Thursday, July 31, 2008

Canadian National BBQ Championships

This weekend Whistler will be hosting a very special event: The Canadian National BBQ Championships. The competition is the highlight of the Pacific Northwest's BBQ circuit, and a draw qualifier event for the American Royal World Championships in Kansas City as well as the Jack Daniel's World Championship BBQ event in Lynchburg, Tennessee. On Saturday the Budweiser King of the Grill Contest will take place: this contest is as wide open as your imagination and will be judged by both certified BBQ judges for a cash prize as well as a panel of judges from the public who will qualify your entry for the "People's Choice Award". The only restrictions are the main component of the participants presentation must be grilled or smoked on an outdoor grill or BBQ and cooked on site. Vegetables, fish, lamb, anything goes.Also on Saturday the 6th Annual Backyard Burger Championship will take place: the contest is open to all BBQ enthusiasts and is a great place to start for new BBQ competitors. All you need are your imagination and your 'secret' ingredients. The organizers supply gas grills, smallwares, the hamburger and a selection of buns and condiments to dress it up. Every year the winner has their burger creation featured on The Dusty's Bar and BBQ menu. A Chili Competition and a Cocktail Contest completes the Saturday events programme. On Sunday the main event, the Canadian BBQ Championships, will take place. Cooks from all over North America will be competing for the honour of "Canadian Champion 2008" plus cash, prizes and an invitation to the World Championships in Lynchburg. A great day to come on down and see the real pros in action and maybe even sample some of the best BBQ you will ever eat.
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 Employees Recognized For Exceptional Guest Service

Whistler Blackcomb has been named National Winner of the 2008 Canadian Ski Council Industry Recognition and Excellence Research Award at the Canadian Ski Council’s (CSC) annual conference. Ski Resort's employees were recognized for delivering exceptional guest service over this last winter season.
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”.
Each year, ski areas from each province or region in Canada receive awards for their proven customer service excellence. This year Whistler Blackcomb ranked highest in the British Columbia category, and received the “highest grades” across the country.

Monday, July 28, 2008

When snow melts river runs (I)

With the name When snow melts river runs, I want to start a new post series about Whitewater activities like Rafting, Hydrospeed, etc.
Today I want to write about one of the World's best rafting trips: Tatshenshini River with Skeena Valley Expeditions.
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

St. Anton Half Marathon

Today the Half Marathon will take place in the Tirolean holiday resort of St. Anton am Arlberg known worldwide in winter as a ski destination. Situated at 1,304 m above sea level St. Anton lies on the Rosanna River and belongs to the district of Landeck. St. Anton is a truly unique recreation paradise for the whole family. The cozy little town with 2,500 inhabitants has still maintained its genuine ambiance and charming atmosphere.
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.

Swissalpine

Swissalpine, known previously as Swiss Alpine Marathon Davos, has polished itself up for its 23rd outing on July 26th. At the same time, the slogan was altered to "more than a race", because swissalpine really is more than just a race. It now also includes the multi-sport Alpinathlon, a race over a total of 122.5 kilometres divided in seven sections from St. Moritz to the Schatzalp in Davos. The third product is “high seven”. This term relates to seven days high in the Alps. With it, the people responsible are referring to the multi-faceted supporting programme, which includes, amongst other things, two concerts, a two-day exhibition, seminars, a medical parc, route inspections and excursions.
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

Cervino International Film Festival

From July 25th to August 3rd Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche will host the XI Edition of the Cervino International Film Festival. The Film Festival was created in 1998 to spread, enhance and promote films of mountains, adventure, exploration and environment. The event is organized by the Association Culturelle Strade del Cinema, the Valtournenche Commune and the collaboration of the Valle d'Aosta Region. The Festival involves the exclusive participation of prize-winning films in the most important film festivals in the world in this section (Canada, the United States, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, France, Great Britain and Spain), thus providing a truly international panorama and an obviously very high standard of quality.
The Cervino International Film Festival was a founding member of the International Alliance for Mountain Film.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Saab Salomon Mountain-X Race 2008

Saga Events, organizer since 2004 of The Raid World Championship, created on July 2007 the first Saab Salomon Mountain-X Race a major international multisports event. The contest will take place on the Savoie Mont Blanc Region, on the French Alps from July 21th to 26th 2008. The competition will start in Morzine and will reach the end at La Clusaz. The duration of the race was 5 consecutive days, involving different disciplines (mountain biking, downhill mountain bike, white-water, rope-works, canyoning, mountaineering, trail running, adventure running). 3 categories (mixed, male & female) and 39 teams from France, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Italy, USA, Denmark, Canada, Brasil, Australia, Germany and United Kingdom, will take part on the race.
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

