Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Big Snowfalls Are Back, All Over the World

Skiinfo reports that after a few weeks of warmer weather and minimal new snow across the northern hemisphere, resorts on both sides of north America and across western Europe have reported big snowfalls in the past few days, there’s also new snow in the southern hemisphere.
France has seen increasingly large snow accumulations over the past four days. Over the weekend there were more than 30 powder alarms across the country with resorts receiving at least 20cm (8 inches) of new powder. Among these, six resorts (Les Menuires, Morillon, Saint Martin de Belleville, Sainte Foy Tarentaise, Samöens, and Valfrejus) received 40cm (16 inches) of snow, while another six (Orelle ,Val Thorens, La Clusaz, Val d'Isère , Le Grand Bornand , Manigod and Alpe d'Huez ) got 30cm (a foot) on Sunday alone. Fifty low-lying French ski resorts have already closed their doors for the season, but there are still many ski resorts open in France and the snow depth is good for the end of season. Chamonix has the greatest snow depth with 396cm (13.2 feet) and Les Arcs has seen the most snow in the past seven days with 70cm (2.3 feet). Avoriaz has had 65cm (2.2 feet) and Sainte Foy Tarentaise, Samöens and Morillon 60cm each. The snowfall is expected to continue for the next week at least up to Easter.
Italy has seen a succession of weather fronts passing through its ski regions, especially in the north and these are set to continue for at least the next week. A new phase will begin on March 31st and is expected to last until April 5th, with snow down to 1000m in the Alps and the northern Apennines. In the past week Cervinia has reported 80cm (2.6 feet) of new snow and Madesimo 70cm (2.3 feet) with Plan de Corones/Kronplatz in the Dolomites 60cm (two feet). The Marmolada glacier above Arabba has the most snow lying with 5.2m (17.3 feet), the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale has four metres (13.3 feet).
There have been big snowfalls too in parts of Switzerland where Andermatt has reported a metre (3.3 feet) of new snow in the past week, more than almost any other resort anywhere. There have been powder alarms this morning in Arosa and Leysin.
Austria hasn’t missed out either with the Kleinwalsertal area reporting the biggest snow accumulation in the country of the last seven days with 50cm (20 inches) of new snow. The 3,029m high Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Zell am See-Kaprun is now enjoying its snow sure spring skiing season, but is already planning ahead for its summer season. All those who are looking for a freestyle challenge have to drop in at Mellow Park. The snow park boasts three different areas which are all located at an altitude of above 2,500 metres which is a guarantee for natural snow. The resort will stage its ‘Winter final’ weekend from April 30 to May 2nd to also kick off the glacier snow season. The three day event brings free tests of the new 2010/11 season ski and boards, a pipe session, glacier disco, live music and more. Other activities to try include a helmet cam-test, free waxing of your gear, appearances with autograph sessions from ski world cup stars and live bands. There will be apres ski parties with Dj each day at the valley station and an evening party at Kaprun Castle on the Saturday night, May 1. In July the area’s Ice Arena opens its gates on 3rd July giving more summer sliding options to young and old guests alike, including snow slides, an ice bar and even an ice beach to literally ‘chill out’ on.
The snow is still falling in Scandinavia too. In the northern parts of Sweden Nalovardo reports 22cm (9 inches) the last week and Ramundberget the same. The snow coverage is still looking good although warm temperatures have been dominating the last week. Riksgränsen has the most snow in the country with 142cm (just under five feet).
There’s been new snow in Scotland with resorts reporting up to 20cm (8 inches) of new snow in the run up to Easter.
Most of the top Spanish ski resorts have reported powder snow. Baqueira has a 155cm (five foot) base and 105km of runs open, Formigal (picture attached) up to 220cm (7.3 feet) and 124 km. Most areas will close after Easter and by April 18th with the two exceptions of Masella and Sierra Nevada which will close on May 2nd. Sierra Nevada is still offering the best conditions for the next few weeks and half price ski passes (20,50 €, starting April 19th) with five metres of spring snow giving visitors the chance to enjoy spring snow then a seaside evening in nearby Almuñecar.

Elsewhere in Europe the season is winding down at most resorts with warm temperatures in Bulgaria and Andorra meaning slushy conditions on the remaining snow.
In North America there have been big snowfalls once again on both East and West Coasts. New snowfall on the US West Coast has led resorts to start announcing season extensions. Aspen's ski season will be extended by two extra weekends. The Aspen Skiing Co. will keep the lifts running on Aspen Mountain on April 17-18 and 24/25. Similarly Alta in Utah has announced it will open for the 24th/25th after previously saying it would close on the 18th. Winter is far from over at Whistler Blackcomb after a powerful March storm dumped 60cm/23 inches of snow in 48 hours, priming the slopes for an epic Easter long weekend of skiing and riding. The 2009/2010 season is so far Whistler Blackcomb’s third snowiest winter on record with over 1,346cm or 44 feet fallen. The second snowiest season is only slightly higher with 1,416cm/46.5 feet of snow. "Our snow base is more than 350cm/11.5 feet and conditions could not be better for this time of year. The snowpack is deeper than normal and we’ve received plenty of fresh snow with this recent storm", said Doug MacFarlane, Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Manager. "All of this snow sets us up really well for winter-like conditions this long weekend. We’re also looking at a great base for spring skiing, which will continue through to May 24th". Cypress Mountain, famous from the Olympics, has reported another 50cm of new snow. A little inland Fernie Alpine Resort received 25cm (10 inches) of snowfall overnight and over 36cm (14inches) in four days while Kimberley Alpine Resort had a nice dump of 10cm (4 inches) in 24 hours. Further east still in Alberta, Spring skiing at Marmot Basin keeps gaining momentum, with 15 centimetres (six inches) of new snow in the past 48 hours and more new snow expected in days to come. With the recent mild temperatures, excellent snow coverage and a 150cm (five foot) base. There’s been fresh snow on the East Coast too, at Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham Mountain Resorts in Quebec nearly 40cm (16 inches) of fresh snow received during the last week.
In the southern hemisphere Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand has reported first snow on the slopes, three months before its ski areas are due to open. "Yesterday's southerly front painted an icing sugar like coating on Ruapehu's upper slopes. A sure sign that winter is not far away", said Mike Smith, Marketing Manager of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts. Turoa is scheduled to open on June 19th and work is progressing well at Whakapapa rebuilding the Knoll Ridge Chalet and Cat Shed. Whakapapa is scheduled to open June 26th.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vancouver 2010: The First Social Media Games

During the Olympic Games in Vancouver in February, millions lived, and contributed to, the passion of the Games via the IOC’s social media platforms. The IOC has significantly expanded its use of social media and other online communications tools to engage younger audiences, promote Olympic values and share the magic of the Games with the largest possible audience.
The IOC’s Facebook page has attracted over 1.5 million fans and generated nearly 200 million impressions since its launch in January. Providing behind-the-scenes updates from athletes and teams - Lindsey Vonn, Shawn White and Justin Kripps are just some of the athletes featured – the Facebook page also enables fans to share their Olympic experiences. The Olympic photo contest saw almost 4,000 photos submitted by fans, ranging from superb sports competition imagery to more personal Olympic experience shots like the family pet dog wearing the Vancouver red mittens. Fans were given the opportunity to win free tickets to see Olympic events, cheer for their favourite athletes or even "play" Olympic sports. The Official Vancouver 2010 Video Game received over five million plays. Platforms such as Facebook are also proving to be effective ways to reach out to younger audiences that are perhaps more difficult to reach through traditional media - over 60% of the Facebook fans are under the age of 24.
The lead-up to the Games in Vancouver also saw the IOC present on YouTube, with its interactive The Best of Us challenge. This allowed members of the general public to compete against Olympic athletes in a series of fun and playful challenges. Olympic athletes such as Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn and Jenny Owens created unique challenges which attracted over three million views. Prizes were awarded - including a trip to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games for the best challenges that were posted.
Flickr is also being used to share the strong moments of the Games through Olympic imagery. More than 11,000 Olympic photos, taken by over 600 photographers, are shared with the general public on this image hosting website. During the Vancouver Games, the IOC following on Twitter doubled to over 12,000.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Freeride World Tour. A Successful Event

