Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shapes in White. Snow Sculpture Competition in Ischgl

During the 16th Snow Sculpture Competition in Ischgl, international artists made their snow sculptures, several meters high. The massive sculptures were placed throughout the entire skiing area, where skiers can admire them on and next to the slopes.
This year's theme was Aliens and the ingenuity and stunning technical brilliance of the sculptors is on show for skiers and boarders to marvel at until the Spring thaw sends the creatures from outer space back home - so that won't be until the beginning of May as Ischgl enjoys guaranteed snow right till then.
The artists had just five days to hammer and carve their allocated piles of snow into works of art, which include the mystified Futurama spaceman trying to get his bearings without the aid of a piste map - the work of Yorkshire-based sculpting brothers Justin and Simon Scott.
Professional sculptors from throughout the world sent their designs to the jury in Ischgl ahead of the competition. The ten best were invited to the elimination stage and to realise their creations. The aim here is to use the submitted sketches to create masterpieces within 5 days in the middle of Silvretta's mountain scenery - using nothing but snow. Alien fans and snow enthusiasts had the chance to be there, live, and watch the artists at work. The awards ceremony for the sculptures took place last 16th January.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Audi FIS Alpine World Cup will continues in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Audi FIS Alpine World Cup will continue today with a Ladies Slalom event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Tomorrow will be Men's turn with the Downhill followed by the Ladies SG. On Sunday Men's Slalom will be held on the legendary Gudiberg slope.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a market town in Bavaria, southern Germany. The twin cities were joined in 1936 for the celebration of the Winter Olympic Games. Traditionally, a ski jumping contest is held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year's Day, as a part of the Four Hills Tournament. A variety of Ski World Cup Races are also held here, usually on the Kandahar Track outside town. The 1978 Alpine World Skiing Championships were organized in Garmisch and the Alpine World Ski Championships 2011 is to be held there as well. It was also announced on December 8th 2007 that Garmisch-Partenkirchen will put in a bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics together with partner candidates Munich and Schönau am Königsee. Garmisch skiing in based on four main areas. The Kreuzeck, Osterfelder and Hausberg areas are connected to one another on the south side of the town. The Zugspitze area, under Germany's highest mountain, is reached by cable car or by mountain railway and is dealt with in Ski Germany's special Zugspitz skiing area, the"Germany's only glacier ski area". Garmisch has a tremendous variety of skiing for a relatively small ski area (72 kilometres of pistes served by 34 lifts).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Snow in Europe and North America

Skiinfo reports that North America – west of the Rockies, has finally received huge snowfalls in the past few days after a largely warm and dry January, dramatically improving conditions. In Europe the Pyrenees continue to enjoy fresh powder almost daily and in the north of the continent Scotland has its best conditions so far this winter with virtually all runs open, and Sweden has also received a big powder boost.
In Austria the biggest falls of the past few days have been at Nassfeld which had a
1 metre (3.3 feet) of snow a week ago on January 21st and another 20cm (eight inches) of fresh snow so far today (January 28th). Over the past week Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis has had 50cm (20 inches), Seefeld 47cm (19 inches) and Axamer - Lizum above Innsbruck 35cm (14 inches). The Mölltaler Glacier has the greatest snow depth in the country with 320cm (Just under 11 feet) on upper slopes.
Germany, to the north, has seen falls of up to 27cm (11 inches) in total in the past week with the greatest snow depth at the top of the Zugspitz glacier, with two metres (nearly seven feet).
In Switzerland the famous St Moritz Cartier Polo World Cup starts on the frozen lake of St. Moritz tomorrow (January 29th) through to Sunday (February 1st) – 20,000 people are expected to attend. Zermatt continues to lead the country for snowfall with 44cm (18 inches) more snow and the greatest snow depth in Europe, possibly the world, with 679cm (33 feet) on the glacier.
Northern Italy continues to receive regular snowfalls and Skiinfo issued six powder alarms for the country in the past 24 hours. The biggest falls were at Cortina d'Ampezzo with 80cm (nearly three feet), and Limone Piemonte with 50 cm (20 inches). Arabba Marmolada still has the most snow in the country with 480cm (16 feet) on upper slopes. Alagna Valsesia in the Monterosa Ski region and Passo Tonale are only a few inches behind.
In France the excitement is mounting ahead of the start of the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Val d’Isere next week, but after good falls of snow in the French Alps last week, the snow gods have shifted their attention back to this season’s favourite region, the Pyrenees, in recent days with 13 powder alarms in the French Pyrenees yesterday (Tuesday, January 27th) alone. Cauterets received a huge 145cm (nearly five feet) of fresh snow in the past week and Piau Engaly has some of the most snow in the country with a 320cm (Nearly 11 foot) base. "The snow depth and quality is excellent, but the risk of avalanche is high, and we are strongly advising our customers to stay on the marked pistes", said Vincent Doutres, lift company manager at Cauteret-Lys.
Elsewhere in the Pyrenees another 50cm (20 inches) of snow fell across Andorra’s mountains on Monday continuing the superb season there, "We have a lot of snow this winter , it’s fantastic and I hope skiers will continue to come until the first of May", Ski Andorra’s Marta Rotes told Skiinfo.
Skiing in Spain also continues to be excellent across the country with the largest fresh accumulations at Baqueira Beret (95cm/over three feet). Most resorts have upper slope base depths of over two metres (nearly seven feet) with Sierra Nevada in the south boasting the post with a 350cm (nearly 12 feet) base. Formigal, which has one of Europe’s most expensive lift tickets, is offering free tickets to UK citizens for the rest of the winter.
In Scandinavia, after periods of warm weather and limited snowfall, Sweden has finally been hit by major winter storms which have left huge amounts of snow over the past few days across almost all of the country. The ski resort of Kungsberget received the most snow with 61 cm (just over two feet) falling through the last seven days. As a result they have just fully opened what they claim to be Sweden’s best snow park. "After months of preparations and snowmaking, and recently long days and nights creating each feature, we are happy to finally open our great new snow park", said a happy shaper in Kungsfjället.
In Eastern Europe it continues to be a mixed picture with warm temperatures causing problems last weekend for Czech and Slovak resorts, although more than 200 are open across the two countries. They are trying to attract the lucrative Polish school holiday market but are also being hampered by a strong Euro, which Slovakia newly joined earlier this month, compared to the Polish Zloty. Many deals are on offer as a result, including 50% of lift tickets at some resorts, and the good news is that cold temperatures have arrived with snow forecast over the next few days. Conditions are better in Bulgaria where resorts received 20cm (eight inches) of fresh snow at the weekend, further improving conditions there.
Scotland has its best conditions of the season snow far with heavy snowfall, particularly on the West Coast, bringing snow several feet deep. Glencoe, which opened a week ago, is offering runs up to 5km (over three miles) long, the other four centres are mostly fully open.
In Western North America the roller coaster season continues to swing between the dry warm weather that dominated before Christmas and mid-January and has now returned to the heavy snowfall of late December.
In California Mammoth mountain reported five feet (1.5m) of snow accumulating over four days at the start of this week whilst whistler to the north, although yet to fully open its 8,000+ acres of terrain, the most in North America, is getting close and has now got 7,000 acres open.
In Colorado Steamboat (see attached picture) reports that it is "drowning in powder". Chris Diamond, president and chief operating officer for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation said, "Steamboat has some of the best snow in the Rocky Mountains, the largest mid-mountain base of the major Colorado destination resorts, and a summit base that’s spilling over the 80-inch mark".

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rare Snowfall reported in United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam

Natural snowfall over the past week in Viet Nam and in the United Arab Emirates has been declared a "once in a generation" occurrence in both of the normally hot countries.
In Viet Nam a thin layer of snow was deposited on Mau Son Mountain in the northern province of Lang Son on January 23-24 as the average temperature dropped to minus one degree Celcius.
In the United Arab Emirates, the northern emirate of Ras al Khaimah reported that a three mile wide area in its Jebel Jais mountain range received four inches (10cm) of snow on Friday, "a situation so rare that the local dialect doesn't even have a word for it", according to media reports. Snow covered the Jebel Jais area for only the second time in recorded history on January 24. Jebel Jais was dusted in snow on December 28, 2004, the first snowfall in living memory for Ras al Khaimah residents. Major Saeed Rashid al Yamahi, a helicopter pilot and the manager of the Air Wing of RAK Police, said the snow covered an area of five kilometres and was 10cm deep."The sight up there this morning was totally unbelievable, with the snow-capped mountain and the entire area covered with fresh, dazzling white snow", Major al Yamahi said.
Crown Prince Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, who is planning an indoor snow centre for his emirate larger than Ski Dubai, visited the area to see the snow. "I had flown there in 2004 when it snowed, but this time it was much bigger and the snowing lasted longer as well", said Major al Yamahi (Source: The National).

