Thursday, July 31, 2008
Barbecue is a true American original with it's roots in the south, but it's popularity has grown over the years and now it has branches reaching all over the place.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Whistler Blackcomb ranked highest amongst Canadian ski resorts for customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and a strong commitment to boosting participation in skiing and snowboarding. Results were based on customer service and satisfaction questions that were included in the CSC national consumer profile and satisfaction survey.
“I’m very proud to receive this award on behalf of our 3,800 employees and 800 volunteers”, says Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Operating Officer for Whistler Blackcomb. “Our commitment to guest service forms the foundation of everything we do, and it’s wonderful to receive such positive recognition directly from our guests. Without the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of our employees and volunteers, we could not achieve such results. Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you goes out to each and every member of our team”.
Monday, July 28, 2008
The Tatshenshini River, rated one of the world’s top ten most scenic rivers, drains the northwest corner of British Columbia and the southwest corner of the Yukon Territory. The river joins the Alsek River just before the Alaska border and continues through the top of the Alaska panhandle to drain into the Pacific Ocean at Dry Bay. The Tatshenshini-Alsek Park combined with the Kluane National Park in the Yukon, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska to the South, and the Wrangle/St. Elias National Park in Alaska, is the largest protected area on earth. In 1994 the area as a whole was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it the largest one in the world.
The river connects the Interior Plateau with the Pacific Ocean bisecting the St. Elias Mountains which contain the world's largest non-polar ice caps and some of the planet's most spectacular scenery. The natural landscapes are home to Grizzly Bears, Mountain Goats, Moose, Bald Eagles, multiple species of Salmon, a plethora of unique wildflowers including entire mountainsides painted in pink fireweed (Yukon's Territorial flower), and Arctic Terns. From drifting through Quiet Canyon in the vast Spruce Forests of the Interior to paddling by giant icebergs and walking on glaciers or being dwarfed by 15,600 foot Mt. Fairweather while standing at sea level, or witnessing history in action as a giant tributary deposits sediment on an expansive flower covered gravel bar, the experience awaiting is nothing short of breath taking.
The trip last 10 days, seven of them rafting mostly on class I or II rapids (Easy) and a stretch of class III rapids (Intermediate). On layover days there are optional hikes (the highlight is the glacier hike).
Saturday, July 26, 2008
The Arlberger Jakobilauf is the second stage of the alpine triathlon "Arlberg Eagle". The overall winner must work on their physical fitness throughout the year to be ahead of the field in the ski race (Der Weisse Rausch celebrated in April 19th), in the half marathon (July 26th) and in the mountain-bike marathon (August 23rd).
The race (21,125 kilometres) will start at 16:15 PM in the Kirchplatz in St. Jakob. It is a popular running event for intermediate runners, long enough to be a serious challenge but not requiring the level of training of a marathon.
The Top event is the Route K78 (78.5 kilometres and +/-2320 m), the biggest mountain ultramarathon in the world, and the ultimate challenge. 21 km of the race is on high alpine terrain, the highlight being the Panorama Trail (a narrow and, in parts, exposed mountain path) at an altitude of 2,600 m.
This is the biggest mountain race event in the world, with roughly 5,000 runners participating in the different races (the marathon programme encompasses the full range: ultra (K78), marathon (K42, C42), three-quarter (K31), half (K21, Nordic Walking) and quarter (K11). The event also includes a Mini Race).