Freeriding’s roots stem from extreme skiing, a term coined in the 1970’s to describe "skiing steep slopes in wild terrain". The first freeriding competition was the "World Extreme Skiing Championships" in Alaska in 1991. This event led snowboarders to organise their own competition in Alaska the following year which in due course led to the creation of the legendary "King of the Hill". These events inspired a number of freeride competitions around the world, most notably, the Xtreme Verbier which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and is now considered within the freeriding community as the most prestigious of all. Until the creation of the Freeride World Tour in 2007, the joint participation of skiers and snowboarders already existed at some events but their co-habitation in a professional tour was new. The concept very quickly gained traction and after just two full seasons the Freeride World Tour (FWT) is already recognized by riders, the ski industry and the media as the pinnacle of the sport. The four-stop Freeride World Tour (Sochi, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Squaw Valley and Verbier) is supported by 18 Freeride World Qualifier events around the world.
Nicolas Hale-Woods, Founder and Organiser of the "Xtreme" in Verbier and the Freeride World Tour: "The sport has evolved way beyond what we imagined back in 1996 and we feel that performances will continue to progress. Even though the riders compete to win the underlying freeride spirit remains with riders sharing ideas and spending considerable time together. Our goal is to preserve that unique spirit and simultaneously grow the Freeride World Tour together with riders and the involved ski resorts. In this respect, we are working on the expansion of the tour in 2011 so that more young riders can enter the qualifier events in North America, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. Our goal for 2011 is also to add two more events at the FWT level. With freeriding now a leading trend in the snow industry, in many respects we feel like we've just begun - the best is yet to come".
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, General Manager of Nissan’s Marketing Communications in Europe: "As co-founder of the Freeride World Tour, Nissan has been involved in this adventure from the beginning, and we are proud to have seen it grow into a world class sporting event. As part of Nissan’s goal to create ‘fantastic’ content to nourish the brand’s Nissan Sports Adventure platform, the tour and our partnership with Eurosport – to create the ‘Freeride Spirit’ show - has provided key consumer touch points. The 2010 season has been extremely intense, with spectacular performances by freeriding legends as well as new athletes who have been discovered at each of the contests. We are happy to celebrate with the new Tour champions crowned today at the 15th anniversary of the Nissan Xtreme by Swatch". Nissan’s Sports Adventure (NSA) programme was created three years ago with the aim to support and promote adventure sports and an active outdoor lifestyle. The 2010 programme includes the Freeride World Tour, the Freeride World Qualifiers, the Nissan Outdoor Games festival as well as the European team of Nissan athletes.
Peter Mager, Vice President Communication Swatch International: "Since its foundation in 1983, Swatch has always been involved in action sports. There have certainly been a lot of historical moments, but the show today, with an amazing end of the Freeride World Tour 2010, is one of the biggest highlights ever. On behalf of Swatch management, we are really happy to be a partner of the event and the Tour".


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Warmer And Drier In The Alps But Getting Colder And Snowier Again

Skiinfo reports that it’s been milder in the Alps since the weekend with little new snowfall, however a new cold front is due to move in from tomorrow with 15-30cm (6-12 inches) forecast to fall.
In France it has generally been a good winter to date with three major snowfall periods to date in mid-December right in time for the start of the season, then in early January and during the school holidays in mid-February with frequent snowfalls across the country. "Winter 2009-2010 is positioning itself as one of snowiest in the last thirty years. The snowfalls have been substantial and regular during this winter", said Virginie Bernat of Skiinfo France. "Most French resorts are still open, the ski season is not over!". During the past week La Plagne and Chamonix reported the most new snow with 15-16cm (6 inches) each, La Clusaz had 8cm (3.5 inches). Chamonix Mont-Blanc has the most snow lying with 400cm (13.3 feet), La Grave la Meije is second with 300cm (10 feet), La Rosière 1850 has 285cm (9.5 feet), Alpe d'Huez 275cm (9.2 feet) and Montgenèvre 240cm (8 feet).
It’s been a dry week in Italy where the snowfall forecast for last weekend in the North of Italy failed to arrive. Arabba and the Marmolada glacier has the country’s deepest snow still with 540cm (18 feet) on upper slopes – they must be using a very long stick to measure it. The Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale, which will most likely stay open for several more months, has four metres (13.3 feet) and Sella Nevea on the Slovenian border 320cm (10.6 feet).
In Switzerland it may be warmer now but it’s been a cold winter with temperatures one degree below a long-term average in the Central Plateau and biggest snowfalls in the Southern Alps. Top snow depths this week are Engelberg with 270cm (nine feet), Lötschental with 256cm (8.5 feet) and Saas Fee with 222 cm (7.3 feet). There were some small snowfalls in Switzerland in the last seven days with Gstaad reporting 10cm (four inches) of new snow in a week.
The biggest snowfalls in Austria were reported from the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser. Ski resorts there – like Brixen or Going – typically received 30cm (a foot) in seven days. Brixental has a metre of snow on upper slopes and half a metre in the valley. The ski resorts with the top snow depths are still the glaciers: Mölltaler Gletscher 380cm (12.7 feet), Hintertuxer Gletscher 305cm (10.2 feet), Dachstein-Gletscher 290cm (9.7 feet).
In Germany a blanket of snow had covered some parts of the country for a period of more than two months this winter. For the ski resorts it has been a good season, though and it’s not over yet. The Zugspitze still reports up to 250cm (8.3 feet) of snow on its slopes and 110cm (3.7 feet) in Garmisch. The resort got 21cm (8.5 inches) of new snow in the last seven days. Another leading ski area, Oberstdorf - Nebelhorn has a snow depth of 180cm (6 feet).
In Spain, with Easter Holidays just round the corner ski resorts are preparing themselves for the last big days of the season. Most of them are going to close after Easter, only a few will remain open after April 18th (probably Sierra Nevada and Masella). Baqueira Beret has up to 175cm (six feet) of snow and 110km of piste open while Formigal has 240cm (8 feet) and 111 km of piste to enjoy.
It’s been much warmer in northern Europe. In Scotland this has meant some rain and there have also been gale force winds which closed Cairngorm and Glencoe earlier this week. Snow has thawed but all five centres are still open with two-three feet (60-90cm) of snow on upper slopes at most. The Scottish school Easter holidays start this weekend.
Despite warm weather across virtually all of Sweden there has been some new snow in both Ramundberget (15cm/6 inches) and Åre 12cm (4 inches) during the last week. Skiing conditions are looking great for the upcoming Easter holidays with 18 Swedish ski resorts reporting a snow depth of 85cm (three feet) or more. Riksgränsen has the moist at the moment with 148cm (five feet).
Norway has seen more snow with three powder alarms issued in the past few days for snowfalls of 20cm (eight inches) or more in 24 hours. Malselv reported 25cm (10 inches) on Monday, Voss had 20cm on Saturday.
After the return to cold weather a week ago in Eastern Europe, the temperatures have yoyo-ed back to "very mild" and the snow has melted away to reveal bare patches on lower slopes at Bulgaria’s resorts and even higher slopes are getting slushy too.
Across the Atlantic cities on the East Coast of North America saw snowfall once again at the start of the week but warmer weather meant not much of this translated in to snow on the slopes. However conditions are supposed to be turning colder this weekend and larger resorts like Sunday River in Maine have around 120 slopes still open. In the West there’s been fresh snow in Wyoming overnight with Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole both reporting 125-18cm (6-7 inches) of fresh powder. Vancouver’s Olympic training venue of Mt Washington in Western Canada reports the deepest snow in the world at the moment with 584cm (19.5 feet).

