Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vail Resorts adds Las Leñas Ski Resort to the Epic Pass

Vail Resorts announced that all Vail Resorts Epic Pass holders including new and renewing Epic Pass purchasers for the 2010-2011 ski and snowboard season can now continue their epic winter season through the summer - in the Southern Hemisphere - with free and unrestricted skiing and snowboarding at Las Leñas Resort in Argentina when staying at select hotel properties in Las Leñas.
"The Epic Season Pass already gives skiers and riders unlimited access at Vail Resorts’ world-class resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly, as well as Arapahoe Basin, but we wanted to give Epic Pass holders even more benefits by offering an opportunity to ski and ride year round”, said Heidi Kercher-Pratt, vice president and chief marketing officer for Vail Resorts. "We are thrilled to work with Las Leñas, a legendary resort in Argentina, to give Epic Pass holders the chance to have an endless ski and ride season".
The Epic Pass is back for its third season and provides unlimited, unrestricted access to six world-class resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly, as well as Arapahoe Basin. Now, all Epic Pass holders can receive free and unrestricted skiing from June through October of 2010 and 2011 at Las Leñas during their stay at a qualifying Las Leñas Hotel.
Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resort properties of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone mountain resorts in Colorado and the Heavenly Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada.

Intrawest completes new loan

Intrawest announced that it has successfully completed the refinancing of its corporate debt which was due in December 2009. The Company repaid its prior lenders in full and has completed a new loan, which is scheduled to mature in 2014. Terms of the new loan were not disclosed.
This probably ends a string of asset sales by Intrawest, beginning with the sale of Copper Mountain last December, followed by the sale of Panorama resort, B.C., the Village at Squaw Valley and the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort .
Intrawest is a leader in the development and management of experiential destination resorts. The Company has a network of resorts at North America’s most popular mountain destinations including Whistler Blackcomb, the host venue of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.

