Sunday, November 30, 2008

Host City Concept Transportation Plan for Vancouver 2010 Games

Understanding how to get around and help make transportation plans work during the 2010 Winter Games is critical to ensuring a successful and positive experience for everyone, and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC) supports the upcoming transportation engagement stakeholder meetings and Games-time initiatives planned by the City of Vancouver to manage transportation in the downtown core.
The temporary Games-time changes to the City’s road network and promotion of walking, cycling and public transportation directly support the call to action to Vancouver business leaders issued last week by John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of VANOC.
Last Tuesday the City of Vancouver announced that its staff will be talking to business, transportation and community groups about temporary changes to the City’s road network leading up to and during the 2010 Winter Games.
"Effective transportation planning and engaging every citizen in making transport workable and even enjoyable is one of the great challenges of organizing the Games. The City of Vancouver is a key partner in this challenge and we commend them on being proactive in developing a transportation plan that will ensure a positive enjoyable experience for everyone in 2010", said Irene Kerr, Vice President, Services and Transportation of VANOC.
The Host City Concept Transportation plan is another step towards ensuring the citizens of Vancouver have the information they need in order to have a positive Games experience. It follows Game Plan 2008, a series of information sessions organized by VANOC designed to help those who live or work near a 2010 Winter Games venue begin to better understand the daily operations of the Games, as well as the City of Vancouver’s ongoing dialogue with business and transportation stakeholders. In the coming months, VANOC will be engaging those businesses and residents who will be directly impacted by the operations of the Games, and will roll out the next phases of Game Plan in the spring and fall of 2009, offering an increasing level of detail as operations plans are finalized.
For more information about the Host City Concept Transportation Plan, visit the City of Vancouver’s Getting Around section of the Host City website at vancouver.ca. Translink’s website is http://www.translink.bc.ca/.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The first Snowmaker successfully operated at Zermatt last week

Zermatt Bergbahnen was the first ski resort to order a new kind of artificial snow system: the IDE’s All Weather Snowmaker. Later Pitztal Gletscherbahnen was the second Company to order, following Zermatt’s footsteps, the snowmaker. IDE Technologies is a world leader and pioneer in water desalination, wastewater concentrators and purifiers. The snowmaking technology comes from the mining industry where it is used to cool the goldmines. Both ski resorts have launched a new era in snowmaking by choosing the IDE All Weather Snowmaker from Israel to deliver large amounts of snow at all ambient temperatures.
The first Snowmaker was assembled and testing in Israel during July 2008. The Snowmakers were shipped from Israel to Slovenia, loaded on a truck convoy and transported to the base stations of the ski resorts. The crews worked hard to transport the heavy equipment up to the mountains. The first unit was lifted to the installation site in Zermatt by cables. The installation was completed in mid November and the Snowmaker was successfully operated last week.
Since the installation site has already been covered by heavy snow for the last few weeks, Zermatt ski resort will commence snowmaking with the new Snowmaker during spring 2009.
The installation of the snowmaker in Pitztal will be completed next month.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in North America

This weekend Lake Louise and Aspen will host the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup .
The Ladies FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in North America at Aspen, Colorado. The historical ski village hosts the Super G and Slalom Races. Two years ago 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.
The Lake Louise Ski Area will kick off the 2008/2009 season with one of the most exciting events of the year, the 2008 Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup. The Race Events begins November 29th with the World’s Best Men competing in the World Cup Downhill, followed by the Men’s World Cup Super-G on November 30th. Located in Alberta, Canada, Lake Louise is one of the largest ski areas in North America. With abundant natural snow (average snowfall 454 cm), backed up by Canada's largest snowmaking system (40% of the marked runs), Louise guarantees skiing from early November to mid May. 139 runs (25% Beginner, 45% Intermediate, 30% Advanced) and a vertical drop of 991 metres, Lake Louise offer a wide opportunities for skiers from perfectly groomed beginner runs to double black diamonds rated "the best super steeps in the country" (Ski Canada Magazine). The Canadian Ski resort is one of the best options to enjoy magnificent scenery and stunning panoramas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

‘Snow-vember’ Ends With Huge Snowfalls Across Europe

Skiinfo reports that further huge snowfalls at the start of this week has brought fantastic early-season conditions to ski resorts across Europe.
Resorts in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Switzerland have reported falls of up to a metre (3.4 feet) in the past five days and more than 200 ski areas across the continent expect to be open this weekend.The Pyrenees are having their best start to the season for many years with snow accumulations passing the two metres (6 feet, 8 inches) mark at several resorts - great news for Andorra as well as resorts on the French and Spanish sides of the range. There has been two days of continuous snowfall bringing from 30 to 80 cm (12 - 32 inches) of fresh powder in the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian mountains of Northern Spain.
Zermatt has more than 160km (100 miles) of piste open, probably the most in Europe at present, but the Espace Killy in France opens on Friday, which offers 300km (187 miles) of piste shared between Tignes and Val d'Isere. On opening day, 300 lucky winners of an online competition will have the areato themselves.

Leading Austrian ski area resorts are opening too including the Arlberg region (Lech picture attached), again with deep snow waiting. The best snow depths are on Austria's glaciers where Solden, Pitztal, Huntertux, Kaunertal and Molltal each have between 135cm (4 feety, 6 inches)and 150cm (5 feet) of snow on upper slopes.
In Scotland the Lecht ski area re-opened on Monday and more snow is expectedat the weekend. In North America, Alberta in Canada continues to have the best of the snow at present, although New England has had nearly a foot (30cm) of fresh snow in time for the important US Thanksgiving holidays. In the West however warm temperatures have limited resorts opening.
Still more snow is expected across Europe over the next week.