Kaj Zackrisson winning line Video at Nissan Xtreme by Swatch - Verbier

Kaj Zackrisson took victory, third win at the "Xtreme", after a tight struggle with french rider Aurélien Ducroz. "It was so tight between the first two riders Kaj and Aurélien. They skied more or less the same line but Kaj jumped one more cliff where Aurélien skied around. For the rest they both skied fast, fluid and stomped all the jumps in the extremely committed terrain, and taking the huge 'Gilles Voirol' cliff in the middle clean. Just amazing", said Seb Michaud, Judge Ski and injured FWT Rider.
"The Xtreme is my biggest goal every year. It means a lot to me. When I train in the autumn I think of this face and this competition. I am always very nervous before the contest and have a hard time sleeping the night before. This year it was even more difficult as I had a great run on Saturday and had to redo my performance. I was so focused for my first run (Saturday) and it was hard to switch on once again. My favourite riders of the day were Xavier de Le Rue, always pushing the limits but always with such control, Sverre Liliequist because he opened a new really committed line, and Aurélien Ducroz because he just skied an exceptional run", said Kaj.


Xavier De Le Rue winning line Video at Nissan Xtreme by Swatch - Verbier

The breathtaking performance of Frenchman Xavier de Le Rue, took them to the first step of the 2010 Freeride World Tour podium. The win in Verbier gave enough points for Xavier de Le Rue to score top position in the men’s snowboard ranking 2010. For the third executive year, the unbeatable Frenchman was crowned World Champion.
"Xavier's run was the fastest of the day. He took an original line and jumped a huge cliff that has never been jumped before in the 15 years of the Xtreme! The jump was at least 10 metres in one of the steepest and most committed parts of the face. He negotiated it perfectly, and managed slough and speed impressively", said Head Judge Snowboard Berti Denervaud.
"I was here already 3-4 weeks ago and to inspect this line. When I came back last weekend I saw that it was in good condition. I knew it would be hairy but I felt confident. For me the most interesting aspect of the Freeride World Tour is that we inspect the faces really thoroughly. For days I concentrate on just one thing: my line, which never happens when filming or freeriding for myself. I manage to ride things I would never do otherwise. Everything in my run was meticulously planned – I knew there would be a lot of slough (surface snow sliding) as it was really steep so I needed a lot of speed and take the jump straight in the falline", said Xavier.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 Men's Freeride World Tour Champions were crowned in Verbier

After the men’s final competition was postponed Saturday, due to bad visibility, the world’s best freeride skiers and snowboarders once again took on the mythical 600 metre North face of the Bec des Rosses. In perfect conditions the 24 male riders put on the most spectacular show with the fastest and most committed edition of the 15 years of the "Xtreme". Several first descents were opened on the face. With this high level, the battle for first was extremely tight. The breathtaking performances of Swede Kaj Zackrisson, ski, and Frenchman Xavier de Le Rue, snowboard, took them to the first step of the podium.
The win in Verbier gave enough points for Xavier de Le Rue to score top position in the men’s snowboard ranking 2010. For the third executive year, the unbeatable Frenchman was crowned World Champion. Austrian Mitch Toelderer is vice Freeride World Champion 2010, and Matt Annetts (USA) took the third step of the podium.
French freestyle legend Candide Thovex can now claim to be part freeriding history. For his first season on the Freeride World Tour he has proved to be a consistent freeride competitor (3 podiums) with committed and influential skiing. Thovex’s impressive third place on his premiere run on the Bec des Rosses put him on top of the men’s ski ranking 2010. Swedes Kaj Zackrisson (2nd) and Henrik Windstedt (3rd) completed the podium.


The two male Freeride World Tour Champions were awarded with a Nissan Qashqai, and the winners today went home with $ 10 000 each from the total prize purse of $ 206 200 for the Freeride World Tour 2010.

Xtreme Verbier 15th Anniversary

2010 marked the 15th year for the Xtreme competition in Verbier...
Since its inception in 1996 the "Xtreme" has been considered the most prestigious Freeride competition in the world. The "Xtreme" is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year -15 years of passionate freeriding and great sports performances on the mythical North Face of the Bec des Rosses, a dauntingly steep and frighteningly jagged 500m rock-face. In places, the Bec des Rosses presents 55 degrees of slope. In an upright position one can almost lean on the face with one’s elbow. With steep and narrow couloirs, high rock cliffs, changing snow and terrain, it demands technical skill, great physical conditioning and a connection with the mountain that only experience can bring.
The Nissan Xtreme by Swatch -Verbier is the final stage of the Freeride World Tour (FWT).


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ane Enderud winning line Video at Nissan Xtreme by Swatch - Verbier

Ane Enderud from Norway won the competition thus is Freeride World Tour Champion 2010.



Shannan Yates winning line Video at Nissan Xtreme by Swatch - Verbier

Shannan Yates won for her first time on the mythical North Face of the Bec des Rosses, a dauntingly steep and frighteningly jagged 500m rock-face!




Women's Freeride World Champions Crowned in Verbier. Men's Competition postponed

More than six thousand spectators watched the world’s best freeride skiers and snowboarders take on the impressive 600 vertical metre face of the Bec des Rosses in Verbier, Switzerland, for the Nissan Xtreme by Swatch. The women athletes were first down the mountain.
After the competition Norwegian Ane Enderud in Ski and German Aline Bock in Snowboard were crowned Freeride World Tour Champions 2010.
Norwegian skier Ane Enderud was the winner at Verbier to confirm her leadership, defending her title from last year, with Jess McMillan taking second. "I am obviously super happy with this result, after the disappointing start of the season when I had to cancel the Chamonix contest because of back problems. I just can’t believe I am on top! I got a bit lost and changed my line choice when I skied it and I was stoked to take the big cliff jump and land it clean without having inspected it before hand", said Ane Enderud.
Double Olympic silver medallist Julia Mancuso had an impressive first experience of freeride competitions, being the fastest women down the mountain and taking third. "It was tough on top – it is the first time I skied such technical and steep skiing this year and the first time I skied on these skis. I followed J.T. Holmes (FWT athlete ski) advice not to stall before taking the jump and I got so much speed I missed some features in the end. There are a lot of similarities with downhill – you need to have a very high confidence level, go fast and fluid. I was here to have fun and challenge myself and I am happy I made it down without falling! It is such a cool face".
Shannan Yates, American newcomer to the Freeride World Tour, won the women’s snowboard on the Bec des Rosses, with German Aline Bock taking second, giving her the World Champion title after four nice podiums this season. "We were so lucky with the weather in the morning. The Bec des Rosses welcomed us with sunshine and very good conditions, which we had not expected. Starting with the golden bib, leading the Freeride World Tour, gave me a lot of confidence. I chose to go for the windlip and I had fun jumping some other cliffs, while the run felt very fluent. To be second at such an event and then finally to be the World Champion is an unbelievable feeling", said Aline.
Due to poor visibility, the competition was stopped for the men before the last seven athletes were able to go down the face. For the men the competition is therefore postponed to a later date this coming week as soon as there is a weather window. The last possible day is Sunday 28 March.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nissan Xtreme by Swatch - Verbier

