Friday, December 28, 2007

Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Bormio with the Downhill

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Bormio with the Downhill. The skiing area of Bormio, with more than 50 kilometres of slopes and 14 skilifts with a capacity of 14.000 persons/hour come up to most skiers expectations. The slope "Stelvio" is the perfect venue for the annual men's downhill race. By unanimous opinion, alongside Kitzbuhel, this is absolutely the most spectacular and technically difficult course. The “Stelvio”, which is almost 3,230 metres long with a 986-metre difference in altitude and a maximum gradient of 60%, is a notoriously unforgiving track and is the only one where the finish area can clearly be seen from the starting gate. Bormio hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1985 and 2005, as well as the World Cup Finals in 1995 and 2000.
Skipasses are available for the skiarea “4 Valli” –free bus service-, which are valid for the area Bormio, S. Colombano (Oga and Valdidentro) and Santa Caterina. The skiing-mountain San Colombano hosts the slopes of the Valdidentro, which are in a very sunny position and connect to the Valdisotto (Oga). Offering a great panoramic alpine view, these sunny slopes invite to enjoy and ski. San Colombano offers 30 kilometres of slopes and 10 skilifts. Santa Caterina's slopes are exposed to the north, thanks to that fact skiers will find ideal snow conditions the whole winter season. 40 kilometres of slopes are to be reached by 7 skilifts.
Bormio lies at the top of the Valtellina Valley formed by the Adda River. The Valtellina ski area is a component of five large skiing areas with 400 kilometres of pistes and 140 ski lifts: Alta Valtellina, Tirano, Sondrio and Valmalenco, Morbegno and Valchiavenna.
Bormio with nearly two thousand years of history, has well established itself as tourist resort for more than a century. It is situated at an altitude of 1225 metres, right in the heart of the Italian Alps in the region Lombardy and has 4100 inhabitants. At the feet of the Stelvio Pass and the Ortler-Cevedale mountain range, Bormio is close to the Swiss border. It is surrounded by a limestone mountain-range with the main peak "Reit", which is 3075 metres high. The historical centre of Bormio is one of the most important of the whole province as well as one of the best preserved ones in the Alps.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Austria

Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Austria. The pleasant town of Lienz -the cultural, social and business centre of East Tirol- hosts two races, a Giant Slalom on December 28 and a Slalom on December 29.
Lienz is a small ski resort (40 kilometres and 12 lifts) with two different areas operated by the Lienzer Bergbahnen Company. The Zettersfeld ski area constitutes a sort of sun terrace with a magnificent view of the Lienz Dolomites and offers pistes for skiers, snowboarders, families with kids and beginners. The Hochstein ski area with its fabulous downhills (7 km long), including the demanding world cup course, is for expert and advanced skiers. From the top station at 2,000 metres above sea level you can ski down straight into the ski stadium in town. In 1969 the women’s world cup took place for the first time on the Hochstein course and returned after a lengthy break in 1997. Since then Lienz has alternated on a two-year basis with Semmering as the venue for women’s world cup Giant Slalom and Slalom races.
Lienz is a sports town, as the various mega events that are staged here annually prove, from the Dolomitenlauf to the Dolomitenmann, from running competitions to cycle races.
The Lienz Dolomites holiday region’s in East Tirol is a winter ski paradise for those who want to combine sport with a unique setting of natural beauty. A place where the highest peaks of the Hohe Tauern meet the steepest rock faces of the Dolomites.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Saas-Fee, the Pearl of the Alps, a quality resort