Visit http://www.skiinfo.com/ to sign up for powder alarms from your favourite resorts, check current snow conditions and projected snowfalls with snow finder as well as exchange news and views in the Skier’ Lounge. Skiinfo.com is the largest provider of ski resort snow reports across Europe, with snow information from more than 1,200 ski areas updated several times a day. Skiinfo.com is available in several languages including english, spanish, french, german, etc.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gabriella Cilmi and Leona Lewis to launch Ischgl's winter season

Teenage singing sensation Gabriella Cilmi is to launch the 2008-09 winter season at Ischgl, in a concert that will also feature a guest appearance by Leona Lewis. Gabriella, whose debut single Sweet About Me was a worldwide hit after its release last March, will perform in the Tirolean village on Saturday 29 November. Special guest at the concert will be Britain's Leona Lewis.The lead-off single from the album, Bleeding Love, claimed the Number One spot for seven weeks, and the album sold a million copies in the UK in just five weeks. Leona received four prestigious nominations at the last Brit Awards, the UK equivalent of the Grammy Awards. Leona first found stardom by winning British talent show The X Factor in 2006.
Concerts like this are primarily a marketing ploy for the ski resorts. Thirteen years ago, Ischgl decided to put its entire advertising and marketing budget into staging two massive concerts a year to open and close the winter season. Elton John was the first star to feature in the Tirolean resort's now famous season closing concerts, back in 1995. Since then the resort has hosted Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Atomic Kitten, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie, Pink, the Scissor Sisters, the Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna and Elton John again last year. That kind of events is also part of a strategy for resorts to offer more than just skiing to attract a wider client base.
Entrance to the concert, which kicks off at 6pm, will be by valid lift-pass. A oneday lift ticket for 29 November will be 55euros (covering skiing and the concert). A two-day lift ticket will cost 74.50 euros.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2008 Winter Season is Best on Record in New Zealand

Huge snow falls provided a solid white base for the best ever winter season in New Zealand. Ski Areas Association members sold 1,402,000 passes, up 116,000 from last year‘s 1,286,000.
The 2008 result surpasses by 1,000 the previous record of 1,401,000 ski area passes sold in 2006.
Skiers and snowboarders experienced fantastic snow conditions at all areas during the season. Ski areas were well underway with most lifts and terrain open for the July school holidays thanks to both natural and machine-made snow.
More snow than usual fell during the rest of the season. Skiers and riders had top quality conditions until October in the South Island and mid November in the North Island when the season ended.
"Providing quality conditions for skiers and riders is paramount especially at peak times such as holidays and weekends", says Ski Areas Association spokesperson Miles Davidson. "Everyone is more enthusiastic and wants to participate more often when conditions are right".
Snowmaking is making a huge difference to the industry. Areas can open slopes in June in time for the school holidays in early July. Snow bases can be built up when conditions allow, resulting in a longer season. It also provides the ability to improve snow quality throughout the season particularly in high traffic areas.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stockholm Big Air

Last weekend the second Big Air of the 2009 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup took place in a snowy Stockholm. Once again and for the third time in a row, the swedish capital hosted this major event in the Stockholm Stadion which was built for the Olympic Summer Games in 1912.
More than 70 riders from 14 nations made the event a highlight of the in-city-contests. Also in 2008, admission to the LG Winterjam was free and the event was shown live on TV. 20,000 fans gather at season's second city Big Air in the Swedish capital.
After Peetu Piiroinen victory in London about one month ago, another Finn, Janne Korpi, took home the Gold Medal in this second Big Air. The 22-year-old winner of the Saas-Fee half-pipe and 2005 Junior World Champion (HP) got back to business and celebrated his fifth World Cup triumph and second back-to-back win at the Olympic Stadion in Stockholm. Chris Soerman (SWE) and Seppe Smits (BEL) rounded up the podium.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay

The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay will begin its 106-day national journey towards the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games on October 30, 2009. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay route will be the longest domestic torch relay in Olympic history, stretching over 45,000 kilometres within Canada. Upon its conclusion, the Olympic Flame will have been welcomed in over 1,000 communities and passed within a one-hour drive of more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population.
Designed to reach the greatest number of Canadians, the relay will begin the countdown to the XXI Olympic Winter Games, spanning Canada to engage and inspire through the power of the Olympic Flame. On February 12, 2010, the flame’s pan-Canadian journey will culminate as it arrives in Vancouver, lighting the Olympic Cauldron in a dramatic and moving Opening Ceremony before a global audience of billions.
The Olympic Torch Relay will begin in Victoria, British Columbia before heading to the Far North, becoming the first torch relay to bring the Olympic Flame within 900 kilometres of the North Pole through its stop in Alert, Nunavut, the world’s northernmost permanently inhabited community. The relay will then head to North America’s easternmost place, historic Cape Spear in St. John’s, Newfoundland before making a cross-Canada journey west to Vancouver.
"Mapping out this route, we wanted to include as many Canadians as possible", said John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer, Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). "It is our dream to unite this country and bring Canadians closer together to rediscover the many cultures and perspectives that make up our nation — to celebrate Canada. With Glowing Hearts we will share the Olympic Flame with young and old, northern and southern, eastern and western and everyone in between — no one left out. A truly unifying Canadian celebration".
Coca-Cola and RBC, the relay’s presenting partners, have made significant contributions that enable the torch relay to make its journey around Canada. Holding the exclusive rights for the public Olympic Torchbearer application programs, they have developed nation-building initiatives that give Canadians a chance to become a torchbearer. Canadians interested in becoming one of the lucky 12,000 torchbearers will have several opportunities to apply beginning today at rbc.com/carrythetorch and icoke.ca.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dynastar Lange launch web photo contest

Dynastar Lange have launched their first web photo contest called the Legend Days Photo Contest, the purpose of which is to promote the participants' amateur photographs on the Dynastar Web site at the same time as the Dynastar brand. The three 1st prizes (one first prize per category) are three days' dream skiing in the company of skiing legends in Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley accompanied by three athletes sponsored by Skis Dynastar (Aurélien Ducroz, Jean-Pierre Vidal and others ) all inclusive. Other prizes for runners-up include skis, ski boots and backpacks. To enter the competition, skiers are invited to upload their best pictures, in which they are the subject.
There are three categories: Action, Lifestyle and Unique. The photographs must be uploaded according to the following limits: maximum size of the photo file 250 Kb, pixel size: 820 x548 and pixels- file format accepted: .jpg
The competition will run from 13 October 2008 to 13 January 2009. Web users will vote for the best shot in each category. The best 20 pictures in each category will be selected and a jury made of Dynastar Lange team skiers and other experts will choose the winner in each category.
The result of the competition shall be announced to the public on 1st February 2009 on the Dynastar Web site and at the ISPO 2009 trade fair in Munich, Germany.

