Thursday, October 29, 2009

Heavy Snow in North America, More In The Alps, 30+ Resorts Now Open

Skiinfo is reporting heavy snow in western Canada and a week of fresh snowfalls in many northern hemisphere ski areas including Colorado, parts of the Alps and Japan.
With Kitzbuhel’s earliest ever opening at the weekend, following the Planai above Schladming the week before that, as well as seven glaciers areas to choose from, Austria continues to offer the biggest choice of skiing in the Alps. The heavy snowfall there last week has set up some great conditions with most areas reporting a 90-150cm (3-5 foot) base. The other ski centres to choose from include Dachstein, Hintertux, Molltal, Kitzsteinhorn (Kaprun), Pitztal, Solden, Stubai, Tux).
In Switzerland the latest ski area to open is Glacier 3000 above les Diablerets near Gstaad. Currently the Dôme ski lift and the snow park are open where there are several lines of a different level with tables, rails as well as boxes ready for use. The area joins the Engelberg, Saas Fee and Zermatt glaciers which are all already open.
Exciting news from Italy too as Bormio has announced it will open early from this weekend, Halloween, too and the country has reported some of the best new snow this week, Livigno, not yet open, noting more than 30cm of fresh snow accumulated. Bormio will run a cable car and a high speed chair serving 18km of slopes between 2,500m and 3,000m altitude. It joins Cervinia (20cm) which will now be open daily after weekend opening through October, and still open summer ski areas Passo Stelvio and Val Senales.
In France les 2 Alpes is open this week for its new festival week, but will close again on Monday for four weeks until opening for the winter on November 28th. It has 20m of snow, a little more than Tignes, the other French resorts that has now been open for six weeks this season but is currently suffering from a snow shortage and needs more.
In the Pyrenees there are no areas open yet but the first heavy snowfalls have been reported. Formigal (picture attached) in Spain has reported the first snow of the season on their ski mountain’s slopes. The 5cm dusting at Spain’s largest resort is a good sign for the coming season and forecasters are predicting a further 15cm tonight. The Pyrenees received some of the best snow in decades at many resorts last winter, and it all began in Autumn last year, so the region is hoping for a repeat of winter 08-09.
There are more than a dozen ski areas currently open in Northern Europe. Sweden currently has five ski areas to ski or board - Funäsdalen, Kåbdalis, Tänndalen, Tärnaby and Hemavan. Tänndalen is the only area that is open daily. The country’s biggest resort, Sälen, is waiting for colder temperatures along with all other resorts. One that is standing by is Åre as under the right conditions, temp, humidity, etc, Åre can produce a 50cm snow layer on its main down hill slope in just 150 hours. However Sweden needs colder temps to open new areas and the weather forecast don't look so promising for the rest of the week.
In Norway skiers have six different ski resorts to choose from the upcoming weekend. Gaustablikk and Bjorli opened already at 17th of October, and Gålå has announced their season starts this weekend. A ski season that starts in mid October is early, even in cold Norway, and this means that the first winter ski resort opened before the last summer ski resort closed (Galdhøpiggen Summer ski resort closed on 25th October). Kvitfjell, Trysil, Hafjell, Geilo, Kongsberg and Uvdal all aim to open on November 7th.
Several areas are also open in Finland, including the first to open there, Ruka.
In Western Canada the Canada Olympic Park near Calgary in Alberta is already open and resorts across Alberta and British Columbia have been reporting heavy snow falls ahead of planned opening dates in the next few weeks. The first due to open is Mount Norquay at Banff, which plans to open at weekends from this Saturday, Halloween weekend, onwards. Other resorts in the region including Nakiska and Marmot Basin, both of which have new quad chairlifts, as well as Sunshine mountain will open within the next few weeks. Resorts in British Columbia have been reporting heavy snow in recent days. "Sun Peaks Sports Director Alain Brunelle tested the powder up at Sun Peaks this morning. The last couple of days have brought 40cm of snow, bringing the base at Sun Peaks to 70cm. More storms are on the way, with snow expected Wednesday night, Thursday, and Saturday this week", resort spokeswoman Melanie Simmons told Skiinfo. Fernie and Marmot Basin have also reported big snowfalls.
In the east of the Country Mont Saint Sauveur in Quebec was the first to open, thanks in part to an expanded snowmaking system, but has since had to close again because of warmer weather.
South of the border resorts in US, Colorado and Utah are amongst those announcing fresh snow. In the case of Loveland, Colorado, which has already been open for three weeks, that means more new terrain has opened as a "Halloween treat" for its guests. Its neighbours, Copper and Keystone plan to open within weeks. Arapahoe Basin remains open although there’s no beginner terrain at the moment. Anothere two inches (5cm) of snow has fallen there is the past 24 hours and there’s an 18 inch (45cm) base mid mountain). Three runs including Ramrod are now open along! Visit the High Divide Terrain Park with 5 features. On the east Coast Sunday River in Maine remains open with the resort’s full vertical skiable with two weeks of the season clocked up so far.
In the southern Hemisphere New Zealand’s Mt Ruapehu is about to open its ‘Snovember’ opening schedule. Turoa reports a base toll at over 2.4m (8 feet) so it’s anyone’s guess how long it can stay open, but the current plan is for another few weeks at least. The centre has re-opened for Christmas in recent years and more snow is expected in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ski production at Fischer now with 100% renewable energy

The Fischer Sports Group has generated the entire thermal energy for production and heating at the Ried location by a biomass plant since 2001. Ski production at the Mukachevo plant (UKR) has now also been changed over to renewable energy. This makes Fischer the first and only ski producer in the world to attach such great importance to environmental aspects.
Fischer has been committed to renewable energy from sustainable sources for many years. The latest investment is the doubling of the thermal energy generated from biomass at the ski production plant in Ukraine. The biomass plant for the generation of thermal energy went into operation just in time for the cold winter period and the opening of the skiing season. The Fischer plant now produces 5.5 MW of thermal energy. The Ukraine plant was built using state-of-the-art engineering and features the necessary filter systems. This represents a major contribution from Fischer towards achieving the Kyoto environmental objectives.
The Ukraine location currently has a workforce of 950 people producing a total of around 700,000 pairs of Alpine and cross country skis for the global market.
Fischer today ranks among the high-tech companies in the ski branch. Many top-level athletes place their trust in Fischer's yellow equipment and the experience that goes into it. Since 1976 almost half of the Olympic medals in the Alpine and Nordic disciplines have been won with Fischer skis. Supported by a successfully implemented reengineering process, the company has a sound financial structure and looks forward to the future with great optimism.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Snowcarbon website launched

