Written by Staff Writer
While 2018 was an eventful year on the skiing and snowboarding scene, it also saw “big wins” and big challenges for the industry, according to global industry analysis group FIS.
The FIS World Ski and Snowboard Report said in an emailed statement that 2018 featured the longest-running partial snow and hail drought on record, with roughly two-thirds of Europe experiencing unseasonably low snowfalls.
Continuing issues such as changes to ski instructor licensing requirements and a rise in the number of unsafe skiers to the tune of 31,000 will also be front of mind for top skiers and snowboarders, it added.
Overall though, the first snow of the year has already brought some welcome hope to Europe, with 91% of the continent seeing at least 10cm of fresh powder, it said.
The rich history of top skiing destinations also came under scrutiny, with CNNtravel reviewing the top ski resorts on Earth, a list made up of ski destinations where skiers and snowboarders have access to breathtaking scenery.
Ireland’s Adelphi Resort tops the list. Credit: Getty Images
18th-century mountain village
The world’s greatest ski resorts were also picked, with Norwegian resort Luss, situated in the mountains of the central and eastern spine of Europe, taking the No. 1 slot in the ranking — completed by a trio of Swiss resorts.
Luss, near Turin, is a landmark of the Stratus region, set on the southern shores of Lake Turkana and Denmark. It’s noted for its deep powder bowls and sunny skiing conditions.
Italy’s Copacabana Palace hotels also claimed two of the top 10 spots, for having the highest percentage of affordable rooms, as well as having a spa.
In Norway, the hills of Luss are set on the southern shores of Lake Turkana. Credit: Andrea Schneider/Glen Gould
Not a fraction of the fresh powder of the top European resorts
Inevitably, the inventory of European resorts scored less highly, with the majority scoring in the 90th percentile — when compared to past years. That means a mere 5% of European resorts are scoring in the top 50%, FIS said.
The most comprehensive global trend observed in this year’s FIS report is the continued growth of non-traditional ski resorts, particularly along the Asian rim of the continent.
“Chinese demand for skiing continues to grow, and home-grown ski resorts in China have seen increased interest from domestic skiers and tourists to travel across the ocean,” it added.
Switzerland’s St. Moritz gets 90% of its snow from natural sources, making it the biggest natural producer in the world. Credit: Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
An alternative to the family resort
China and South Korea are two regions that have seen “unprecedented growth” of non-traditional ski destinations, FIS noted.
The dual urban/mountain resorts of Mongolia’s Lunokhor Ski Resort, where the top two lifts are run by snowmobiles, and a ski resort on the east coast of China’s island province of Hainan both feature in the report.
In 2014, FIS released its first snow report in honor of the World Skiing Congress , launched by the International Ski Federation in Vancouver.