Video Portrait Aurélien Ducroz

Friday, November 21, 2008

Excellent development continues for Doppelmayr

During the past financial year 2007/2008, Doppelmayr Holding AG was able to consolidate its position as world leader in the ropeway market and increase sales volume yet again. With 144 ropeway projects realized from Portland in the west of the USA to Kamtschatka in the far east of Russia clearly demonstrate the Group’s performance. Sales revenues grew by 3.2 percent to EUR 680 million. The number of employees worldwide increased by five percent to 2,605. In addition to Austria as the strongest single market, the European Alpine countries, North America and the emerging markets of Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe were key to this very good result.
The clear pole position in terms of quality, technology and innovation leadership in the industry was further expanded through numerous world firsts. Impressive examples include an "unmanned" gondola lift in Val Thorens, France, the first gondola lifts with seat heating in Ischgl and Zell am See, and the first gondola lift with sauna cabin in Finland.
Despite the persistently high costs of raw materials, the continuing difficulties with the availability of bought-out parts and the fact that price and competitive pressure remains intense, Doppelmayr again expects to see satisfactory business development in the current financial year, even though the impact of the worldwide financial crisis on the real economy and the willingness to invest is difficult to predict.
The Group has production facilities and sales and service locations in over 33 countries of the world and to date has built more than 13,700 installations in over 78 countries.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good Snow Start To Winter 2008-9 Continues Worldwide

Spectacular early snow in the Pyrenees has broken a three year-cycle of a slow start in the region. Resorts on the southern European range have opened early, or are about to. Spain was first off the mark with Baqueria Beret (Photo: Baqueira, Spain) and Formigal amongst 10 resorts now open. Andorra’s GrandValira and VallNord resorts will join them this weekend, both deciding to open a week ahead of schedule with upper base depths in excess of a metre of powder snow, and most with a foot of snow even at resort level.
In Switzerland the big opening this weekend will be Crans Montana, which top’s Skiinfo.com’s snow depth table with a remarkable 270cm (nine feet) of snow on upper slopes and even 170cm (nearly six feet) on lower slopes. It joins many other Swiss resorts already open and similarly bathed in deep powder including Engelberg, Lenzerheide, Saas Fee, St Moritz, Verbier and Zermatt.
French resorts mostly stick to a rigid opening schedule even when they have huge snowfalls and Tignes, the only resort open in the country for two months now, is reaping the benefits with another 10cm (four inches) falling at the end of last week topping up base depths to 155cm (five feet, two inches).
Austria’s glacier resorts, some of which have also already been open for months, are being joined by an increasing number of lower altitude ski areas. The Tux glacier near Mayrhofen in the Ziller Valley which has seen huge snowfalls in October and November, still has the most snow in the country with 135cm (four feet, six inches) of snow on upper slopes. Conditions are looking great across the country with heavy snow expected down to 200m and areas including the Zugspitzarena and pitztal Glacier both expecting up to a metre (three feet, four inches) of fresh powder later this week.
Italy’s Passo Tonale has the biggest base in Europe right now with 2.8m (nine feet, four inches) of snow. Alagna Valsesia and Gressoney in the Monterosa Region will open this weekend thanks to great snowfalls bringing depths up to 180cm (six feet) on upper slopes . Madonna di Campiglio will also open this weekend with 45 cm (18 inches) of snow on upper slopes. Elsewhere in the country Cervinia is also open, with it’s cross-border connection to Zermatt. Livigno opened early last weekend and is currently offering free skiing to anyone who visits this week.
Most of Finland, Norway and Sweden’s major ski areas are now open. In Norway Geilo and Hemsedal both have around 50cm (20 inches) of snow on upper slopes and received another five centimetres/two inches) to give a nice powder top up yesterday (Tuesday, November 18).
Around 25 Norwegian ski areas are expected to be open by Saturday and Skiinfo’s Norway manager Jens-Andreas Løland is predicting a huge powder boost for some this weekend, “We are expected loads of snow this weekend in the west of Norway - up to 70 cm (28 inches) according to our Snowfinder snow prediction service.”
In Canada, Alberta curerently has almost all of the country’s open terrain with all three ski areas at Banff open and Marmot Basin at Jasper making its earliest ever opening last weekend. On the East Coast the leading resort of Mont Tremblant in Quebec is scheduled to open at the weekend and on the West, the country’s most visited resort, Whistler, next week, with excitement building at the 2010 Winter Olympics to be partially staged there are now only a year away.
South of the border numerous ski areas are opening across the US ahead of the vital Thanksgiving Weekend. Despite the impact of the ‘credit cruch’ which has led most resorts to predict declining busine, the plummeting cost of fuel and promising early snowfall or temperatures cold enough for snowmaking has led many resorts to be more optimistic in recent weeks.
For more information visit http://www.skiinfo.com/ and sign up for powder alarms from your favourite resorts, check current snow conditions and projected snowfalls with snow finder as well as exchange news and views in the Skier’ Lounge. Skiinfo.com is the largest provider of ski resort snow reports across Europe, with snow information from more than 1,200 ski areas updated several times a day. Skiinfo.com is available in several languages including english, spanish, french, german, etc.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Restaurant and accommodation will be built on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Every year, around 550,000 people from all over the world visit the breathtaking Matterhorn glacier paradise in Zermatt, the highest sightseeing point in Europe (3,883 m). In summer 2008, a modern restaurant which can seat up to 120 people, good sanitary facilities, accommodation for 40 alpinists and a vantage window facing Breithorn mountain will be built. The "Glacier restaurant" and the alpinists' accommodation will comply with the Minergie P standard (the highest energy standard).
The energy supply will be provided via the photovoltaic facility which is integrated into the façade. As the main façade is positioned in a southerly facing direction with an angle of inclination of approx. 70°, the facility can achieve a high yield. Photovoltaic facilities in high alpine regions harvest considerably more electricity than similar facilities in the midlands due to the clear air and reflection of the environment (snow). In order to further increase the energy yield, the solar façade has been equipped with rear ventilation. The cold surrounding air is collected from the access tunnel and directed towards the facades rear ventilation system. This cools the solar façade, which has a positive effect on the device's effectiveness whilst warming the surround air. This warmed air is fed into the ventilation system of the restaurant and kitchen and therefore covers a part of the building's heating energy requirements.
The generous windows in combination with the building's good insulation allow the use of passive solar benefits. The ventilation system recycles the solar energy hitting the façade and circulates this through the entire building. With the help of waste heat recovery methods, these thermal gains are also used to preheat the cold outside air. The passive energy generation and the heat produced by the guests cover a large part of room heating requirements.
The remaining heating energy, which cannot be covered by either the solar façade or passive energy generation, is provided using heat pumps. The heat pumps make use of the remaining thermal capacity of the air discharged from the ventilation system. The air, which is released back into the environment, is therefore in the same condition as it was when it left the access tunnels - the material cycle is closed.
The electrical energy required for the building technology, i.e. the warm air pumps, ventilators, hot water pumps etc., is provided by means of the photovoltaic facility which is integrated in the façade. The photovoltaic facility uses the existing electricity network of the mountain cableway as a repository and also feeds overproduction into this network. If the photovoltaic facility cannot produce enough electricity, on cloudy days or during the night for example, the previous overproduction, which was fed into the mountain cableway network, can be used - the annual balance has shown that the photovoltaic facility produces more energy than is used by the building technology.
A sewage treatment facility has been in use since 2 years on the Hohtälli. It has proved to be so successful that the same system will now also be used at the Matterhorn glacier paradise. This will be the highest sewage treatment facility in the world!
Drinking water has to be transported from Trockener Steg with the cableway. It therefore goes without saying that this resource is handled carefully and also reused. If drinking water is used in the kitchen area, for washing hands or for taking a shower, this water is collected and purified using a microbiological treatment facility. The purified grey water can now be used for flushing the toilets. Surplus waste water is cleaned to "bathing water quality" and then fed back into the environment's natural water cycle.
The remaining solids are collected in separate containers and transported into the valley via the cableway. This naturally inert material is passed on to the Zermatt ARA to enable it to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner - the material cycle is also closed here.
Hot water is prepared in the same way as the heating energy, via the heat pumps which use the air discharged from the ventilation system. The necessary electrical energy for the warm air pumps is also generated by the photovoltaic facility which is integrated in the façade.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grindelwald To Open A Zip Rider