A new website has launched with the aim of encouraging more people to travel by train to ski resorts. Snowcarbon is an independent website dedicated to helping skiers and snowboarders reach ski resorts by train from the UK.
The site which was founded by two respected national travel journalists, Daniel Elkan and Mark Hodson.
With a clean, simple design, the site features 30 resorts in Andorra, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, all of which can be conveniently, quickly and cheaply reached by train.
You can book your rail tickets on Snowcarbon. The booking forms on this site have been created for Snowcarbon by Eurostar, Rail Europe and Deutche Bahn to make it easier for you to book rail travel to ski destinations. When you click through from snowcarbon to make a booking, the enquiry and transaction takes place on the rail company's site, but snowcarbon receives a small commission.
Snowcarbon also features independent resort reviews written by leading ski journalists, as well as a sophisticated Resort Finder and unique email alerts that send users an email reminder on the day the lowest fares are available for their journey.
The site aims to encourage skiers and snowboarders to abandon increasingly stressful and expensive journeys by air in favour of the train. The environmental benefits are huge: the carbon footprint of a trip by plane to a ski resort is typically 10 times greater than the equivalent rail journey.
If more skiers chose the train, the environmental benefits would be significant. According to the Agence De l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie (a French government agency), 73% of a typical ski resort’s carbon footprint is made up by the journeys of tourists take to get there.
The rail journeys detailed are comfortable and stress-free. Couples, groups and families will love the space and freedom on board, and children under four travel for free on all UK and European trains. With vistas of lakes and mountains, the scenery is spectacular and by travelling overnight in a couchette, you can get two extra days on the slopes.
Many resorts have mainline railway stations – including St Moritz in Switzerland, St Anton in Austria and Chamonix in France – so the transfer from train to ski accommodation takes only a few minutes. Some resorts can be reached directly from London without a change of train, including Tignes, Meribel and Courchevel.
Surveys suggest that skiers and snowboarders are keen to take the train, but don’t have the necessary information or encouragement. A survey in 2005 by the Ski Club of Great Britain found that 68% of its members would prefer to travel to resorts by train.
A comparison of a door-to-door journey between London and Sauze d'Oulx, Italy, booked 5 weeks in advance, found the flight took 10 hours, rail travel 11 hours, 30 minutes. The flight costs £217 (including train to Gatwick, minibus transfer to resort, luggage charges), the train £178 (including private taxi transfer to resort, Metro fare in Paris). The carbon footprint for the flight was 96.8kg CO2, train 11.1kg CO2 (Car would be 227.1kg CO2 per car, by Eurotunnel).

Monday, October 26, 2009

St. Anton VIP Opening Prize

On Friday 27th November, St. Anton am Arlberg starts the ski season after 200 days of skiing abstinence.
With a celebratory programme and an unforgettable experience for one lucky winner, the season 2009/2010 kicks off. The winner of this VIP Opening Prize will exclusively open the season in St Anton am Arlberg, by drawing the coveted "First Line" in the skiing area. The lucky winner will exclusively take the Galzigbahn on the morning of the 27th November, champagne and canapés will be served and he or she will then carve the first turns down the untouched, virgin Kandahar piste accompanied by the St Anton ski legend, Karl Schranz. As soon as the season forerunner arrives back in the valley and completes the last turn of the downhill premiere, the ski enterprise will then be open for everyone.
The winner of the VIP Opening Weekend prize should consider who his best ski friends are because, as well as the "First Line", the prize includes three night’s accommodation for four persons in a 4-star hotel including half-board. In addition to this a two-day ski pass for all four, as well as lunch in the Galzig Verwallstube, the highest-altitude Gault Millau graded restaurant in Europe, are included. To make the journey to the resort and the long weekend more comfortable Audi will provide you a 4-wheel-drive car. By the way, everyone can be present at the draw for the winning ticket: simply check online on Tuesday, 27th October at 8.45 a.m. under www.stantonamarlberg.com.

Kitzbühel Opens

The 2009-10 skiing season began in Kitzbühel, in the region Pass Thurn - Resterkogel, on 24 October - earlier than ever before. The low temperatures combined with ultra-modern snow-making facilities and almost a metre of new snow mean that skiing is already possible in Kitzbühel, two months before Christmas.
It's the second year in a row the 80 year old ski area has broken it's earliest-opening record, opening two months earlier than usual.
The heavy snow fills skiers with enthusiasm and forms a good basis for this season. Although the geographical location of the Kitzbüheler Alpen means that snowfall is very heavy here every winter, skiing in October is nevertheless a first in the 80-year history of the Kitzbühel cable cars. From 24 October, Kitzbühel ski resort will be open at weekends and from 28 November, it will be open daily. All 7 of the ski resorts in the Kitzbüheler Alpen have received plenty of fresh snowfall already and are ideally equipped for the coming winter.
Kitzbuhel is often referred to as a ski area likely to suffer from global warming but it has produced figures showing snowfall averages have not declined and it keeps opening earlier each winter season.

FIS Alpine Ski Champions Cup (Moscow Parallel Slalom)

The FIS Alpine Ski Champions Cup in Parallel Slalom will take place in Moscow (RUS) on 21st November 2009. For the second consecutive year, the Russian Ski Association will host an Alpine Ski competition in the city of Moscow.
"After the highly successful First Edition on 2nd January 2009, we look forward to the 2nd FIS Alpine Ski Champions Cup. The event will now be held earlier in the season, on 21st November, which we believe is a great timing for promotional purposes. This year's competition is more focused on the slalom specialists and we are proud to welcome 11 of the top 14 male racers to Moscow", stated Günter Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director for Alpine men. "The Moscow event has developed an excellent standing in a short time. Only some leading all-round skiers have chosen to skip it to focus on preparation for the Olympic season and their heavy racing schedule with the men's FIS Alpine World Cup downhill and super-G taking place in Lake Louise (CAN) the following week. We will do our utmost to prepare excellent race conditions and hope for great weather for 21st November", added Hujara.
"The first ladies' Champions Cup promises to be an excellent event: led by last year's slalom World Cup winner, we will see a strong field and the athletes and coaches are all very excited. This is a great result despite the fact that there is a technical event the weekend before and after Moscow in the ladies' Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup", commented Atle Skaardal, FIS Chief Race Director for Alpine ladies. "The refined format, a one pole Parallel Slalom in a knock-out format, is bound to deliver a great show".
This year, the event will be held at the Moscow State Palace of Children's and Youth's Creativity. Located not far from the last event's venue (Moscow State University Square), the new ramp area will offer a wider range of facilities for all participants, from athletes, FIS officials, to guests and spectators. The new venue will be known as the Moscow Grand Ramp Arena. This year's ramp will be 60 meters high and 35 meters wide, with the total length of the slope about 200 meters.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

LG Snowboard FIS World Cup & FIS European Cup in Saas-Fee

A total of 26 nations have registered for the races in Sass-Fee, 23 of them for the European Cup and 25 for the World Cup. Around 170 riders have now registered for the European Cup and more than 130 for the World Cup. Amongst the registered riders are such leading names as Sergio Berger and Iouri Podladtchikov from Switzerland, Janne Korpi (2008 winner in Saas-Fee) and Antti Autti from Finland, Mathieu Crepel (FRA), Torah Bright (AUS) and Kazuhiro Kokubo (JAP). Korath Wright who is the sole representative of Team Bahamas has also registered for the event once again and they are all looking to score points for the Olympic Games in Vancouver 2010.
Since the competitions in Saas-Fee are amongst the few that will be taking place before the Games the goal of the athletes from 27 October in the Freestyle Park Allalin will be to "put their foot down" and give the perfect performance. By contrast, preparations have almost been completed for the perfect pipe. For weeks now the Park Team in the Freestyle Park Allalin (3‘300 metres above sea level) has been working ‘flat out’ in order to provide the teams with a super competition area once again in 2009. In parallel with the competition pipe the training pipe is once again available for use by and open to everyone prior to and during the racing. This form of double pipe which Saas-Fee has now been making available to the athletes during the World Cup and the European Cup for the third year in a row remains a highlight in the World Cup circus: no waiting times between the rides, so the riders can also practice a few tricks
during the competitions and the crowd and fans will have the opportunity to hurtle through the pipe side by side with their stars.
For the first time this year Roxy/Quiksilver will be providing a varied party programme during both competitions! There will be movie nights, DJ rotations (with Fredy K), poker nights and fashion shows. Six action-packed party nights will be held in the Livingroom or in the Popcorn bar altogether. And there will certainly be a chance to meet one or the other top rider here as well.