Ski For Free

The Pyrenean resort of Formigal is giving away FREE LIFT PASSES on all new bookings until the end of the season (except 15th February departures). Simply go to the website http://www.aramon.co.uk/) and click on the banner saying ‘FREE LIFT PASSES’ to book your free lift pass.
Formigal, part of the Aramon Group, Spain’s largest ski group with a total of five resorts in the central Pyrenees and southern Aragon. More than a million visitors chose Aramón last season, skiing in the resorts of Formigal, Cerler, Panticosa, Javalambre and Valdelinares. Aramón, currently the only group of ski resorts in Spain, was set up as a joint venture by the Aragon government and Ibercaja bank.
Formigal is located in the Pyrenees in the province Huesca. The ski resort is at an altitude of 1500 m with lifts going up to 2250 m. Formigal is Spain’s largest winter resort. The domain is divided into 4 Valleys/Ski Areas: Valle Tres Hombres-Sextas, Valle de Izas-Sarrios, Valle Anayet y Valle Portalet. There are 21 lifts (11 Chairlifts, 5 Surface lifts, 5 Magic Carpets) and 100 pistes (7 green, 18 blue, 33 red and 39 black). The combined skiing area is 137 km. Formigal also offers 4 Ski Routes, 2 Snowparks, 2 Boardercross/Skicross area and 1 mogul piste.
New to the UK this season, Formigal couldn’t be easier to get to; hop on a direct flight from London Gatwick which takes just two hours to reach the regional airport of Huesca. From here you get straight onto the snow bus for the 75 minute transfer to the slopes of Formigal.
Holidays to Formigal are available through Crystal, Neilson, Thomson, Ifyouski.com, Igluski.com and J2Ski.com.

VANOC names Vancouver’s Patrick Roberge Productions as 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies Producer

After a three-month international search, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) announced yesterday that it has selected Vancouver-based Patrick Roberge Productions (PRP) Inc. as producer of the Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies. PRP Inc. will collaborate with VANOC to develop the overall theme and content of both ceremonies and will create and direct both shows.
"We are thrilled to select a local Vancouver company that has excelled over the last two decades in producing world-class events that celebrate Canada’s unique culture, including the highly successful and engaging 2010 mascot launch that captured the hearts and imagination of adults and children across Canada", said David Guscott, VANOC’s executive vice-president, celebrations and partnerships. "British Columbians and Canadians are renowned for their hospitality and generous spirit. We want the world’s top Paralympians to feel inspired and embraced by the entire nation as we celebrate the hallmarks of the Paralympic Movement: enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world".
In 410 days, an estimated 1,350 of the world’s top winter sport Paralympic athletes and team officials from more than 40 countries will gather in BC Place in downtown Vancouver to celebrate a spectacular indoor Opening Ceremony. A cast of thousands, including performers with a disability, will delight the crowd of 55,000 and showcase the unique heritage and creativity of British Columbians and Canadians from coast to coast to coast during the two-hour celebration on March 12, 2010. The lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron will provide an inspirational climax to the Opening Ceremony and signal the start of the Games.
Nine days later, the Games will draw to its official end in the Host Mountain Resort of Whistler in a unique outdoor amphitheatre designed especially for the two-hour Closing Ceremony. The event will include a special handover ceremony for the next Paralympic Winter Games, to be held in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
"It’s an honour to be selected for such a prestigious event", said PRP company president and creative director Patrick Roberge. "Our team’s goal is to produce a ceremony that celebrates the possible. The Ceremonies will offer a tremendous opportunity for the community to share in this Paralympic celebration. We want to create a memorable, inspirational experience for the live and television audiences, and remind them that when it comes to what an individual can accomplish the only limit we have is our imagination".
Since 1986, Vancouver-based Patrick Roberge Productions has produced events and spectacles around the world. Veterans of Expo 86 and the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, PRP has created memorable events including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Jubilee visit to Vancouver; the inaugural Chinese New Year Parade in Hong Kong; the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Emblem launch and mascot launch; and most recently produced the Canada Games’ ceremonies in Whitehorse and events at the BC Canada Pavilions in Torino, Italy and Beijing, China. PRP’s experience in telling unique Canadian stories has included anniversary celebrations for Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion Tour, the 25th anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope and the opening of the North American Indigenous Games. The company will work hand-in-hand with the Ceremonies team already in place at VANOC.
Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Men´s Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Austria

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues today in Schladming, Austria, with the Slalom race. The nightrace has become one of the classics in alpine ski. More than 50,000 fans will go to Schladming’s Planai to see their stars.
Schladming is located in Styria, 60 minutes from Salzburg, between the magnificent southern walls of the Dachstein Massif and the peaks of the Schladminger Tauern.The Schladming-Dachstein Ski Paradise (Planai & Hochwurzen, Hauser Kaibling, Reiteralm, Fageralm, Stoderzinken und Ramsau am Dachstein) offers 223 kilometres of slopes and 109 ski-lifts including the Dachstein glacier. The Schladming-Dachstein Ski Paradise is a member of the Ski Amadé, Austria’s biggest ski alliance: one ski ticket for 5 ski regions with 860 km of slopes and 270 lifts.

Winter X Games

Winter X Games 13 took place last weekend, January 22-25, in Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado (USA). The annual Winter X Games is the premier winter action sports event in the world, featuring athletes from across the globe competing in three sports: Ski, Snowboard and Snowmobile. All Winter X Games competitions took place at the resort’s Buttermilk Mountain. Participants compete to win bronze, silver and gold medals, and prize money.
The X Games is an annual multiaction sports event. ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Action Sports, first developed its X Games franchise in 1995. Today, the X Games are the biggest action sports events in the world. The games are broken into seasons: the Winter X Games—held in January or February—and the X Games—usually held in August. The location of the Winter X Games is in Aspen, while the location for the Summer X Games is in Los Angeles through 2009. ESPN and the Aspen Skiing Company have reached an agreement that will keep the Winter X Games in Aspen/Snowmass through Winter X Games 16 in 2012. The announcement was made one day prior to the official start of Winter X Games 13, the eighth straight Winter X Games held at Buttermilk, one of Aspen-Snowmass' four ski mountains.
Winter X Games originally rotated on a regular basis. The inaugural event was held in Snow Summit Mountain Resort, Calif. (1997), then it moved to Crested Butte, Colo., for two years (1998-1999) before moving east to Mount Snow, Vt. (2000-2001). It has been in Aspen since 2002. As part of the new agreement, the Winter X Games will remain in Aspen/Snowmass for a total of 11 consecutive years (2002-2012).
Since Winter X Games Six in Aspen (2002), the event has seen significant growth: attendance has nearly doubled; the event is now live on ESPN and ABC; SportsCenter is now televised live on site; and a multitude of ESPN media platforms regularly cover the event. Last year’s telecasts garnered record viewership, averaging 863,000 homes, up 17% from 2007.
Concurrent with competition was the "X Fest" sports and music festival, which offers live music, athlete autograph sessions and interactive elements.
The X Games also has international competitions and demos around the world that are held at varying times throughout the year.

Monday, January 26, 2009

ChilloutRiding

The four largest cable car companies and winter sports regions in Switzerland – Zermatt, Engadin St. Moritz, Davos Klosters and Jungfraubahnen – have joined forces and are promoting the ChilloutRiding initiative.