Friday, July 25, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
The first challenge for the teams will be mountain biking around Morzine and Les Gets, the following day mountaineering is on the program, starting in Les Contamines Montjoie at the foot of the Mont Blanc range. Than it’s time to excel in white water sports, on the famous Isère river: canoeing, white water swimming and kayak. On Friday in Les Bauges, the mountain range
between the Lakes of Bourget and Annecy, the competitors need to prove their rope skills on one of most challenging via ferrata’s in France, the day also includes canyoning, climbing and caving. The last day will start …..early, at midnight teams will take off on a long adventure running stage that will take them to some of the most spectacular vistas in the Aravis range, and arrive downtown La Clusaz.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
with the familiar sports centre of Davos. The inline skating and mountain bike routes take you through some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in the world. The Albula Pass has long been the Eldorado of Graubünden for racing cyclists. The High-Alpine section taking in the Keschhütte, Panorama Trail and Scaletta pass is without equal. The wonderful Dischma valley and the finishing line at the culturally and historically important hotel on the Schatzalp are, without doubt, amongst the highlights of the new race event. The Alpinathlon follows in the truest sense of the word the footsteps of the famous painters, writers and philosophers Giovanni Segantini, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann und Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. A special treat in terms of landscape and culture
Route 1: St. Moritz – Maloja. Discipline: Skating. Length/altitude: 16.8 km, +40 m.
Route 2: Maloja – Pontresina. Discipline: Biking. Length/altitude: 27.6 km, +640 m/-690 m
Route 3: Pontresina – Bergün. Discipline: Cycling. Length/altitude: 35.1 km, +620 m/-1020 m
Route 4: Bergün – Keschhütte. Discipline : Running. Length/altitude: 13.7 km, +1270 m
Route 5: Keschhütte – Dürrboden. Discipline: Running. Length/altitude: 11.5 km, +230 m/-850 m
Route 6: Dürrboden – Bolgen. Discipline: Running. Length/altitude: 13.5 km, +70 m/-540 m
Route 7: Bolgen – Schatzalp (Davos). Discipline: Biking. Length/altitude: 9.1 km, +500 m/-180 m
A supporting programme will be organised for the participants in the Alpinathlon.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Stage 1: Füssen - Imst
The race starts in the german town of Füssen, known as the romantic soul of Bavaria. Located on the edge of the Alps the Füssen’s medieval town center rises high above the banks of the River Lech. The race will finish this day in Imst in the heart of Tirol in the River Inn Valley.
Stage 2: Imst - Ischgl
Ischgl is a small village in the Paznaun Valley in Tirol. The Silvretta Bike Arena is considered to be one of the best mountain bike regions in the Alps offering an impressive network of well marked mountain bike circuits for every level of fitness.
Stage 3: Ischgl - Scoul
Bikers will arrive to Scuol a beautiful village at the foot of the Piz Champatsch (2780 m). The Lower Engadine is a landscape dominated by the only Swiss National Park, it is a culturally rich area, and this is evident in the architecture of the old Engadine Villages, the romantic Castle in Tarasp, and the Roman-Irish Spa (the first in Switzerland).
Stage 4: Scoul - Livigno
Livigno, in the heart of the Alps, belongs to the province of Sondrio, in the region of Lombardy. 100 km of bike tracks, also running through the National Parks allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the countryside on two wheels and follow the same route taken by the "Pedaleda", the mountain bike cross country marathon that opens the summer season every year.
Stage 5: Livigno - Naturns
Naturns is a charming little market town in Südtirol and the perfect place for mountain bike and racing bike fans. The European Cycle Path follows along the old Roman Claudia Augusta trading route and there are over 1,500 kilometres of mountain bike paths and tracks for racing cyclists with a whole series of challenging bends as well as Trans Alpine Classic routes.
Stage 6: Naturns - Kaltern am See
On Thursday 24th July the Transalp has the finish in Kaltern am See, also known as Caldaro al Lago, a tourist village in the province of Bolzano, in the Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol famous for its lake and wine.
Stage 7: Kaltern am See- Andalo
Andalo is a comune in the autonomous province of Trento. The town lies on the slopes of Mount Paganella and in the heart of the Dolomiti di Brenta and its territory is part of the Adamello-Brenta natural park. Close to Andalo is the Lake Molveno.
Stage 8: Andalo - Riva del Garda
Finally the race will arrive to Riva del Garda, at the edge of the Brenta Dolomites in the shores of the lake Garda. The resort offers its tourists the opportunity to practise all sports according to the taste: sailing, surfing, sports angling, walking, bowls, cycling, tennis, climbing, canoeing, etc.