CDA Group Sells Stake in Saas Fee Bergbahnen

SwissAlp SA, a wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary of Compagnie des Alpes (CDA), concluded a memorandum of understanding on October 21, 2009, with a group of buyers headed by the municipality of Saas Fee. The buyers include the municipality, local business leaders, and an individual investor, Edmund Offermann. This memorandum of understanding covers the sale for €10.4 million of the entire stake SwissAlp SA (41.6%) in Saas Fee Bergbahnen (SFB), the operating entity of the Saas Fee ski area in the canton of Valais (Wallis), Switzerland.
CDA became a shareholder of SFB in 2001 through participation in a capital increase, and raised its stake from 35% to 41.6% (2007) via share purchases. CDA has fully consolidated SFB since February 2007. CDA contributed actively to the financial restructuring of SFB and to its development and governance by sharing its proven expertise.
CDA considers that, given the current shareholder structure, its presence as an industrial operator no longer offers the same potential upside as before, which is why it has decided to sell its shareholding.
The transaction will be carried out under very favorable terms for CDA, providing a net gain of € 1.5 million for the 2009-2010 financial year. In addition, the sale will lower CDA debt by € 35 million, including € 25 million off the balance sheet at September 30, 2009.
Dominique Marcel expressed his enthusiasm for this agreement, "…Which is very satisfying for CDA and which meets the desires of the municipality of Saas Fee. The disposals of our Verbier shareholdings in July, SMVP in September, and now Saas Fee provide tangible proof of the active management of our business portfolio, as announced at the end of 2008".

1st Winter Youth Olympic Games: Innsbruck 2012 on track

The Coordination Commission of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games concluded its first visit to Innsbruck last Wednesday. Ten months after the announcement of the host city on 12 December 2008, the Innsbruck Organising Committee (IYOGOC) has established all the foundations necessary to stage the Games in 2012. "We are impressed with the progress of preparations and the quality of the venues to be used for the Youth Olympic Games. IYOGOC is very much on track with the involvement of all local authorities through the Olympia Forum Tirol", said Gian-Franco Kasper, Chairman of the Coordination Commission, at the end of the visit.
The Coordination Commission had the opportunity to visit all venues in Innsbruck and Seefeld that will stage the 63 events in seven sports.
IYOGOC presented its updated Youth Olympic Village concept which defines the location of dining facilities and services for NOC delegations at Innsbruck Congress Centre alongside the Culture and Education Programme (CEP) activities. The members of the Coordination Commission are convinced that this combination of facilities will foster a sociable and highly interactive atmosphere where athletes will be able to live together and learn in optimal conditions.
The Organising Committee presented its initial CEP concept and how it intends to reach out to young people both digitally and physically through partnerships such as Tirol Marketing Service. "The Youth Olympic Games shall be a great experience not only for the athletes, but also for the whole Tyrolean community", said Tyrolean Vice-Governor Hannes Gschwentner.
One of the greatest challenges faced by IYOGOC will be the timely construction of the apartment buildings that will constitute the residential zone of the Youth Olympic Village. The project will require close monitoring and collaboration between the Organising Committee and the developers to ensure that construction and planning are well integrated.
"Presentations were of a high standard and we have the feeling that our partners in Innsbruck have well understood the mission entrusted to them. With only two years to go before the opening of the Games, we will have to keep up both pace and vigilance with regards to preparations", concluded Gian-Franco Kasper.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games will be a 10-day multi-sport (between 13 and 22 January 2012) cultural and educational event. The Games will bring together 1,048 athletes between 14 and 18 years of age from approximately 80 National Olympic Committees. 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.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Alpine Ski World Cup starts tomorrow in Sölden

Tomorrow the FIS World Cup opens with the Women’s Giant Slalom on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden, Tirol (AUT). The FIS Women's and Men's Alpine Ski World Cup is held for the 12th time in the Tyrolean ski resort.

Programme:
24.10.2009 Women's Giant Slalom
25.10.2009 Men's Giant Slalom

Starting times:
09:45 am: 1st run
12:45 pm: 2nd run

Today the FIS Forum Alpinum – the Information Session for Ski Journalists – will take place in the Freizeit Arena in Sölden. At 6:30 pm, the Krone World Cup Party will be held in the Postplatz square in Sölden village center.
Tomorrow, starting at 7:00 pm, a side-event will take place in the Freizeit Arena: the Worldcup "Oktoberfest", live music and entertainment by Jetzendorfer Hinterhofmusikanten.
On Monday, 26 October, national holiday in Austria, there's the Gösser Festival with a live concert on the Ö3 Glacier Stage - performed by Wolfgang Ambros, one of Austria's most renowned pop singers. Highlight of the ultimate Gösser Ski Festival will be a mass karaoke performance similar to the event initiated by Pink Floyd in London a couple of months ago. The audience, some of the ski stars and Wolfgang Ambros will present Austria's unofficial hymn live on stage: "Schifoan" (skiing) finally kicks-off the Olympic Winter Season! The song's final saying will be the motto of this year's World Cup Opening: "... the best thing I can do is to stay until Monday!".
Sölden offers the marvelous BIG 3, Austria's only ski area with 3 mountains higher than 3,000 meters which are accessible by lifts or gondolas. From November trough May thanks to the ski area's high-Alpine location (1,350 - 3,250 m) and the modern snowmaking system (covering all slopes lower than 2,200 m) snow is guaranteed in Sölden.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic flame lit in Olympia