Alpinathlon

The Alpinathlon is a combination of sport, adventure, team spirit and pushing the boundaries. In a team of 7 participants –women, men and mixed (4 men/3 women)– or on your own, you can conquer mountain and valley, hiking trails and areas of the High Alps, in the disciplines of inline skating, mountain biking, running and bicycle racing.
This sporting event links the beautiful summery mountain paradise of Engadine/St. Moritz
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

Jeantex Bike Transalp

The Transalp Challenge will take place from July 19th till 26th 2008. More than 600 kilometers and a vertical gain of 19,5000 metres are to accomplish on the way from Füssen in Germany to Riva del Garda in Italy. 550 teams of two participants each will take part on the race in five categories: Women, Men, Mixed, Master Men and Grand Master Men.
The Jeantex Bike Transalp route leads through the most beautiful mountain ranges of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy:
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.

Swiss-Bike Masters

During this weekend event about 3,500 riders take up the challenge of the Swiss-Bike Masters in Klosters, one of the most popular alpine holiday resorts. Klosters is a cozy village in the district of Prättigau/Davos in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. The Davos-Klosters ski region is well-known internationally. A modern transport systems give access to 6 extensive winter sports areas with a total of over 300 km of slopes. But also Davos Klosters is a biking paradise with 290 kilometres of marked biking routes around Davos and 230 kilometres around Klosters. Routes can be downloaded on to a GPS from the Davos website free of charge and a GPS can be hired from Davos/Klosters Tourism Offices.
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

Saas Fee Ride 2008

Tomorrow July 19th will see the 6th edition of the Saas-Fee Ride. The competition will be held in the stunning glacial terrain park of Saas Fee, the famous car-free glacier village at the foot of the
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

Bregenzerwald

Bregenzerwald is one of the main regions in the Vorarlberg's Bundesland, Austria. The 22 villages of the Bregenzerwald are characterised by the traditional settlement pattern of the small hamlet naturally integrated in its surroundings. Today, though, it lies in the vanguard of a revolution in sustainable living that is drawing attention from all over the world.
Bregenzerwald is home to three of the seven villages that have achieved a five-star rating from the European Energy Award scheme. Langenegg is one of them. “We have more than 100 energy efficiency initiatives in the village”, says Josef Moosbrugger, mayor of the village, “including an underground biomass plant that heats more than 20 buildings and a mobility scheme that promotes car-sharing and free public transport”.
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

Modern Architecture in Vorarlberg

Vorarlberg is the westernmost Bundesland of Austria, well-known for the beautiful Alpine landscape but now also as a hotbed of modern architecture. Travellers journeying through the varied landscape admire the mountains and lakes, enjoy the hospitality in the villages and towns, become acquainted with the way of life and the traditions - and they note one other thing: the Vorarlberg's architecture. Often made of wood and glass, these mostly bright, lightweight structures are characterised by clear lines and a sophisticated simplicity. A regional movement at the beginning of the 1980s which developed out of the work of a number of pioneers, achivied recognition under the title "Vorarlberger Baukünstler". Now it enjoys an international reputation attracting experts and visitors from all over the world.
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

Living as one with nature: Grosses Walsertal

Grosses Walsertal in Vorarlberg (Austria) is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The alpine valley with their six communities (Blons, Fontanella, Raggal-Marul, Sonntag-Buchboden, St. Gerold adn Thüringerberg) is a mosaic of open land, forests and traditional settlements, a prime example of a living cultural landscape where a system of highly adapted mountain farming, pasture and extensive forestry has been developed. Grosses Walsertal was certificated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in November 2000. Biosphere reserves are sites recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme which innovate and demonstrate approaches to conservation and sustainable development.
UNESCO recognised that the key to this finely balanced relationship is dairy farming, which the valley’s inhabitants – the Walser – have practised here ever since they emigrated from Switzerland in the 13th century. “Living here as a farmer is living in a circle, working in a circle”, says Kurt Stark, who manages a traditional dairy in the pretty village of Sontagg and comes from a long line of dairy farmers. “And as long as we keep rearing our cattle and making cheese, we will always have our beautiful meadows”.
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