The Swiss-Bike Master Kids gets underway on Saturday morning. The Women's Ride, a relaxed bike tour with bike professionals for ladies only, starts towards lunchtime. And then, on Saturday evening, it is time for the spectacular Freeride Race from the Weissfluhjoch complete with adrenaline rush. The marathon races on Sunday, including the classic marathon over a stretch of 120 kilometres with a difference in altitude of 5000 metres. The highest point of the route is 2221 metres above sea level (Carschina), the lowest 740 metres (Pragg-Jenaz). On the longest uphill section, competitors tackle an ascent of 850 metres over a distance of around 9 kilometres. The longest descent drops 1199 metres in height over a distance of 13 kilometres.
Two less challenging races complete the programme, a 75 kilometres with a difference in altitude of 3000 metres, and the introduction marathon over a distance of 30 kilometres with a difference in altitude of 1500 metres.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Mischabel chain. The event took place for the first time in 2003 when Warren Smith, the event Director, established it to breach the gap between the winter seasons.
The Saas-Fee Park, at 3300 metres above sea level, is renowned for its perfectly shaped kickers, World Cup halfpipe and innovative rails. The Saas-Fee Ride 08 will showcase a perfectly built Big Air kicker for riders to session and attract top freestyle skiers from all over Europe. The Big Air might well be considered the most spectacular discipline in freestyle skiing. Competitors jump off an enormous kicker to perfom their wildest tricks in the air achieving jumps of up to 25 meters. This year edition also introduces a Rail Jam into the competition. Rails is one of the fastest growing aspects of feeride skiing today and the Saas-Fee snowpark will be hosting one of the
highest levels of performance.
The event has a great ambience with the relaxed feeling of summer skiing, DJ's on the mountain and a BBQ at the bottom of the Snowpark.
A 24 minute programme of the event will be filmed and broadcast later in the summer with YOZ on Eurosport. The programme will be distributed internationally by Quattro Media and achieve several hundred hours of TV time. This year there will also be a Web TV movie, a Podcast and a 3GP mobile phone compression of the 24 minute edit to maximise the athlete’s exposure across the globe.
Click here to see the Saas-Fee Ride 2007 TV Programme.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
One of the most important projects in Langenegg has been the construction of three über-efficient buildings – a primary school, a café and a supermarket. These so-called passive houses use ten per cent of the energy it takes to heat the average European home. The trick, says architect Hermann Kaufmann, is in the materials used and the simplicity of the design. “Our passive buildings use wood wherever possible”, he says, “because sustainably, locally sourced wood uses very little energy to produce and actually helps with climate change because it is a natural store of carbon. We also use 30cm of insulation, triple glazing, heat recovery and ventilation systems, and design the buildings with more windows on the south side and fewer on the north”.
Kaufmann is among a group of visionary architects in the province of Vorarlberg which has achieved international recognition for its pioneering approach to sustainable architecture. Through its influence, all social housing in Vorarlberg is now built to passive standards, making the province perhaps the greenest place to live in the world. According to Moosbrugger, Langenegg aims to reduce its energy consumption by 50 per cent by 2010. But it's not just about the technology, he says. "There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm among the community to work towards this target (...) Everyone is doing something in one way or another".
Bregenzerwald is also well-known thanks to the The Cheese Street Project an association of the region farmers, dairies, inns, trades and retailers. The businesses integrated in the Cheese Street network rang among the regional elite regarding cheese and regional specialties.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Traditional know-how has been successfully transferred to contemporary building methods and shapes Vorarlberg's architecture. In Vorarlberg 80 % of all newly built apartment buildings meet the criteria for ecological housing subsidies. The region thus encourages low energy consumption, the use of renewable energy sources as well as ecological, environmentally friendly building products. Additionally, an increasing number of buildings reach the high standard of the passive energy house. A passive house is a building in which a comfortable interior climate can be maintained without active heating and cooling systems. The house heats and cools itself, hence "passive". As well as forming an important contribution to the protection of the environment and the climate, this practice improves the quality of the spaces we live in and assures the long-term value of the buildings.