The latest addition top the growing number of metal downhill roller coasters and zip wires served by ski lifts at ski resorts in Europe is the new First Flyer at Grindelwald, Switzerland, which the resort believes is the first of its kind in Europe.
The First Flyer gives four people the chance to simultaneously yet independently, glide through the air on a length of cable about 800 metres long, at speeds of up to 84 kilometres and hanging up to 45 metres above the ground.
In effect the construction is four parallel zip wires, which link the starting and finishing platforms without supporting masts. Guests sit in a special harness which is very similar to that used for paragliding. The harness is attached to a safe roller mechanism on the wire.
The facility is just as suitable for use in winter as in summer and makes a spectacular addition to the other mountain activities on offer. The First Flyer is suitable for people of all ages. It will fascinate children and adults and the fact that four people can use the First Flyer should make it popular as a family and group experience.
This kind of facility is currently found only in the USA (Park City, Snowbird, Utah Olympic Park, Icy Strait Point, Wildcat and Heavenly Valley) and in Siberia (Krasnojarsk). The ride will open on 13th December 2008.

Promotional Zip Rider Video

Monday, November 17, 2008

‘Snow-vember’ Sees Ski Resorts Open Early Around The World

Skiinfo.com, is reporting bumper pre-season snow across the northern hemisphere with the Alps, Pyrenees, Scandinavia and the Rockies all receiving huge early snow falls that have brought wonderful powder snow conditions for skiers and boarders on the glacier ski areas that were already open, and led to an increasing number of resorts in Canada, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the US to open up to a month earlier than planned.
Skiinfo.com reports that about 100 ski areas around the planet are now operational (the last southern hemisphere resort, Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand, winds up its 2008 record-snow season this weekend).
New openings in Europe this weekend (November 14 – 16) include Hemsedal in Norway, Obergurgl in Austria, Laax and Lenzerheide in Switzerland.
"Hemsedal has between 20-30 cm nature snow above the tree line and the snow conditions in the high mountain are excellent", said a resort spokesman. Half of the world’s open ski areas at present are in Scandinavia where competition focus in on Levi in Finland this weekend for World Cup racing.
However some of the deepest snow depths – with over 1.5 metres (five feet) of fresh powder are at glacier resorts that are already open, amongst them Saas Fee and Zermatt in Switzerland, Tignes in France, Tux in Austria and Passo Tonale in Italy – setting up for a spectacular 2008-9 season in the Alps.
The Pyrenees, which has had a challenging start to the season in recent years, has seen superb snowfalls on French, Andorran and Spanish resorts (Photo: Formigal, Spain). Midweek it was St Lary on the French side that topped Skiinfo’s powder fall league
In Canada, Alberta is the place to ski right now, the third of Banff’s ski areas, Sunshine, joins the other two, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay, which opened last weekend. Sunshine boasts the largest amount of terrain open in the country at present. Nearby Marmot Basin by the town of Jasper is also opening, on the earliest date in its nearly 50 year history.
"We are very excited to be able to open so early in the season for skiers and riders. We will be in great shape on opening day", said Brian Rode, Vice President of Marketing for the resort
South of the border Mammoth in California opened 10 days early and is joined by Killington, Vermont, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado and Snowbird Utah.
Visit http://www.skiinfo.com/ to sign up for powder alarms from your favourite resorts, check current snow conditions and projected snowfalls with snow finder as well as exchange news and views in the Skier’ Lounge. Skiinfo.com is the largest provider of ski resort snow reports across Europe, with snow information from more than 1,200 ski areas updated several times a day. Skiinfo.com is available in several languages including english, spanish, french, german, etc.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spanish winter season kicks off with great expectations

The heavy snowfall of the last days will allow the start of the season with the best snow conditions of the last years.The snow depth accumulated, more than a metre in high spots (Boi Taull 150 cm, Baqueira Beret 135 cm, Cerler 135 cm, Formigal 130 cm) have made it possible to the spanish ski resorts an early opening of the season.