2009-10 Season, For Some Resorts Their Longest Ever, Continues to Wind Down

Skiinfo reports that hundreds more ski areas around the world closed their lifts for the final time for winter 2009-10 last weekend. However more than 100 resorts remain open in over a dozen European, North American and Asian countries and many have plans for big celebrations this weekend to mark the start of May.
Eight ski areas are still open in France. Bonneval sur Arc, La Grave la Meije and Val d'Isère will close after this weekend, but Argentière, Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Orelle, Tignes and Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens, will stay open another week to the 9th. The snow remains very good for this time of year. Marinoël Turc, manager of the Tourist office of Val Thorens, commented on the snow this season thus, "Skiers could fully enjoy the pleasures of skiing early in the season because the snow fell in mid-November, in both a good quantity and of a good quality, so we opened the ski resort a week ahead of schedule, on November 14th. Today, we still have winter-like conditions and you can still enjoy the snow. Then at the end of the season the snow is still present in Val Thorens". Chamonix Mont-Blanc still has the greatest snow depth in France on its upper slopes with 355cm (12 feet) lying. The other areas have between 1.6 and 2 metres (5.3 and 6.6 feet). There’ll be no ski areas open in France for about five weeks after May 9th, after which Tignes, Les 2 Alpes and Val d’Isere will offer summer skiing and boarding from mid-June.
In Italy five ski resorts are still open. Livigno and Abetone will close after this weekend on 2nd May, Cervinia and Gressoney will stay open until 9th May. The Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale plans to stay open until 26th June however and has some of the deepest snow in the country with a 4.2m (14 foot) base.
Skiing in Austria is now largely concentrated on the glaciers. There’s 210cm (7 feet) of snow reported on the upper slopes at the Pitztal glacier which is open to mid-May, while the Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun has 136cm (4.5 feet) left. A spokesperson from the tourism association of Tiroler Oberland comments, "There’s still good snow conditions on the Kaunertal glacier while spring has come to the valley". The Mölltal Glacier will stay open to May 16th, at the moment there are six lifts in operation there and 45km of slopes skiable. The glacier reports a snow depth of 370cm (12.3 feet), the biggest in Austria. St. Anton and Lech Zürs am Arlberg have closed last weekend. Ischgl, Austria’s capital of event tourism in the Alps, will celebrate its season finale together with the Swiss resort of Samnaun on Saturday when Alicia Keys will perform at the famous "Top of the Mountain Concert" with 20,000 fans expected to attend.
In Germany the Nebelhorn ski area is open until Sunday with 5km (three miles) of slopes still skiable with up to 170cm (6 feet) of snow. The local mountain railways reports that... "On the higher slopes that are open skiing conditions are still very good". On the Zugspitze glacier with 275cm (8 feet) of snow lying on the glacier, the ski resort near Garmisch will celebrate the end of its winter season on Saturday and Sunday with live music.
In Switzerland Zermatt and Saas Fee both reported 5 cm (two inches) of fresh snow yesterday. Saas Fee has 261cm (8.6 feet) of snow on the glacier with 10 lifts still in operation. Just as Gstaad and Andermatt, the ski resort will remain open until this Sunday, May 2nd. The glacier near Zermatt offers skiing all year round and Engelberg – with 290cm (9.7 feet) of snow on the mountain – won’t end its winter season before May 24th.
In Northern Europe there are still slopes open in Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and easy-to-reach Iceland.
Norway still has 12 ski resorts open, but seven of them will be closing up this weekend. Snow is expected in many parts of Norway this weekend, so there are good prospects for a memorable season-ending. Aksel Lund Svindal and the rest of the Norwegian World Cup team are currently skiing in Hemsedal after participating in the last World Cup race of the season. Hemsedal is throwing their somewhat legendary "end of season" party on Saturday 1st May and over 6,000 ski enthusiasts are expected, as that many took part in last year's celebration. It has the most slopes open with 42 runs. Voss received a foot of new snow in the past week and has the country’s greatest snow depth with a two metre (6.7 foot) base.
Sweden has 12 ski resorts open through to the 2nd of May and Björkliden will be open another week until 9th May and Riksgränsen right through to 27th June with its famous midnight-sun skiing coming up in May. The snow coverage is generally still good with Spring skiing at most resorts (except for Riksgränsen and Björkliden) which added another 5cm (two inches) of fresh snow yesterday. The season ending is celebrated with a Hot Dog Challenge in Scandinavia’s most popular resort, Åre. Here there will be live music at the top station in Ramundberget and a lot of other events/competitions on the resorts. In Åre, the summer season kicks in as Åre Bike Park opens some trails this weekend.
At Cairngorm in Scotland you can still ski top to bottom although lower runs are getting narrow and thin in places. The centre is currently operating the Ptarmigan, Ciste, Cas, M1, and West Wall lifts along with the train. The slopes will be open daily to 3rd May and then every weekend in May, conditions permitting .
The season is over in most of the rest of Europe but the continent’s most southerly resort, Sierra Nevada in Spain remains open this weekend with 20-400cm (.7-13.3 feet) off snow and 32km of slopes open. In the Pyrenees Masella is also open for a last weekend blast with 30-80 cm (1-3 feet) of snow and 22 km of runs to enjoy.
Several dozen ski areas remain open across North America and some have announced that 2010-11 will be their longest winter season ever. In Colorado (US) Echo Mountain will close for the season after this weekend, as will Loveland, one of the world’s highest resorts. Echo reported 17cm (7 inches) of new snow last weekend. In Utah, Snowbird has passed its 1250cm (500 inches) of snowfall target for the third consecutive year. A recent storm brought another 15cm (6 inches) to the slopes. Snowbird is now the only ski area in Utah still open for skiing and snowboarding and plans to remain open to late May. In California Squaw Valley (picture attached) and Mammoth remain open, as does Mountain High in the south of the state which now plans to remain open through to May 2nd making this the longest season in its history. The resort will have been open a total of 186 days beating out the winter of 2004/05 by five days. "Yup, it’s been a long winter. Once we hit May, we’ll have operated in eight different months. Not many resorts in the world can say that", said John McColly, Director of Marketing. The majority of Mountain High’s West Resort is still open with good coverage, and there is a chance for even more snow next Tuesday and Wednesday. Up to four lifts are currently in operation accessing 28 trails with terrain for all levels and abilities.
In Canada Lake Louise and Sunshine in Alberta and Whistler in British Columbia are still open.
Across the Pacific, Niseko remains open until May 5th and reports an amazing season with January and February providing the waist deep powder the resort is renowned for but surprisingly December and March provided some of the best skiing conditions of the season. Statistics show the famous Japanese resort had the snowiest March since 2005 and the coldest March since 1999 with a total accumulation of over 16 metres of snowfall for the season. There’s still three metres (10 feet) of snow at the top of the resort and a metre at the base of the lifts making for some great spring skiing conditions.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Alicia Keys concert to close winter season in Ischgl

