Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Epic TV: A La Française Ep. 4. This Secret Resort Holds Powder Perfection in the Alps

French Skiing. French Riders. No Baguettes. This is a journey into the entire French ski scene brought to you by some of the best French riders on the planet. Ride with ze crew as they travel throughout the Alps and the Pyrenees, dropping, jibbing, freeriding and sessioning some of the best spots in France. Vive le freeski, vive les montagnes - this is A French Winter.

When the Alps finally got a snow dump, Aymeric Cloerec, Bertrand Clair, and Guillaume Harleaux knew exactly where to go: the under-the-radar resort of Sainte Foy. It might be close to the big resorts, but Sainte Foy offers a little corner of relative solitude among the crowds. And with solitude comes...powder! Don't take our word for it, watch the boys tear up the forests, pillow lines, and cliff jumps that abound in this semi-secret area. See anyone else? Nope. Neither do we. Shhhhhhh...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Sölden 2014

On the slopes, the World Cup season traditionally starts the last weekend of October in Soelden but off the slopes, the two days leading up to the events are the ones anyone involved to any extent in the skiing world can not afford to miss. Press conferences, documentary screenings, photo opportunities and other duties keep the athletes busy most of Thursday and Friday, making those days some of the busiest ones of the year.

In 2012, FIS and Audi embarked on a new video project called "Behind the Scenes". The idea was to create a YouTube series, which would provide fans with greater insight into what happens around the Audi FIS Ski World Cup and also follow athletes and teams in their year-round preparation. 
Encouraged by last two year’s success, and 58 videos, the "Behind the Scenes" series is back, looking to revisit some of the venues while adding some new ones. Fans will be able to enjoy videos from Soelden (AUT), Levi (FIN), Val d’Isere (FRA), Courchevel (FRA), Val Gardena (ITA), Alta Badia (ITA), Munich (GER), Adelboden (SUI), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER), and other spectacular World Cup sites. 
The series will feature one-of-a-kind interviews with numerous athletes and offer a unique glimpse of some of the most famous runs and resorts in Alpine Skiing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Marcel Hirscher Wins World Cup Opening GS in Sölden

The 2014/15 Men’s season of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup got under way under blue skies and dream conditions on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden (Tirol, Austria). While the first run was again all about a tight battle between last year’s overall World Cup winner Marcel Hirscher and giant slalom World Cup winner Ted Ligety, the second run turned out to be only about Hirsher's show. He dominated the second run to top the time sheet with more than a one and half second lead ahead of runner-up of the day Germany's Fritz Dopfer and Frances's Alexis Pinturault, who finished third, 2.06 seconds off the pace.
Ted Ligety, who was just 0.19 seconds after the first run, lost his chance to be successful in Sölden for the fourth year in a row, when he made a mistake just before the flat and final section of the course that cost him a lot of time, to finally end in 10th position, 3.02 seconds adrift.
"I was informed over the radio about Ligety's mistake but it didn't change anything in the way I was planning to ski in the second run", said Hirscher. "I was always going to give it all out".
This was Marcel Hirscher's 10th World Cup victory in Giant Slalom but the first one in Sölden. "I've fought so much for this victory over the last years and now finally I got it", he said. "I am super happy and I wish everyone a great party today. Winning in front of a home crowd is so special and important".
In second position, Fritz Dopfer became the first German skier to stand on a podium in Sölden. "I actually didn't really know about that, but this is for sure an exciting news", said the 27-year-old. "The first race of the season is always a good way to assess how good the summer training went and the result of today is definitely a good sign even if this was just one race. There are a lot more to come and I am looking forward to it", he added.
France’s Alexis Pinturault, who was fifth after the first run, managed to overtake Austria's Benjamin Raich for a mere 0.01 seconds and took advantage of Ligety's mistake to earn his 23rd podium.
"The aim was of course to attack in the second run, but it was complicated due to the bumpy and icy conditions", said the 23-year-old. "These conditions were quite different to what we got in training last week and that made it even more difficult, especially more for me than Marcel. It was a big fight today and I will try to be better next time", he concluded.
After this exciting conclusion to the World Cup’s opening weekend, the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour will head in three weeks to Levi (Finland) for a Men's and a Ladies Slalom.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mikaela Shiffrin and Anna Fenninger Tie in World Cup Opening GS in Sölden