Today innovative prize-winning achievements by craftsmen are exported far beyond the regional borders.
Friday, July 11, 2008
In the high pastures, scientists have identified more than 80 different species of wildflower, herbs and grasses. This diversity in turn supports the local culture. “There is marvelous depth of flavour and a richness in the milk produced by cows grazing up in the high meadows in the summer”, says Elizabeth Burtscher, who has lived in the region for more than 50 years. “And you can taste this in the special character of the butter, yoghurt cheese that we produce here in the valley. It’s like the difference between making a soup with a potato and some salt, and making it with 20 different types of herbs and vegetables”. Burtscher is one of a growing number of women in the valley who with the support of UNESCO have been reviving another traditional practice: herbalism. Burtscher runs Berg Tee, which sells wonderful herbal tea blends, and offers tours to visitors interested in collecting herbs and wildflowers for their own blends. And the Alchemilla Project is a cooperative of herbalists who make a variety of cosmetic and therapeutic products, including balms, oils and tinctures, as well as foods and drinks.“The biosphere reserve has helped us retain our natural and cultural heritage here in the valley by supporting the small dairies so the farmers can continue to graze their cattle and manage the landscape, which in turn means we still have these wonderful meadows full of our beautiful wildflowers and herbs”.
250 kilometres of sign-posted hiking paths and special educational paths allow visitors to discover Grosses Walsertal, its Alps and mountain peaks, steep gorges, many roaring streams, waterfalls and the clear waters of the Seewald lake.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
climbing for the youngsters, Chamonix is transformed once more, into the true capital of climbing!.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Now Austria launches a Tourism Eco-label for tourist establishments, catering services and camp sites. The Austrian Eco-label is awarded to tourist enterprises for their commitment in the fields of environmentally-friendly management and social responsibility. Eco-label enterprises show in this way responsibility vis-à-vis the environment as well as vis-à-vis the society and this is an important signal for the guests. These enterprises make an active contribution to ensuring that our native country will remain a popular holiday destination, and a symbol for intact nature, healthy air, and clean lakes with drinking water quality also in the future. For the sake of the environment, the enterprises attach particular importance to:
- Pick-up service or price reductions for arrival by public means of transportation
- Natural and wholesome atmosphere
- Use of natural building materials
- Seasonal products from regional suppliers
- Food from organic farming
- An appetisingly laid table without unnecessary packaging material
- Easy-to-handle waste-separation
- Waste and energy-optimisation
The Eco-label is a useful sign for guests who are concerned about these issues when deciding where to book their ski holiday accommodation. Established resorts such as Lech-Zürs, Obergurgl, Zillertal, St Anton as well as smaller resorts such as Werfenweng, will continue to develop eco-friendly accommodation and infrastructure.
Monday, July 7, 2008
The Jeantex Tour Transalp is the largest bikerace over the Alps (7 stages, 860 kilometres and 17,000 metres altitude difference):
Stage 1: Oberammergau - Sölden
Located in the Ötztal Valley (Tirol) Sölden is one of the most renowned Ski & Snowboard Resorts in the Alps and Austria's only ski area with 3 mountains higher than 3,000 meters which are accessible by lifts or gondolas.
Stage 2: Sölden - Brixen
The charming diocesan town of Brixen, located where Eisack and Rienz flow together is the main city of the Eisack Valley and the perfect place to know Südtirol's way of life, its traditions and customs.
Stage 3: Brixen - St.Vigil
St. Vigil in Enneberg is a tourist city in the heart of the Dolomites. St. Vigil today specializes in hiking, families, mountain biking, race biking, and nature lovers in the summer. Winter season belongs to the Kronplatz, one of the most modern and most attractive ski resorts in Europe.
Stage 4: St.Vigil - Sexten
Sexten/Sesto is a small mountain village in the Hochpuster/Alta Pusteria Valley, the eastern part of Südtirol. The Alta Pusteria ski resort is part of the Dolomiti Superski ski domain with a total of 450 lifts and 1,220 kilometres of slopes.