Opening days:

La Molina (29 Nov)/Masella (8 Nov)
Boi Taull (5 Dic)
Baqueira Beret (22 Nov)
Vallter 2000 (29 Nov)
Cerler (29 Nov)
Formigal (15 Nov)
Panticosa (28 Nov)
Astun (15 Nov)
Candanchu (22 Nov)
Sierra Nevada (15 Nov)
Alto Campoo (8 Nov)
San Isidro (15 Nov)
Leitariegos (15 Nov)
Valgrande-Pajares (22 Nov)
Fuentes de Invierno (22 Nov)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Vancouver CEO calls on business community to step up to welcome the world during the Games

In a call to action in his annual address to the Vancouver Board of Trade, John Furlong, CEO for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) challenged the local business community to embrace the true spirit of the Games. Strong leadership from the community, changes to business operations, a warm welcome to visitors and support for Canada’s athletes were among the Business Top Ten List shared by Furlong to ensure successful and unforgettable Winter Games in 2010.
"The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the biggest event ever staged in this country and will require the support, collaboration and contribution of all businesses and citizens if we are to have extraordinary success for Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada", said Furlong. "If these Games are to live up to their full promise, then a selfless spirit of contribution must prevail throughout the 2010 Games theatre and beyond. These Games are not about a few of us but about all of us".
The following “Top Ten List For Business” was released yesterday as Furlong encouraged local businesses to play a part in the successful staging of the 2010 Winter Games on behalf of all Canadians:
  1. Leadership... Appoint a company ‘Games Champion’; a person or team of people to generate ideas, stay informed on Games news, liaise with VANOC and its partners and coordinate all company activities and initiatives.
  2. Heroes... Thousands of local citizens have volunteered to work at the Games – they are and will be the heart and soul of the Games. Generously support them by giving them the necessary time off to volunteer, particularly in the Sea to Sky corridor where more volunteers and accommodations for them are needed.
  3. More heroes... A uniquely talented temporary workforce is required at Games time. By generously lending paid staff to VANOC, give your people a remarkable working experience and help the Games achieve great success.
  4. The work day... Consider shifting your daily hours of business during the Games, thereby reducing traffic in and out of the city as it fills up with guests and helping to make the city and region even more liveable, welcoming and fun.
  5. Time off... Encourage – or even mandate – vacations at Games time to help make it possible for employees to fully enjoy the Games and reduce traffic. Consider if it’s feasible for your business to close entirely to celebrate the Games.
  6. Fewer cars... Embrace the concept of a coordinated reduction in company related vehicle traffic every day of the Games by encouraging the use of public transit, carpooling, walking and early morning truck deliveries.
  7. Work from home... Consider offering a work-at-home program during the Games to help significantly reduce traffic on the roads.
  8. Embrace the spirit… Learn as much as you can about the Games, the athletes, the teams and especially the Canadian team. Put language skills to good use to welcome and assist visitors. Stage in-house Games celebrations. Adopt a country; be a good host. After all, the world is coming!
  9. Support the athletes... Support a Canadian athlete or two by contributing to Own the Podium 2010 or by sponsoring a team. Buy tickets to attend the many international winter sport events being staged to get ready for the Games.
  10. Spread the joy... Fundraise within your organization to help ensure that those with extremely limited financial means will get a chance to experience the Games.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Levi host the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Slalom

This weekend Levi (FIN) will host the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Slalom competitions. Levi, located about 150 km north of the Polar Circle (Levi World Cup is the northmost Alpine World Cup), is one of the largest ski resorts in Finnish Lapland. Levi Fell village is actually a small holiday town, which offers a wide range of first-rate services to its guests.
There are 44 slopes (longest slope 2500 m), 15 of which are lit, and 28 lifts including the only gondola lift in Finland. The Vertical drop is 325 m and the lift capacity is 27,600 skiers/hour. This year's events are the fourth time that the resort serves as a FIS World Cup host since February 2004.
More than 20,000 spectators are expected at the two races on the weekend, when the Ladies compete on Saturday November 15th and the Men on Sunday November 16th and the organizers have put great emphasis on involving local schools and youngsters to bring them to the events. Both races as well as Friday's and Saturday's bib draws can be viewed through live streaming on the new Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup website.
General Secretary of the race Mikko Saarinen says that he’s looking forward to this year’s race being a great experience for the audience as well as for the competitors. 2000 persons will be accredited at Levi World Cup21 television cameras with their crews guarantee a successful broadcasting of the event.
The Levi Black competition course vertical drop is 180 meters and the steepest part of the race course has the steepness of 52 %.
Levi is Father Christmas's official fell and ski centre. A new attraction for audience this year is a Christmas market. The market is organized by a local tourism project. Near ZeroPoint in the center of Levi about 20 small cottages with different colors have been built. They will be lit and decorated in the Christmas style. Local companies will be selling their products, with traditional Lapland and Finnish Christmas themes. German style Glühwein and warm cider as well tasting samples of the products are offered.
On invitation of the Finnish Ski Association which is celebrating its centennial this year, the FIS Council will be holding its autumn meeting in conjunction with the World Cup races in Levi (FIN) this Friday, November 14th.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Queen of the World contest in Ischgl

Ischgl is looking for the most beautiful girl in the world: the "Queen of the World" will be elected in Ischgl on 13th December 2008. The third largest beauty contest in the world is returning to Ischgl. A modern construction of steel and glass on the Pardatschgrat, the Pardorama at a height of 2,600 metres, with its terrific views of the mountain panorama, offers the perfect setting for this superlative beauty contest. From Australia to Nigeria, from Korea to Iceland -the most beautiful of the beautiful from more than 50 countries present themselves to a celebrity jury in Austria's highest event centre. One of them will be crowned at the exciting finale on 13th December.
Erich Reindl, founder of "Miss Austria" and organiser of "Miss Germany" and "Miss World" for 20 years now, is an expert regarding Miss contests and, as co-organiser, will guarantee a glamorous top event. Queen of the World contests have already taken place in Moscow on the Red Square or in a Boeing 767 from Berlin to Frankfurt. In 2008 the contest is coming to Ischgl for the second time in a row.
Tickets are available for 69 euros - including cable cars,buffet and show.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Italian Touring Club has voted Alta Badia top resort in the Alps