The 2014/15 Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup opened today on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden (Tirol, Austria) and the home team put on an outstanding show for the crowd of more than 13,000 as the Austrians placed two ladies on the giant slalom podium, and three in the top four, including co-winner Anna Fenninger.
Only USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin spoiled the Austrian party as she made up time on the lower half of the course and managed to tie Fenninger for the victory. The duo finished in 2:39:85. Eva-Maria Brem (Austria) finished 0.27 off the pace in third place, followed closely by teammate Kathrin Zettel 0.02 behind.
"It was already an amazing season last year and to start the season like this is a dream", said Fenninger. "I was nervous at the start, but I tried to focus on my run and I’m glad to be able to come away with the win". After the first run, Fenninger was 0.09 seconds behind Shiffrin, clocking a time of 1:17:93.
It was Fenninger’s fifth straight Giant Slalom win as she picked up right where she left off last season after winning the last four Giant Slalom World Cup races and claiming the giant slalom and overall title. But Shiffrin showed today that expanding her focus from her stronghold of Slalom has paid off in the off season with the co-victory, her first-ever in the Giant Slalom.
"I have wanted this so badly for so long, but I’m not sure this one counts as Anna is making it very difficult for me to win my first GS alone", said a happy Shiffrin after the race.
The weather Gods were smiling on Sölden this weekend as the skiers enjoyed much better than expected conditions after the Austrian resort got a strong snowfall in the middle of the week followed by 36 hours of clear weather to prepare the course. While conditions were bumpy for the skiers, it could have been far worse as just one week ago much of the glacier was looking brown instead of white.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Glance Back at Sölden 2013 FIS Ski World Cup

Next weekend (25-26 October) Sölden (Tirol, Austria) again hosts the ultimate FIS Ski World Cup Races. As every year, the Women's Giant Slalom opens the new World Cup season.
On Saturday the FIS World Cup opens with the Women’s Giant Slalom on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden. The FIS Women's and Men's Alpine Ski World Cup is held for the 21st time in the Tyrolean ski resort.

Switzerland’s Lara Gut had a perfect start to the 2013/14 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season on the Rettenbach Glacier claiming the top spot on the podium after beating the field by a 0,84 margin. It was near-perfect conditions on the glacier for the race with blue skies and a firm slope after a good overnight freeze.
It was the first Giant Slalom win for the 22-year-old Swiss and the first-ever podium for her at the season-opening Sölden Race. Gut laid down the best time in the first run with 0,77 advantage. In the second run, Gut built on her lead an ultimately finished ahead of Austria’s Katherin Zettel by 0,84 seconds. Finishing in third place was Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg 1.28 seconds off the winning pace.

Ted Ligety picked up the 2013/14 FIS Audi World Cup season right where he left off last season with a victory in today’s Giant Slalom Race at the Season Opener in Sölden. Ligety came out ahead of Alex Pinturault (FRA) by 0.79 seconds. Rounding out the podium was Austria's Marcel Hirscher, who finished 1.02 seconds off the pace. It was the third straight victory for Ligety at the Sölden Season Opener.
It was Ligety’s ninth-straight podium finish in giant slalom and his 31st career giant slalom podium. He is now tied with Italian superstar Alberto Tomba for Giant Slalom podiums, ranking fourth among all skiers.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Alpine Ski World Cup Starts Next Weekend in Sölden

Next weekend (25-26 October) Sölden (Tirol, Austria) again hosts the ultimate FIS Ski World Cup Races. As every year, the Women's Giant Slalom opens the new World Cup season.
On Saturday the FIS World Cup opens with the Women’s Giant Slalom on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden. The FIS Women's and Men's Alpine Ski World Cup is held for the 21st time in the Tyrolean ski resort.