The final stage of the Freeride World Tour (FWT), the mythical Nissan Xtreme by Swatch will take place tomorrow in Verbier. Since its inception in 1996 the "Xtreme" has been considered the most prestigious Freeride competition in the world. The "Xtreme" is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year -15 years of passionate freeriding and great sports performances on the mythical North Face of the Bec des Rosses, a dauntingly steep and frighteningly jagged 500m rock-face. In places, the Bec des Rosses presents 55 degrees of slope. In an upright position one can almost lean on the face with one’s elbow. With steep and narrow couloirs, high rock cliffs, changing snow and terrain, it demands technical skill, great physical conditioning and a connection with the mountain that only experience can bring. Around 5000 spectators will join the riders at one of the most beautiful natural arenas of the Alps, the Col des Gentianes in Verbier.
All the former winners of the event have been invited by the organisers to be present in Verbier to mark this special occasion.
After the first three Freeride World Tour stops in Russia, France and USA, only the top eight men ski, six men snowboard, three women ski and two women snowboard are invited to the finals in Verbier They will be joined by a few selected "wild cards", as well as the winners from the Freeride World Qualifier, Nendaz Freeride.
In partnerhsip with Swisscom and Nanoo TV, the FWT offers the Nissan Xtreme by Swatch - Verbier live as of 10am Saturday, March 20.

Freeride World Tour Making Off

An insider's look at how the Freeride World Tour runs are filmed from a helicopter using a Cineflex camera. Cineflex is the ultimate gyro-stabilized aerial platform for HD aerial filming.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

There’s Been More Snow In Eastern Europe, Good Conditions In The West

Skiinfo reports that there has been plenty of fresh snow once again in northern and eastern Europe and in North America, while Western Europe has good conditions for the latter half of March, with generally good weather and a healthy snowbase for most areas.
Snow conditions in France are being described as, "very good for the end of the season", following a lot of snow falling a week ago, especially in the Pyrenees, and good weather since. There has been little new snowfall in the past seven days although one small area, Le Chioula, reports 85cm (nearly three feet) of new snow in the past week. However most resorts have reported a maximum of 20cm (eight inches) of new snow. Bonneval sur Arc in the Alps and Formigueres and Porte Puymorens in the Pyrenees have reported that much. La Rosiere’s ski slopes service told Skiinfo France that the season has been good and that there is now enough snow to last to the end of the season. "This winter the snow fell steadily and the resort has received a total of more than three metres (ten feet) of powder since it opened in December. The skiers and snowboarders will be able to enjoy the snow until the end of April", said a spokesperson. Chamonix Mont-Blanc has the country’s deepest snow base with 393cm (13 feet); La Grave la Meije has 330cm (11 feet), La Rosière 290cm (9.6 feet) and Alpe d'Huez 280cm (9.3 feet).
Austria has received more than 30 powder alarms, for more than 20cm/8 inches of new snow in 24 hours, since Monday for falls of more than, under which Kaprun - Kitzsteinhorn (34 cm) and Dachstein-Glacier (30 cm). The small resort Niederalpl even reported 60cm (two feet) in 24 hours on Tuesday and now has two metres lying on its upper slopes . Christian Hörl of Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG says, "At the Kitzsteinhorn the fresh powder snow is sparkling in the spring sunlight at the moment. After 34cm of new snow yesterday Kaprun has 178cm on upper slopes now. Anyone thinking of heading off piste should be warned that the avalanche risk is very high at level four".
In Germany the Zugspitze region reported 20cm (eight inches) of new snow yesterday and another 20cm this morning – at the moment they have a snow layer of 270cm (nine feet) depth on the glacier and of 170cm on upper slopes in Garmisch. "On Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, the total snow depth of 270cm today March 17th is much less than in previous years. This is due to lower precipitation than normal in recent months. However, this isn’t a problem for skiing", said Johannes Burkart, marketing manager of Bayerische Zugspitzbahn. "All slopes on the Zugspitze are open and in top condition. Of course the 30cm of powder snow that fell in the last few days are an important extra. In the Zugspitze ski resort there are still one and a half months of ski fun ahead of us, the season won’t end until May 2nd". Yesterday there were 18 powder alarms in Germany. Most of the snow fell in the Bavaria. In the Allgäu Oberstdorf - Fellhorn/Kanzelwand and Grasgeheren had 20 cm.
Less new snow was reported from Switzerland although some powder alarms were issued yesterday. Laax in Grisons had 25cm (10 inches) then. Various ski resorts in the Appenzell Alps also reported 20cm (eight inches) of new snow.
Italy has seen some good snowfalls too with up to a metre of new snow in the past seven days. Artesina has had 90cm (three feet) and Limone 80cm (32 inches). Arabba Marmolada in the Dolomites has the deepest snow with 430cm (12.3 feet), Courmayeur has a metre less with 320cm (10.6 feet) on upper slopes, 220cm (7.3 feet) at the base.
In Scandinavia there have been heavy snowfalls in Norway over the past week, with resorts issuing powder alarms daily. Today the coastal resort of Voss has announced a 20CM (8 inch) fall overnight and one of the country’s three summer ski destinations, Stryn, has had 409cm (16 inches) – good news for the coming spring and summer Norwegian ski season.
In Sweden this last week brought mild temperatures to large parts of the country, but colder weather and more snow has reached some resorts in the last few days. This had resulted in high avalanche danger in some resorts, including Ramundberget and Riksgränsen which are both warning the danger is at level 4 (just below the maximum 5). An avalanche was set off on the Norwegian side just two days ago at Riksgränsen, where the ski area extends over to a makes it possible to ski on the other side of the boarder and hike 5 min back to the lift). Most snow however came in Åre with 26cm followed by Nalovardo 22cm and Ramundberget 13cm. More snow is expected in the northern part of the mountains the next couple of days. This weekend Åre is hosting the "Åre High Five" for the first time. The contest where amateurs compete against professional skiers in skicross, moguls, paralell slalom, "the flying kilometer" and sledcross usually takes place in Verbier.
Conditions remain remarkably good in Scotland where most centres still have a 1.5m (fiuve foot) base or better despite a slowing in fresh snowfall. Relatively good weather with warmer temperatures and little wind or rain have made conditions on the slopes very pleasant – try to visit mid-week to avoid the crowds if possible. The Scottish school holidays start at the end of next week on March 27. The summit terrain park at Nevis Range, on the top of Aonach Mor mountain, is set to host to a ‘big air’ competition this weekend. However, recent snowfall had looked like it might prevent the competition going ahead as the features in the Park had become buried in 150cm of snow in the recent snowfall.
In The Pyrenees the last few days have delivered some of the best snow conditions of the winter season with great snow, cold and sunny weather. Andorra is in Spring mode with between 1.1 and 2.2m of snow on the upper slopes of the princcipality’s ski areas, with the slopes frozen hard in the morning but stickier in the afternoon thanks to the freeze-thaw pattern.
Over the border in Spain The Pyrenees are still looking very nice with more than 2m (7 feet) of snow on the top of the slopes with Boi Taull leading the rank with 3m (10 feet). Sierra Nevada, Europe’s most southerly major resort, continues to have the greatest snow depth in Spain, with five metres (17 feet) on their upper slopes and 102 km of pistes. This week it hosts the Freestyle World Championship, gathering the best freestyle riders (ski and snowboard) in the disciplines of moguls and skicross and attracting 130 athletes from 17 countries, including 12 Vancouver Olympic medalists. They will compete from tomorrow until Saturday on the slopes of Sierra Nevada. Formigal has 115cm (nearly four feet) off snow on lower slopes and 240cm (eight feet) on upper runs with 128km of trails open – the largest in the country.
In Eastern Europe there has been a big improvement in conditions with most areas reporting new snow. Zabava ski area in Slovakia has reported another foot (30cm) of new snow today and Bulgaria’s ski slopes, which had been suffering from an early thaw a week ago, have also had fresh snow and are looking better.
Across the Atlantic there’s been still more heavy snow in Western Canada with Whistler reporting another 90cm (three feet) of snow in the past week or so and Marmot Basin another 20cm (8 inches) – both resorts are having record-setting snowfall seasons.
There are reasonably good conditions in Western US resorts to the south too, although it has been warmer on the East Coast the past week until a recent temperature drop.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Video of Didier Defago on the Bec des Rosses (Verbier)