What’s ChilloutRiding?
ChilloutRiding means consciously relaxing, enjoying nature and having fun while skiing and snowboarding. Feel good together with your friends and family in the snow-world in the wonderful mountains. ChilloutRiding encourages this new mind-set; mountain railways, tourist organizations, hotel businesses, ski schools and rental shops are all backing the initiative together. Michèle Misteli words, a Snowsports Instructor in Engadin, represents the spirit: "I’m chill. I enjoy life and winter sports to the full. I appreciate the magnificent winter landscape, skiing, and moving. I’m alive, feel good, and I’m cool with ChilloutRiding".
"The ChilloutRiding initiative supports skiers and snowboarders who along with their friends and family value memorable and enjoyable skiing experiences on our slopes" (Markus Meili, CEO Bergbahnen Engadin St. Moritz AG - Ariane Ehrat, CEO Tourismus Engadin St. Moritz).
"For ChilloutRiding we have prepared unique slopes and made other special arrangements. You can live exactly this type of genuine skiing and snowboarding pleasure. We’re forging a new path that will offer optimal conditions to everyone who comes to Davos Klosters for wellbeing and pleasure" (Marika Zanoletti, Sales & Marketing Davos Klosters Bergbahnen AG - Hans-Kaspar Schwarzenbach, Direktor Davos KlostersTourismus).
Zermatt Bergbahnen AG is releasing a total of four pistes for ChilloutRiding: two in the "Sunegga paradise" area (easy run and standard), one in the Gornergrat area (Rotenboden) as well as the Kuhbodmen piste in the Matterhorn glacier paradise. The aim, according to CEO Christen Baumann, is to ignite a shift in attitude with this positive campaign. Baumann continues: "Families in particular want to be able ride such slopes".
In an interview with Zermatt Tourism, former alpine skier Pirmin Zurbriggen also made very positive statements about the ChilloutRiding idea: "People are thinking they need to show off are wrong. On public slopes, it is important that fun is the focus and that people don’t go beyond their limits".

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Overall Results of the Nissan Russian Adventure

Placing 3rd both days of the competition, the consistency of Sverre Liliequist (SWE) pays off. This situation is a bit unusual for him as we have seen in the past; his powerful, aggressive ‘Viking’ style often causes him to fall. His intelligent line choice revealed his extreme agility on various terrains. Aurelien Ducroz (FRA) just missed the top of the podium with only one tenth of a point difference; these are the closest results ever for the Freeride World Tour.
This story of consistency was almost the same for Cyril Neri (SUI), as he placed 2nd and 4th; this proves he really studied his options to take the most impressive and smooth lines that played into his style of riding. This victory is undeniably thanks to his rich experience.
Jess McMillan (USA) is the undeniable winner of this competition with her fast and aggressive lines. Elyse Saugstad (USA) unfortunately fell when landing an impressive jump; she will get her chance to defend her title of World Champion on her home mountains in Squaw Valley USA.
Aline Bock (GER) is undoubtedly the revelation of this first stage of the Freeride World Tour. She broke away from the traditional runs integrating numerous jumps thanks to her début as a freestyler. Gaining confidence from this first victory, she will certainly continue to impress everyone throughout the season.

Final results, Nissan Russian Adventure 2009

Ski Men
: 1.-Sverre Liliequist (SWE); 2.-Aurelien Ducroz (FRA); 3.-Thibaud Duchosal (FRA)
Snowboard Men: 1.-Cyril Neri (SUI); 2.-Xavier De Le Rue (FRA); 3.-Alex Coudray (SUI)
Ski Women: 1.-Jess Mc Millan (USA); 2.-Ane Enderud (NOR); 3.-Marja Persson (SWE)Snowboard Women: 1.-Aline Bock (GER); 2.-Charlotte Hagen (NOR); 3.-Nathalie Zenklusen (SUI).

Video: Nissan Riders Award - Sochi 09 - Ski Men - Aurelien Ducroz

Freeride World Tour kicks off in Sochi

The 2009 Freeride World Tour (FWT) kicked off in Rusia last tuesday. The Nissan Russian Adventure is taking place at the ski resort Krasnaya Polyana in the Western Caucasus. Krasnaya Polyana is the host of the alpine and nordic ski events of the 2014 Winter Olympics with Sochi as host city. Sometimes called the "Russian Courchevel", Krasnaya Polyana is the most sophisticated ski and snowboard resort in Russia, located just 45 minutes from the Black Sea, and well known as one of President Putin’s favourite holiday resorts. It is also famous for awesome heliskiing in the spectacular Caucasus mountain range.
The contest is organised by renowned Russian extreme skier Nikolay Veselovskiy, who is also chief heliskiing operator in the area and pioneer of heli-skiing in Kamchatka. For the qualifying run the contest will take place at the actual Krasnaya Polyana Mountain very accessible for the public. The final run with 22 riders will be held on another peak with heli access. The exact peak will be determined depending on where the best snow conditions are to be found. The snow quality is quite unique in the area as the great proximity of the sea produces a characteristic snow that sticks to the steepest angles.
The lastest snow report confirmed more than 2m of fresh snow at the top and great skiing conditions for the Freeride World Tour launch!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009 Freeride World Tour

The Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi (Russia, 20-25 Jan) will launch the 2009 Freeride World Tour (FWT) in January, followed by the Nissan Tram Face in Squaw Valley (USA, 27 Feb-5 Mar) and the Nissan Freeride in Tignes (France, 8-14 Mar). The final contest will take place in Switzerland with the mythical Nissan Xtreme 09 in Verbier (20-29 Mar). This winter, the Freeride World Tour has a prize purse of $250,000, the highest sum ever to be paid in ski or snowboard freeride contests.
40 qualified top riders and a selection of wild cards will be riding in each of the first three 2009 Freeride World Tour events. Only the Top 10 riders of the 2009 Freeride World Ranking after the event in Tignes (8 men and 2 women) will then be qualified for the Grand Final at the Nissan Xtreme, Verbier 09.
Freeriding’s roots stem from extreme skiing, and is a term coined in the 1970’s to describe "skiing steep slopes in wild terrain". The first contest in the discipline was the "World
Extreme Skiing Championships
" in Alaska, starting in 1991. This legendary contest encouraged snowboarders to organize their own equivalent events the following year, which developed into the mythical "King of the Hill" in Alaska. These events inspired a number of freeride contests around the world. Notably, the Xtreme in Verbier which is now beginning its 14th year in 2009, and considered as the most prestigious of them all. Up until 2008, the joint participation of
skiers and snowboarders already existed in individual contests but their union in a professional world tour was a new idea, a premiere and a success!. "The fact that 100% of the top ranked riders from 2008 have confirmed their participation for this year is really a measurement of success for the Freeride World Tour. We feel that the progression of the sport is strong. With the extensive support of our main partner Nissan, new partners joining in and top resorts like Sochi, Squaw Valley USA, Tignes and Verbier hosting our contests, we are attracting more and more attention of the public, the media and the industry", said Nicolas Hale-Woods (SUI), founder and organizer of the Freeride World Tour.





Friday, January 23, 2009

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Cortina d'Ampezzo

Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Cortina d'Ampezzo with three events. Two Downhill races (one of them replaces Lake Louise) will take place on Friday and Saturday and the Giant Slalom on Sunday's. Due to weather conditions the Super G scheduled yesterday has been cancelled. The races will take place on the marvellous Olimpia delle Tofane slope.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the most charming ski resorts in Italy. Located near the north-eastern border with Austria, and surronded by the imposing peaks of the Tofana, the Monte Cristallo and the Sorapis Dolomites, Cortina is known as the "Regina delle Dolomiti". The resort is part of the Dolomiti Superski Ski Paradise. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200 kilometres of maintained pistes served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket. Cortina offers, with the purchase of a Valley Skipass, the chance to ski in the skiing area Cortina d'Ampezzo, Auronzo-Misurina and San Vito di Cadore with a total of 140 kilometres of pistes served by 51 lifts and linked by buses. Snowmaking was increased to cover 95 per cent of the slopes.
This winter a new chairlift and a new ski trail links up Giau with Falzarego thus connecting the Giau and 5 Torri ski areas with Alta Badia and creating the new Averau Troi ski circuit with its route around the Averau mountain.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the twelve resorts belonging to the european association "Best of the Alps", which get together the most exclusive and well known destinations in the Big Five Europe's Alpine countries.