25.10.2014 Women's Giant Slalom
26.10.2014 Men's Giant Slalom

Starting times:

09:30 am: 1st run
12:45 pm: 2nd run

Skiworldcup Opening 2013 in numbers:

73 female racers from 17 nations
92 male racers from 23 nations
In total there are 26 nations participating
ca. 20,000 visitors including 28 fan clubs with ca. 1,200 members.
Around 1,000 people were working the steep slope.

Skiworldcup Opening 2013 - facts and numbers:

20.000 overnight stays (Fri-Sun)
12.000 visitors on Saturday / 15.000 visitors on Sunday (new record!!!)
24 TV stations
18 radio stations
77 photographers
171 print-journalist

On Friday the FIS Forum Alpinum – the Information Session for Ski Journalists – will take place in the Freizeit Arena in Sölden. At 6:30 pm, the Krone World Cup Party will be held in the Postplatz square in Sölden village center.
Sölden is a municipality located in the Ötztal valley of Tyrol, Austria. With tourist bed nights running at over two million per year, the municipality is second only to Vienna as an Austrian tourist destination. The main village of Sölden is located at 1,368 meters above sea level. The highest peak is the Wildspitze which is at 3,768 meters the second highest mountain in Austria after the Grossglockner. Sölden is a very popular ski resort.
The first FIS Alpine Ski World Cup race of the year traditionally takes place on the slope located on the Rettenbach glacier, a high-quality icy track with the starting gate situated over 3,000 meters in altitude.
Sölden offers the marvelous BIG 3, Austria's only ski area with 3 mountains higher than 3,000 meters which are accessible by lifts or gondolas. From November trough May thanks to the ski area's high-Alpine location (1,350 - 3,250 m) and the modern snowmaking system (covering all slopes lower than 2,200 m) snow is guaranteed in Sölden.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vail Resorts Launches Initiative to Make Skiing and Snowboarding More Accessible to Women

Despite making up over half the population of the United States, women only make up 40 percent of alpine skiers and only 32 percent of snowboarders according to participation data from SnowSports Industries America (SIA). Today, Vail Resorts, the world’s leading mountain resort operator, announced a new company initiative to increase women’s participation in skiing and snowboarding.
"Vail Resorts’ mission is to provide an experience of a lifetime. We can only do this by understanding and meeting the needs of our guests. There is clearly an opportunity to understand what our women guests need to increase their participation in snow sports", said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. "We want to make the ski experience more accessible to all women, and then empower them to make time for themselves to have the ski experience they desire".
Over the course of the 2013-14 ski season, Vail Resorts conducted research with female guests, at resorts and online, to better understand the barriers to the ski experience for women. Common themes included being overwhelmed by the process and having their hands full managing the experience for the other members of their group/family.
"We are listening to the voice of our guests", said Lynch. "We had intimate conversations with women from all over the U.S., Mexico and Brazil, and we’re customizing programs to meet their needs".
The women surveyed expressed some trepidation around ski school – feelings of being overwhelmed by the logistics of the experience, being out of place either socially or by ability level, and needing to justify the cost for lessons for themselves. Comments included:
"A ski class where I felt comfortable would affect my decision a ton. I’d be pumped to learn with others like me", said a woman from Menomonee Falls, Wis.
A woman from Dallas, added, "All-female adult classes would really encourage me to take more lessons. I would LOVE that".
The women also commented on their desire to either have ski lessons that better accommodated getting their children into their lessons, or lessons which included their children.
"It would be nice if there were two offerings to fit all women’s situations – jump into a lesson that started as soon as the slopes open OR select a lesson that started around 9:30 or 10:00 so you could get the kids on their way", said a Stillwell, Kan., mother of four.
"I want to spend time with my kids, it's the primary reason we choose to go on vacations", said a Palm Bay, Fla., mother of three.
The other common theme, specifically from the international participants, was the desire to have someone who could plan the vacation for them and act as an in-resort "concierge", setting up all the details the women either didn’t know about or didn’t have time to address.