With only 112 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the Olympic flame was lit yesterday in Olympia, symbolically marking the beginning of the Torch Relay that will bring the flame to the shores of British Columbia.
The flame was lit successfully by a Holy Priestess in front of the Temple of Hera, according to the traditional ritual, using the sun's rays and a parabolic mirror. The priestess entered the Ancient Olympic Stadium with the torch and handed it over to the first runner of the Vancouver 2010 Torch Relay, Vassilis Dimitriadis. The Greek skier passed by the tomb where Pierre de Coubertin's heart is buried, to launch the journey of the Relay.
After a short relay in Greece, the flame will be passed to the Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee (VANOC) on 29 October in Athens, before being flown to Victoria, Canada, where it will arrive on 30 October. It will then travel through all 13 provinces and territories of Canada, involving 189 community celebrations and covering some 45,000 kilometres, before entering BC Place Stadium on 12 February 2010. More than 12,000 torchbearers will bring together tens of thousands of people to witness the event, bringing with it a symbolic message of peace across the country.
In the presence of the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr Spyros Capralos, and the CEO of VANOC, John Furlong, IOC President Jacques Rogge said in his speech: "It is always a special moment to be in Olympia, the birthplace of our Movement. The Olympic torch and flame are symbols of the values and ideals which lie at the heart of the Olympic Games. The relay carries a message of friendship and respect to millions of people of different nationalities, races and creeds". "The longest national Olympic Torch Relay in history will create a spirit of global community and world citizenship. It will inspire new hopes, new dreams, particularly among the younger generation, to take part in the Games. It will invite Canadians and visitors from around the world to gather and celebrate the Games with glowing hearts", Rogge added. Three days ago, the UN General Assembly adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution for the Vancouver Games, inviting the UN member States to observe and promote peace during Games time in order to protect the interests of athletes and sport in general, and to contribute, through sport, to the quest for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the world's conflicts. The Olympic Torch Relay that started today in Olympia will allow the people of the world to be inspired by this message of peace.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Great Condition In Europe As More US Resorts Open Early

Skiinfo has been reporting on more fresh snow in the Alps and received reports of snow falling across the northern hemisphere, including in Alaska, Canada, the Indian Himalayas and the Japanese Alps. More new snow is expected later this week and conditions on the glaciers are reported to be excellent. Snow is still falling too in the southern hemisphere, with fresh accumulations in Australia although all ski areas in the country are now closed from winter 2009. After last week’s heavy snowfalls on Austria’s glaciers, conditions are great at all of the half-dozen open glacier ski areas (Hintertux, Molltal, Pitztal, Solden, Stubai, Tux) with most reporting snow depths of up to 1.5m (5 feet), much of it fresh snow. The Planai ski area at Schladming also opened at the weekend and Seefeld welcomed the Austrian national biathlon team arrived for training on its cross country trails. Solden stages the Alpine World Cup opening this weekend (23-25 October) so the new snow is great news there. It has 55cm (nearly two feet) of snow on the glaciers and six lifts open.
In Switzerland the open areas of Saas Fee and Zermatt received more fresh snow and Engelberg has announced it will open this weekend, with two red runs served by a T Bar and the six-seater Ice Flyer chairlift.
Italy’s Cervinia continues to open at weekends joining Val Senales and Passo Stelvio.
In France, Tignes remains the only glacier resort open and it received a dusting of fresh snow.
Scandinavia has had a great start to the 2009-10b ski season with resorts in Norway and Sweden joining Ruka in Finland which opened last week. At least five areas have opened in the region, including one of the leading Swedish resorts, Funasdalen.
In North America at least five ski areas are now reported to be open. Two of the continent’s biggest resorts, Mammoth in California on the west coast and Sunday River in Maine on the east coast both opened at the end of last week, with free skiing on opening day for all comers. However Mammoth has since had to close until temperatures drop again and it can make more snow. They were joined by the small Montana ski area of Great Divide which reported it’s earliest ever opening. The three resorts join three already open, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and Donner Summit in California. Cataloochee in North Carolina had hoped to make its earliest ever opening on Monday after snowmaking began on Sunday, but temperatures rose unfortunately and it was unable to open as planned. Squaw Valley California, which celebrates 60 years in operation this winter, along with 50 years since it staged the Winter Olympics. "These early storms are ideal for the coming season", commented Savannah Cowley, Squaw Valley's spokesperson. "This high moisture content, early season snow is absorbed into the ground which is superb for our base layer. In contrast to rain, wet snow stays on the ground long enough to moisturize the ground which allows the new snow to better adhere".
North of the border Canada’s first ski area to open looks likely to be Mount Norquay, Banff’s local ski hill, which plans to open weekends from 31st October and already has a snow covering. The nearby resorts of Nakiska, Sunshine and Lake Louise all plan to open within the first few days of November.
In Asia, Japan’s Mt Yotei near the leading resort of Niseko has seen its first snowfalls of the autumn and temperatures have dropped drastically.
In the southern hemisphere all but two ski areas are now believed to be closed, although there’s over a metre of snow still lying on the slopes in many major resorts in South America.
The resorts still endeavouring to open (although closed several days recently by bad weather) are Turoa (2.4m/8 feet) and neighbouring Whakapapa (1.6m/5.3 feet) in New Zealand. However many of the world’s best snowboarders and skiers are in New Zealand taking advantage of Cardrona Alpine Resort’s 22ft halfpipe (picture attached), one of very few in the world currently open, for a private Pre-Olympic Pipe Camp in the lead up to Vancouver 2010. With the Winter Olympics just around the corner the camp has attracted Olympic medalist Shaun White, X-Games medalist Torah Bright (AUS) as well as top performing snowboarders Crispin Lipscomb (CAN), Ben Mates (AUS), national teams and representatives from New Zealand, Japan, Poland, Canada and Spain, all looking for valuable training time. In the closing weeks of the season Cardrona management was approached by national teams from all over the world looking for a training facility during October. Cardrona was happy to oblige and retained the services of John Melville, Cardrona's Parks & Pipes manager. The pipe camp commenced on the 5th October and will continue through to the 24th October. Olympic Gold medalist Shaun White (USA) flew back to New Zealand specifically for the first week of the private Pre-Olympic Pipe Camp and was grateful for the training opportunity. "I had a great time, it's awesome to be able to rely on a mountain to have great terrain during the summer time when there's no snow in the U.S", he said.
Australia’s ski areas closed several weeks ago but recent heavy snow led to Charlotte Pass re-opening its Basin Poma at the weekend for employees to enjoy the fresh powder.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Ski Areas to open for the winter season in US

SAM reports Mammoth Mountain (picture attached) and Great Divide, Montana, join the growing ranks of areas that are now open for the season (Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, and Boreal. Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort is now close due to warm temps). Sunday River announced its opening last Wednesday-the first in the East for the third year in a row. This year's opening is 13 days before its last two openings. In addition, Mount Snow, Vermont, hopes to open for a fundraising event this weekend.
Mammoth Mountain opened its doors today with a 24-inch base and free lift tickets for every customer. A storm that swept through the Eastern Sierra left Mammoth with two feet of fresh snow at the main lodge and up to 6 feet on the summit, allowing Mammoth to open on natural snow. This is the earliest Mammoth Mountain has opened in the last 15 years. In 1994, the resort opened on October 8.
A cold snap has allowed Great Divide to make enough snow to open a small section of its terrain this weekend for lift-served skiing and riding. This marks the earliest opening ever for the Montana resort, a record previously set on Halloween in 1998. Snowmakers have also built huge snow piles on WildWood for the WildWood Rail Jam, scheduled for November 7. Great Divide plans to open the Good Luck Chairlift for the season on November 25.
Mount Snow fired up nine guns on the Launch Pad Learning Area Wednesday night. With nighttime temperatures in the 20s, the window of snowmaking could allow the area to start lift service on Saturday morning. The plan is to operate both Saturday and Sunday with a smattering of boxes and other features avvailable. Lift tickets will cost $10 or require a donation of 10 non-perishable food items. All proceeds will go to the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