Stage 5: Sexten - Falcade
Falcade is located in the Biois valley, extending from the mountains of Passo San Pellegrino, and surrounded by renowned Dolomite summits: to the south, there is the massif of Pale di San Martino and Cime del Focobon; to the north, there are the rock faces of Mount Marmolada and Cime del Auta; to the east, there is Mount Civetta and, behind it, Monte Pelmo. Falcade is part of the Trevalli skiing resort in the Trentino region.
Stage 6: Falcade - Feltre
Feltre, located in the middle of a natural amphitheater of exquisite beauty at the foothills of the Alps, is one of the most impressive examples of a "fortified city" in Veneto.
Stage 7: Feltre - Bibione
Finally the bikers will arrive to Bibione a seaside resort on the Adriatic with 8 kilometers of sandy beaches encircled by beautiful pinewoods.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
The Alta Pusteria is the home of the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the picturesque Val Fiscalina along with sumless unique bizarrely shaped rocks, deep valleys and wide high plateaus characteristics of the Dolomites. The Alta Pusteria Touristic Association is a cooperation between the communities of Niederdorf/Villabassa, Toblach/Dobbiaco, Prags/Braies, Innichen/San Candido and Sexten/Sesto. Sesto is well known as a summer and skiing resort, surrounded of the "Sundial of Sesto", a mountain range with five peaks called the "Nine o'clock Peak", the "Ten o'clock Peak", the "Eleven o'clock Peak", the "Twelve o'clock Peak" and the "One o'clock Peak". The Alta Pusteria ski resort is part of the Dolomiti Superski ski carousel with a total of 450 cable cars and 1,220 km of slopes.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Yesterday, the Pasta-party Barilla took place from 1:00 pmto 10:00 pm under the big top on the Railway Station Square of Zermatt. The party was liven up from 2:00 pm by a musical entertainment with the one-man show of "BODO", an enormous concert of Guggenmusiken and the presentation of the athletes.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Looking back on a record-breaking winter, Oskar Hinteregger, director of the Austrian National Tourist Office, London, commented, “Winter 07/08 was a compact season that provided excellent occupancy levels from mid-December to the end of April, predominately due to the early Easter date. Austria’s 263 cable car companies invested more than 530 Million Euros in upgrading lift- and snowmaking equipment, pistes and infrastructure. A similar amount is earmarked in order to guarantee improvements in the overall convenience of a ski holiday. Bespoke services, online equipment hire, easy airport transfers, heated lifts, doorstep skiing and sustainable mountain and resort management are what guests demand. Austria is well positioned to satisfy these demands and forward bookings have reached unprecedented levels. All tour operators and most airlines are already accepting bookings until the end of next season”.
The timing of winter holidays has been a crucial factor and with Easter Holidays starting a lot later next year, the choice of ski resorts will be reduced. Pre-Christmas winter breaks may be a good alternative, especially considering this season’s early snowfalls. Schladming and Kitzbuehel, for example, both opened well before December and early bookers enjoyed excellent conditions and affordable rates. Many operators offer early booking incentives, which constitute an excellent choice for those wanting to avoid the bustle and premium prices of high season.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
When I started I had no idea how it was going to work out, but 165 posts later, I can not see myself without it. It has forced me to read and research, to be creative and fundamentally helps me to update knowledge and learn more and more about Snow Tourism and Ski & Mountain Resorts.
When I look back to my blogging journey since that wonderful morning, I am amazed how I have managed to ride this slope. If you have blogged, you probably know the troubles and doubts you worry about as a non-techie and inexperienced blogger that I had to face during last year.
Finally I want to thank everyone helping and supporting me to create and maintain alive Ski Paradise like Juan Luis Manfredi, Enrique Dans, Miguel Sagüés, Javier López, Antonio López de Ávila and especially my wife Almudena.
Thanks for a memorable year and for checking out the site.