10th International Climbing Festival

Tomorrow the 10th International Climbing Festival starts in Chamonix with the Open National Youth challenge. Every year, at the beginning of July, the best international climbers meet in Chamonix at the foot of Mont-Blanc for this prestigious event. Festival includes the French Championships and the World Cup events. Up and coming young climbers, along with famous names, will measure their skills and speed on an artificial climbing wall, built especially for the occasion. It is estimated that a crowd of around 10,000 turn up each year to watch the final event.
The place for the event will be located on the Anneau de vitesse close to the Lac de la Plage.
With different demonstrations, stands and an introduction to
climbing for the youngsters, Chamonix is transformed once more, into the true capital of climbing!.
The grande finale of the Festival is a big fireworks display also intended to celebrate Bastille Day on the 14th.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Austrian Eco-label

Austria’s strict environmental policies and careful management of resources make it one of the greenest winter destinations. In fact, Austria is one of the world’s best destinations for sustainable tourism, as recently recognised in the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.

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

Jeantex Tour Transalp 2008

Yesterday July 5th at 10:00 AM the Jeantex Tour Transalp started in Oberammergau a Bavaria`s picturesque town nestled at the foothills of the Alps known for their elaborately decorated house fronts (Lüftlmalereien), wood carving, and the Passion plays taking place every 10 years.
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

Südtirol Dolomiti Superbike

The 14th edition of the Südtirol Dolomiti Superbike Mountain Bike Marathon will take place today in Hochpustertal/Alta Pusteria. The race encloses once again the two classic distances - short with 56,9 km (total climbing: 1.688 m) and long with 119,9 km (total climbing: 3.822 m).
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.
Yesterday the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships 2008 took place in Villabassa in the heart of the Valley. Inaugurated by the Union Cycliste Internationale in 2003, the world championship event is held annually in single classes for men and women.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gore-Tex Series. Grandvalira Vertical Running

The Vertical Running is the most advanced hill run up circuit. This weekend Grandvalira will host two races: the Vertical Kilometer Canillo, a hill run up of 935 m drop and 3.8 km long, and the Vertical Race Grandvalira, a 16.5 km long alpine race with a positive drop of 1,350 m starting at Canillo gondola and finishing at Pic de Maials.
The event opens Grandvalira summer season. For the fourth year running, Grandvalira will offer various outdoor leisure activities from the 6th July until 9th September. In Soldeu you can find the Grandvalira Mountain Bike Park an area dedicated to mountain bike activities with a wide range (74 kilometres) of downhill and cross-country tracks. In Canillo there is also a wide range of family and child activities which can be experienced with the new multi-activities pass, a pass which also includes a return trip on the gondola and allows you to enjoy the mountain landscape through the 16 trekking itineraries spread over the resort.

Zermatt Marathon: The Way to the Top

Today July 5th at 9:30 an expected 1500 runners from all over the world starts the 7th Zermatt Marathon one of the most beautiful marathons of Europe. A staggering elevation of more than 1,900 metres will have to be surmounted to win the race starting in St. Niklaus at 1,085 metres above sea level, up to the world-famous resort of Zermatt (1,616 metres), mainly along the left bank of the Vispa River, and finishing on Riffelberg, by Gornergrat, the highest-altitude finish line in Europe at 2,585 metres above sea level amidst 29 peaks above 4,000 metres and by Switzerland’s greatest mountain and second longest glacier in the Alps. An immensity of wild nature and a spectacular mountain panorama along this marathon course of 42.195 kilometres awaits discovery.
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.
Today as soon as the runners are coming back to Zermatt, extension of the Barilla pasta-party takes place under the big top where a mass will be celebrated at 7:00 pm accompanied by the Jodlerklub Ahori from Glis-Brig. Once tiredness away, each will have pleasure to tell its feats lived along 42,195 km and 1944 m of difference in altitude and to recover, enjoying a glass of good wine of Valais.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Austria tops 10 million guests

Massive early snowfalls and excellent Easter conditions provided a solid white base for the best ever winter season in Austria. For the first time the country welcomed more than 10 Million winter guests from abroad. In comparison to the previous winter this represents an increase of 2.7%.
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

Ski Paradise is one year old

Ski Paradise is one year old. The first post went up on June 29, 2007. My introductory post was titled Get away from it all in Verbier. Now, I want to commemorate and celebrate the first anniversary with this post. The blog that you see here is definitely a labor of passion, a passion for ski and the mountains.
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.