Monday, October 24, 2016

Crowdfunding and Ski Resorts: WinterCard Saas-Fee

Based on the crowdfunding principle, the popular alpine resort of Saas-Fee will offer the low-cost season passes only if enough people reserve them in advance.
From now until November 27th winter sports fans can book their discount WinterCard Saas-Fee online at
If 99,999 skiers and snowboarders order a season pass before 27 November 2016, Saas-Fee will offer the following mega-deal:
  • One-year season pass for just CHF 222
  • Three-year season pass for just CHF 622
  • Fifteen-year season pass for just CHF 2,999 
The offer is an 80 percent discount on regular season passes for Saas-Fee/Saas-Almagell – which, if the target isn’t achieved, will cost 1,050 francs – and is cheaper than a four-day ski pass for the area. A regular day pass costs CHF 72.
With a season ski pass you can take to the slopes whenever you wish – from December 3rd right through to April 22nd.
The idea is as simple as it is genius: crowdfunding under the motto "we make it happen". When many members of a community act together, they can achieve things that would never be possible alone.
And with a super cheap ski pass, the fun can now last even longer. Plus, all community members can enjoy additional special offers and discounts to make every day you spend surrounded by our 18 impressive 4,000-metre peaks an unforgettable and uniquely affordable experience.
But the best part is: there is absolutely no risk involved for campaign participants, as you only pay if the target of 99,999 season ticket orders is reached.
"Alpine tourism is facing a challenge due to an imbalance of supply and demand. In many areas, the surplus of resorts means that costs can no longer be covered. Saas-Fee wants to solve the problem by introducing a revolutionary price concept", a spokeperson for Saas-Fee said.
"Our guests tend to stay for an average of four days" added Pascal Schär, head of Saas-Fee’s marketing department. "We want to make the price attractive for these customers. A four-day ski pass currently costs 259 francs; with the WinterCard Saas-Fee they can ski for less than that and, more importantly, for the whole winter".

Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, one of the most scenically beautiful and diverse valleys in the Valais and in the Alps. This car-free village lies on a high plateau 1800 metres above sea level, nestling amongst the icy dome of the Allalinhorn and the rocky group of the Mischabel chain. Their typical old Valais wooden houses create the perfect setting for winter holidays, deserving of its name “Pearl of the Alps”.
In 2012 the results of a questionnaire for "Best ski resort" with over 40‘000 guests were presented. Saas-Fee / Saastal was voted best Swiss ski Resort. Internationally it was even voted to second rank out of 55 top ski destinations in Austria, Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland. In terms of snow reliability, slope preparation and coziness, Saas-Fee/Saastal hit top status.
With more than 115 km of slopes, and 300 days of sun per year, the car-free village of Saas-Fee with one of the highest-altitude ski areas in Europe is the perfect winter sports destination. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Alexis Pinturault Wins World Cup Opening GS in Sölden

After an exciting second run, Alexis Pinturault is the winner of the opening Giant slalom in Sölden.
Alexis Pinturault already proved it last season, and he will be one of the very best GS-racers this season again. He came back strong from the summer break, and won both runs to end the race with a 0.70 second lead over his closest contender Marcel Hirscher. He grabbed his 16th World Cup win and set the tone for the season to come in the process. Felix Neureuther rounded out the podium and crossed the finish line 1.37 seconds off of Pinturault’s pace.
"In the beginning, you never know where you are", Pinturault said. "You never know if you are skiing fast or not and just after Soelden, you can see where you are more or less. One thing that is easy in skiing is that there is never strategy, you just have to push and push even harder for the second run".
The duel between Pinturault and Marcel Hirscher is going to be very interesting to follow this season. Challenged by Pinturault who was leading after the first run, the five-times Overall World Cup winner made a mistake in the middle of the second run but he pushed even harder at the bottom and was able to earn second place.
"I'm super happy because the pressure is definitely on my shoulders, especially at the first race of the season", Hirscher said. "If I am skiing good, everything is fine, but if I am skiing bad, it is never fun so I am super happy and a lot of pressure has gone away".
Germany’s Felix Neureuther can also be proud of his season start in Giant Slalom.  After several years with chronical back pain, that prevented him to claim the absolute top spots on a regular basis in GS, this podium placement will give him lots of confidence for the season to come.
"For me, a perfect start to the season", Neureuther said. "Being here on the podium is really something special for me, especially in giant slalom. I think I did two very solid runs today without too many mistakes. There's still some work ahead of us, Alexis and Marcel were the two dominating guys today so we'll try to close the gap in the next weeks".
Slightly changing light conditions marked the first part of the second run, and some athletes were able to take advantage of this and laid down fast runs. Benedikt Staubitzer (GER) for example, qualified for second run by a narrow margin before ending 12th of the final standings and Luca De Alprandini (ITA) stayed in the leaderbox until the five-times World Champion Ted Ligety took over the lead. But even though Ligety had an impressive pace in the second run, which is promising for the future as he’s just coming back after he tore his ACL in January, he couldn’t keep up with the fastest racers of the day.
Sölden again offered an outstanding World Cup Opening, with more than 30,000 spectators' during the week-end, a perfectly prepared race slope and a motivated and skilled organising committee. The tyroler venue opened the season in the best possible way.After this exciting conclusion to the World Cup’s opening weekend, the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour will head to Levi (Finland) for a Men's and a Ladies Slalom.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lara Gut Wins World Cup Opening GS in Sölden