The final stage of the Freeride World Tour (FWT), the mythical Nissan Xtreme by Swatch will take place in Verbier, March 20. Considered to be the most prestigious Freeride competition in the world, the "Xtreme" is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year -15 years of passionate freeriding and great sports performances on the mythical Bec des Rosses.
At the end of last season, Swiss Olympic Downhill Gold Medalist Didier Defago climbed the Bec des Rosses for the first time ever to put himself in the place of the Freeride World Tour riders... it goes to show how impressive this face is even for the most experienced skiers.



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hit The Spring Snow With Skiinfo!

With Spring nearly here, it’s easy to forget that the ski season still has three months left to run at plenty of resorts around the world. 2010 has been a bumper year with record snowfalls in many resorts, so with Spring sunshine on the way and low prices and empty slopes the norm, here’s Skiinfo’s suggestions for 20 possible ski destinations in 10 countries right through to June!

Austria


Canada



Finland



France



Italy



Norway



  • Stryn (http://www.skiinfo.com/Ski-Resort-Info/Strynsommerski-ENOSTRYNEFJ-103-en.jhtml)
    With several of Norway’s larger ski areas open in to May, Stryn Summerski Centre doesn’t actually open until Friday, May 30th, one of three summer ski destinations in the country. Stryn summer ski opens on Friday, May 30th. The resort has a snow park, off piste and alpine skiing opportunities and was once named the best pre-season training resort by legendary Italian slalom ski racer Alberto Tomba.
Scotland


  • Cairngorm (http://www.ski.visitscotland.com/)
    Scotland is coming out of its coldest since 1962 and the snow is lying several metres deep. In years gone by there’s been skiing on midsummer night, June 21st, and that’s looking good in 2010 too. The slopes have remained open in to May in recent years with less snow than this and have eventually closed due to lack of adequate skier numbers rather than lack of snow.

Sweden



Switzerland



USA



  • Arapahoe Basin (www.skiinfo.com/Ski-Resort-Info/ArapahoeBasin-EUSARAPA-103-en.jhtml)
    A fun Colorado ski area with some of the world’s highest ski lifts, a great laid back vibe and often open in to June.

  • Mammoth Mountain (www.skiinfo.com/Ski-Resort-Info/Mammoth-EUSMAMMO-103-en.jhtml)
    One of half-a-dozen US ski areas that get so much snow they usually stay open well in to May or June, 2010 is looking like a great year for Mammoth which recently passed the ‘400 inches of snow this season’ mark (that’s over 13 feet/10 metres). The area has stayed opened to Independence Day, July 4th, on occasion.

  • Squaw Valley USA (www.skiinfo.com/Ski-Resort-Info/SquawValleyUSA-EUSSQUAW-103-en.jhtml)
    Squaw Valley celebrates 50 years since staging the Winter Olympics itself this year, an amazing achievement back in 1960 as the resort had only been created a few years previously. It’s made an art form out of its Spring Season with cool California sunshine culture up at High Camp well in to May, sometimes June. 2010 is looking good as the snow depth is currently over four metres.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Winter X Games Europe: Eric Willett wins Snowboard Slopestyle Gold

Eric Willett takes Gold in the Snowboard Slopestyle at the Winter X Games Europe. USA’s Sage Kotsenburg followed close behind to win silver. Marko Grilc of Slovenia took the bronze. "I wasn’t really landing my tricks in practice, but somehow it all clicked and came together for me in the final", Willett said about his win. Willett threw down a huge run on his second attempt - including a backside rodeo double and double frontside - and was awarded 91 points for his perfomance.

Winter X Games Europe: Kaitlyn Farrington takes Snowboard SuperPipe Gold

Kaitlyn Farrington takes Gold in the Snowboard SuperPipe at the Winter X Games Europe. Second place went to Olympic gold medallist Torah Bright and Third place went to French Sophie Rodriguez.

Winter X Games Europe: Jenny Jones wins Snowboard Slopestyle Gold

Jenny Jones takes Gold in the Snowboard Slopestyle at the Winter X Games Europe. The Brit continued her run of Winter X Slopestyle dominance in Tignes after taking home gold at Winter X Games in Aspen in 2009 and 2010. "It feels amazing to win so close to home, and there were so many fans from the UK out there (...)It was great to show my fans that the British can ride", said Jones. Kjersti Oestgaard took silver and Sina Candrian took bronze.

Winter X Games Europe: Kaya Turski wins Ski Slopestyle Gold

In Tignes Kaya Turski wins her second straight X Games gold medal this year. Keri Herman win her second straight silver medal and Ashley Battersby win her first X Games medal, taking bronze. "I've been training hard and it paid off (...)It was tough getting a line together, and I usually just think of it in my head, but I had to write everything down – a little cheat sheet of the course and the run. I basically decided this morning what I wanted to do for sure, landed it in practice and there you go", said Kaya.

Winter X Games Europe: Tom Wallisch wins Ski Slopestyle Gold

Tom Wallisch takes Gold in the Ski Slopestyle at the Winter X Games Europe. Tom continued his season of slopestyle podiums with an epic battle to take the first place in the podium over Bobby Brown, Winter X Games 14 winner. Jossi Wells took third place.

Winter X Games Europe: I-Pod Iouri Podladtchikov wins SuperPipe Gold

Friday night's Men's Snowboard SuperPipe final may have been the best pipe contest of the year. I-Pod became the second person to ever land a Double McTwist 1260 and scored a monsterous 98.0 to win gold at the Winter X Games Europe. Mathieu Crepal took silver with a 95.00 and Louie Vito took bronze with 92.33. After a disappointing fourth in the Vancouver Olympics last month, iPod said, "I feel a little relieved as the Olympics was a bit of a downer for me and this was amazing (...) I started learning [the double McTwist] just last week and amazingly managed to do it on my second try", said I-pod.
The french resort of Tignes was chosen to host for the first time in Europe this key event in freestyle ski and snowboard. For 3 days, from March 10th to 12th 2010, the world’s very best freestylers were competing in Tignes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nissan Xtreme by Swatch (Verbier, Switzerland)

The final stage of the Freeride World Tour (FWT), the mythical Nissan Xtreme by Swatch will take place in Verbier, March 20. Considered to be the most prestigious Freeride competition in the world, the "Xtreme" is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year -15 years of passionate freeriding and great sports performances on the mythical Bec de Rosses.
All the former winners of the event have been invited by the organisers to be present in Verbier to mark this special occasion.
After the first three Freeride World Tour stops in Russia, France and USA, only the top eight men ski, six men snowboard, three women ski and two women snowboard are invited to the finals in Verbier They will be joined by a few selected “wild cards”, as well as the winners from the Freeride World Qualifier, Nendaz Freeride.
Fresh from her success at the Olympics in Vancouver, Julia Mancuso (USA), Olympic Silver medallist in the women's downhill competition and super combined, has confirmed her participation in the Nissan Xtreme Verbier by Swatch. She is without doubt one of the exciting wild cards for this year’s competition. "Competing in the Verbier Xtreme is something that I've been wanting to do since I came to Verbier to participate in another event a couple of years ago. The Bec des Rosses is challenging. Last year when I was visiting in Verbier I knew it was something I wanted to conquer. Just standing at the top and looking down is exhilarating. I've never done a freeride competition but when I saw that the Xtreme was scheduled after our World Cup tour ended, I thought why not! It’s another way I can challenge my own skiing and free skiing has always been a passion of mine. Growing up in Squaw, I have had so many inspirational skiers to look up to. Of course JT Holmes and Cody Townsend have helped me push my limits, and I am really in awe of everyone out there living their passion and skiing for the love of the sport".