A detailed analysis of the Alpine tourist resorts carried out by the prestigious Italian Touring Club Study Centre has voted Corvara and Badia, which together make up Alta Badia, top resorts in the Alps out of the 111 destinations taken into consideration. The Touring Club of Italy (TCI) was founded in 1894 with the aim of spreading and developing the social and cultural values of tourism, promoting the defense, conservation and proper enjoyment of the country's national heritage, landscape and environment, and producing publications on travel and for travellers. It is an independent, nonprofit association, financed entirely by membership fees and the proceeds of its activities.
The study included all the main winter sports stations in the Alps. To draw up the table which was released some days ago in the Tourism Magazine, the Italian Touring Club Study Centre based its study on 16 different parameters, placing the qualitative aspect at the centre of its research. As is well known, Alta Badia has for years aimed more on quality in all sectors, rather than quantity, a fact which also emerged from the study “Alta Badia quo vadis?” presented in September. The geographical situation and the mountain setting were some of the indicators used. In this sense Alta Badia enjoys a considerable advantage compared to other resorts as it is an open valley, set in the heart of the Dolomites which are seen as the most beautiful mountains in the world. The climate and the quality of accommodation, the ski tows, the skiing area and the variety of the slopes were also examined. The inter-valley connections are very important and were judged to be excellent in Alta Badia, with the connection between five villages and the chance of reaching more than 520 km of slopes skis-on-foot in the valleys around the Sella Group. Moreover, the safety of the snow was also analyzed (just think that 90% of the slopes can be covered with artificial snow, thanks to the powerful cutting-edge machinery), the access in summer to the panoramic peaks, the presence of mountain paths, woods and picturesque destinations for excursions, the relationship between beds in second houses and hotel beds, all regarded as tourist accommodation, the offer of activities, the distance from the big cities and metropolitan areas, the reception in terms of the impact on arrival in the resort and the overall image of the resort. The municipalities of Badia and Corvara combined by the same tourist denomination group, Alta Badia, are the best tourist station of the Alps, totalizing 68 out of 80 points and 7 points ahead of the second in the table, the Swiss resort of Zermatt which drew level with Selva-Santa Cristina.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Innsbruck and Kuopio finalists to host the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012

The International Olympic Committee has revealed the names of the finalist Candidate Cities from which the host city for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012 will be elected. Innsbruck and Kuopio were selected by the IOC Executive Board, and will now be submitted to a postal vote by the IOC members. The host city will be announced by IOC President Jacques Rogge in a live web cast on http://www.olympic.org/, provisionally scheduled for 12 December 2008.
The EB's decision on the two finalists was based on an IOC Evaluation Commission Report. Chaired by Pernilla Wiberg, the Commission assessed the projects of the four shortlisted Candidate Cities - Harbin (CHI), Innsbruck (AUT), Kuopio (FIN) and Lillehammer (NOR). The report focused on the risks associated with the organisation of the Games within the timeframe of only three years to plan and prepare to host the first edition of this new event.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games will be a 10-day multi-sport, cultural and educational event.The age groups participating in a sport or discipline will vary between 14 and 18 years. The programme of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games will be established on the basis of the seven sports included in the Vancouver 2010 programme (Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, Luge, Skating and Skiing).The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) will highlight the different sports and provide an efficient platform to motivate young people to “get active” and adhere to the Olympic spirit. Each edition of the YOG will leave a consistent legacy for the young people of the host country, and the host city will have also a great opportunity to present itself to the world during the Games as the Olympic Youth Capital, therefore shaping its image as a youth-friendly city that offers a multitude of attractive places and events."By creating the Youth Olympic Games on 5 July 2007, the IOC played its role as a catalyst for the sports movement. It showed that its commitment to the youth of today and tomorrow is about action, not just words, by offering them an event of their own in the spirit of the Olympic Games" (Jacques Rogge, IOC President).

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Kitzbüheler Alpen double guarantee of snow

Despite having had its earliest opening in its 80 year history with ski lifts, due to huge snowfalls a year ago, Kitzbühel has been battling to shake off an image of being a potential early victim of global warming. The resort – which has one of the lowest major ski areas in the world – had a difficult winter in 2006-7 when the famous Hahnenkamm downhill race, in common with many others in the Alps and North America, had to be cancelled. A high profile UN report on climate change also indicated that resorts like Kitzbühel might be one of the first to suffer as winters shorten and snowlines rise due to global warming. Now the resort has hit back publishing a document with the 10 most important factors that contribute to absolute snow guarantee in the Kitzbüheler Alpen (based in natural snowfall and a high-tech backup of snow cannons.):
  1. Northwest orographic barrier at the Alpine Divide: One of the most prevalent weather conditions in the northwest is the cloud band over the Alpine Divide. This generates heavy snowfall in the Kitzbüheler Alpen.
  2. Constant quantities of new snowfall*: The average annual snowfall in Kitzbühel has remained constant since official records commenced in 1958. Each year, more than 2.5 m of snow falls in the valley, and a total of 8 m in the mountains. Anomalies such as winter 2006/07 have occurred in the past. In 1989, 1972 and 1963 the region had less than 140 cm of new snow throughout the season.
  3. Winter in Hahnenkamm*: Since 1993 the Kitzbüheler Alpen region has become markedly colder. Snowfall is now a more frequently occurrence, providing more snow, which remains longer on the ground. Hahnenkamm is covered in more than 20 cm of natural snow for almost six months of the year.
  4. Piste locations: The majority of the region’s pistes are found in idyllic, snow guaranteed resorts in a north, north eastern or north western geographical location, where the sun dips gently, allowing the snow to last longer on the ground.
  5. Alpine grassy slopes as a base: The region’s grassy slopes offer the perfect base for snow-covered ski pistes. While ski resorts with rocky or rugged terrain require very thick layers of snow, the smooth grassy slopes of the Kitzbüheler Alpen only require a 20cm compact layer to create the perfect piste. Woods on the left and the right of the pistes prevent snowdrift.
  6. Snowmaking machines: A total of 3,440 snowmaking machines guarantee snow over 762 km of pistes. It takes only three days for the snow cannons and snow lances to cover over 70 % of all pistes.
  7. Snowmaking capacity: The snowmaking facilities in the Kitzbüheler Alpen have all been upgraded with the latest technology last winter. This ensures that the entire ski resort of St. Johann in Tyrol can be covered in snow within a mere 60 hours. And within 72 hours, 110 km of local piste can be immaculately covered and prepared for exhilarating skiing. That is a distance equivalent to Kitzbüheler Alpen – Munich.
  8. Raw material for the snowmaking machines: 40 local reservoirs provide a total of aprox. 2,5 million cubic meters of water, thereby ensuring adequate water supply for permanent snow during the long winter season.
  9. Temperature for snowmaking*: Kitzbüheler Alpen has an average of 157 days when the temperature drops below zero. This usually happens at night, when it invariably snows. Of these 157 days, there are 77 days (2.5 months) when the temperature never rises above zero allowing it to snow around the clock.
  10. Snow Experts: Skiing in the Kitzbüheler Alpen has been a popular winter pastime for almost 100 years, and for the last 20 years nature has been assisted by high-tech snowmaking machines. The region’s snow experts and piste managers know the Kitzbüheler Alpen slopes, climate and weather conditions better than anyone else. They offer the finest quality pistes from your first day of skiing to your last.

