training camp at Mammoth in prep for the upcoming Olympic season. The park conditions looked great for late summer, you can check out the “Screaming Eagles” session here.

A study done by the CSIRO has projected that in the worst case scenario, Australia’s winters could shrink by up to 80 days by 2050. A low risk scenario still sees our winter being up to anywhere between 20-55 days shorter.

We will remember the lost days.

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