Quality is increasingly becoming the key competitive tool in Tourism. More and more often, guests and customers are opting for those products and services that allow them to be sure of receiving high quality and value for money.
Saas-Fee joined the “Quality Label for Swiss Tourism” to meet the guests expectations. The programme is supported by all major Swiss tourism associations. Its purpose is to encourage establishments to enhance and safeguard the quality of service in Switzerland. In the establishments that have reached the Quality Label for Swiss Tourism, as a guest, you have the assurance that the staff and management are continuously giving serious thought to quality. They are striving to make you feel good and comfortable.
The Quality label is awarded to businesses, hotels, holiday apartments, restaurants and other businesses which come into contact with visitors in Saas-Fee.
Saas-Fee Tourismus was awarded the new Valais Excellence label in December 2004. The award was created to promote the creation of Integrated Management Systems (environment, quality, safety, finances and human resources).
Also, Saas-Fee Tourismus was awarded with the level III of the Quality Label for Swiss Tourism. The Level III award is given to those companies and providers who have compiled and successfully implemented a comprehensive and internationally recognised Quality Management System (QMS) like ISO 9001.

Saas-Fee, the Pearl of the Alps, a sustainable resort

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”. Saas-Fee has some of the most restrictive building and zoning regulations in Switzerland. All buildings must have a gabled roof and at least one third of the facade of the building must be built of wood. The typical Valais style of Chalet can be maintained with these measures.
The foundation for creating a resort conscious of the environment and of quality was laid in 1951, when the community made the decision to keep the village car-free. The absence of cars in Saas-Fee contributes considerably to the relaxed holiday atmosphere and romantic character of the village where there is no stress from traffic. Guests benefit from the peace and quiet, the good quality of the air and the freedom of movement in the streets. 10 years ago, car-free resorts in Switzerland which care about a high quality of service and the environment joined forces to form the Society of Car-free Swiss Resorts. The Society (GAST in short) is a network of several car-free Swiss touristy communities (Bettmeralp, Braunwald, Riederalp, Rigi, Saas-Fee, Stoos, Wengen-Mürren and Zermatt) that promotes car-free recreation and holiday experiences in alpine resorts. The resorts commit themselves to nine decided quality criteria, which are checked regularly.
Saas-Fee committed itself to the Alliance in the Alps project as a pilot community in 1996. The Alliance in the Alps community network initiated in collaboration with CIPRA (Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Alpes) is an association comprising over 250 communities located throughout the Alpine region, from France to Slovenia. The member communities have come together in support of the goals of the Alpine Convention for sustainable development in the Alps. To this end they work in close contact with the resident populations to improve the ecological, social and economic situation in their communities.
Saas-Fee was awarded the status of Energy Town in June 2002. The label represents the introduction of actual quality control concerning communal energy policies and is awarded to towns and communities which -in proportion to the possibilities at their disposal- go to exceptional lengths to implement energy and traffic policies in their community.
Saas-Fee was the first resort in Switzerland to introduce fees for refuse bags in 1994. By means of this fee, residents are called upon to sort refuse exactly and to produce less refuse in general. Household refuse may only be disposed of in the official bags which carry a fee.

The Vanoise Express out of service for the Season

The Vanoise Express cable car, linking the Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La plagne areas is actually not in service because of "anomalies" in the cables of the two lines. Compagnie des Alpes announced the decision last friday, following a consultation between the operator and departamental inspection authorities. The necessary detailed diagnosis and repairs could not be done before the end of the skiing season.
The cable-car link, with double-decker cars carrying 200 people, is the world's largest (1830 metres) with a transport capacity of 2,000 persons per hour, and takes 4 minutes to link the two ski zones. Built by Poma and operated by the Compagnie des Alpes, the Vanoise Express cost over 15 million Euros and was officially opened in December 2003.
The Paradiski, linked by the Vanoise Express, is a ski-area offering uninterrupted skiing in between the areas of Les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne. Paradiski offers 425 km of pistes, with 152 green/blue (beginner) runs, 79 red (intermediate) runs and 22 black (expert) runs. No Paradiski pass can be sold for the 2007/2008 Winter Season.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Arlberg Kandahar Rennen in St. Anton am Arlberg

Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup moves to St. Anton am Arlberg for the World Cup Downhill and the Super Combination. St. Anton am Arlberg is a Ski Paradise and has enjoyed a world-famous reputation for decades. Tourism on the Arlberg dates back to the 19th century, but it was not until the advent of Alpine skiing that the region acquired the outstanding reputation it still enjoys today as a winter sports centre. Hannes Schneider was one of the foremost figures in the early days of skiing and starred in the films directed by Arnold Fanck which did a great deal to popularize the Arlberg.
The Arlberg skiing region includes more than 80 cablecars and ski lifts, 260 km of groomed pistes and 184 km of deep-snow runs, offering unlimited possibilities (varied terrain for experts and adventurous intermediates). For those who want fun and relaxation off the slopes, facilities include a network of cross-country ski trails covering almost 40 km, a fun park, an illuminated toboggan run, ice rinks for skating and curling, as well as the ARLBERG-well.com centre with its indoor pool, sauna and steam baths.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Alta Badia hosts the Men´s Giant Slalom and Slalom Events

Today the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup moves to Alta Badia in the Südtirol. The Giant Slalom along the Gran Risa slope in La Villa/Alta Badia is according to the ski world cup insiders among the most challenging of the whole ski world cup circuit (448 metres of altitude difference, 1,255 metres of length and 53% of maximum inclination). The Slalom race takes place tomorrow morning.
La Villa is the most central of the villages in the Alta Badia, located at the foot of the Gardenazza and the Piz La Villa, dominated by “Ciastel Colz”. Alta Badia offers 130 kilometres of pistes served by 51 lifts and a modern well-planned artificial snow system. Due to its central position in the Dolomites' skiing area Alta Badia is the ideal starting point for some of the best ski tours in the alpine area.
You can find a wide offer of Mountain Restaurants in alpine Tyrolean-style. Regular visitors to the valley especially enjoy ladin dishes such as canederli (bread and speck dumplings), barley soup or "Kaiserschmarren" (a sweet pancake eaten with cranberries).
The resort is lift linked to the Sella Ronda sector of the Dolomiti Superski pass. The Sella Ronda is probably the world’s third largest lift-linked ski area with over 500km of lift linked ski runs. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200km of maintained piste served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Construction completed at all Whistler-based Vancouver 2010 competition venues

Vancouver 2010 meet the commitment to reach the completion of construction on all three Whistler Olympic and Paralympic competition venues (Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler Olympic Park and Whistler Creekside), two years before the 2010 Winter Games begin and on budget. A workforce of 2,500 men and women was recruited from British Columbia and across Canada to help build the Whistler venues that will host 46 Olympic medal events and 62 Paralympic medal events. During the 2010 Winter Games, Whistler Olympic Park will host the biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping events; The Whistler Sliding Centre will host bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events; Whistler Creekside will host the alpine skiing events.
Whistler Creekside has been operational since the beginning of the 2007-08 ski season; Whistler Olympic Park is operational and will host its first sport competition, and open for public access, tomorrow, December 15th; detailed fit-out and testing at The Whistler Sliding Centre will continue over the next few months.
Funded equally by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, the venues offer all Canadians a legacy of high performance and recreational use, both before – and long after – the 2010 Winter Games.
Source: VANOC. December 14, 2007. Vancouver, BC.VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Val Gardena-Gröden and St. Moritz hosts the Alpine Ski World this Weekend

Tomorrow Val Gardena-Gröden host the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. The World Cup Super-G race takes place in the northern Italian resort on Friday before the downhill on Saturday.
The Val Gardena and the magnificent three villages of Ortisei, S. Cristina and Selva Gardena, surrounded by the scenario of the Dolomites, offer a paradise of opportunities for ski with 175 km of pistes, 85% of which has snowmaking cover, accessible by 83 lifts.
The resort is lift linked to the Sella Ronda sector of the Dolomiti Superski pass. The Sella Ronda is probably the world’s third largest lift-linked ski area with over 500km of lift linked ski runs. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200km of maintained piste served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket.
Since Saturday St. Moritz host the Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. Two speed events take place in the Swiss Resort: Downhill and Super G.
St. Moritz lies on the south side of the Alps, in the Engadine Valley. St Moritz is Switzerland's most famous exclusive winter resort: glitzy, expensive, and fashionable. The Engadine Ski Paradise: St. Moritz-Corviglia, Corvatsch, Diavolezza are synonymous with breathtaking and unforgettable skiing experiences. 60 modern transportation facilities open up on 350 km of snow covered runs at altitudes from 1,800 to 3,300 metres above sea level of slopes in nine different skiing areas with 37 mountain restaurants.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ischgl (2)