Alicia Keys will perform the season closing Top Of The Mountain Concert in Ischgl next Saturday May 1. About 20,000 are expected to attend the concert, hold in a natural bowl near the top station of the Silvretta and Fimba gondola lifts with the stunning backdrop of the Silvretta mountains.
Alicia Keys, is an American recording artist, musician and actress. Keys' debut album, Songs in A Minor, was a commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for "Fallin'". Her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, was released in 2003 and was also another success worldwide, garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards in 2005. Later that year, she released her first live album, Unplugged, which debuted at number one in the United States. Her third studio album, As I Am, was released in 2007 and sold six million copies worldwide, earning Keys an additional three Grammy Awards. In 2009 she released The Element of Freedom. Throughout her career, Keys has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her time.
Alicia Keys follows in the footsteps of a galaxy of superstars who have entertained skiers and boarders in the Austrian resort's traditional Top of the Mountain gig. 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, Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry.
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 five 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 new Fimbabahn cable car. The 235 kilometres and 506 hectares of slopes are all located on north-facing slopes assuring a reliable snow cover.
Entrance to this ultimate event is free with a valid lift pass. On 1 May, a one-day ski pass will be available for the one-off price of €75. Two-day tickets can be obtained for €100 (both tickets include the concert). The concert will kick off at 1 pm, high up on Idalp.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Der Weisse Rausch. St. Anton am Arlberg

Today Saturday April 24th St. Anton am Arlberg will host a new edition of Der Weisse Rausch. "The White Thrill" ski race is talked about all over the world by Wintersport fans. Whether as participants or observers, this sporty and speedy spectacle is a cult. Each year the race attracts hundreds of international piste freaks. Several hundred skiers, Snowboarders, Bigfooters and Telemarkers meet on the Valluga at 2650 meters for the mass start. Participants cover a 9 kilometres trail through Valfagehrjoch, Ulmerhütte, Steißbachtal, Moos and finally St. Anton. The race is named after Der Weisse Rausch Film (White Ecstasy, 1931) directed by Dr. Arnold Franck starring by Hannes Schneider and Leni Riefenstahl.
The fastest manage the distance in just over eight minutes but a time between eleven and eighteen minutes is a good average. Above all, the elation on reaching the end counts just as much as the great sporting achievement. For most the time plays a minor role – finishing and having fun is the target. This sporty and speedy spectacle also promises great fun for the spectators. In the evening the courageous racers celebrate with an award ceremony and a big party which also marks the exciting conclusion of the St. Anton Spring Festival Week.
Der Weisse Rausch is also the first stage of the alpine triathlon "Arlberg Eagle". The overall winner must be ahead of the field in the ski race, in the half marathon (July 10th) and in the mountain-bike marathon (August 21st).

To follow live click here (15:45 pm) (Thanks to Sportarena.tv)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fresh Snow In 10 Countries As 2009-10 Season Continues to Wind Down

