Hidden Glacier Surprises Skiers With Free Rides


Hidden Glacier Surprises Skiers With Free Rides

Skiing down a mountain is usually either a metaphor or a sport. But for skiers in Austria, it was both: When the snow melted, it revealed a glacier that had been hidden for decades and offered up free rides down the mountain.

The phenomenon, which occurred in late May at Pitzal ski resort, took place when temperatures rose and much of the snow on the mountain melted. That exposed a glacier that hadn’t been seen since the 1980s. The exposure also allowed skiers to traverse it.

In a video posted to Instagram by the ski resort, two skiers were seen traversing the ice as if they were on a normal powder-covered slope.

LONDON (Reuters) – Skiers and snowboarders in Swiss Alps were surprised to find ‘free rides’ after a hidden glacier broke off adding to the natural layers of snow.

The glacier, which had been melting for years, was located in the Diablarets region of the Alps near the town of Orsieres.

“It’s incredible,” said Zoe Hartmann, who filmed the skiing on her smartphone. “It’s like having your own personal ski lift.”

“Nobody knew it was there,” she added. “We could ski straight down without having to take a chairlift.”

In a rare lucky break for skiers, an out-of-bounds glacier in the French Alps has been discovered and is offering free rides on its powdery slopes.

The glacier was found by a group of local skiers who happened upon it during their descent from the nearby Pointe de la Grande Casse, the highest peak in the Vanoise massif. The group promptly posted photos of their find online, which soon spread like wildfire among fellow ski enthusiasts.

While many were excited to hear about this unexpected discovery, others were left scratching their heads, wondering how it was possible that such a large body of ice had managed to avoid detection for this long.

“It’s incredible that no one knew about it,” said Jeff B., a local ski instructor and friend of the group who first discovered the glacier. “I mean, we’re talking about an area that gets thousands of visitors every year.”

So how did this mysterious glacier stay hidden for so long?

A glacier that has been growing for years in the mountains above Austria’s Kaunertal valley has been giving skiers a free ride.

PistenBully, which makes snow-grooming machines, sent a video to CNN showing skiers schussing down a slope near the top of the mountain and then disappearing.

One skier who went down on the glacier said it felt like riding on ice.

“All of a sudden, there was no more snow,” said Christoph Breu, who is seen in the video being pulled out of a hole in the snow. “It was like being in an ice bath.”

PistenBully said it was not clear what caused the glacier to appear, but it may have been recent freezing temperatures or wind.

The company says the glacier is about 20 meters (66 feet) long and 10 meters wide and about 10 meters deep at its deepest point.

It had been a lousy ski season in the U.S. and Europe. But the skiing was just fine in Chile. So when Jan. 16, 2005, dawned in Santiago, it was no surprise that many people were headed for the slopes.

What was surprising was where they ended up: on a glacier, riding a wave of water, ice and rock at 65 mph, buried under tons of debris.

The glacier that launched more than 100 skiers and snowboarders on this unexpected ride is called La Paloma (The Dove), although skiers have nicknamed it Cacagua–“Shit Mountain.” It sits atop the volcano Antillanca (The Black Volcano) in the southern Andes of Chile, and with an area of about one square mile it’s not that big by Alaskan standards. But it’s large enough to feed several waterfalls down its face; one of these is more than 1,000 feet tall.

When conditions are right and the water level is high enough, as happened on Jan. 16, portions of the falls freeze into a steep chute whose upper lip curls over like a wave about to crash onto a beach. The chute serves as a natural half-pipe for skiers or snowboard

Two skiers in Montana found themselves on a ride they didn’t expect when a large chunk of ice broke off from a glacier and started moving.

The skiers were in the Beartooth Mountains near Cooke City, Mont., when a portion of the snow-covered glacier broke away, according to the National Geographic. The two men were able to keep up with the piece of ice for about 40 seconds.

Photographer and skier Alex Buisse captured the moment on camera. He said he was hiking with his friend, climber and mountain guide Jeff Bull, when they noticed the chunk of ice break away and start sliding downhill at about 20 miles per hour.

“We decided to follow it,” Buisse told National Geographic. “It was quite scary because we knew that if it was to stop on us we could be trapped.”

Buisse said the skiers eventually ditched their gear and hiked up the hill to get away from danger.

A hidden glacier in the mountains of northern Italy has begun to melt and shift, providing thrill seekers with a new type of extreme sport.

The so-called “frozen waterfall,” located on the Presena Glacier in the Adamello Brenta Nature Park, was discovered by Italian climber Andrea Zambaldi.

“The icefall is 3 meters wide, 25 meters high and 300 meters long,” explained Zambaldi. “It’s a mix between climbing and skiing.”

He added that the formation was about 60 percent vertical.


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