Despues de una nueva noche y una mañana de precipitaciones de nieve, hoy hemos vuelto a disfrutar de un increible día de esquí. Fundamentalmente nos hemos movido por la zona oeste de la estación en las pistas negras y rojas y el itinerario número 39, a las que se accede utilizando los telesillas Höllspitzbahn, Gampenbahn y Palinkopfbahn. La nieve estaba increible con una temperatura de -7º y un timido sol que poco a poco fue prevaleciendo sobre las nubes. Las condiciones eran perfectas para abrir huellas en la nieve, sin olvidar tomar aliento y pasar un buen rato bebiendo una cerveza en la terraza del bar Höllboden donde siempre hay un ambiente impresionante.
Para finalizar el día una Pizza en el Restaurante Barafalla supuso el broche de oro a una jornada que por desgracia es la última de nuestra estancia en Ischgl. Para aquellos que quieran prolongar los días y las noches encontraran una oferta interminable de bares, pubs y discotecas.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Alpine World Cup returns to Europe

Tomorrow the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup returns to Europe in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria for the Men’s Giant Slalom and Slalom races.
Bad Kleinkirchheim, the Carinthian town in the Nock Mountains. The spectacular Austrian Valley offers a combination of long, wide and well-prepared pistes backed up by a modern snowmaking system (605 snowmaking machines) and a skiing area of 103 kilometres served by 26 lifts many of them really modern. From the slopes you can enjoy the marvellous scenery of the Nockberg Mountains and the National Park Nockberge.
Bad Kleinkirchheim is the first holiday resort in Austria to be awarded with a certificate from the “Alpine Wellness International Ltd.”. You can find a large number of wellness orientated hotels near to the thermal spas of St. Kathrein and the Römerbad (Roman bath).

Galtür


Hoy nos hemos trasladado hasta Galtür una estación situada al final del Valle de Paznaun gestionada por la empresa Bergbahnen Silvretta Galtür.
Galtür cuenta con 40 kilómetros de pistas. 4 kilómetros de pistas azules, 24 kilómetros de pistas rojas, 12 kilómetros de pistas negras y 3 kilómetros de Itinerarios permiten catalogar esta pequeña estación del Tirol como una buena opción para esquiadores de nivel medio alto que quieran huir de las aglomeraciones de otras zonas de esquí con renombre internacional.
Pero los gestores de este enclave turístico quieren ofrecer a los visitantes algo mas que un lugar para esquiar por lo que han realizado un enorme esfuerzo en poner a su disposición una variada programación de actividades para todos los públicos. Esa intención queda reflejada en una nueva marca el Silvapark y en nuevos equipamientos como el centro cultural y deportivo.
En 1999 la localidad fue golpeada por la tragedia. El 23 de febrero de ese año, una terrible avalancha, la peor ocurrida en los Alpes en los ultimos 40 años, cobrándose la vida de 31 personas. Tres frentes atlanticos acumularon hasta cuatro metros de nieve polvo con una baja densidad (entre 50 y 70 kg/m3) sobre una base de nieve transformada por unos dias previos de altas temperaturas seguidos de un descenso brusco de las mismas. Alrededor de las 4 de la tarde, una avalancha de nieve polvo se desencadenó alcanzando una velocidad de 290 kilómetros por hora. En su desplazamiento montaña abajo las 170 toneladas de nieve en movimiento aumentaron hasta las 300.000. En apenas 50 segundos el frente de 100 metros de altura alcanzó la villa destrozando siete modernos edificios y sepultando a 57 personas.
Como resultado de aquel desastre se ha desarrollado un sistema de protección contra avalanchas enormemente complejo que incluye diversos muros de protección. El más importante de ellos con una longitud de 345 metros y una altura de 19 metros integra el Alpinarium de Gältur, creado por el arquitecto Fritz Falch. Un elemento que incluye un moderno espacio expositivo, con salas para la celebración de seminarios, rocodromo y cafetería. En la actualidad se puede contemplar la exposición "The wall - Life in the mountains" acerca de las diferentes estrategias de supervivencia que adoptan animales, plantas y hombres para sobrevir en las montañas alpinas.