Skiinfo reports that It has been another big weekend of end-of-season parties across the northern hemisphere, although several hundred ski areas remain open in the Alps and North America for a few days more, with a few dozen still planning to open in to May.
Sölden had 18cm (7 inches) of new snow (the most in Austria) during the past week. There are still two and a half metres (eight feet) of snow on the glacier which will remain open for until the 2nd of May. 10cm (4 inches) of fresh snow also fell in Lech Zürs and Ischgl last weekend. Lech will close on Sunday (April 25th), Ischgl will celebrate the end of their season with a concert of Alicia Keys on May 1st. The Mölltal glacier also had some new snow on Sunday and will be open until May 16th. Currently, they have up to 390cm (13 feet) of snow on the glacier, more than anywhere else in Austria. Some other Austrian ski resorts will still be running their lifts for skiers and boarders next week. Kitzsteinhorn will remain open until May 2nd and currently has 171cm (just under six feet) of snow on top and 154cm (five feet) on lower slopes. Obergurgl celebrates its "ski finish" from this Saturday 24th April through the week to May 1st. The resort has 105cm (3.5 feet) of snow left on upper slopes but only 14cm (6 inches) on lower ones. The Pitztal glacier remains open until May 16th, as does the Kaunertal glacier which has already begun its four week celebration of the end-of-season. The so-called "Spring Classics" include freeski contests, parties, professional snowboard coaching and a film and foto week. On the Stubai glacier there is still lying 180cm (six feet) of snow lying with a winter season lasting until June 13th.
50 ski areas are still open in France this week and there’s still some fresh snow. Chamonix, where the snowpack has diminished a little to 3.6m (12 feet) but remains the deepest in the country has reported another 10cm (four inches) of snow in the past week. Many French areas close this weekend but Chamonix is one of nine French ski areas remaining open in to the first week of May.
In Switzerland, Davos issued a powder alarm on Saturday because of 20cm (eight inches) of new snow. They still have a snow depth of 184cm (six feet) on upper slopes, but the official end of season is announced for April 25th. Samnaun even reported 25cm (10 inches) of new snow on Monday. 35 of its 40 lifts are still open with 160 cm of snow on the mountain. Samnaun’s season will end on May 2nd. In St. Moritz the ski lifts are still running, too. "Several mountain railways and lifts will be open through to May", the local tourism association informs. "With a snow depth of 80 to 120 cm skiing conditions are still great on the mountains around St. Moritz". Gstaad as well as Saas Fee will allow skiing until a week on Sunday (May 2nd), but Engelberg with three metres of snow on upper slopes won’t close before May 24th. Zermatt offers 365 days of skiing and snowboarding, with its year long season officially ending on May 31st and officially recommencing on June 1st.
In Germany, the Nebelhorn near Oberstdorf will remain open for another week (until May 2nd). So will the Zugspitze that even reported 21cm (eight inches) of new snow in the past seven days and still has a snow depth of 305cm (10 feet) on the glacier.
In Italy Arabba has a 5.2m (17.3 feet) and Madonna di Campiglio has had the most snow of the past week with 22cm (seven inches) of new snow.
There’s been fresh snow in Scandinavia with Norwegian resorts reporting some of the greatest new snow accumulations of the past week, the most at Røldal which has had 70cm (2.3 feet) in seven days.
Spring skiing is at its best right now in Sweden. 18 resorts are open throughout this week which for many is the last week of the season. Riksgränsen up in the Arctic Circle have the deepest snow depth in the country with 158cm (5.3 feet) and also got 5cm (two inches) of fresh snow today. A big event takes place in Åre this week with this weekend on the 24th it's the world’s largest downhill competition "Skutskjutet". The racing course is 3.5km long and everyone aged from three years up can participate and all competitors have a chance of winning an all new Audi A3 convertible.
In Scotland there’s been yet more fresh snow, although three of the country’s five ski areas (Glenshee, Nevis Range and the Lecht) have now closed – in most cases due more to lack of skiers and boarders than a lack of snow. Glencoe is open at weekends and Cairngorm (picture attached), which has received about a foot (30cm) more snow since the weekend, every day until the end of April. It then intends to open at weekends in May.
Virtually all resorts in the Pyrenees including those in Andorra and in Eastern Europe have now closed. However Sierra Nevada in Spain, Europe’s most southerly resort, still has a deep snow base and will remain open to May.
In addition Poland’s leading resort of Zakopane is reported to be still open with 5cm (two inches) of new snow in the past week on its 150cm (five foot) base.
In North America there’s been fresh snow on the East Coast after several sunny weeks but only two leading ski areas remain open and both plan to close after the coming weekend. Killington in Vermont has one lift running serving nine trails and a 20 inch (50cm) base. It has reported a few inches more snow since Monday. To the north Mont Sainte Anne in the Canadian province of Quebec is also open up to this weekend. There’s a wider choice and deeper snow on the continent’s West Coast. In Canada Banff (sunshine), Lake Louise and Whistler are open in to May, Alberta’s Marmot basin closes this weekend.
In the US the heavy snowfall on the West has eased but still-open Arapahoe Basin in Colorado has had 10cm (four inches) more snow in the past week. Loveland in Colorado as well as Squaw Valley and Mammoth in California are among those still open.
With temperatures dropping south of the equator and heralding the start of the southern hemisphere’s winter, Hotham and Dinner Plain welcomed the first snowfalls of 2010 on Sunday 11 April. Both villages turned white for a few hours on Sunday and Monday with light dustings of new snowflakes throughout the day. With only 53 sleeps to go to the official start of the 2010 winter season, it is certainly time to start getting excited and plan your holiday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vail Resort and Social Media: Reinventing Ski Resort Marketing