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Return Of The Big Snowfalls

Skiinfo reports that there has been fresh snow across much of Europe and North America in the past few days with many resorts in the Alps and the Pyrenees reporting at least 30cm (a foot) of new snow. The snowfall is continuing today with more fresh snow across both continents.
Italy has seen some of the most snow in the past few days, especially in the north of the country. Two thirds of powder alarms issued today for snowfall of more than 20m in 24 hours have been issued for the country, with Limone reporting 60cm (two feet). Temperatures have dropped dramatically from up to 20 degrees last week to sub-zero temperatures by the weekend and more snow is forecast for the rest of the week. Arabba Marmolada has the deepest snow with a five metre (nearly 17 feet) of snow with the Pragelato glacier having 430cm (14.3 feet) and Courmayeur 330cm (11 feet) of snow.
Germany had a snowy weekend with more than 30 powder alarms. Most of them were issued in the central and southern uplands (Sauerland, Harz and Black Forest). Gaby Baur of the Black Forest Tourism Board told the regional broadcasting corporation (SWR), "The current winter season is one of the best we ever had". The Allgäu saw some remarkable snowfalls, too. On Sunday Grasgehren there even reported the weekend’s biggest snowfall in Germany with 50cm (20 inches) of fresh powder within 24 hours. The Zugspitze had 20cm the same day. Oberstdorf had already reported 30cm (a foot) of powder on Saturday.
Austria also had some healthy snowfalls last weekend. The most snowflakes could be seen in Vorarlberg where Diedamskopf had a foot (30cm) of new snow on Sunday. In Kleinwalsertal – Fellhorn/Kanzelwand up to 30cm (a foot) of powder came down on Saturday and Sandra Janser of Kleinwalsertal Tourismus said they have, "dreamlike conditions" and "plenty of powder snow and sun" there. "All the 47 lifts and 91 slopes are open", she said. Today (Wednesday) Austrian ski resorts like Großglockner, Katschberg and Ankogel reported another 10-15cm (4-6 inches) of new snow. Sölden got 9cm. The Mölltal glacier issued a powder alarm because of 20cm (eight inches) of fresh powder.
Ski resorts in Switzerland were also busy issuing powder alarms on Sunday. Andermatt-Gotthard did so because of 20cm of freshly fallen snow. Peter Heinzer, director of Andermatt Gotthard Sportbahnen, told Skiinfo, "It’s hardly possible to describe the snow conditions here without using many superlatives", and so he described the "finest powder snow" and "unique skiing conditions". In Sedrun, Brienz and 15 other Swiss resorts similar snowfalls were reported. Disentis had 25cm (10 inches0 in 24 hours.
France turned very cold on Sunday and the south of the country received some significant snowfalls, especially for March. For example, in the Gard department (Southern France), 40cm of powder in the valleys, which at this time of year and in such volume has not happened since 1974.
The Winter X Games Europe kick off in Tignes today for the very first time. Tignes was chosen to host this key event in freestyle ski and snowboard until March 12th. Chamonix still has the deepest snow in the country with 407cm (13.5 feet), La Grave la Meije has 330cm (11 feet) and La Rosière 1850 290cm (nearly 10 feet).
There have been big snowfalls in Spain. The city of Barcelona ground to a standstill due to the weekend snowstorm. However that’s great news in the mountains and the country’s ski resorts are now reporting some of the best conditions all season with great snow cover everywhere.
Sierra Nevada (picture attached) continues to have the greatest snow depth in Europe with five metres on their upper slopes. This week this most southern resort in Europe will host the European Freestyle Championship gathering the best freestyle riders (ski and snowboard) in the disciplines of moguls and skicross. The Pyrenees are still looking very nice with more than 2mof snow on the top of the slopes with Boi Taull having the most with three metres. Formigal has the most terrain open in the region with 240cm (eight feet) on upper slopes and 136km of trails open.
Andorra also received good snowfalls of up to a foot of new snow, although the snow arrived driven by strong winds which led to lit closures at the start of the week.
On the French side of the mountains up to 80cm (32 inches) of heavy snow fell on Monday on the mountains with 20 to 40cm (8-16 inches) in the valleys. Formigueres received a fall of 60cm (two feet) yesterday while France’s mot southerly village, Lamanère, reported, "We had a record accumulation with a metre of snow".
In Scandinavia this last week has brought some serious snow in the north of the region. Sweden’s Björkliden, not far from Riksgränsen, released a powder alarm and got 29cm (a foot) since last Thursday, and in nearby ski resort Abisko, heavy snow and wind resulted in extreme avalanche danger, set on 5 on the avalanche scale on Monday, and the resort closed all lifts. It’ now down to 4. The road between Björkliden and Riksgränsen, where it’s still snowing with more than a foot of snow since last Thursday and avalanche danger is on 4, also closed on Monday due to the harsh weather (snow and heavy winds). In the middle and south of Sweden the snow has eased since last week. The top resort of Åre got 12cm (four inches) the last week and is also hosting the FIS Freestyle World Cup on 12-13 March. The temperatures have dropped to just a couple degrees below zero in the mountains and some degrees above zero on the ski areas in the south but ski conditions remain great in a large part of the country.
In Scotland with the wind predominantly from the north east, snowfall has consistently loaded the east faces of the mountains, giving new pistes to ski and snowboard at all areas. At both Glencoe and Nevis Range, skiers and boarders have enjoyed sliding from the top lifts back to the lowest access points, which is pretty unusual. Nevis Range Managing Director and ski-scotland member, Marian Austin, commented, "Unlike the ski areas in the east, we do not normally ski to our carpark, but this amazing snow cover, even at low level, has allowed us to offer skiing from 1,190m (3,900ft) down to 100m (330ft), which is about 4.5km, or close to 3 miles. As with Glencoe, the runs to the carpark are not pisted and are for experienced back country sliders - but what runs! With skiers well spread out across the mountain, our worst lift queues last weekend were around 30 people - so we've lots of space for more skiers and boarders!". "The snow this year has been fantastic with constant cold and great skiing conditions", added Pieter du Pon of the Lecht Ski Company. "Snow has just piled up week after week since before Christmas, with another metre falling in 36 hours last week".
Eastern European ski areas received some much needed fresh snow with lower temperatures on Sunday and Monday too, dramatically improving conditions.
In North America the snow just keeps on falling in California. Last week over three feet (90cm) of snow fell in Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain passed the 400" (33 feet) of snowfall mark for the year in the first week of March, which is fantastic news for a ski resort where the season lasts well into May and May and has on occasion only closed after 4 July.
In Canada Banff-Lake Louise has just been named Top North American Spot for Spring Skiing by The New York Times (February 28, 2010) and received another dump of 25cm (10 inches) of fresh powder overnight. Conditions are reported to be "mostly still good" on the continent’s East coast too.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Winter X Games Europe (Tignes, France)

For the very first time, the Winter X Games land in Europe! Tignes was chosen to host this key event in freestyle ski and snowboard. For 3 days, from March 10th to 12th 2010, the world’s very best freestylers will be competing in the French resort of Tignes. Scheduled to take place on the heels of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, this unprecedented European competition is preparing to welcome both medal-winning Olympians and champions from Winter X Games 14. Winter X Games Europe has a schedule of eight events: the Men and Women's Ski and Snowboard SuperPipe, the Men and Women's Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle, and a SnowMobile demonstration.
In the US, the Winter X Games are an institution, seen by top sportsmen and women as the big one, the high point of the season. It's a colossal event, with some 54 million television viewers tuning in last year to watch a spellbinding show, broadcast in over 140 countries, from Israel to Australia, and from Africa to Asia. 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 take place in Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado (USA), at the resort’s Buttermilk Mountain.
Winter X Games Europe is a joint venture between ESPN and CANAL+. ESPN launched the first Winter X Games in 1997, two years after creating X Games in Rhode Island. Now, 13 years later, the winter event that united an entire generation is leaving American shores for the first time and choosing as its French partner and general coordinator of the new event, CANAL+ Events, to launch the Winter X Games Europe. CANAL+ Events, the CANAL+ Group's sports marketing and events subsidiary, and ESPN have set themselves the target of ensuring the European edition is as big as its American equivalent within three years.