First Heavy Snow of 09-10 Season Dumps On Austrian Glaciers

Skiinfo fired off several powder alarms last days, as up to a metre (40 inches) of fresh snow was reported falling on the half dozen glacier ski areas already open for winter 2009-10 in Austria. The snow fell right down to village level in many areas with resorts like Obergurgl reporting 10cm (4 inches) on village streets (picture attached). Temperatures are currently in double-figures below zero at most of Europe’s glacier areas and more snow is expected at the weekend. The big falls come in the same week of the year as those in 2008 when the huge dumps that set up winter 08-09 as one of the best in recent years began in the second week of October.
Again it’s Tux in Austria that is the first to report big snowfalls too, with a metre (40 inches) falling since the start of the week. In Kaprun, the fresh snow has arrived in perfect time for a series of freestyle workshops that the Kitzsteinhorn glacier is planning to run from this Saturday onwards. It reports up to 76cm (30 inches) of new snow taking base depths on the glacier up to 1.5m (five feet).
Also in Austria, which continues to have the most choice of seven glacier ski areas open, the Stubai glacier has reported 135cm (14 inches) of new snow taking snow depths to a metre and the Molltal glacier was another to generate a Skiinfo powder alarm with a 40cm (16 inch fall). There’s also new snow at Pitztal, on the Dachstein and at Solden where the World cup kicks off next weekend.
Snow has also been falling on the open glacier ski areas of France, Italy and Switzerland. Tignes received a much needed 5cm (two inch) top up on its Grand Motte glacier and the snow was also good news for Cervinia in Italy which now joins Val Senales and Passo Stelvio as a third skiing choice in the country, although only opening at weekends until November when it resumes full time operations.
In Switzerland Saas Fee and Zermatt remain the two choices with 90 – 150cm (3-5 feet) bases. Plans for Engelberg and the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz appear to be on hold until more snow falls. Glacier 3000 at Diablerets has opened today for cross country skiing following fresh snow there.
In Scandinavia Ruka in Finland has opened for winter 09-10 and announced that it intends to stay open until at least June 10th, 2010. Two runs with two lifts are currently fully open with another five runs with snowmaking nearing completion of cover. "Only the European glaciers beat Ruka in the race of opening for winter season during autumn. Ruka has never been forced to shut down prematurely due to lack of snow, so we can proudly call ourselves the most certain choice for skiing in Europe!", said a resort statement. "The secret to this accomplishment lies in the climate, as well as in the high-quality snowmaking machinery - not to forget the snow-how! The 70 snowguns in Ruka produce 1,250 square metres of snow in an hour at full capacity. In good conditions this means the first slope, Saarua number 12, can be opened after a bit over 24 hours of snowmaking beginning".
Across The Atlantic in the US Arapahoe Basin has joined its neighbour Loveland in Colorado is opening limited terrain. Donner Summit in California has also opened. On the east Cost Killington in Vermont is reported to have begun snowmaking.
North of the border Mount Washington in British Columbia (Canada) was among those reporting fresh snow, with 5cm (to inches) overnight tonight. The first Canadian resort to open is expected to be Mount Norquay at Banff at the end of the month.
The 2009 ski season is virtually over in the southern hemisphere. All of Argentina and Australia’s ski centres are now closed while Valle Nevado in Chile, which currently has a near 1.5m (five foot) base, expects to be the last to close there, this weekend.
The main exception is Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand which has announced it is further extending its season to November 8th, officially making theirs the longest season in the Southern Hemisphere. Turoa will remain open until 8 November, while neighbouring Whakapapa will close as scheduled on 26 October. The mountain has received more fresh snow in the past week.
Mike Smith, Mt Ruapehu marketing manager says the cooler October weather is good news for skiers and boarders. "This is going to be one of the best Octobers we’ve ever had at Mt Ruapehu after an unseasonably warm August and September – it’s honestly like winter all over again. The blizzard last week that affected the Central Plateau roads left behind a huge amount of snow, and our ski fields are currently enjoying a base of 260cm at Turoa and 160cm at Whakapapa – and these snow bases will only get better", said Mr Smith.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Austrian ski star Hermann Maier retires

Austrian ski star Hermann Maier announced his retirement Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at a news conference in Vienna, citing recent knee surgery in the offseason.
Hermann Maier, nicknamed the "Herminator", rose to international fame at the Nagano winter Olymics in 1998, when he survived a major crash almost unhurt and went on to win two gold medals in Super-G and Giant Slalom.
The speed specialist won three World Championship titles. He won 54 World Cup races and four overall titles, putting him second only to Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark, who captured 86 race victories.
"I gave it a lot of thought, but decided spontaneously that now is the best time for retirement", he said. The 36-year-old Maier had knee surgery after the World Cup season ended in March, and only began training on skis this month.
"I am healthy now and that's the way I want to live on", said Maier, while fighting back tears at a news conference.
Maier's career nearly ended after a horrific motorcycle accident in 2001, which kept him sidelined for almost two years. Doctors contemplated amputating his lower leg after the crash, but the Austrian returned to win the overall and super-G World Cup titles in 2004.
The Austrian ski federation said Maier will stay involved in the sports. "It would be great if Hermann could share his great experience with the younger guys on the team", the federation's Alpine director Hans Pum said.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Winter Park Resort to Seed the Clouds for Snow

Denver Water, in partnership with Winter Park Resort, will be helping clouds produce greater amounts of snowfall this winter. Denver Water and the resort will be seeding moisture-laden clouds with silver-iodide particles released into the sky to increase snowfall. Cloud seeding, a form of weather modification, is the attempt to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud.Seeding clouds has long been a practice of Vail Resorts, but this will be the first year Intrawest's Winter Park Resort is buying into the procedure.
Joe Busto of the Colorado Water Conservation Board calls the partnership history-making. "We have never had a 50-50 water manager-ski area program before", he said. "It's what I've been hoping for for many, many years".
It and Denver Water are sharing the $110,000 cost of the project, which will take place in locations within 35 miles of the ski area. The expected increase in snow is about 10% to 15%. If you do the math that’s about 35 extra inches, on the low end, of snow for Winter Park this winter. The project is slated to take place during the months of November, December and January, according to Steve Schmitzer, manager of water resource analysis for Denver Water.
Meanwhile, a supporting $60,000 cloud-seeding project will take place from November through March in the same area coordinated by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and water users from the lower Colorado River basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada. The cooperation and funds supplied by lower basin users to set up two high-elevation remote generators in Winter Park helped to make the project possible, Schmitzer said. Colorado River stakeholder involvement came out of 2007 negotiated water agreements to "work together on projects rather than fight together", Busto said. From the generators, minute amounts of silver iodide are sprayed across a propane flame, allowing the silver iodide particles to rise into the clouds. The silver iodide causes the could moisture to freeze and create ice crystals, which then grow large enough to fall as snow. About 10 Winter Park-Denver Water financed generators will be located on mostly private properties, and will be turned on and off depending on weather conditions and the presence of moisture-producing clouds. The two other generators will be located in higher areas and managed remotely by computer. The project involves a meteorologist who will determine appropriate times for cloud seeding. The quantities of iodide present in runoff due to cloud seeding equates to less iodine that what is found in salt on food, according to report on cloud seeding during the 2008 Arizona Weather Modification Conference. There is also more silver exposure found in tooth fillings, and there have been no human effects from cloud seeding found in 40 years of research, the report reads. By participating in the program, Winter Park Resort hopes added snow means a greater number of powder days — even an extension to the snow season.
Snow is man-made on just 10 percent of the resort's 3,000 acres. "With cloud seeding, it's hoped there will be an additional amount of snow throughout the area", said Doug Laraby of Winter Park Resort. "The more snow you have, the better our product is. It's good for the economy and river waters".