Kitzbühel hosts the Men´s Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup

The 69th International Hahnenkamm Race will be staged in Kitzbühel from today Friday 23 to Sunday 25. Four events of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup will take place in the Tyrolean resort: Super G, the famous Downhill on the Streif one of the most demanding runs of the FIS downhill calender, Slalom and Combined. With a total prize money purse of 550,000 Euros and nearly 80,000 spectators expected during the weekend, the Hahnenkanmm races are by known as the most prestigious during the World Cup season. The Kitzbühel races are part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).
Kitzbühel is one of Austria's best known and fanciest winter sport resorts. The city is situated along the river Kitzbühler Ache, and the car free historic centre is spectacular with cobbled streets and lovely medieval buildings.The Kitzbühel Ski Paradise located at 800 meters above sea level, is conveniently embedded in the Kitzbüheler Horn, Bichlalm and Hahnenkamm mountain ranges offering 55 modern lifts, managed by the Bergbahn AG Kitzbüheland, serving 170 kilometres of ski runs (91 kilometres snow-covered) for all levels and abilities and 33 kilometres of signed ski routes.
The Hahnenkamm-Race is one of the highlights of the annual ski-racing calendar. Over 40 TV stations cover the race and it is a priceless event that captivates even those who do not usually follow ski racing. Only the best win on the hardest Downhill in the world. The names of past winners read like a who’s who of ski racing, from Killy, Sailer, Schranz and Collombin, to Klammer, Read, Zurbriggen, Heinzer, Aamodt, Strobl, Maier, Eberharter, Walchhofer, Rahlves and Cuche. This year the Hahnenkamm celebrates its 50th Anniversary of TV-Broadcasting. In 1959 the first live-shots from the Race were broadcasted.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fresh Snow Falls Bringing Powder Top Up To The Alps

Skiinfo reports that after a dry and sunny start to the year in large parts of Europe, large snowfalls have returned to the Alps, and continued in the Pyrenees. North America is experiencing unusually warm and unusually cold temperatures on west and east coasts respectively and there’s been heavy snow in Scandinavia, plus all five Scottish ski areas are open today for the first time this winter.
Heavy snow is dumping down in France, where Skiinfo released 43 powder alarms to subscribers on Tuesday – the free service that alerts Skiinfo users when fresh snow is falling to excess in their favourite resorts. It’s good news for resorts like Chamonix which has been blessed with a great base from pre-Christmas falls but had not seen any fresh powder for nearly three weeks since New Year. The biggest snowfalls have been in the North Alps (up to 50 cm/20 inches) at resorts including Châtel and Avoriaz. The latter is claiming the biggest accumulation in the country over the past week with 55cm, (nearly two feet) of fresh powder. The good snowfall has led to high visitation numbers according to Laurence Girard, manager of the Taninges - Praz de Lys - Sommand tourist office who told skiinfo.com, "This year we’re benefiting from an exceptional quality and quantity of snow and conditions have been perfect since the end of November. The resort has seen excellent visitor numbers, the best for December and January for a long time".
In Switzerland it’s resorts in the French-speaking west of the country that have seen the best of the new snow although there has been plenty of fresh across most of the nation with the Flims Laax Falera - Alpenarena reporting 28 cm (11 inches) of new snow. Anzère has claimed the most new powder with 55 cm (22 inches) whilst Les Crosets, lift-linked over the border to the afore-mentioned avoriaz on the Portes du Soleil pass, has 40cm (16 inches). Zermatt reports the most snow with 660cm (22 feet) on Europe’s highest ski slopes.
There were ten PowderAlarms in Austria on Tuesday with the Montafon Silvretta area posting the most fresh powder with 60cm (24 inches). Other beneficiaries include Solden with 36cm (14 inches) Lech Zürs with 20cm (eight inches) of new snow, St. Anton am Arlberg with 18cm (seven inches) and Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang both with 15cm (six inches). It’s still snowing in Austria and up to 40cm (16 inches) of fresh snow is expected through the current 24 hours.
Although it has warmed up a little recently, Germany to the north is reporting its coldest January to date for 22 years with average temperatures of minus 5.3 Celcius. Rolf Köberle of Kleinwalsertal Tourismus said, "Although there has been a lot of sunshine during the past few weeks, we’ve had the best conditions for winter sports. Last night the snow started falling again making the valley a dreamlike winter scene and bringing up to 35cm (14 inches) of fresh snow".
Italy has also had some healthy snowfall, especially in the Alps, with Skiinfo.com issuing dozens of powder alarms for the country. Passo Rolle and San Martino Di Castrozza both reported 50cm (20 inches) of new snow yesterday with Aprica , Bardonecchia and Livigno also adding more than a foot (30cm) to their bases. Arabba still has the most snow in the country with 480cm (16 feet) on upper slopes. The FIS cancelled training in Cortina D’Ampezzo for world cup racing later this week due to the heavy snow, they hope that training will be possible tomorrow and that the races will go ahead as planned.
The extreme conditions have led to more deaths in Europe with four Italian climbers dieing on the French side of Mont Blanc following a thousand metre fall, they were the latest to die after four other climbers died in two separate incidents at Chamonix the previous week. A young woman died in Val d’Isere after falling in to the resort’s river after getting dis-oriented and in Spain a 24 year old man died in an avalanche whilst snow shoeing in mountains close to Madrid, the first avalanche death ever recorded in the area.
It’s still snowing in the Pyrenees continuing the great season for Andorra, Spain and the French Pyrenean ski areas. Baqueira Beret (Attached picture) on the Spanish side which has some of the greatest snow depths in the region (225cm/7.5 feet) reported another 20cm (eight inches) of snow yesterday. Sierra Nevada has Spain’s greatest snow depth with 350cm (nearly 12 feet).
In Eastern Europe conditions are continuing to look up with Bansko announced as the replacement venue for the cancelled World Cup races from St Moritz. Snow conditions are reported to still be good in the Czech and Slovak Republics despite warmer weather bringing rain to lower slopes (Snow on the higher ones) with more than 230 ski areas operating across the two countries. Maximum snowfall has been 10cm (four inches) over the past week with the deepest snow at Chopok in the Low Tatras in Slovakia (180cm/six feet). A long Polish holiday period has started which the two countries hope will boost business which was slow in January.
In Scandinavia there have been huge snow falls in the eastern and southern part of Norway this week, resulting in over 20 powder alarms in the last two days. It has been snowing a lot in the country’s capital Oslo the last two days bringing a snow depth of 40cm (16 inches) to the city’s streets,very good news for ski resorts close to the city. In Sweden after a really warm period there has been more snow, with up to 19cm (eight inches) reported snowfall in the last days in 15 resorts across the country with the most snow in Tandådalen and in Kittelfjäll with 15cm (six inches). The forecast for the weekend promises even more snow so good powder conditions for the weekend.
To the west all five Scottish ski centres are open as heavy snow in Western Scotland allowed the two remaining centres yet to open for 2008-9 – Glencoe and Nevis Range – to open for the first time. A glencoe spokesman said, "Heavy snow over the last couple of days has improved the overall situation on the mountain. All runs are now complete although some are narrow in places".
In North America very low temperatures across the east have been the norm, witnessed by all the warm winter clothing at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony. Further north that meant that temperatures hit -40F below in Maine, and in Ohio -27F was reported to be the lowest recorded temperature for more than 35 years. At Bolton Valley ski area in Vermont the lifts were closed on Friday evening for fear skiers would freeze if there was malfunction.
To the north Canada’s snow season continues to be largely good with Banff reporting another 30cm (12 inches) fell in the past week taking depths well above 180cm (six feet). This marks something of a dividing line as Western North America has been experiencing very warm "Spring like" conditions with temperatures as high as +10C on the slopes in California and British Columbia. Heavy snow over the past months means this isn’t a complete disaster, yet, but a drop in temperature soon would be welcome.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pirena 2009

Last saturday 17 PIRENA 2009 started. Pirena is an international sleddog crossing-race and one of the most outstanding in the world. During 15 days (17-31 January) men and dogs will cross the Pyrenees, a natural border between Spain, Andorra and France, from West to East (Itinerary). In the magnificent frame La Partacua and the marvellous mountains of Telera and Tendeñera dominating the natural scenery in the Pyrenees of Aragon the 400 dogs and the 33 mushers started the way which will lead them to reach La Molina in fifteen days crossing an important part of The Pyrenees.
Pirena 2009– Grand Prix Affinity Advance is one of the races that count for the International Sled dog Sports Federation –IFSS- World Cup. Pirena also counts for the European Sled dog Racing Association –ESDRA- Europe Cup.
Pirena Director, Pep Parés, is the vice-president of the IFSS (International Federation of Sleddog Sports), where also is the Spanish responsible. With this responsibility, Pep Parés had started a campaign to collect signatures to make this sport recognised by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). This initiative had the support of a lot of people around the world. 37 countries from five continents have yet representation in the International Federation. The goal is to converting the mushing in an Olympic sport in 5 years.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Testing successfully completed at Whistler Olympic Venues