Aspen host the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine World Cup continues in North America at Aspen, Colorado. Since Friday the historical ski village hosts the Downhill, Aspen hasn't seen a women's downhill since 1988, Super G and Slalom Races.
Last season Aspen Mountain celebrated 60 years of skiing. Aspen has emerged into international fame as a glitzy playground of the wealthy and famous. Aspen Mountain abundant precipitations of snow (average snowfall 762 cm) guarantees skiing from early November to mid April. The historical Colorado Ski Resort offers 76 trails (48% Beginner, 26% Intermediate, 26% Advanced) and a vertical drop of 996 metres surrounded by some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the country. Aspen-Snowmass four great mountains (Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk) is one of the largest ski areas in North America and one of the world's premier alpine destinations. Ski Resorts offers unparalleled nightlife and off-slope activities as well (over 100 bars and restaurants).
Aspen Skiing Company operates the four mountains in the Aspen/Snowmass area.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ischgl


Ischgl nos ha recibido con buen tiempo y un espesor de nieve de 150 cm de calidad polvo. Estamos alojados en los Apartamentos Salner una buena opción para aquellos que busquen un buen servicio y una relación calidad-precio más que aceptable. Los apartamentos están situados en un zona tranquila a unos cinco minutos del acceso al dominio esquiable utilizando los telecabinas Pardatschgratbahn o el nuevo Fimbabahn.
El dominio esquiable esta integrado por dos estaciones, Ischgl y Samnaun, que juntas forman el Silvretta Arena una alianza entre dos compañías (Silvretta Seilbahn AG y Bergbahnen Sammaun AG) de Suiza y Austria.
235 kilómetros de pistas rodeadas de un increible paisaje y una moderna red de remontes sin colas nos permitirán disfrutar de unos perfectos días de esquí. 132 kilómetros de pistas rojas, 45 kilómetros de pistas negras y 20 kilómetros de Itinerarios y una pista de once kilómetros llamada Eleven (desde el punto más alto de la estación en Greitspitz a 2.872 metros hasta el pueblo de Ischgl situado a 1.400 metros) pondrán a prueba nuestra condición física. Las pistas 34 y 35 a las que se accede desde la silla Höllspitzbahn son increibles.
La oferta de restauración es realmente buena y moderna ofreciendo un menu potente por la módica cantidad de diez euros (dos platos, bebida y postre aparte).
Para finalizar el día y recuperarnos para la jornada siguiente os recomendamos una visita al Silvretta Center, para disfrutar de una sauna y un relajante baño en la piscina.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ski Paradise starts the winter season in Ischgl and the Silvretta Arena