Thanks to Simon Hudson I found this video I want to share with you. "Social media is playing a major role in accelerating the decision cycle of consumers who patronize ski resorts. As a result, one of the country's largest such companies -- Vail Resorts -- has abandoned its long-time advertising strategies and practices. In their place, the billion-dollar-a-year corporation, which operates five major resorts and twenty hotels, has built a new in-house marketing operation that uses social media and other digital venues to constantly engage skiing enthusiasts in real time. CEO Rob Katz explains the dramatic changes".
Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resort properties of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone mountain resorts in Colorado and the Heavenly Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada.

Two Thirds of Ski Resorts Close for Season But Snow Still Falling!

Skiinfo reports that most of the world’s northern hemisphere ski areas have now closed for the winter, but that resorts in Western North America and the Alps have continued to report some low temperatures and heavy snowfall over the past week. Dozens of ski areas expect to remain open through in to May.
In the USA it’s still snowing in California with Sierra and Mammoth both reporting another 45cm (18 inches) in the past few days. Mammoth says it'll keep skiing to the 4th of July. After receiving seven feet (210cm) of fresh snow in seven days, Squaw Valley USA is once again offering the longest and most complete ski season in Lake Tahoe region with plans to stay pen to at least May 9th. Resorts in Colorado, Utah and Oregon have also reported big snowfalls, although many have now closed. Aspen Mountain is currently closed midweek but opening at weekends.