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) successfully completed its operational testing at the Nordic combined and cross-country Sport Events at Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Park, which ran from January 16 to 18. VANOC staff tested field of play, Games-time operations and trained potential Games-time volunteers over the course of two training days and three competition days. The venue will also host the ski jumping Sport Event from January 23 to 25.
"We have had very positive feedback from both the FIS cross-country and Nordic combined management teams that are here to assist us", said Tim Gayda, VANOC vice president, sport. "Though we had challenging weather the week prior to the events, we would have liked to have been pushed a little harder with the weather this week so that our workforce could test field-of-play operations with more snow — but the sunshine has certainly resulted in a spectacular event for both competitors and spectators".
Approximately 7500 spectators over three days enjoyed preview of 2010 Winter Games Nordic events.
A workforce of approximately 750 (600 volunteers and 150 VANOC staff) took part with many of those teams returning next weekend for the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup. The volunteer workforce included over 200 volunteers from outside of British Columbia who brought extensive Nordic event experience. From January 12 to the conclusion of the two World Cup events, more than 2,000 shifts were completed by Workforce.
Whistler Olympic Park. The compact, one-square-kilometre Olympic Games core area includes three separate stadiums (cross-country skiing, biathlon, ski jumping) located about 400 metres apart. Approximately 15 kilometres of Olympic competition trails for cross-country skiing and biathlon have been built and tested through the 2007-08 opening season. Vancouver 2010 Games will be the first time in Olympic history that all four Nordic disciplines (biathlon, ski jumping, Nordic combined, cross-country skiing) are occurring at the same venue.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Taking Sustainable Slopes to the Next Level

Judy Dorsey, founder of The Brendle Group, led a session at the NSAA Winter Conference and Trade Snow (Mount Snow, Vermont, Jan. 13-14) about options for improving sustainability in resort operations based on NSAA’s newly released guide "Taking Sustainable Slopes to the Next Level". During the session she focused on the continued greening of the ski industry through expansion of use of renewable energy, efficiencies in energy consumption, capturing and reusing waste heat, use of alternative fuels, recycling, and other environmentally friendly programs.

(Report by Roger Leo as published in the Mountain News)
"Ski resorts find themselves at a place of both opportunity and challenge where economic uncertainty, rising and fluctuating energy costs, concerns about climate change, and efforts to live more sustainably have moved to the forefront of public debate", Dorsey said. "While few industries are as vulnerable to climate change as the ski industry, resorts have already become a leading voice in battling climate change and other environmental issues and have the opportunity to reach millions of visitors annually", she said. "As the number of ski areas purchasing renewable energy credits has continued to climb, so has the number of resorts offsetting 100 percent of their electricity needs. To date, 68 resorts are now purchasing green energy for their operations through RECs and 34 of these are offsetting 100 percent of their electricity use with the RECs. These 34 resorts are collectively purchasing 343,459,000 kilowatt hours of green energy, resulting in the avoidance of 497,270,000 pounds of carbon dioxide", Dorsey said. "While these efforts are significant and commendable, rising energy costs and the consequences of climate change require continued leadership and bold steps. Most participants in the ski industry already realize that proactive environmental management is ultimately more cost-effective than compliance-based environmental management", she said. "As concerns over climate change grow and the cost of energy increases, resort operators are finding that investments in efficiency and reducing waste are not only good decisions for the environment, they are reaping rewards in terms of reduced operating costs. One of the most compelling reasons for resorts may be the immediate cost savings that result from using less energy, water and materials. By implementing a few relatively simple measures designed to reduce consumption of energy and other resources, resorts can save money on their bottom line that they can then reinvest in other longer-term conservation measures", Dorsey said.
Among the green projects she cited around the country were these: Jiminy Peak’s 1.5 million wind turbine, that can produce 4.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity, more than half the 7 million kilowatt hours Jiminy uses each season; Aspen’s 10.6-kilowat solar array on employee housing and a 150-kilowatt solar array in Carbondale; A 115-kilowatt micro-hydro plant at Snowmass which generates 150,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough to power 25 homes, while preventing the emission of half a million pounds of carbon dioxide.
She cited voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas emissions at various resorts, including at Grand Targhee, a founding reporter of The Climate Registry; Park City’s commissioning of the industry’s first comprehensive scientific study of global warming’s effect on the snow sports industry, and subsequent decision of reduce its carbon footprint by 3,000 tons – and then achieving a reduction of 4,000 tons; Attainment of carbon neutral status by Middlebury College Snow Bowl, which purchased carbon offset to compensate for nearly 680 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2006.
Judy Dorsey, that has been working with NSAA since 2000 on sustainability, concluded the session saying "economic hard times often create opportunity for change and innovation".

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jordan Manley won the Deep Winter Photo Challenge

Pro photographer Jordan Manley has proven his talents once again, winning the Deep Winter Photo Challenge, presented by ARC'TERYX for a second year in a row and receiving accolades for the ARC'TERYX Image of the Show. His photos ranged from close-ups of patrol dynamite to skiers bursting through powder filled trees to macro shots as intricate as a skier reflected in an icicle.
This year's pro photographer roster included snowboard photographers Crispin Cannon and Brian Hockenstein and ski photographers Andrew Bradley and Dan Carr. They wowed the crowd with fantastic slideshows that truly captured the essence of winter at Whistler Blackcomb. Cannon and Hockenstein placed second and third respectively winning $3,000 in prize money between the two of them. Their "a day in the life" themed slideshows were both entertaining and comical.
The judging line-up included iconic photographers Dano Pendygrasse, Paul Morrison and Eric Berger, as well as Tom Duguid of Arc'Teryx and Mike Berard, who is photo editor of SBC Skier Magazine and works at Origin Design. "The third annual Deep Winter Photo Challenge was another big success. Great photography and excellent slideshows entertained the sellout crowd", said Morrison, who won the first ever "King of Storms" title. "Jordan Manley proved to be a worthy winner once more. All the competitors worked extremely hard in tough conditions and deserve the thanks of everyone in attendance for five great presentations".
The Deep Winter Photo Challenge, presented by ARC'TERYX kicked off the GORE-TEX Deep Winter Experience, which continues until today January 18 and features avalanche awareness tours, Extremely Canadian clinics and 25 per cent discounts off all GORE-TEX outerwear. jackets.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Park City Mountain Resort Receives Top Environmental Honors

Park City Mountain Resort ended 2008 with recognition from numerous green advocate groups for its environmental initiatives. Most recently, the Resort received an Energy Star Business Certification for its Team Building as well as an "A" ranking from the Ski Area Citizens Coalition (SACC), and the Clif Bar Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Energy Conservation and Clean Energy. Park City Mountain Resort shares the honor of the 2008 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with its parent company, Powdr Corp.
"Park City Mountain Resort is overjoyed to be recognized with such prestigious awards for our work towards environmental sustainability", said Brent Giles, director of environmental affairs for Park City Mountain Resort. "Everyone from our team members to our guests has contributed to the success of the resort's environmental stewardship. The acknowledgement from these green leaders is a great indicator that the environmental work we do is a true step towards becoming more carbon neutral and we hope to continue to lead by example".
Since 2005, Park City Mountain Resort's environmental initiatives have reduced and offset 30 million pounds of CO2 emissions, reducing its carbon footprint by 97 percent.
"The annual energy consumption of a ski resort is substantial, and we have a responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint of our resorts to help preserve their pristine settings for generations to come", said Giles. "While this switch to renewable energy will be invisible to the guest, skiers and riders can enjoy peace of mind knowing that all of Park City Mountain Resort's electricity is now coming from 100 percent renewable sources".
This year, Park City Mountain Resort was ranked the most accessible mountain resort and a Top-five ski resort in North America by the readers of SKI magazine. Park City Mountain Resort, a ski and snowboard mountain resort is just 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport and located right in the heart of historic Park City, Utah.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee

Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup moves to Altenmarkt-Zauchensee for the World Cup Downhill and the Super Combination on the 17th and the 18th of January 2009.
Since 1980, Zauchensee has been home to many memorable World Cup races. The Worldcup Slope "Kälberloch" in Zauchensee is a technical very ambitious Race Track.
Zauchensee is the highest ski region in the Salzburger Sportwelt (skiing from 1.000 up to 2.200 m height). With its 9 ski resorts (Flachau, St.Johann/Alpendorf, Wagrain, Zauchensee-Flachauwinkl, Flachauwinkl/Kleinarl, Radstadt/Altenmarkt, Eben, Filzmoos, Goldegg), 99 lifts and 350 kilometres of pistes (140 blue, 170 red, 40 black), the Salzburger Sportwelt surpasses all your skiing expectations. Salzburger Sportwelt is the home of Hermann Maier, Andreas Schifferer, the successful snowboarding Riegler sisters and the ski legend Annemarie Moser-Pröll.
Zauchensee Ski Paradise is a member of the Ski Amadé, Austria’s biggest ski alliance: one ski ticket for 5 ski regions (Salzburger Sportwelt, Schladming-Dachstein, Gastein, Grossarltal and Hochkönig) with 860 km of slopes (280 blue, 483 red, 97 black) and 270 lifts. 80 percent of slopes (equal to about 690 kilometres) are serviceable by snowmaking equipment. The area is named in honour of the city of Salzburg´s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

79th International Lauberhorn Ski Race in Wengen

The 79th International Lauberhorn race takes place in Wengen (Switzerland) next weekend. As part of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup this is taking place from January 16th to 18th, 2009 with three events, a Super Combination, a Downhill and a Slalom races. The International Lauberhorn races are part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).
Wengen (1274 m) is a car free resort located on a sheltered, sun-soaked terrace, 400 metres above the picturesque Lauterbrunnen Valley. The fantastic surrounding scenery is dominated by the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau massif. The holiday destination of Wengen is situated in the in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, 18 kilometres from Interlaken, the Lakes of Thun and Brienz, and close to the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn. The Jungfrau Region Ski Paradise offers 45 lifts and 213 kilometres of pistes in three different ski areas: Grindelwald-First, Wengen (Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen) and Mürren-Schilthorn, with its revolving Piz Gloria Restaurant, made world-famous by the James Bond film On her Majesty's Secret Service offers 45 lifts and 213 kilometres of pistes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Record Low temperatures in the Alps

Skiinfo reports that the roller coaster of winter conditions that has brought a number of weather extremes to both Europe and North America since November shows know sign of relenting, with record low temperatures in the Alps the latest excess from Mother Nature.
Skiinfo’s French office reports the country has seen its lowest temperatures, below -20C at the greatest extreme, in the past week. "The country had not known such cold spell since winter 1996/1997" said Skiinfo’s Virginie Bernat, noting that the cold snap began in late November. The main beneficiaries of the latest snowfalls has been south Eastern France with resorts in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-maritimes all benefitting and even 20cm (eight inches) of snow at Marseille airport by the Mediterranean.
Cold weather has also been the order of the day in Austria and Switzerland, but with limited fresh snow allowing for sunny days on the slopes, some of which have been icy first thing because of the lows. Zermatt continues to offer spectacular conditions.
In Austria more than 90% of the country’s lifts, spread across more than 500 ski area, are open. The little fresh snow that has fallen can be measured in single figures, for example five centimetres (two inches) on the Kitzsteinhorm glacier above Kaprun. The Molltal glacier has the most snow with 330cm (11 feet).
Switzerland is currently staging the Burton European Open in Laax until 17th January with 400 boarders competing for $125,000 in prize money. The resort has had an inch of snow in the past week, Saas Fee a little more with 15cm (six inches). The greatest snow depth is at Zermatt with 650cm (22 feet) – probably the most in the world at present, up on their year round glacier ski area.
Of the snow that has fallen in Western Europe it was North Western Italy that saw some of the biggest falls in the past week with up to a metre of fresh accumulations. "In Piemonte the authorities closed the schools for after snowfall lasted continued for 48 hours on 7-8th January, followed by very low temperatures bringing dangerous driving conditions" reports Skiinfo’s Italy office. Arabba in the Dolomites continues to claim the deepest snow in the country with 480cm (16 feet) but Alagna is gaining ground, or snow to be precise, reaching 440cm (just under 15 feet).
Spain and Andorra continue to enjoy the best winter on the slopes for many years. Spain’s southerly Sierra Nevada has reached 350cm (nearly 12 feet) of powder snow and many resorts in the Pyrenees have more than two metres (nearly seven feet) of powder. Baqueira Beret leads the way with up to 225cm (seven and a half feet) on upper slopes. More snow is falling.
More than 100 athletes from 15 different countries are currently in La Molina for the 2009 IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Alpine Skiing World Cup competing in three different classes – sitting, standing and visually impaired.
In Eastern Europe it’s still a mixed picture although greatly improved from the conditions at Christmas. In the last week were about 100 ski areas were open in Slovakia and 70 in the Czech Republic with up to 120cm (four feet) of snow on upper slo[pes at higher areas, lower centres relying on artificial snow. The picture is similar in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia.
Slovakia joined the Euro at New Year and prices have been falling as the holiday period has finished. There‘s 80cm (nearly three feet) of snow in Vrátna and in Martinské hole there is new six seater chair-lift in operation. Business was up on last year in many slovak resorts, Mr. Kovalčík, manager of Kubínka hoľa ski centre commented, "we are the only ski resort in Slovakia which cut prices and therefore we have increase our customer numbers".
In Norway and Sweden a period of very cold weather with temperatures below -10C has ended and there have been higher temperatures at the start of this week. The temperature is going to drop again in coming days and new fresh snow is expected in many ski resorts, particularly in Western Norway. The glacier resort off Stryn has received the most snow of the past week, reaching 70cm (28 inches). "Many ski resorts in Norway have a high avalanche risk, so off piste is not recommended right now", said Jens-Andreas Løland , Skiinfo’s Oslo-based Norway Country Manager.
Scotland has suffered from a spell of warm, wet, windy weather which has decimated the snow at The Lecht and Glenshee, although Cairngorm still has half a dozen upper runs open and The Lecht has limited cover on their nursery slope. Forecast cold temperatures should improve things. On The West Coast Glencoe and Nevis range are yet to open for the winter.
In North America the heavy snowfalls in the West have eased although modt resorts continue top accumulate a few inches of fresh. It has been the turn of the East coast to benefit most in the past week though with up to a foot (30cm) of fresh powder in New England.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

La Molina Alpine Skiing World Cup

Since January 12 until January 15, over 100 male and female athletes from 16 different countries will be in La Molina for the 2009 IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Alpine Skiing World Cup competing in three different classes – sitting, standing and visually impaired. Competitions will include Giant Slalom and Slalom races. The 2009 IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in La Molina follows the successful IPC Alpine Skiing European Cups in Pitztal and Kuthai (Tirol, Austria), and is organized by the Federation Catalana Esports Minusvalids Fisics (FCEDF).
La Molina is located in the Spanish region of Catalonia in the Pyrenean Mountains and is the oldest ski resort in Spain founded in 1945. La Molina is part of the Alp 2500 Ski Domain together with Masella. The Alp 2500 combined skiing area is 121 km and 31 lifts. The resort is directly southeast Andorra and 175 kilometres from Barcelona’s International Airport.
The IPC is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, and serves as the International Federation for nine sports, for which it supervises and co-ordinates the World Championships and other competitions. The IPC is committed to enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and to developing sport opportunities for all persons with a disability from the beginner to elite level.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Edmund Hillary's first death anniversary

Sunday the 11th of January marks the first anniversary of the death of Sir Edmund Hillary.
Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest (8,850 metres), died of a heart attack at the Auckland City Hospital at the age of 88. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt.
Since his ascent, Sir Edmund has devoted his life to helping the Sherpas of Nepal's Khumbu region through the Himalayan Trust a non-profit organization set up by the New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. The organization is dedicated to improving the living conditions and economy of people living in the Himalayas. Although he will always be remembered for reaching the summit of Everest, his greatest satisfaction came with the Nepalese people he befriended. He explained: "My most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and clinics. That has given me more satisfaction than a footprint on a mountain" . He was made an honorary Nepalese citizen in 2003.
In a 2005 interview said: "My relationship with the mountains actually started when I was 16. Every year a group used to be taken from Auckland Grammar down to the Tangariro National Park for a skiing holiday (...) That was really the start of my enthusiasm for snow and ice and mountains in general. For a few years I skied whenever I could". He enjoyed skiing immensely, and when he was 50 years old, he decided to draw up a list of half a dozen things that he really hadn't done very well, and he was going to make efforts to improve. "One of them was skiing, and I did become a very much better skier".