Competition Schedule

easyJet Reveals Their Clients’ Top Ski Resort Choices

The latest booking statistics released by easyJet show that skiers are breaking the mould of the traditional Saturday to Saturday ski holiday and are travelling throughout the week, attracted by the lower fares on mid-week flights.
In addition, accommodation sales through the easyJet ski portal show that skiers are looking for convenience and a short airport-resort transfer time, with figures showing the following top ten destinations for easyJet skiers this season:

1. Chamonix, France
2. Avoriaz, France
3. Meribel, France
4. Les Arcs 1800, France
5. Pas de la Casa, Andorra
6. Val d'Isere, France
7. Kitzbühel, Austria
8. Innsbruck, Austria
9. Söll, Austria
10. Arinsal, Andorra

Charles Martin, easyJet’s Partnership Manager commented: "We’ve found France attracts over 50% of all British skiers using EasyJet flights, so its no surprise to see French resorts taking the top slots. Chamonix and Avoriaz are real favourites with British skiers, thanks to the ease of access from Geneva with transfer times of just over and hour, coupled with the wide availability of easyJet flights from across 13 UK airports".
In Austria the popular resorts of Kitzbühel and Söll are within easy reach of Innsbruck, each between 30-90 minutes transfer time. The airline reports this relatively new route for them is proving to be a success with independent skiers.
"The inclusion of the Andorran resorts of Pas de la Casa and Arinsal in the top ten is somewhat of a surprise. Although further from the arrival airports, with transfer times from Barcelona of 3 hours, Andorra is still perceived as offering great value for apres ski, while investment in lifts in recent years has brought them up on a par with some of the top French resorts".
With excellent snow conditions in European ski resorts this year, easyJet believes bookings will continue to be strong throughout Easter as skiers take advantage of its range of ski flights from 13 UK airports to nine European ski airports, across six countries.

Shannan Yates winning line at Nissan Tram Face

Snowboarder Shannan Yates was the winner at Nissan Tram Face (Squaw Valley, USA) the thrid stage of the Freeride World Tour. The event took place on the Silverado venue. With its playful terrain the riders put up a great show for the hundreds of cheering locals, pushing the limits with a ‘best of two runs’ format.
"Shannan came directly from winning the North Face Snowboard Masters in Kirkwood yesterday and had a fast and solid run with several clean jumps. Impressive!", said Head Judge Snowboard Xavier Jordan.
"After winning the North Face Masters series yesterday, I got here in Squaw at 10:30pm and didn’t sleep all night. I got up at 5:30 to take the first Tram. For me, my first line was flawless. I stuck the landings, went fast and had fun. I did 3 hikes yesterday for 2 venue runs; I spent all the energy I had on my first run today and I’m happy!", said Shannan Yates.
The next and final stage of the Freeride World Tour will be held in Verbier on March 20. 15 years of passion for freeriding, 15 years of great sports performances at its highest level will be celebrated at the "grande finale" of the Freeride World Tour 2010: the Nissan Xtreme by Swatch. For the occasion the 15 former winners of the event have been invited by the organisers. The elite of freeride will once again tackle the mythical North Face of the Bec des Rosses.



Jaclyn Paaso winning line at Nissan Tram Face

Local skier Jaclyn Paaso was the winner at Nissan Tram Face (Squaw Valley, USA) the thrid stage of the Freeride World Tour. The event took place on the Silverado venue. With its playful terrain the riders put up a great show for the hundreds of cheering locals, pushing the limits with a ‘best of two runs’ format.
"Jackie went bigger than any of the girls! Skiing a fluid line landing a first jump before taking the 45 footer (15 metre cliff) at full speed, and managing to land on her feet", said Head Judge Ski Eric Seymour.
Freeride World Tour wild card Jaclyn Paaso was without a doubt the biggest crowd pleaser. She took a massive cliff jump at the bottom of the face, faster and higher than most of the men, challenging them for the second heat. "I just wanted to go bigger than the boys. It felt good because I didn’t have a wild card until the last minute. I really wanted to prove myself", said Jackie.
Jaclyn Paaso have scored enough points to climb to the top of the overall Freeride World Tour Ranking 2010, before the final stage Nissan Xtreme by Swatch in Verbier, March 20.



Xavier de Le Rue winning line at Nissan Tram Face

Snowboarder Xavier de Le Rue was the winner at Nissan Tram Face (Squaw Valley, USA) the thrid stage of the Freeride World Tour. The event took place on the Silverado venue. With its playful terrain the riders put up a great show for the hundreds of cheering locals, pushing the limits with a ‘best of two runs’ format.
"It was a pleasant surprise today to ride the Silverado face. It was a real pleasure to see the girls stomping. As for me, I landed near a rock and in switch so I had to turn again on the next jump, but it was all good in the end. Today was a truly spectacular show", said Xavier.
"A fantastic run! Xavier took a committed line with great speed and without any hesitation, starting off with a “360 front side” (full rotation), then jumping a double cliff and finishing off with a unique cliff jump at the bottom, high and exposed – everything executed without any errors", said Head Judge Snowboard Xavier Jordan.
Xavier de Le Rue is the current leader of the overall Freeride World Tour Ranking 2010, before the final stage Nissan Xtreme by Swatch in Verbier, March 20.




Henrik Windstedt winning line at Nissan Tram Face

Henrik Windstedt was the winner at Nissan Tram Face (Squaw Valley, USA) the thrid stage of the Freeride World Tour. The event took place on the Silverado venue. With its playful terrain the riders put up a great show for the hundreds of cheering locals, pushing the limits with a ‘best of two runs’ format.
"Henrik showed the most progressive run of the day, throwing a giant backflip off the start straight into a big 360° (full rotation). He skied very fast and smooth all the way to his final air – a 45 footer (15 metres), which he landed perfectly. He managed to mix both new school freestyle and big mountain skiing", said Head Judge Ski Eric Seymour.
"The format ‘best of two runs’ was really great and very interesting. The riders where pushing the limits even further with two chances on the same face. Silverado is a great competition venue, not too dangerous, so we dare to go for it! I was really excited at the start and wanted to go as big as I could. I am really happy I stomped my backflip and 360 as well as the big cliff jump at the bottom", said Winner Ski Men Henrik Windstedt.
Henrik Windstedt have scored enough points to climb to the top of the overall Freeride World Tour Ranking 2010, before the final stage Nissan Xtreme by Swatch in Verbier, March 20.