These comments led the Vail Resorts to create a number of new programs and products, available for the 2014-15 winter ski and ride season.

  • Vail Resorts’ Ski & Ride Schools will offer the Women’s Ultimate 4, a lesson for women where they can join fellow women and a female coach to learn or brush up on skiing in a small-group setting, from the foundation-building basics of a “first-timer” class (open to all), to navigating the easiest greens, to sharing tactics and camaraderie on mountain green and blue runs. Women’s Ultimate 4 lessons will be offered at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Park City and Canyons in Utah, and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe.
  • Select resort Ski & Ride Schools will also offer four-hour lessons for women, providing ample time for the drop-off and pick-up times of their kids’ lessons, as well as “Mommy & Me” lessons, where instructors spend time with the mother and the child, reviewing what the child is working on and providing tips on how to continue to develop the child’s skills.
  • The comments also spurred Vail Resorts to create Prima, a personalized concierge service to assist with every aspect of the vacation experience for the company’s most loyal Brazilian guests of Vail and Beaver Creek.
"This is just the beginning for the Women In Skiing initiative for Vail Resorts", said Lynch. "We plan on continuing to invest significantly in this important segment of our guests".

Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons in Park City, Utah; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).

Epic TV: A La Française Ep. 2. When Was the Last Time You Saw This Much Un-Skied Powder?

French Skiing. French Riders. No Baguettes. This is a journey into the entire French ski scene brought to you by some of the best French riders on the planet. Ride with ze crew as they travel throughout the Alps and the Pyrenees, dropping, jibbing, freeriding and sessioning some of the best spots in France. Vive le freeski, vive les montagnes - this is A French Winter.

Welcome to Les Sybelles, a vast ski area tucked away in the southeast corner of France. It's not quite as well known as some other areas but the advantage of relative anonymity is that it still has plenty of untouched powder. Don't take our word for it, though: feast your eyes on the expansive fields of completely virgin pow that form the backdrop of this video. If you didn't know anything about skiing you would think that it was normal to have the entire untracked side of a mountain at the disposal of you and your closest friends. For Alexandre Giraud, Fabrice Dompnier, and Jérôme Chanal maybe it is, but something tells us they aren't giving up the coordinates of their favorite haunts to just anyone. They did mention that they filmed around Le Corbier, Fontcouverte-la-Toussuire, and St Sorlin d'Arves, but after that you're on your own.

Epic TV: A La Française Ep. 1. When Locals Show You Where to Freeride Ski, They Don't Disappoint

French Skiing. French Riders. No Baguettes. This is a journey into the entire French ski scene brought to you by some of the best French riders on the planet. Ride with ze crew as they travel throughout the Alps and the Pyrenees, dropping, jibbing, freeriding and sessioning some of the best spots in France. Vive le freeski, vive les montagnes - this is A French Winter.

Amazing landscapes, fresh and untracked powder and lines that will blow your mind - that's what happens when a local shows you where to go. Freeride skiers Aymeric Cloerec, Bertrand Clair and Guillaume Harleaux were looking for good snow conditions early in the winter, so they decided to head to the only place with snow - the Pyrénées - and its famous "Pic du Midi" at the Grand Tourmalet. They met with Manu Bonniot, a local rider, and discovered a huge backyard for incredible and breathtaking freeride skiing in an unforgettable landscape. The snow was perfect, the sun shining and the riders at the top of their game - and so ensued three perfect days of at the Top of the Pyrénées! Thanks to all the staff of the Grand Tourmalet - Pic du Midi for their welcome!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup 2014-2015

It's finally time to get excited for five months packed with action on snow, the new 2014/15 World Cup season is less than a week away!