In Canada Whistler Blackcomb is now declaring 2009-10 its second snowiest-ever season, with over 14.3m (47 feet) of snow fallen. Almost all of the ski area is currently open with the chance to ski the Olympic downhill runs. Whistler Blackcomb is open for skiing and riding through to May 24 – Whistler Mountain through April 25 and Blackcomb Mountain to May 24.
Back in Europe, in France 35 more ski resorts are scheduled to close in France this weekend but others will be open for two or three weeks more. Bonneval sur Arc will close on the 1st of May, Val d'Isère on the 2nd and Chamonix Mont-Blanc, where the upper slope snow depth is currently the deepest in France at 3.8m (12.6 feet), as well as Tignes, Val Thorens and La Grave la Meije are open another week to May 9th. Next Monday there will still be fifty ski resorts open. The snow remains very good for the season and it is below freezing in many resorts still, so the snow is good quality snow. It snowed yesterday in the Alps where there were three powder alarms for up to 40cm (16 inches) of new snow in the southern resorts of Devoluy /La Joue du Loup which has France’s second greatest snow depth at 3.3m (11 feet). It has re4ceived 60cm (two feet) in total in the past week, the most in the country, however they reported that the avalanche risk is high.
Although most Italian ski resorts closed at the weekend, there has been fresh snow reported for many of those that have remained open. In the Monterosa ski region resorts including Champoluc and Gressoney received up to 35cm (14 inches) of new snow. Some lifts will continue to operate there to early May. In the Aosta Valley, Pila will close this weekend on 18th of April with an event called "Desarpa bianca", a Giant Slalom to celebrate the end of season. In Lombardia, Santa Caterina and Madesimo (with almost two metres/seven feet of snow) will also close on 18th of April thanks to heavy snowfall of this winter. Bormio and Livigno will keep their lifts open until the 2nd of May however. Livigno is currently offering free skiing to those booking an accommodation package with participating hotels and apartments while Bormio has some of the deepest snow in Italy with a three metre base. It has been open since October so will celebrate a seven month season this winter!. In Trentino, the official closing of Madonna di Campiglio is on the 20th of April, with special ski pass prices as only the 50% of the slopes are currently open. In Alto Adige, thanks to its glacier Val Senales will close on 2nd of May.
In Austria there has been some fresh snow this morning in Sölden and Zauchensee (10cm/4 inches each). These ski resorts have also reported the biggest snowfalls of the last seven days (20cm/8 inches). Sölden consequently has one of the biggest snow accumulations in Austria with 252cm (8.4 feet). The Mölltaler Gletscher had 15cm (six inches) of new snow in a week and Ischgl reported 10cm (4 inches), having a total snow depth of 90cm (3 feet) on upper slopes now. Many Austrian ski resorts still have more than a metre of snow lying on their slopes and 10 of them have a snow depth of at least two metres, including St. Anton and Bad Gastein.
In Switzerland where the avalanche danger had been high at the beginning of spring this has lowered to a level of 1 (low) in most areas. Saas Fee (picture attached) had the most new snow in the past week with 32cm (13 inches). Of the 22 lifts they have there 20 are still open. The total snow depth in the ski resort adds up to 294cm (10 feet). Zermatt also got some fresh snow last week (10cm/4 inches) and has about one and a half metres (five feet) on its slopes. The biggest snow depth of the country is still claimed by the ski resort Andermatt-Gotthard with 350cm (12 feet).
In Germany Oberstdorf and the Zugspitze have the most snow left. The upper slopes of the latter are reported to have a snow depth of 295cm (10 feet). Some fresh snow just fell there today.
In Andorra the season is coming to a close with a few final snowfalls, ski areas there will close for the winter this weekend.
In Spain only Astun, Candanchu, Masella and Sierra Nevada remains open. Sierra Nevada is still offering the best conditions for the next few weeks until May 2nd as well as cheap ski passes, four metres of spring snow and 84 kilometres of pistes.
The ski season is also now largely over in Eastern Europe, Borovets in Bulgaria will be one of the last ski areas in the region to close, tomorrow Thursday 13th.
In Northern Europe, Scotland saw very warm weather over the weekend with temperatures reaching 18C in the cities. This had had an effect on the snow base at the country’s five ski areas and Glenshee has decided to close for the season, while Glencoe, The Lecht and Nevis Range are all still open with patchy cover on lower slopes. Cairngorm still has nearly three metres of snow on upper slopes and is sticking to its plan to stay open for the rest of the month and at weekends through May.
In Scandinavia it has been warmer but more snow is forecast and most of the leading resorts, including Are in Sweden, will be open in to May.
In Finland, Ruka, which endeavours to keep at least one run open to June, is currently nearly 100% operational with a 62cm (2.1 foot) base.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

VI World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism

Ordino hosts the VI World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism. For two days, under the title Reinventing snow and mountain tourism to attract new customers, experts from around the world will analyse the present situation and reveal the keys and main opportunities of this tourist segment in the face of market internationalisation and the present economic situation. "One of the challenges affecting snow tourism and the whole of the tourist sector is the turbulence of the world economy over what will soon be the past two years. In order to confront the situation and put the necessary instruments into place, the WTO has reactivated its tourism relaunching committee, whose recommendations, which
will be discussed at the Congress, may be useful
", said Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation.
Snow and mountain destinations generally offer the same things and need to be different in a global world. Filling this strategic vacuum by developing a unique experience to be distinguished from other destinations and to relate it to scenic, cultural and modern interests is key to internationalising the destination and the appeal of new markets. Today we will close the first day of the event with the talk and discussion on the need to recover the "fascination for the mountains". The interest in having new experiences in nature has increased the number of people practising adventure sports in the natural surroundings. On the one hand, these allow the fascination for the mountains to be recovered and unique experiences to be created based on the scenery and culture of the territory. On the other, these require training and information, the creation of rules, of certified services and trained personnel to guarantee safety.
Since 1998 this event has been carried out by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Andorran Government with the collaboration of the seven Andorran parishes. This congress aims to be a plataform for the exchange of knowledge, information and professional points of view which in turn promotes the analysis of the current situation and thoughts about future prospects.