Lara Gut of Switzerland kicked off the 2016/17 FIS Audi Alpine World Cup tour with a commanding giant slalom victory, the second of her career at the Soelden opener.
Lara Gut led after the first run by 1.42 seconds and skied nearly a flawless second run to finish ahead of USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin by 1.44 seconds. Marta Bassino (ITA) rounded out the podium 1.93 off the pace, taking her first-ever giant slalom top-three finish.
Lara Gut admitted she was a little nervous heading into the first race of the season as the defending 2016 overall title winner, but she took the advice of Marcel Hirscher and her support team.
"It’s always special in Sölden, and you know it’s my first time coming as an overall winner", said Gut after the run. "I had a tough time this morning, I was just thinking all the time today – like Marcel Hirscher told me yesterday just to ski. My team exactly told me the same. So I tried just not to think and ski".
After laying down a significant lead over the field in the first run, Gut was under some pressure to maintain her lead.
"Finally, this morning, I was just like, ‘It’s a beautiful day. I love the slope. I have to enjoy that.’ And yeah, this was the key. I just tried to ski. And sometimes it’s horrible, You get in the race and start thinking instead of just skiing, but yeah, I’m happy and I’m glad I had a fast first run because the second one was a fight".
Mikaela Shiffrin, who started the race outside of the top seed in bib 16, gave chase in the second run but couldn't quite catch Gut. Still, she was proud of her fight in the race but still feels she has more to give.
"I definitely like second. I like first better, but it is nice to start off on this foot and it was really a tough day for a lot of girls, I think", she reasoned. "Lara was the only one who really skied as hard as she could and I’m happy with where I’m at. I took more risks than I ever have in a GS, but I can do better. I can do more and better".
Securing her career first podium finish in third place was 20-year-old Italian Marta Bassino whose teammates ran out to the finish area to congratulate her. She sat in third place after the first run and was able to hold onto the podium position.
"I’m so excited, and it’s the first podium. I’m so happy, it’s like a dream", Bassino exclaimed.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Marcel Hirscher Grabs Skieur d’Or AIJS – Serge Lang Trophy

For the third time in the past four years, a majority of members of the Association Internationale des Journalistes de Ski (AIJS) decided to elect Austria’s Marcel Hirscher as the recipient of the ‘Skieur d’Or- Trophy Serge Lang’ Award presented by Milka at Sölden on Thursday.
Members of the International Association of the Ski Journalists also awarded many votes to Lara Gut, the first Swiss woman able to clinch the overall World Cup title since slalom star Vreni Schneider in 1995, as well as to Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal and his young teammate Henrik Kristoffersen.
Only a few champion so far were honored three times by AIJS in past decades – among them Austria’s skiing legend Karl Schranz, all-time great Ingemar Stenmark from Sweden, Italy’s superstar Alberto Tomba or Swiss Ace Pirmin Zurbriggen who all achieved impressive performances during their best years on the tour.
"It’s surely not a great surprise to see Marcel receiving again a majority of vote considering his fantastic past season marked by strong performances in the technical events and foremost his surprising win in Super-G at Beaver Creek, he is doing a great job to promote our sport around the globe", said AIJS Vice-President Patrick Lang in charge of the ‘Skieur d’Or’ for over fifteen years now.
"Everyone within the World Cup tour is impressed by his passion and his dedication for alpine ski racing. He works really very hard on and off the snow fields, I guess only a few people in his entourage really know how intensively his is training to remain atop of his sport", added Lang. "There are only a few examples in the history of our sport of role models being so fully focused and successful in their best events – and this winter after winter. I also like his readiness to take risks racing in other specialties than slalom and giant slalom to clinch again the big crystal globe, so I was very proud of him when I saw him winning that challenging Super-G race at Beaver Creek a year ago. It was quite a spectacular achievement that may equal his triumph there in the Alpine combined of the 2015 FIS Ski World Championships. We all wish him great luck for another successful season this winter and more interesting stories with him".