* Source: Based on metrological data from the Innsbruck Academy for Metrology and Geology for Kitzbühel-Tal valley and Kitzbühel-Berg (Hahnenkamm) regions compiled since 1948 .

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stowe Mountain Lodge - Stowe, Vermont

Located in the East Stowe Mountain Resort at the base of Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak, within walking distance to the Over Easy Gondola, the Stowe Mountain Lodge is part of the up-and-coming $400 million Spruce Peak at Stowe base village, and the resort’s first ski-in/ski-out lodging. The lodge, which mixes natural materials like birch bark, woven timber and stone from nearby quarries with expansive glass walls, is a modern take on traditional alpine architecture. Inside, the decoration is plush yet eco-friendly. Beds in the 139 rooms are made with bamboo sheets, and you’ll be tempted to stuff the organic cotton Anichini towels into your luggage. On the practical side, showers and toilets are low-flow, while motion sensor–controlled thermostats ensure that no heat is wasted while you’re on the slopes. Around the lodge you’ll find works by local artisans, from Charles Shackleton’s tables crafted of wood from sustainable forests to Miranda Thomas’s organic vases.
Chef Sean Buchanan partners with the Vermont Fresh Network—an organization that helps state farms provide local restaurants with the freshest ingredients—for dishes he serves at Solstice restaurant.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Audi announces extension of FIS Alpine World Cup sponsorship

Audi has been giving its name to the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for six years now. At the start of the 2008/2009 season in Sölden, Audi announced the extension of this cooperation with FIS by another four seasons up to and including the 2011/2012 season. Audi is the name-giver and thus one of the most important partners of FIS and the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. In addition, AUDI AG has been supporting the German Ski Association for over two decades now and is also partner of the Alpine national teams from Sweden, Finland, France, Liechtenstein, Italy as well as the athletes from Austria and the United States. For Audi another highlight of the 2008/2009 season will be the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Val d'Isère, France, in February 2009 where Audi is the presenting sponsor.

Friday, November 7, 2008

FIS launches two new websites for World Cup Fans

Last week FIS launched two new World Cup websites focused on the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup.
The goal of these websites is to provide year-round service to fans of skiing and snowboarding along with delivering background information for the media. They will especially focus on the athletes offering detailed profiles, behind-the-scenes reports, blogs and lifestyle information.
The sites will also feature race and news coverage from the FIS World Cup competitions and in-depth information on the venues as well as a World Cup Wall of Fame. For Snowboarding, a community will also be incorporated allowing the fans to contribute their content.
FIS is working together with Zug, Switzerland-based Infront Sports and Media AG and its Italian subsidiary Infront Italia on this project. With support from the National Ski Associations, the ski industry and other FIS partners, FIS is convinced that these new websites will help us make great strides in promoting skiing globally.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Powdr Corp Receives EPA Green Power Leadership Award

Powdr Corp received a 2008 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at an event held on October 28th in conjunction with the 2008 National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference in Denver. The annual awards recognize the country’s leading green power purchasers for their commitment and contribution to advancing the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.
Powdr Corp is one of the leading mountain resort owners and operators in the United States. Headquartered in Park City, Utah, Powdr Corp currently owns and operates seven ski and snowboard resorts including Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah, Killington Resort and Pico Resort in Killington, Vermont, Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon, Boreal Resort and Soda Springs Resort, both in Donner Summit, California, and Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Powdr Corp also operates Gorgoza Park, a lift-served tubing park, in Park City, Utah.
Powdr Corp was one of only nine organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award in the Green Power Purchasing category. This award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through purchases of green power from a utility green-pricing program, a competitive green marketer, or a renewable energy credit (REC) supplier. Powdr Corp currently purchases nearly 50 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 100 percent of the organization’s purchased electricity. Powdr Corp buys renewable energy credits (RECs) from Renewable Choice Energy, located in Boulder, Colo.“We are proud to receive this prestigious award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said Brent Giles, director of environmental affairs for Powdr Corp. “Purchasing green power helps our organization become more sustainable, while also sending a message to other companies and individuals across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk.”Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions, while offering a superior environmental profile compared to traditional power generation sources. Green power purchases also support the development of new renewable energy generation sources nationwide.“Our nation is shifting to a ‘green culture,’ with more and more Americans understanding that environmental responsibility is everyone's responsibility,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “EPA commends Powdr Corp for making a long-term commitment to protecting the environment by purchasing green power.”According to the U.S. EPA, Powdr Corp’s current green power purchase of nearly 50 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 7,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power just about 5,000 average American homes annually. In addition to the purchase of 100 percent renewable energy, Powdr Corp resorts are actively involved in environmental initiatives including energy reduction, the use of alternative fuels and recycling. These initiatives have offset Powdr Corp’s carbon footprint by 92 percent, company officals indicate.
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,000 Partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Sky Lodge - Park City, Utah

The Sky Lodge, inhabits three of the oldest buildings in Park City’s historic Old Town, Utah. The six-floor five-star-style luxury resort has 33 residential suites finished in "Rocky Mountain loft" design style. The Sky Lodge was updated to LEED construction standards with eco-friendly and recycled building materials, including exterior siding that mimics historic wood-lap siding but won’t need to be painted for another 50 years. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. All certified projects receive a LEED plaque, which is the nationally recognized symbol demonstrating that a building is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to live and work. A computer-controlled climate system that cuts energy consumption in half, wind-generated electrical power and a property-wide recycling program are examples of the lodge sustainable management program.
The Sky Lodge offers ski-in/ski-out access via the Town Lift and Ski Bridge to Park City Mountain Resort and it is 5 minute drive to Deer Valley Resort.The Amatsu Spa, inspired by the 800 year old Japanese tradition of Ofuro Baths, offers treatments like a Bamboo Massage (deep pressure is applied using bamboo sticks). And at the lodge’s Easy Street Brasserie, you can try Regional American and Country recipes or dishes such as Old Stove Baked Penne offer a different yet equally soothing brand of comfort.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cedar House Sport Hotel - Truckee, California