Few Holidays To Whistler During The Olympics

Patrick Thorne reports Holidays in Whistler, British Columbia, are not available during the 2010 Olympic fortnight in February next year in the new editions of ski brochures published recently by the three biggest operators, Crystal, Inghams and Thomson.
The operators reported that sales were currently suspended during the Olympic period and were unsure if this situation might change closer to the event.
There may still be a chance to get on Whistler’s slopes during the Olympic period however. Ski Independence, who are officially, by volume, the largest UK tour operator selling Whistler said they, "Would never stop selling the resort".
"Our sales to Whistler are open throughout the 2009/2010 season and we will do our very best to accommodate clients before, during and after both the Olympic and Paralympics periods. For many, this will be a very exciting time to visit", said Managing Director, Michael Bennett.
All operators were keen to stress that most of Whistler Blackcomb’s huge ski area will be accessible before and during the Games and that package holiday sales resumed with holidays available to book now during the subsequent Paralympic Winter Games.
Over 90% of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains will be open to guests before and during the events. Only four runs on Whistler Mountain will be closed for races. With the newly opened Peak2Peak Gondola linking the two mountains, guests will be able to navigate around the mountains, making the most of their day before, during and after the Olympics. Off the slopes, visitors will be able to enjoy free festivals celebrating the best in British Columbia, Canadian and international arts and culture. These six live-site locations throughout Whistler’s village will feature aboriginal, classical and contemporary music, theatre, dance, film, literary, visual arts, street entertainment and more.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ski Utah Team Attempts to Ski All 13 Utah Ski Resorts in One Day

On Tuesday, a Ski Utah Team will attempt to ski all 13 Utah ski resorts in a single day. The mission will begin at Brian Head Resort in Southern Utah and will end 360 miles north at Beaver Mountain. To Ski Utah’s knowledge, this feat has never been accomplished before. Ski Utah did manage to ski 11 resorts in one day during the 2003-04 winter season, but this mission aims to break that record. The Ski Utah team will only require the use of a van and ski lifts in order to successfully complete the feat. "This attempt aims to demonstrate the incredible accessibility of Utah’s resorts", said Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. "The convenience of Utah resorts is becoming an equal strength to our world famous snow".

Ski Utah’s itinerary on Jan. 13, 2009 is as follows:

4:30 a.m.- Brian Head Resort
5:00 a.m.- Depart for Sundance
8:00 a.m.- Arrive and ski at Sundance Resort
8:30 a.m.- Drive to Deer Valley Resort
9:00 a.m.- Board Jordanelle Gondola and ski to Snow Park Lodge
9:30 a.m.- Drive to Park City Mountain Resort
9:55 a.m.- Arrive and ski at Park City Mountain Resort
10:10 a.m.- Drive to The Canyons Resort
10:25 a.m.- Arrive and ski at The Canyons Resort
10:55 a.m.- Drive to Little Cottonwood Canyon
11:45 a.m.- Board Snowbird tram and ski over to Alta
12:30 p.m.- Drive to Solitude
1:30 p.m.- Arrive at Solitude and ski to Brighton
2:10 p.m.- Drive to Snowbasin
3:30 p.m.- Arrive and ski Snowbasin
3:50 p.m.- Drive to Wolf Creek Utah
4:10 p.m.- Arrive and ski Wolf Creek Utah
4:30 p.m.- Drive to Powder Mountain
5:00 p.m.- Arrive and ski Powder Mountain
5:15 p.m.- Drive to Beaver Mountain
6:30 p.m.- Arrive and ski Beaver Mountain

Utah is famous for having The Greatest Snow on Earth and some of the most accessible resorts in North America. In fact, seven resorts ranked in the top ten for access in the 2008 SKI magazine reader survey. The Ski Utah team will only require the use of a van and ski lifts in order to successfully complete the feat. This mission has been made possible with support from Utah’s 13 ski resorts and Whole Foods Market.
Ski Utah is the marketing firm owned and operated by the 13 statewide ski resorts that make up the Utah Ski and Snowboard Association. The organization has been creating brand awareness of and demand for the Utah wintersports product since its inception in 1978.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Switzerland

The FIS Ski World Cup Adelboden on the Chuenisbärgli Mountain will take place on Saturday with the Giant Slalom and on Sunday with the Slalom. The event is officially recognised as one of the "Swiss Top Sport" events, and one of Switzerland's fourteen foremost sporting attractions. Adelboden is also part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).The holiday destination Adelboden-Frutigen is situated in the centre of the western Bernese highlands, 15 kilometres south lake Thun, and is one of the best ski resorts in Switzerland. In combination with the neighbour resort of Lenk offers 56 lifts and 185 kilometres of pistes with 60% of the slopes equipped with snowmaking facilities. A Ski Paradise with six different ski areas (Elsigen-Metsch, Engstligenalp, Tschentenalp, Chuenisbärgli, Adelboden Silleren-Hahnenmoos-Metsch Lenk, Betelberg) operated by 5 different companies (Lenk Bergbahnen, Bergbahnen Adelboden AG, Tschentenbahnen AG, Bergbahnen Engstlipenalp AG and Elsigenalpbahnen AG) in which every skier will find his or her ideal conditions (80.5 km of blue slopes, 83 km of red slopes and 21 km of black slopes).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 45th World Cup Golden Fox in Maribor

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Giant Slalom and Slalom races will take place on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 in Mariborsko Pohorje (Slovenia) a low mountain range whose highest peak reaches 1347 metres close to the city of Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city. You can reach the gondola that runs from the valley to the ski slopes by city bus. The ski resort offers three ski areas: Snow Stadium, Bolfenk and Areh with 40 kilometres of pistes connected by 21 lifts (1 gondola, 4 chairlifts and 16 drag lifts) with a transport capacity of 19,200 persons/hour. Snow making facilities and careful grooming guarantee 100 days of skiing, and when temperatures remain low enough, the trails are snow-covered all the way to the valley. The area is lit for night skiing, and its illuminated five kilometer ski run is the longest in Europe.
Slovenian best known ski centers world-wide are Kranjska Gora and Maribor. After the Golden Fox Trophy will have been finished on Sunday, the world's top alpine snowboarders will gather at 18.00. Next to the world champion Rok Flander also Sigi Grabner (Austria), Benjamin Karl (Austria), Jasey Jay Anderson (Canada), Matiew Morison (Canada), Gilles Jacquet (Switzerland, the former world champion and Slovenian team coach). The spectacle of the best snowboarders in the world will be spiced by the performers Murat & Jose. The snowboard show will be free of charge for the spectators. The monetary fund of the show will be as high as 7.000 Euros provided by the sponsor Raiffeisen bank.

U.S. Ski Resorts Tally Up Solid Holiday Visitation

Reports recently released from U.S. ski areas confirm what a previous study indicated: that skiers and snowboarders continue to hit the slopes in strong numbers despite current economic conditions. According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), a random survey of several dozen ski areas nationwide revealed that skiers and riders showed up in numbers similar to last season’s Holiday period, and in some cases, in record numbers. Some resorts are reporting visits up 40 percent over last year’s Christmas Holiday period.
Weather clearly seems to be a determinant, as some regions experienced challenging weather conditions during Christmas weekend, and as a result, report soft visitation. However, once conditions turned more favorable, skiers and riders came out in force. In the East, Massachusetts’ Jiminy Peak and Wachusett Mountain and New York’s Holiday Valley all report above average visitation figures. Jiminy says its overall visits are up 4 percent over last year, while Wachusett and Holiday Valley say visits are above their 5-year averages, up 12 percent and 35 percent respectively. Vermont’s Okemo Resort said its visits were up 7 percent over the same time period last season, and up 6 percent over its five-year average. In New Hampshire, Loon Mountain reports its visits were on par with last season, despite difficult weather events during Christmas.
In the South, Sugar Mountain, N.C., reports holiday visits up more than 40 percent over last year. In Minnesota, Welch Village reports that while post-Christmas visits were down from last year, the resort still experienced its third best Holiday period and set a new record for visits on Jan. 1.
Visits also appear to be strong in the West, with Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin, Powderhorn and Winter Park all reporting record-setting days. Vail Resorts, owner of Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail Mountain, and California’s Heavenly Resort, said it planned to release visitation numbers later in the week. In Utah, Park City reports visits tracked on pace with last year, thanks in part to its accessibility to an international airport. In California, Mountain High, just outside of L.A., reports visits up more than 40 percent over last year. Meanwhile Mammoth Mountain reports that while it went into the Holiday period behind last year’s figures, it finished December up 1 percent over the previous season.
This fall reported season pass sales across the nation were at record levels, while advance hotel bookings were reportedly soft for some destination resorts. But where there was early snow, resorts are reporting that skiers are coming out at, or in higher numbers than last year and above the 10 year average thus far.
An October survey of a national sampling of skiers and snowboarders showed that the total number of days they intended to hits the slopes tracked on pace with last year across every region of the country. More than half of surveyed consumers said they will seek out destinations closer to home. About 50 percent also indicated they will seek out more affordable lodging options and reduce the amount they spend on food and beverage during their trips. Many skiers and riders indicate they may shave off a day or two from their longest overnight skiing/snowboarding trip. Last year the U.S. ski industry set an all-time record 60.5 million skier and rider visits.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Snow For 2009 As Ski Resorts Celebrate Healthy Christmas and New Year