Last season, Marcel Hirscher completed the Herculean feat of winning an amazing fifth-straight Overall Title. Hirscher finished the season with an impressive 20 podiums, including eight victories on the season. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

FIS Alpine Ski World Cup 50th Anniversary

The 2016-2017 season marks the 50th anniversary of the FIS Alpine World Cup. 3188 races were held in the past 50 years.
The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup is the top international circuit of alpine skiing competitions,
It all started in 1966 in Portillo (CHI), when a group of visionary friends which included French journalist Serge Lang and the alpine ski team directors from France, Honore Bonnet, and the USA, Bob Beattie, had the idea to create a Tour, gathering different resorts and different disciplines and award a title to the Overall winner. It was soon backed by International Ski Federation president Marc Hodler and became an official FIS event in the spring of 1967 after the FIS Congress at Beirut, Lebanon. On 5th January 1967, the first race was held in Berchtesgaden (Germany) and the World Cup history began.
From Jean-Claude Killy winning the first ever FIS World Cup Overall ranking, to Marcel Hirscher earning five World Cups Overalls in a row, not forgetting Lindsey Vonn chasing down Ingemar Stenmark’s record of most World Cup victories, we are looking forward to go through all these interesting and fascinating facts from the past 50 years.

Fact and Figures

First FIS World Cup Races:
  • 5th January 1967. Berchtesgaden (GER). Slalom Men. Winner: Jean-Claude Killy (FRA)
  • 7th January 1967. Oberstaufen (GER). Slalom Ladies.Winner Nancy Greene (CAN)
Most Successful Overall Winner:
  • Ladies: Annemarie Moser-Pröll (AUT) 6 Victories
  • Men: Marc Girardelli (LUX) and Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 5 Victories
Most FIS World Cup Victories Overall:
  • Ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA) 76 Victories
  • Men: Ingemar Stenmark (SWE) 86 Victories
Most FIS World Cup Victories Downhill:
  • Ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA) 38 Victories
  • Men: Franz Klammer (AUT) 25 Victories
Most FIS World Cup Victories Super-G:
  • Ladies: Lindsey Vonn (USA) 27 Victories
  • Men: Hermann Maier (AUT) 24 Victories
Most FIS World Cup Victories Giant Slalom:
  • Ladies: Vreni Schneider (SUI) 20 Victories
  • Men: Ingemar Stenmark (SWE) 46 Victories
Most FIS World Cup Victories Slalom:
  • Ladies: Marlies Schild (AUT) 35 Victories
  • Men: Ingemar Stenmark (SWE) 40 Victories

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Red Bull TV: The Horn. Always Between Heaven and Earth

The Horn, a new series from Red Bull TV, follows Air Zermatt, the world’s best aerial search and rescue team, made up of people dedicated to saving the lives of those who take on the Matterhorn.
Episode one of The Horn follows the Pilots on several missions to save tourists on the Matterhorn, one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.
All episodes and other clips of the new serie "The Horn" are now available on RedBull TV.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Vail Resorts Adds Whistler Balckcomb to its Epic Pass

Vail Resorts today announced that the Company has closed on the acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada. In celebration of closing, Vail Resorts is offering limited access for the 2016-17 winter season with full access to come for the 2017-18 ski season. All 2016-17 Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass holders will receive five days of skiing and snowboarding at Whistler Blackcomb this winter season. In addition, Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited season pass holders will enjoy five days of skiing and snowboarding at any of Vail Resorts’ U.S. resorts. The full season pass line-up with Whistler Blackcomb for 2017-18 will be announced when those passes go on sale in March 2017.
"We’re thrilled to officially welcome Whistler Blackcomb to our collection of world-class mountain resorts and to be able to offer our Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass holders five ski days at Whistler Blackcomb for this 2016-17 winter season", said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. "With more than 200 trails, 8,100 acres of terrain and 16 alpine bowls, Whistler Blackcomb offers Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass holders even greater choices in skiing and riding this winter with the best of North America. We look forward to fully integrating Whistler Blackcomb into our Epic Pass and other season pass products for the 2017-18 winter season and will announce those plans in March 2017".
The five complimentary days of skiing and snowboarding at Whistler Blackcomb with the Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass can take place any time during the 2016-17 winter season with the exception of the following restricted holiday dates: Nov. 25-26 and Dec. 26-31, 2016; and Jan. 14 and Feb. 18-19, 2017. The days do not have to be used consecutively.
All 2016-17 Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited Season Pass holders, including the Spirit and Sea to Sky Passes, will receive five complimentary days of skiing and snowboarding at any of Vail Resorts’ U.S. mountain resorts this winter. The five complimentary days at Vail Resorts’ U.S. resorts do not have to be used consecutively and have a handful of restricted holiday dates, including Nov. 25-26 and Dec. 26-31, 2016; and Jan. 14 and Feb. 18-19, 2017. For a limited time, through Oct. 30, Whistler Blackcomb is bringing the Unlimited Pass back on sale at the early bird rate for skiers and snowboarders who want to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Epic Pass is probably the best value and most popular lift product in the industry offering full access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; and Perisher in Australia for the 2017 season;. The Epic Pass also grants limited access to Verbier and the 4 Vallees in Switzerland, Les 3 Vallees in France, Arlberg in Austria, and Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy.