"Green Building and sustainability are not just catch phrases; it is the way our society - today and in the future- will need to operate in times of resource scarcity and economic necessity". Sue Duerksen, President Sierra Green Building Association.
The Cedar House Sport Hotel is an example of how architecture, sustainability and energy efficiency can work together to achieve comfort and style. The Cedar House Sport Hotel was inspired by its setting high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, nestled in the Martis Valley, just minutes from Historic Downtown Truckee and Lake Tahoe.
It was owners Jeff and Patty Baird’s vision that inspired the design of the striking 42-room hotel, including 6 Two Room King Suites, with its reforested-cedar exterior and recycled-steel detailing. Concerned with preserving the environment for future generations, they incorporated low-E and solar-tinted windows; fluorescent or low-voltage lights with either photo sensors or timers; hydronic in-floor heating; and energy-efficient, instantaneous hot water systems into the construction.
Rooms are an eclectic mix of contemporary design, functionality and an organic edge geared for relaxed comfort. The interiors was designed with concrete floors and cedar walls that give the place a boutique feel. German down comforters top leather platform beds. Furnishings include sleek leather and bent birch pieces. Bathrooms have heated floors, walk-in showers and vessel sinks.
The steaming outdoor hot tub is heated by the same tankless system as the bathrooms, consuming half the energy of a conventional system.
The Cedar House Sport Hotel has partnered with North American Ski Training Center (NASTC) offering multi-day clinics for intermediate through expert skiers taught by members of the elite and prestigious PSIA Demonstration Team and AMGA ski guides.
The Hotel also has partnered with Pacific Crest Snowcats offering deals to experience the best snow conditions in the area. Open slopes and tree runs will remind you of the best off piste areas at your favorite ski resort.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ecological Mountain Architecture: Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole

The Hotel Terra is located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's (JMHR), Wyoming. The Hotel offers easy access to the ski area via the new tram. The lift delivers skiers and snowboarders from the base in Teton Village to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain giving access to 2,500 acres of terrain in the center of the famed Teton mountain Range in less than nine minutes.
The first in a collection of green hotels launched by the Terra Resort Group, Hotel Terra Jackson Hole offers the exceptional amenities and services expected from boutique hotels, combined with environmentally sustainable building and operating practices. Recently awarded with the LEED certification, the Hotel ensures that it meets environmentally sustainable building and operating practices for everything from water conservation and energy efficiency to the building’s 100 percent eco-shake shingles (innovative roofing material composed entirely of recycled cellulose fiber and reinforced vinyl).
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. All certified projects receive a LEED plaque, which is the nationally recognized symbol demonstrating that a building is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to live and work.
In 72 high-end rooms—ranging in five different types of rooms from studios to a three-bedroom suite—the outdoor connection comes via a nature-inspired color palette and energy-efficient windows with mountain views. On the creature comfort side, sustainability is encouraged through details such as custom-designed Terra Beds with all-natural mattresses; organic cotton sheets, robes and towels; low-flow water fixtures; a Zuma Airbath jetted tub; and fair-trade organic coffee for your morning cup.
For après-ski rejuvenation, Chill Spa includes 6 treatment rooms with vaulted ceilings, including a couples treatment room with mountain views, a deep soaking jaccuzzi , and gas fireplace. Hotel Spa also offers the Sky Lounge for pre and post treatment relaxation, complete with a floor to ceiling picture window with some of the very best views in Jackson Hole. Guests can also take in the big mountain skies in the outdoor rooftop hot tub at Chill Spa. The state of the art spa treatments feature Eminence Organic Skin Care, incorporating handpicked fresh ingredients, hand mixed with pure waters from a thermal hot spring lake containing rare minerals and elements.
To complete the Eco-Experience, Terra Café is dedicated to organic ingredients and healthy alternatives.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ericsson and Aamot failed at Kangchenjunga

"No summit on Kangchenjunga
The first day of our summit push on Kangchenjunga gave a big surprise. The weather was nice, the snow was solid to climb on and we were moving easily up to “The Hump“ at 6200 meters where the site for our first camp was. Only one problem, there was no tent where we left it a week ago. The wind had taken it for a little flight about a hundred meters away and dumped it into a crevasse. Luckily we found it and it wasn’t too damaged. A bit of duct tape could fix it.
The second day was a windy day. We made it up to 6800 meters before we got sick of the wind and found a nice crevasse to put our tent in to hide from the wind.
On the third day came the second surprise. Snowfall and whiteout. Totally opposite from the bluebird that the weather forecast promised. Without visibility we became spectators, sitting in our crevasse all day watching the snow piling up outside. The next morning the sun was shining again but it was also 50 cm of fresh snow on the ground. Bearing in mind the previous week of storm winds blasting the snow cover. The fresh snow on top made it ideal for avalanches. The decision to not continue towards the summit was easy to make but it wasn’t fun. We had to give up our hopes for the summit of Kangchenjunga.
Standing at 6800 meters we had 1300 vertical meters of powder skiing ahead of us. But to make it down without getting avalanched we had to use all our experience and all the tricks in the book. There were some scary sections but mostly we could enjoy nice powder turns on one of the world highest mountains in the world. I am disappointed that we didn’t reach the summit but at the same time relieved that we made it down safely. We had a great experience in a beautiful environment and I will definitely return one day to make a new attempt on Kangchenjunga.
We are now packing our gear and getting ready for the week long hike back to civilization Looking forward to a Pizza in Kathmandu
".

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Norwegian Powder Ski Paradise in one Ski Pass

Norwegian Powder Skiing gets easier to explore – as five small Powder Resorts in the northern part of the Fjord Norway region launch a new ski pass – giving access to 25 lifts and 53 slopes in the Sunnmore region.
The Alpepass lift-pass will be available in the 2008-09 winter season, joining the ski resorts of Strandafjellet Skisenter, Sunnmørsalpane Skiarena Fjellseter, Stordal Alpinsenter, Stryn Skisenter and Harpefossen Skisenter with up to 800m of vertical drop. You'll find the very essentials of skiing: good powder snow, interesting terrain and great people - and basically nothing else. "Almost every season we are rated in the top 10 list on average snowfall in Europe" says Strandafjellet Manager Hans Anders Rindhølen.
Those who read subtitles in big international ski movies may recognize places such as Strandafjellet, Stryn and Fjellsetra (the "Get Lucky" ski movie from Field Productions contains a bonus track from Strandafjellet). The Sunnmøre Alps mountain range is also amazing for ski touring and winter climbing, and some of the best winter surf in Europe is only two hours away at Hoddevika, Stadlandet.