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pitztal & IDE All Weather Snowmaker Launching Event

Last September 10th Pitztal hosted the launching event of the IDE All Weather Snowmaker. The Pitztal Glacier sparkles with a technical novelty, setting a new benchmark for a future-proof and environmentally-friendly use of the highest glacier ski area in Austria. The IDE All Weather Snowmaker –an innovation from Israel – makes it possible for the first time to produce snow without having to depend on Temperature, Humidity, and Wind. With traditional snowmaking systems, the temperature has to be at least minus 6 degrees Celsius and the humidity no more than 60 percent. The wind is also important if snow canons and lances are to be used economically. With the IDE Snowmaker, these factors don't come into the equation. "Even though the Snowmaker does not depend on the temperature, we will use the snow production facility sensibly and will not create an artificial spectacle with snow in the summer. For us it is important to pursue our philosophy of sustainable ecological and economical use of this unique ski region", said Dr. Hans Rubatscher, Manager of the Pitztal Glacier Resort.
"Over recent years, temperature, humidity, and wind conditions on the Pitztal Glacier were often not right in early autumn for producing normal snowfall", explained Pitztal's Manager. "We were therefore looking for an innovative alternative – and found the IDE All Weather Snowmaker in Israel". In the future, the Snowmaker will be used alongside the existing snowmaking equipment with canons and lances, in particular at the start of the season in autumn and in late spring.
The "Snowmaker system" can produce approximately 950 cubic metres of snow in 24 hours and is highly energy-efficient. The electrical load for the system is similar to a mid-sized chair lift, the electrical power consumption is approximately 500 KW, exactly the same as 6 standard snow cannons. , "It was often assumed that the Snowmaker produces crushed ice. Far from it: The snow quality is excellent", said Dr. Hans Rubatscher. The snow is transported from the production site to the slope below using a plastic chute, with piste vehicles then preparing it for skiing.
IDE Technology is one of the world leaders in design and construction of seawater desalination, water treatment and ice and snow plants. Since 1965 the company installed about 400 plants in over 40 countries world wide. IDE welcomes the Pitztal Glacier as a bold investor who has recognized the future prospects of the IDE All Weather Snowmaker at an early stage. "We are very proud to have found a partner in the most innovative glacier ski area in Austria so that future-oriented projects like these can be implemented", adds Felix Viehauser from IDE Snowmaker.
"The snow quality is totally great, it's perfect for us racers and much better than on the glacier. We will use this slope for training", said Manfred Pranger, FIS slalom World Champion Val d'Isère 2009
"The snow coverage is very impressive and the snow quality looks great also impressed by the quantity of snow produced per hour", said Gunter Pekoll Operation Manager, Schladming, Austria
"I think it’s a real good project. I believe that this technology could help ski resorts especially for problem areas at the beginning and end of the season. I think it can also be an opportunity for our resort. I’m sure that this innovation will have success", said Alois Geiger, CEO Fiss Ski Resort, Austria.
"I was lucky to be invited with IDE Technologies and Ski Federation to Pitztal on a excursion to see next generation snow production, after seeing the "light" on the glacier of Pitztal I am calm when it comes to the future of snow production with or without sub zero temperatures. I can see great potentials together with IDE Technologies to secure recruiting to the sport of skies even with warm winters. My message will therefore be that we open for commercial players such as IDE to secure that activity on snow", said Vidar Løfshus, Chief Coach, Norwegian National Cross Country Team.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fresh Snow Across The Northern Hemisphere, Season Opens In North America

Skiinfo reports that Colorado’s Loveland ski area is claiming bragging rights as the first ski resort to open in North America for the 2009-1 season, yesterday, Wednesday, October 7th. This is the earliest opening day at Loveland Ski Area in 40 years. Loveland started making snow on September 21, 2009. "We took advantage of the cold temperatures and got an early start making snow this year. Those extra days paid off and we are opening a week earlier than last season", said Eric Johnstone, Snowmaking and Trail Maintenance Manager. "Now we can move some equipment to other trails and try to open more terrain as quickly as possible (...) We are proud of our snowmaking crew and extremely excited to offer the first skiing and snowboarding in Colorado and North America", said Rob Goodell, Director of Business Operations. "Skiers and riders have been waiting all summer for this day and we are anxious to fire up the lifts. We are opening a week earlier than last year but the coverage is great! We will open with an 18" base and tree to tree coverage on our opening day run". For the first turns of the season, skiers and snowboarders will have access to a top to bottom run consisting of 1,000 vertical feet via Chair 1. The trails Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun make up this opening day run which is over a mile in length.
Elsewhere other resorts across North America and Europe have reported fresh snow falling, building anticipation for the coming winter. Loveland’s neighbour Copper Mountain has begun snowmaking and the preliminary stages of its new superpipe are being laid in place ahead of their scheduled November 6th opening. Another Colorado resort, Silverton Mountain (picture attached), sent pictures of the great snow cover there already, with staff skiing the first runs of the season. North of the border new snow has been reported at Banff and Whistler.
In Europe there is little change from last week in terms of glacier ski areas open, although reports of snow falling across mountains in the north of the continent, including Scotland, has put a smile on many skiers and boarders faces.
Scandinavia is seeing the most fresh snow at the moment with Kvitfjell in Norway reporting 21cm (8 inches) of new snow in the past week, 7cm (three inches) of that in the past 24 hours, but it is not yet open.
However the glaciers still have rather a thin covering of fresh snow in most cases following the long warm summer, with only the Swiss glaciers reporting depths above 60cm (two feet), in most other cases coverage is 15-30cm (6-12 inches).
In France the only open ski area at present is the Grand Motte glacier at Tignes.
In Italy Cervinia is due to join already-open-since-summer Val Senales and Passo Stelvio when it re-opens for weekends through October on Saturday, before returning to fulltime operations on November 1st.
In Switzerland Saas Fee, which is currently offering high-value ski test packages on its glacier, and Zermatt are open, soon to be joined by Glacier 3000 above Gstaad/Les Diablerets, glacier skiing near St Moritz and Engelberg’s Titlis glacier.
Austria continues to offer the most open glacier ski areas with Stubai, Tux, Molltal, Kaprun and Pitztal all open for snow sports.
The 2009 season continues to wind down in the southern hemisphere where the majority of resorts are now closed. In South America it’s the last week of winter for the few ski areas still operational. Argentina’s Cerro Cathedral while Chile’s Portillo and Valle Nevado are winding up their seasons this week, although both have more than four foot (1.2m) of snow lying on upper slopes.
The ski season has also drawn to a close this week for the final few ski areas that were open up to Monday in Australia.
In New Zealand Mt Ruapehu remains open however, with Turoa reporting a huge snow base that is up on last week at 2.6m (nearly 9 feet), neighbouring Whakapapa is not far behind with 1.8m (six feet). At Mt Hutt over 100 competitors were not deterred by the wild weather and wacky new course features on Sunday when one of the most exciting Peak to Pub races took place. Competitors were hit by four different seasons over the day including blizzard like conditions as they skied, biked, ran and "swam" their way from Mt. Hutt to Methven’s iconic Blue Pub. New features to this year’s event included the water crossing thought up by NZ’s legendary multi sport athlete Steve Gurney where competitors had to decide if it was worth plunging into frigid water to gain the a minute or two’s advantage. "The weather definitely added to the excitement and the water crossing was incredible to watch - the water was freezing!", said Event Organizer Paul Marks. "It added such a fun element to the event this year and will be seen again in the future". To the event organizers’ and spectators’ delight, 40% of the field decided to hit the water instead of taking the "dodgy" purpose-built log bridge further up stream. The country’s Lake Wanaka region brought a successful winter season to a close at the weekend with all four resorts, Treble Cone, Snow Park NZ, Cardrona Alpine Resort and Snow Farm, reporting excellent visitor numbers, great snow conditions throughout and many successful world-class events. For Cardrona Alpine Resort 2009 was a record breaker for both visitor numbers and accumulated snowfall. Winter started early with a huge snowfall in May. With ideal cool conditions and further snow Cardrona recorded its deepest (317cm) accumulated snowfall in the last decade, in August. Skiers and snowboarders from across both New Zealand and Australia flocked to the slopes in record numbers. Elite athletes used Cardrona’s 22ft Olympic halfpipe, the only one in Australasia, to train and compete in the lead up to the Olympics 2010, with renowned snowboarder Shaun White landing the first back to back double cork 1080 in history during the Burton New Zealand Open.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Katy Perry to launch Ischgl's winter season