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pushing the Limits at Nissan Tram Face

The third stage of the Freeride World Tour was held on Monday on the Silverado venue in Squaw Valley USA. With its playful terrain the riders put up a great show for the hundreds of cheering locals, pushing the limits with a ‘best of two runs’ format. "The majority of the athletes were really happy with the two-run format. It was a great opportunity for the sport to allow faster progression as the riders would attempt more tricks and push their limits more than if they only would have had one chance. And the good news is that no one would do anything dangerous above his or her abilities. We saw some amazing riding today", said Founder and Event organizer Nicolas Hale-Woods.
The high point of the day was the women stepping up the game with a great level of riding, taking the same big cliff jumps as the men and creative line choices. Local Squaw Valley skier and Freeride World Tour wild card Jaclyn Paaso was without a doubt the biggest crowd pleaser. She took a massive cliff jump at the bottom of the face, faster and higher than most of the men, challenging them for the second heat. "I just wanted to go bigger than the boys. It felt good because I didn’t have a wild card until the last minute. I really wanted to prove myself", said Jaclyn.
Henrik Windstedt (Ski Men), Xavier de Le Rue (Snowboard Men) and Shannan Yate (Snowboard Women) complete the list of winners at Squaw Valley.
The next and final stage of the Freeride World Tour will be held in Verbier on March 20. 15 years of passion for freeriding, 15 years of great sports performances at its highest level will be celebrated at the "grande finale" of the Freeride World Tour 2010: the Nissan Xtreme by Swatch. For the occasion the 15 former winners of the event have been invited by the organisers. The elite of freeride will once again tackle the mythical North Face of the Bec des Rosses.

Little Fresh Snow In The Alps But Big Dumps In The US, Scotland and Scandinavia

Skiinfo reports that there has been little fresh snowfall in the Alps in recent days, and in some cases some unwanted warm temperatures and even rain. However in most cases the accumulated snow to date has led to pleasant ski conditions in Europe. To the north of the continent heavy snow has continued to fall over Scotland and Scandinavia, while in the East it has been unseasonably warm, leading to difficult conditions for skiers in Bulgaria. Across the Atlantic there have been big snowfalls on both the East and west sides of North America.

Although things have been quiet for the past three or four days, It snowed a lot last week in France with 13 powder alarms in the French Alps on Friday. Le Grand Bornand was one of the big winners with 75cm (2.5 feet) of fresh snow accumulated over seven days. Hubert Bon-Bétend Le Grand Bornand ski patrol chief told Skiinfo: "It had not snowed a lot in the beginning of the season but since early January, the resort has received regular snowfalls of 15 to 20cm. The snow coverage is very good with 100cm at 1200m and 170cm at 2300m. The snow depths are measured twice a day, once at 7:30am and again at 12:30. The avalanche risk is moderate now, but it was at maximum on Sunday because of mild temperatures. It was cold in the night from Sunday to Monday which helped stabilize the snow coverage. We trigger avalanches artificially when there’s 10-15cm of new snowfall when it is windy, otherwise we wait until 20cm. We now hope that the temperatures will not be too high so we can have a good end to the season". Other big accumulations of 45- 52cm (18-21 inches) were re4ported by La Clusaz, Val Thorens and Alpe d'Huez. Chamonix Mont-Blanc has the deepest snow in France with 4.2m (14 feet).
Italy is reporting less favorable conditions with bad weather today, especially in the north and the centre of the country with warm temperatures bringing some unwanted rainfall this afternoon and more expected tomorrow. Unusually, conditions are better for skiing in Italy’s southern areas. There have been healthy snow accumulations over the past seven days at some resorts however, Courmayeur has had 75cm (2.5 feet) of new snow, Arabba Marmolada 70cm – it continues to claim the deepest snow in Europe, with five metres (nearly 27 feet) accumulated, La Thuile has had 55cm (22 inches) and Bardonecchia 40cm (16 inches).
Austria got some new snow today with Sölden, Obertauern and the Ski Welt with Brixental, Söll and Ellmau getting 5cm (2 inches) each. Some snow had already been falling in St. Anton, Hochfügen (both 5cm) and Saalbach Hinterglemm (10cm) yesterday. In mountainous areas more new snow is expected in the coming days. The biggest snow accumulations in the country in the past week has been at Zauchensee (30 cm/a foot) and Sölden (29 cm/11.5 inches). The snow depth in the latter has "climbed" up to 202cm (6.6 feet), with some new snow falling almost every day (Skiinfo’s Snowfinder expects 13 cm of new snow in Sölden for tomorrow). Flachau had 25cm (10 inches) of new snow in a week.
In Switzerland the latest powder alarms were issued last weekend with 30cm (a foot) in Nax as well as Champoussin. There’s been less new snow in the German speaking parts of the country but Engelberg and Lötschental are still on top of the list of biggest snow depths with 285 and 272cm (9-10 feet)of snow on their mountains.
In Germany up to 10cm (four inches) of new snow was reported in Bavaria this morning. Oberstdorf has already had 10 cm yesterday at the mountains Fellhorn and Nebelhorn.
Sierra Nevada continues to have the greatest snow depth in Spain with five metres on their upper slopes, equalling Arabba in Italy for the deepest in the world. There has been much less snow in Spain this week than last but new snow is expected over the next few days. The Pyrenees are still looking very nice with more than 1.5m of snow on the top of the slopes. Baqueira Beret has 175cm (six feet) of snow on top and 93km of runs open, Cerler up to 220 cm (picture attached) of snow and 71 km of runs open, Formigal up to 240cm (eight feet) of snow and 136 km of runs open. Andorra has also not seen fresh snow for nearly two weeks, but conditions remain relatively good thanks to a healthy base build up, with most areas reporting 1.2 – 1.8m (4-6 feet) on upper slopes.
In Scandinavia it seems there's nothing holding back the snow right now. It continues to accumulate from last week causing problems for traffic and transport like buses and railways and leading to some roof collapses in the south of Sweden while at the same time adding to the great snow depths at ski resorts across the whole country. This means there are really great conditions from the north to south of the region, right in time for the second week of Sweden’s current winter holiday period. During the last week ski resorts further up north have had some serious amounts of snow fall as well. The small resort of Nalovardo got the most with 33cm (13 inches) followed by Branäs 27cm (11 inches), Tandådalen 17cm (7 inches) and Åre 10cm (4 inches). The forecast for the rest of the week looks really promising, especially in the north. Riksgränsen, which recently re-opened for its 2010 ski season through to June up in the Arctic Circle is expecting massive snow falls starting on Thursday.
In Scotland the weather service recently confirmed it has been the coldest winter since 1962-3, nearly 50 years ago. Still more heavy snow has left all five centres fully open, with Cairngorm needing to blast terrain above the ski area for the first time to minimise avalanche danger.
It’s the opposite conditions in parts of eastern Europe where mild weather has brought early spring to ski areas in Bulgaria, which are struggling to battle a rapid thaw and sticky snow as temperatures have almost reached double figures in the past week.
Across the Atlantic, in the US and Canada there have been more serious snowfalls on both East and West sides of the continent. On the East Coast the "snowicane" that paralyzed the region for nearly a week has set many ski areas up to be skiing well into Spriong 2010. After ending February with nearly 2.4m (eight feet) of natural snowfall over five days Belleayre in New York state is primed for a monumental March. To the north Le Massif, an hour outside Quebec City in Quebec, Canada, reported 72cm (28 inches) of fresh snow too. On the western side of the continent nearly three feet (90cm) of snow has fallen at Beaver Creek and Vail, while Breckenridge received 28 inches (71cm); Heavenly, 25 inches (64cm), and Keystone was walloped with 20 inches (51cm). The heavens opened with 10 straight days of relentless snow in Colorado resorts and Pacific storms in the west.