Click here to see the programme

Thursday, April 8, 2010

28th Allalin Race in Saas-Fee

This year the legendary Allalin Race in Saas-Fee will take place from 16 to 18 April. The course starts at a heady 3,600 metres above sea level, and the finish line is 1,800 metres below, at the Kalbermatten sports ground. This high-speed, 9 km course is certainly no easy challenge.
Participants pass through an aweinspiring glacial landscape, over impressive scarpments and through hair-raisingly narrow passages, such as the infamous Kanonenrohr (barrel of a gun), before heading for the safety of the finish line at the Kalbermatten sports ground. The Allalin Race is literally a breathtaking challenge for amateur and professional racers alike. Each year it attracts several hundred competitors from all over Switzerland and abroad.
Participants have the option of entering four different racing categories: the Team Race, the Fun Team Race, the His and Hers Race, and the individual men’s or women’s races. The Fun Team Race is the perfect option for those who want to take it a little easier, as this event is all about the fun of taking part. Stopping at the various mountain restaurants along the way is almost mandatory and dressing up is actively encouraged. Believe it or not, some teams in this category have apparently taken over five hours to "race" down to the finish line. By contrast, the ambitious, highly trained athletes who take part in the individual men’s or women’s races can complete the course in less than five minutes! An incredible achievement, given the difficulty and length of the descent.
After the races on Friday and Saturday, participants and spectators will gather at the finish area to celebrate the day’s events and dance the night away. Food and drink, musical entertainment and a party atmosphere will keep them going through to the early hours.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ski Season Begins To Wind Down But More Big Snowfalls Reported