Skiinfo reports that many of the world’s ski resorts have had a snowy start to the New Year with temperatures dropping again and fresh snow in Western North America – where recent accumulations have been greatest, as well as once again the Pyrenees, Scandinavia and parts of the Alps. Even Belgium, England and Holland have seen up to 12cm (four inches) of snow enabling ski centres to open, attracting large crowds.
Although it is too early to be sure, many resorts in Europe and some in North America have reported business up on last year, most putting the success down to the great snow conditions and in many cases a boom in bookings from their local market with people opting to spend their Christmas or New Year in the mountains of their own country rather than travelling far. Among the beneficiaries have been Big White and Red Mountain in British Columbia who both report business up, and the world’s largest ski resort operator, the French based Compagnie des Alpes, which reported sales up 2.5% on the same period last year. Other resorts in France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland have so far reported increased business.
Of course if any resorts have suffered a downturn they are less ken to get the news out quickly! Whether up or down over New Year, January will perhaps be the most challenging month of the season and many bargains are to be had as a result. Lynsey Devon of tour operator Inghams notes that a growing pattern over very late booking, during the week before departure, has become the norm now Christmas is behind us.
Switzerland continues to offer some of the world’s snowiest slopes with another 40cm 16 inches falling on Zermatt over the past seven days. Disentis has 330cm (11 feet) of snow on upper slopes, Saas Fee 291cm (Just under 10 feet) and Andermatt 280cm (over nine feet).
Austria has had the smallest snowfalls of the main Alpine nations in the past week with Wildschönau and Sölden reporting the most with 15-20cm (6-8 inches). Best bases continue to be on the glaciers with 330cm (11 feet) on the Mölltaler and 239cm (eight feet) above Obergurgl-Hochgurgl.
In France temperatures are low and snow is still falling in both the Alps and Pyrenees, if not with the abundance seen before the New Year. It is expected to stay cold all week. The biggest beneficiaries of the past week have included Alpe d'Huez with 70cm (28 inches) of new snow and Morzine with 45 cm (18 inches).
In Italy again there has not been a repeat of the huge falls a month ago, but snow is still falling at a more usual rate. The Northern Italian provinces of Piemonte, Lombardia, Trentino and also Emilia Romagna have seen the most snow. Courmayeur was amongst the biggest beneficiaries with 45cm (18 inches) more powder in the past week. Cervinia reported another 40cm (16 inches). Italy continues to have some of the greatest snow depths in the world at present with 480cm (16 feet) at Arabba Marmolada and 400cm (over 13 feet) at Alagna in Monterosa.
In Andorra and Spain powder conditions continue with new snow falling since Tuesday (6th). It is very cold in the country at the moment but that hasn’t dampened spirits following one of the best ever Christmas seasons in Spain with resorts releasing reports showing a rise in visitor numbers compared to previous seasons. Sierra Nevada in the south has the most snow with three metres (10 feet) of snow depth. In the Pyrenees Formigal leads the way with two metres (nearly seven feet) deep snow on upper slopes.
In Norway there have been heavy snowfalls over the past week in Western and Central Norway, 11 ski resorts have received more than 50cm of fresh snow, with Vassfjellet receiving the most with 102cm of new snow. Bjorli has the best snow depth in the country at present with 250cm (over eight feet) accumulated whilst Voss, in the Inghams brochure, has the third most with 160cm (over five feet).
The central parts of Sweden, including the country’s leading resort of Åre got 30cm of fresh snow over the past week. There were two small avalanches there at the weekend but no one was injured and no property damaged.
Although the snow in Northern Europe caused traffic problems in Belgium and Holland, three ski slopes in the southern Belgium Ardennes region have opened (Elsenborn, Mont Spinette and Baraque Michel) with more centres hoping to open later this week. In Holland in particular a long period of sub-zero temperatures has led to a rare treat – the chance for people to enjoy the favourite Dutch sport of ice skating on frozen ponds and canals. Hopes are high that for the first time in 12 years it will be possible for enthusiasts to complete the 200km (125 mile) long "Elfstedentocht" - a tour between eleven cities in the country’s Northern province of Friesland. The last time the ice was thick enough for an Elfstedentocht to be completed was the January 4th, 1997.
Over the border in Germany there were big snowfalls too, especially on January 5th in central uplands like the Sauerland up to 30cm (a foot) of new snow fell.
In Eastern Europe, which had a poor start to the season, conditions have continued to improve and snow depths in Bulgaria’s main resorts are up at 60 – 120cm (two-four feet).
In Scotland four of the five ski areas are open, although at Nevis Range is just operating the beginner’s artificial surface slope. 5cm, (two inches) of new snow overnight has improved things but not enough for slopes to open. Cairngorm has the most to offer with a 600m+ vertical although you need to pick your route carefully towards the bottom. Glenshee has benefitted from snow making in the low temperatures.
In North America the heaviest snow of the past week has been falling in the north west of the continent, particularly in British Columbia and in US states like Oregon and Wyoming where accumulations of up to a metre (more than three feet) have been reported as the very cold weather has ended and weather fronts have moved in from the ocean. On the East Coast itr has not been so good with a warm spell bringing rain, however temperatures in most resorts are now back to the winter norm.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Ice Climbing World Championships return to Saas-Fee

From 22 - 24 January 2009 the world’s elite in ice climbing will be meeting once again in the glacier village of Saas-Fee. A good 100 athletes from 14 nations will be competing in the UIAA World Cup and World Championships as well as the Swiss Championships in ice climbing.
This is already the 10th time that the spectacular ice climbing competitions are being staged in Saas-Fee. An anniversary which the organisers can be particularly proud of since the aim was after all to put on a show of defiance in the face of global warming and the worldwide financial crisis. For the third time climbers will now be competing for the title of World Champion in the "lead" and "speed" disciplines. The World Championships will simultaneously be counting as the World Cup and Swiss Championships. The “lead” discipline involves a long, difficult climb with safety rope, reaching potential heights of up to 35m. Speed climbing, as the name suggests, involves top athletes climbing an approx. 15m high vertical ice wall in a time of around 13 seconds.
In the evenings the legendary ice climber parties will be extending from the depths of the Saas-Fee multi-storey car park (P10) to the foot of the competition ice wall. In addition, the competitions will be broadcast live to the party zone throughout the entire evening via large screens, with the highlights being shown later.
And even more action Nerves will be tingling with another showpiece. General members of the public as well as athletes in the competition will be practising on high and slack lines. A balancing act on a fixed plastic board 3cm wide and up to 16m long. This will be either stretched just above the ground or at a height of 10m. The objective is to balance along this “line” like an acrobat to reach the other end - an (almost) impossible task! A breathtaking game acting like a magnet and casting a spell over more and more people all the time.
The round tower of the 10 storey car park in Saas-Fee which enables the competitions to be held whatever the weather conditions, offers a marvellous backdrop for the audience. This means that every year the audience, a good 2,000 in all, can get a finger-tip view of the athletes from every floor of the car park’s spiral-shaped entrance ramp. Whilst deep below in the party zone the first guests are already getting their dancing shoes on and wildly celebrating the performances put on by the athletes.