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).
On August 8, 2016, Vail Resorts entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the stock of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc., which operates North America's largest and most visited mountain resort.

Audi FIS Ski World Cup 2016-2017

The 2016-2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup season is just around the corner and it looks promising as new World Cup globes will be awarded and new World Champions will be crowned.Next weekend (22-23 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.
The event will also kick off the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the FIS Ski World Cup. The exclusive presence of Heinrich Messner, winner of the first World Cup race in Berechtesgaden, will be one of the highlights of the races in Sölden.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Alpine Ski World Cup Starts Next Weekend in Sölden

Next weekend (22-23 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. The traditional Ladies' and Men's Giant Slalom are confirmed on 22nd and 23rd October on the Rettenbach Glacier
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.
On 14th October, day of the official snow control, the situation was pretty clear: the conditions for the World Cup Opening in the following week are excellent. "The slope preparation is already so perfect, that we could race this week-end! It's better than it has been in the past 10 years", said FIS Race Director Markus Mayr. Together with Rupert Steger (OeSV), Rainer Gstrein (Chief of Race) and Isidor Grüner (Chief of Course), the decision was easy to make, especially as the snow making system and the snow depot could be completed with some fresh snow. The green light for the ladies race on 22nd and the men's race on 23rd could be given without any doubts.
The event will also kick off the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the FIS Ski World Cup. The exclusive presence of Heinrich Messner, winner of the first World Cup race in Berechtesgaden, will be one of the highlights of the races in Sölden.


22.10.2016 Women's Giant Slalom
23.10.2016 Men's Giant Slalom

Starting times:

10:00 am: 1st run
13:00 pm: 2nd run

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.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017 Riders

The complete list of finest athletes in the sport of Freeride on the world’s premier competitive freeride tour is now available.

The competition will be even more intense this year as the most promising generation of up-and-coming talent from the Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) will showcase their skills against the top riders of the elite tour. The 2017 season will continue the saga of progression in the sport as established riders attempt reinvent their game and retain their throne or face relinquishing it to the next generation of freeriders.

Snowboard WomenAnne-Flore Marxer (SUI/FRA) will once again be hungry for the title of world champion as she presses Elodie Mouthon (FRA) and attempts to recapture the world title. Returning American star Shannan Yates (USA) will have to use her experience to defend against the tenacity of the incoming riders Audrey Hebert (CAN) and Manuela Mandl (AUT).

Marion Haerty (FRA)

Ski Women – This year could be ripe for a shake-up as longstanding champions like Eva Walkner (AUT) and Jackie Paaso (USA) face intense competition from FWQ skiers Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI) and Kylie Sivell (CAN). Fresh on the FWT last year but finishing strong, Arianna Tricomi (ITA) is also to be watched.

Snowboard Men – An established American presence will be felt again this year with the likes of Ralph Backstrom (USA) and Sammy Luebke (USA) posing a formidable challenge to younger European riders like Thomas Feurstein (AUT) and French sensation Camille Armand (FRA).

Ski Men – All eyes will be on the rising star, Logan Pehota (CAN), who was narrowly edged out of top spot on the podium by returning champion, Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) on the 2016 FWT. 

Carl Renvall (SUI) 
Sam Lee (NZL)
Ryan Faye (USA)
Mark Mikos (USA)
Yan Rausis (SUI)
Dennis Risvoll (NOR)
Drew Tabke (USA)

Date: January 28, 2017; Location: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, FRA

Date: February. 11, 2017; Location: Vallnord Arcalis, AND

Date: March 4, 2017; Location: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, AUT

Date: March 17, 2017; Location: Haines

Date: April 1, 2017; Location: Verbier, SUI

The Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.