On 28 November 2009 Katy Perry is to launch the 2008-09 winter season at Ischgl. Katy Perry (Santa Barbara, October 25, 1984) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Perry rose to fame in 2007 with her internet hit "Ur So Gay", and later scored in 2008 her breakthrough single "I Kissed a Girl". Booking this top act for Ischgl was a stroke of genius that is set to make guests flock in from Austria and beyond. The rocking pop princess is to give her only concert in Europe right in the centre of Ischgl - and right in the middle of recording her new album! Around 20,000 fans are expected to attend, and will get to hear not only Top Ten hits such as "I kissed a girl", "Thinking of you" and "Waking up in Vegas" but also an exclusive taster of the songs from her new album.
Concerts like this are primarily a marketing ploy for the ski resorts. Fourteen 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, Elton John again, Gabriella Cilmi, Leona Lewis and Kylie Minogue. That kind of events is also part of a strategy for resorts to offer more than just skiing to attract a wider client base.
The Ischgl-Samnaun skiing area, the Silvretta Arena, is regularly voted one of the top European skiing areas. With the presence of renowned international artists the tirolean resort wants to place themself in the list of essential winter resorts. In Ischgl you can find ultramodern lift and cable-car system (3 cable cars, 2 aerial cableways, 23 chairlifts and 12 draglifts) with a transport capacity of 78,500 persons per hour ensure skiing without queues (€120 million have been invested over the last years). The new lifts managed by the Silvretta Seilbahn AG Company offer a high level of comfort and countless extras, such as heated seats in the Fimbabahn cable car. The 235 kilometres and 506 hectares of slopes are all located on north-facing slopes assuring a reliable snow cover. The ski lifts are set to open on 27 November 2009.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Loveland to Open First in North America

Loveland Ski Area will be the first ski area in North America to open for the 2009-2010 ski season when Chair 1 starts turning at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, October 7. This will mark the earliest opening for Loveland in 40 years.
Loveland Ski Area started making snow on September 21, 2009."We took advantage of the cold temperatures and got an early start making snow this year. Those extra days paid off and we are opening a week earlier than last season", says Eric Johnstone, snowmaking and trail maintenance manager. "Now we can move some equipment to other trails and try to open more terrain as quickly as possible".
For the first turns of the season, skiers and snowboarders will have access to a top-to-bottom run consisting of 1,000 vertical feet via Chair 1. The trails Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun make up this opening day run, which is over a mile in length.
Loveland is located just 53 miles from Denver (Colorado). With an average of 400 inches (10 metres) of snow a year, Loveland is typically one of the first ski areas in the nation to open, in mid to late October, and one of the last to close in early May. Loveland Ski Area provides skiers and riders with 1,365 acres of diverse terrain, including a naturally separated beginners area located in Loveland Valley, and open, steep and deep bowls high atop the Continental Divide on "The Ridge".

Les Arcs European Film Festival

From the 5th to the 12th of December 2009, Les Arcs will host the 1st European Film Festival. A major cultural event, the goal of the festival is to further the development of the diversity of the European film industry and facilitate the discovery of new european talents. The festival was created by the association "Révélations Culturelles", whose founder members are: film director Claude Duty (President), Guillaume Calop (General Manager), Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin General Secretary), Cédric Depierre (Finance and Partnerships Deputy Manager), Jérémy Zelnik Professional Meetings Deputy Manager).
Les Arcs is located in the heart of the French Alps, in the alpine valley of the Tarentaise (Savoie), in one of the most beautiful ski areas in the world: the Paradiski. Paradiski offers uninterrupted skiing in between the areas of Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne. The area is linked, since December 2003, by the Vanoise Express. In total over the three resorts there are 425 km of pistes.
The festival provides the opportunity to take advantage of the first snows, attend film screenings all day long in the presence of the filmmakers and actors in a festive and convivial atmosphere. And, every evening, never-to-be-forgotten parties, special events, concerts and DJ!The festival proposes an ambitious programming, mostly unprecedented in France. It is composed of more than 50 long features all originating from European countries (Turkey and Russia included) and projected in the 6 movie theatres of the resort:

  • 5 major European films (previews)
  • 10 films in Official Competition for the Crystal Arrow Award
  • 10 European award-winning films in their native countries in Panorama
  • 11 Hungarian films and several short features regrouped in the 2009 Country Focus dedicated to Hungary, guest of honour country of the Festival’s first edition.
  • 8 «classical» films dedicated to the younger members of the public.