The Silvretta Arena Ski Paradise is an alliance between two Companies (Silvretta Seilbahn AG and Bergbahnen Sammaun AG) and two ski resorts (Ischgl-Sammaun) in two different countries (Switzerland-Austria) to meet the skiers’ expectations.
Ischgl 2007/2008 winter season starts in November 30 and ends in May 4. The 235 kilometres and 506 hectares of slopes are all located on north-facing slopes assuring a reliable snow cover (natural snow conditions are helped by 575 snow-machines with a total max. performance of 1050 l/sec). 31 snow cats groom the Ischgl runs every night offering perfect conditions in the morning. You can count on the best conditions throughout the winter months: Cruise through loose powder, carve down hard-packed slopes and race through corn snow in spring.
In Ischgl you can find ultramodern lift and cable-car system (3 cable cars, 2 aerial cableways, 23 chairlifts and 12 draglifts) with a transport capacity of 78,500 persons per hour ensure skiing without queues (€120 million have been invested over the last five years). The new lifts managed by the Silvretta Seilbahn AG Company offer a high level of comfort and countless extras, such as heated seats in the new cable car built for the 2007/08 season (Fimbabahn cable car, lift A3 on the map, will be open in December 15).
A variety of slopes 38 kilometres of blue/easy runs, 132 kilometres of red/intermediate runs, 45 kilometres of black/difficult runs, and 20 kilometres of ski routes offer a opportunity for everyone, from beginners to experts looking for challenging pistes. Eleven is the name of the longest piste with approximately 11 kilometres from the top of the ski resort in Greitspitz (2,872 metres) to Ischgl village (1,400 metres). One of the novelties is a separate carving slope, which you can reach via the Idjoch chairlift, offers some uncompromising carving action.
The Tyrolean skiing area’s motto is: “Relax. If you can …” meaning you can choose between a great number of winter activities (cross-country skiing, ice skating, tobogganing, winter hiking, horse-drawn sleigh rides, guided mountain tours and indoor sports) apart from the main attractions of skiing, boarding and night life.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Innsbruck’s Nordkettenbahnen is now ready to visitors

Last weekend the Hungerburg Section I of the Innsbruck’s Nordkettenbahnen entered in operation completing a unique urban-alpine funicular project named Alpine Fusion. The three sections of Innsbruck’s Nordkettenbahnen were rebuilt in just eighteen months. The combination of cable transports will transport visitors directly from the city centre (Congress) to high mountain terrain in just 20 minutes. In no other place in the world is the dividing line between an urban area and rugged mountain terrain so thin.
The journey begins at 560 metres above sea level. The spectacular appearance of the four city centre stations for the Hungerburg Section I Funicular is the work of London based award winning architect Zaha Hadid, whose firm has also designed the new bridge across the river Inn, an `S’-shaped steel construction with two 34 metre high pylons. Without doubt the architectural project sets a perfect example of the XXIst century architecture. The journey continues with the Nordkettenbahn Section II to reach Seegrube (1,905 metres) in the heart of the Nordpark Ski Area. Then the Nordkettenbahn Section III completes your ascent to the top of the mountain. The Hafelekar upper station at 2,256 metres allows you to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city of Innsbruck.
To complete an unforgettable experience you can ski downhill through the ski routes and ski runs of the Nordpark to get the base station in Hungerburg at 860 metres. Nordpark is one of the ski regions of Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck.
Funicular Technical details:
Stops: Congress Centre (Town Centre) - Löwenhaus - Alpenzoo - Hungerburg
Capacity: 1,200 persons per hour
Duration of travel: 6,8 minutes.
Length: 1,843 metres
Height difference: 288 metres

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rihanna opened the new season in Ischgl

Yesterday, December 1st, Rihanna's concert opened the new winter season in Ischgl, Tirol, Austria. The Barbados-born star has just scooped MTV awards for best video and single of the year for Umbrella from the album Good Girl Gone Bad, which was the UK's summer song and number one in the charts for 10 weeks.
Last year, ski season in Ischgl began in party style with a Season Opening Concert headlined by the Pussycat Dolls. The popular US girl band, who received MTV music awards for the best dance video and Newcomers of 2006, played in the village square on December 2nd.
The Ischgl-Samnaun skiing area, the Silvretta Arena, is regularly voted one of the top European skiing areas. With the presence of renowned international artists the tirolean resort wants to place themself in the list of essential winter resorts.