Soelden (AUT)
October 25th Giant Slalom / Ladies
October 26th Giant Slalom / Men

Levi (FIN)
November 15th Slalom / Ladies
November 16 th Slalom / Men

Lake Louise (CAN)
November 29th Downhill / Men
November 30th Super G / Men

Aspen (USA)
November 29th Giant Slalom / Ladies
November 30th Slalom / Ladies

Lake Louise (CAN)
December 5th Downhill / Ladies
December 6th Downhill / Ladies
December 7th Super G / Ladies

Beaver Creek (USA)
December 5th Downhill / Men
December 6th Super G / Men
December 7th Giant Slalom / Men

Val d'Isere (FRA)
December 13th Giant Slalom / Men
December 14th Slalom / Men

Courchevel (FRA)
December 13th Giant Slalom / Ladies
December 14th Slalom / Ladies

Val Gardena / Groeden (ITA)
December 19th Super G / Men
December 20 th Downhill / Men

Val d'Isere (FRA)
December 20th Downhill / Ladies
December 21st Super G / Ladies

Alta Badia (ITA)
December 21st Giant Slalom / Men

Madonna di Campiglio (ITA)
December 22nd Night Slalom / Men

Semmering (AUT)
December 28th Giant Slalom / Ladies
December 29th Slalom / Ladies

Santa Caterina (ITA)
December 28th Downhill / Men

Muenchen (GER)
January 1st City Event / Ladies & Men

Zagreb / Sljeme (CRO)
January 4th Slalom / Ladies
January 6th Slalom / Men

Bad Kleinkirchheim (AUT)
January 10th Downhill / Ladies
January 11th Super G / Ladies

Adelboden (SUI)
January 10th Giant Slalom / Men
January 11th Slalom / Men

Flachau (AUT)
January 13th Slalom / Ladies

Wengen (SUI)
January 16th Downhill / Alpine Combined / Men
January 17th Downhill / Men
January18th Slalom / Men

Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA)
January 17th Downhill / Ladies
January 18th Super G / Ladies

Kitzbuehel (AUT)
January 23rd Super G / Alpine Combined / Men
January 24th Downhill / Men
January 25th Slalom / Men

St. Moritz (SUI)
January 24th Downhill / Ladies
January 25th Super G / Ladies

Schladming (AUT)
January 27th Night Slalom / Men

Vail / Beaver Creek (USA)
2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships
February 3rd Super G / Ladies
February 4th Super G / Men
February 6th Downhill / Ladies
February 7th Downhill / Men
February 8th Downhill / Super Combined / Men
February 9th Downhill / Super Combined / Ladies
February 10th Team / Mixed
February 12th Giant Slalom / Ladies & Men (FIS)
February 13th Giant Slalom / Men
February 14th Slalom / Men (FIS) & Ladies
February 15th Slalom / Men

Saalbach (AUT)
February 21st Downhill / Men
February 22nd Super G / Men

Maribor (SLO)
February 21st Giant Slalom / Ladies
February 22nd Slalom / Ladies

Garmisch Partenkirchen (GER)
February 28th Downhill / Men
March 1st Giant Slalom / Men

Bansko (BUL)
February 28th Super G / Ladies
March 1st Alpine Combined / Super G / Ladies

Gamisch Partenkirchen (GER)
March 7th Downhill / Ladies
March 8th Super G / Ladies

Kvitfjell (NOR)
March 7th Downhill / Men
March 8th Super G / Men

Are (SWE)
March 13th Giant Slalom / Ladies
March 14th Slalom / Ladies

Kranjska Gora (SLO)
March 14th Giant Slalom / Men
March 15th Slalom / Men

Meribel (FRA)
WC Finals 2015
March 18th Downhill / Ladies & Men
March 19th Super G / Ladies & Men
March 20th Team / Mixed
March 21st Giant Slalom / Men
March 21st Slalom / Ladies
March 22nd Slalom  / Men
March 22nd Giant Slalom / Ladies