Les Arcs European Film Festival is also a great professional not to be missed event. More than 500 invited film industry professionals will be gathered in a unique work venue to facilitate the emergence of new projects and the European cinema promotion.
Over 70 journalists are expected from all over Europe to relay the event and make today’s and tomorrow’s European cinema diversity known.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Compagnie des Alpes in negotiations to acquire a majority stake in Deux-Alpes

Compagnie des Alpes has entered into exclusive negotiations with a group of shareholders who together hold almost 90% of Deux Alpes Loisirs. The transaction planned is the acquisition of that stake through a consortium led by CDA, as industrial operator, and including institutional investors involved in developing the area in question.
With more than 1.3 million skier days in winter 2008-2009, and projected consolidated sales of approximately € 40 million for fiscal 2009, the ski area of Deux-Alpes(Isère) offers the necessary scope and quality to meet CDA's selection criteria:
  • Its size — 430 hectares (1.7 sq. mi.), 225 km (140 mi.) of ski runs, 55 ski lifts — makes it comparable to other large Group ski areas, such as Les Menuires and Serre Chevalier.
  • Thanks to the site’s altitude and infrastructure, skiing quality is up to the highest standards; skiers can enjoy altitude of up to 3,600 meters (11,800 ft.), on Europe's largest skiable glacier.
  • The resort offers plentiful accommodations, with nearly 30,000 rental beds, and hosts an exceptionally international clientele (almost 50% of winter customers) every year.

Compagnie des Alpes is a major player in the field of leisure production in Europe. The company operates 37 leisure sites, including 16 leading ski areas in the Alps (including Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Arcs, La Plagne, Les Menuires, Méribel, and Chamonix) and 21 leisure parks (including Parc Astérix, Grévin, Walibi, etc.) in seven European countries: France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and the UK. Consolidated sales were € 579 million (23 million visitors) for the financial year ending September 30, 2008, with Group net profit of € 36.2 million.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sun Peaks Resort To Award Top Ski Bum With Season Long Luxury Stay

Sun Peaks has announced the launch of a remarkable competition, which will give snow-lovers the chance to win an all-inclusive stay in the mountains for the entire 2009/2010 Winter Season.
One lucky skier or snowboarder winner of the ‘I want to be the Snow Bum’ contest will spend three months of the coming ski season at the leading Canadian ski area, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowmobiling or even dog sledding.
The competition winner will be provided with a season’s pass for the mountains, food vouchers, accommodation in a number of Sun Peak’s finest hotels, plus equipment and outerwear. The winner will also enjoy a wide range of additional perks including VIP and backstage passes to resort events and functions.
"What could be better than riding every day and living on a mountain in a world class village", says Christopher Nicolson, President of Tourism Sun Peaks. "People travel from all over the world for a week at Sun Peaks. This winner will live and ski or board the whole winter…for free!".
Potential snow bums can win this opportunity to shred all winter by simply submitting a 60-second video showcasing their wit, charisma, love of the mountains, and the ability to make the most of this spectacular adventure. The competition is open to any intermediate skier or snowboarder over 19 years, anywhere in the world. In return for all the snow, accommodation, gear, food and airfare, the winner will be expected to keep the rest of the envious world updated on their activities through social media avenues such as Facebook, Twitter and the official blog on http://www.snowbumcanada.com/.
Videos should be submitted to http://www.snowbumcanada.com/ by Sunday, November 15. Sun Peaks’ judges will announce finalists on November 19, who will undergo an interview and written-essay assessment.
The winner will be announced December 1 and begin their three month stay on January 4, 2010. Contestants must be at least 19 years or older and have an applicable visa for the duration of their stay if they are from outside Canada.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jackson Hole Launches iPhone app

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Resorts Tapped LLC have announced the launch of JH Tapped, a GPS iPhone application developed exclusively for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. JH Tapped uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS to locate the user and their friends on the official Jackson Hole trail map and log the user’s runs and vertical feet travelled.
JH Tapped is the first app tailored to an individual resort and allows users to pinpoint their location on the actual Jackson Hole trail map, not a hard-to-read topographical or satellite map.
JH Tapped also provides current weather and snow conditions, resort webcam views, and real-time lift status information, as well as a built-in directory for Teton Village services and amenities.
JH Tapped was conceived and developed by Dan and Ingrid Miller, Jackson Hole locals and resort employees. "We have taken full advantage of the iPhone’s capabilities", said Dan Miller, "and I think people will be impressed by the app’s features". JH Tapped will be an indispensable guide to Jackson Hole this winter for both first time visitors and seasoned locals.
Free preview version is now available on the iPhone App Store. The 2009-2010 complete version; JH Tapped 2010, will be available in early November and will offer even more features including: an interface for uploading logs to Facebook and enhanced location capabilities that use the iPhone’s built-in compass to display the direction the user is facing or travelling.

Features:

  • Locate yourself on the Jackson Hole trail map—-not a hard-to-read GPS map.
  • Locate your friends on the trail map and let them locate you, courtesy of Fire Eagle location sharing services.
  • Record your tracks and log your vertical distance. Display your runs on the trail map or view them in Google Earth.
  • Find up-to-date information about the mountain, including snow conditions, weather, and webcam images.
  • Get up-to-the-minute information about lift status and amenities.
  • Quickly find information about lessons and other programs.
  • Easily contact key places in the resort with the built in directory.
  • Learn facts, statistics and history of the resort.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Intrawest recommends Helmet use

Intrawest today announced that, beginning with the 2009-2010 winter season, the Company will increase awareness of the importance of helmet use at all of its wholly-owned ski resorts in North America. Intrawest will recommend that all skiers and snowboarders visiting its resorts wear helmets and there will be mandatory helmet requirements for all children and youth participants in Ski and Snowboard School Programs as well as all students participating in freestyle terrain park programs, regardless of their age. The new helmet use guidelines underscore Intrawest's commitment to guest safety and have the support of the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) and Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA).
A helmet will be included with all children/youth ski and snowboard rental packages from all of Intrawest's equipment rental outlets. The new guidelines will be supported with enhanced employee education sessions and common language highlighting the importance of helmet use will appear on resort websites and in all trail maps. Going forward, Intrawest will place an increased focus on using website images and advertising visuals that feature skiers and snowboarders wearing helmets and Intrawest will introduce new graphic standards that require all of its ski resorts to feature helmets predominantly.
In the past at some resorts, a parent/guardian has had the ability to opt-out of having their children wear a helmet in certain on-mountain programs and activities. Beginning this season, Intrawest will remove the parent/guardian "opt-out clause" from all children's waivers for Ski and Snowboard School Programs and all freestyle terrain park student programs.
Looking ahead to the 2010-2011 winter season, Intrawest will require employees to wear a helmet at all times while skiing or snowboarding on-duty in any freestyle terrain park at its resorts. Staff at Intrawest's Ski and Snowboard Schools will also be required to wear a helmet if they serve as a guide or an instructor for any program that requires mandatory helmet use by a resort guest. Several Intrawest resorts will begin to implement these new employee helmet use guidelines this winter and the remaining resorts will be fully compliant by the beginning of the 2010-2011 winter season.
"Intrawest is working in conjunction with the ski industry to establish important best practices on behalf of our resort guests and employees", said Bill Jensen, chief executive officer at Intrawest. "Together, we have established a new baseline for helmet use at our resorts that has received strong support from the NSAA and CWSAA. We will continue to work with all of the ski industry associations in the United States and Canada to raise awareness of this important initiative and the obligation of everyone to ski and ride in a controlled and responsible manner".