Skiinfo reports that new snow over the Easter holidays has given a great powder base for many of the resorts still open in the Alps, while across the Atlantic the latest round of huge snowfalls on the west of the North American continent has left more resorts extending their seasons with waist-deep April powder. Conditions remain good in Scotland and Scandinavia too.
There were heavy snowfalls in the German speaking areas of the Alps over Easter with Andermatt seeing over a foot (35cm) of new snow. This was part of a total one metre (40 inch) fall in the past seven days, the largest in Switzerland. The Andermatt-Gotthard region also reports the biggest snow depth in the country at present with 3.5m (nearly 12 feet) on upper slopes. St. Moritz also reported 15cm (six inches) of fresh snow on Sunday. Martin Berthod, the resort's sports and events manager, said, "the snow conditions are still excellent all over the Engadin". The 4 Valleys has also reported good snowfall in the past week, with 75cm (2.5 feet) of new snow and Laax has had yet another 60cm (two feet) taking its snow depth to 220cm (7.3 feet). Glacier ski areas currently have some of Switerland’s deepest snow with Engelberg reporting three metres (ten feet) and Saas Fee (picture attached) a few centimetres/inches less with 289cm.
The snow depth in the French Alps is very good for the end of season with 183.6cm (6.2 feet) average on the top of the slopes in the Northern Alps and 229.6cm (7.6 feet) average for the Southern Alps
It has snowed a lot the last week in the French Alps with Skiinfo posting 24 Powderalarms for snowfalls in excess of 20cm (8 inches) in 24 hours in Sunday. Serre Chevalier reported 65cm (2.2 feet) of fresh snow and Puy St Vincent 40cm (16 inches) just on the one day.
In Austria sunny weather is forecast for the next few days and on many Austrian slopes there is still lots of snow - so conditions for spring skiing are fine. Sölden, for example, got fresh snow again and issued a powder alarm for more than 20cm (8 inches) of new snow on Monday. 31 of the ski resort's lifts are still running and the sky there is cloudless. It received 40cm (16 inches) in total through the last week and currently has a snow depth of 251cm (8.3 feet). Lech Zürs am Arlberg has had 35cm (14 vinches) of new snow in the past week. There are a dozen Austrian resorts with two metres or more of snow on their slopes. The Mölltal glacier has the biggest snow depth of 390cm (13 feet), Hintertux has more than three metres (10 feet), too.
In Germany to the north the Zugspitze got lots of fresh snow again with 20cm (8 inches) more on Monday and 35cm (14 inches) on Good Friday. Feldberg in the Black Forest also received another 20cm (eight inch) fall in the past week.
In France many ski resorts are still open during April and six will remain open into May. Bonneval sur Arc will close on the 1st of May, Val d'Isère on the 2nd and Chamonix Mont-Blanc, where the upper slope snow depth went back above 4 metres (13.3 feet) this week, as well as Tignes, Val Thorens and La Grave la Meije are open another week to May 9th. Over the past week Pelvoux-Vallouise and Puy St Vincent have both reported a metre (3.3 feet) of new snow, Le Grand Bornand 82cm (2.6 feet) and Serre Chevalier 80cm (2.6 feet). Chamonix currently has the top snow depth with 405cm (13.5 feet), La Clusaz has 310cm (10.3 feet) and Alpe d'Huez and La Grave 300cm (10 feet). Serre Chevalier is just behind on 290cm (9.6 feet).
Italy has topped the table in Europe for the most snow in the past seven days with Madesimo reporting 1.2m (four feet) of new Spring powder. Arabba and the Marmolada Glacier was second on the continent withy another metre (3.3) feet and there was about 60cm (two feet) more in Val Gardena in the Dolomites and Monterosa in the Alps. Marmolada currently has the deepest snow in Europe too, with 5.2m (17.3 feet). Passo Tanale’s Presena glacier is second with 4.2m (14 feet).
In Northern Europe, despite warmer weather during the Easter holidays, skiing conditions remain good at most open resorts in Scandinavia. In Sweden there's also been some small amounts of new snow in Tandådalen - 8cm (three inches) in the last seven days. This week and next there's a lot of attention at Åre since Jon Olsson Super Sessions started on Monday and will continue until the 17th of April. One of the highlights during the week will be the Big Air competition, as well as the Jon Olsson Invitational on the 15th with some of the world’s best jibbers in resort. The ten days are full of activities including parties, various competitions, a rail park in Åre town square and of course apres-ski.
In Scotland CairnGorm's best season for decades continues with 40cm of fresh snow in the past week, one of the world's biggest accumulations. The Scottish ski area saw over 2000 skiers take to the slopes on Good Friday to check out the recent fall of snow, which was perfectly timed to provide excellent snow cover across the mountain for Easter skiing and boarding. It is expected that skiing will continue to be available throughout not only the Easter holidays but right through April and into May. The resort will be open daily for snowsports until 3rd May (the bank holiday weekend) and thereafter every weekend in May, conditions permitting. "Coming on top of the 117,000 skiers we have already had this season, Friday's figures set us on course for a grand finale to double last year's total of 65,000 skiers for the season by the end of April", said spokesman for CairnGorm Mountain Colin Kirkwood. A number of special Easter events are taking place. The resort has arranged to open for evening skiing on Thursday 8th April when a number of lifts will remain open from 4pm until 7.30pm. Rides on the resort's piste-bashing machine and skidoos will be available for non-skiers. Also for non-skiers on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th April Physics will be coming to the Mountain when a team from the Institute of Physics in Scotland will invite visitors to skewer balloons, make rockets with alka-seltzers and make water defy gravity as they highlight the relevance of physics to their lives.
The ski season is winding down in the Pyrenees with warmer temperatures bringing classic Spring freeze/thaw conditions and a relaxed vibe on the slopes. One of the region’s largest resorts, Baqueira Beret in Spain, has already closed, but Formigal, the largest in the area still has 121km (76 miles) to enjoy and snow depths of 220cm (7.3 feet). Andorra’s ski areas are also still open. Europe’s most southerly major ski area, Sierra Nevada, still has five metres of snow on upper slopes and plans to stay open in to May.
In Eastern Europe it is generally ‘melt down’ with the snow gone, or mostly gone, from lower areas but on the other hand Poland’s leading centre of Zakopane reported 40cm (16 inches) of new snow on Tuesday.
North America and particularly California and Utah in Western USA have seen the biggest snowfalls of the past week, with particularly huge accumulations reported at Brighton in Utah with 228cm (7.6 feet) in seven days. Snowbird, Alta and Solitude have also reported more than two metre (6.7 feet) accumulations. It’s almost as good in California where almost all resorts have reported between 1 and 1.5m (3.3-5 feet) of new snow over the Easter weekend. It’s a shame the majority of ski areas in the region have closed already or close in the next seven days. There’s been new snow elsewhere in Western North America too, with Colorado resorts benefitting and Grand Targhee in Wyoming the latest to announce an extended season. 1.6m (63 inches) of snow have fallen there this past week, and another 35cm (14 inches) has arrived yesterday morning. Grand Targhee will run Dreamcatcher chairlift for an extra week, through to Sunday April 18. The chair will run from 10 am to 3 pm, and offer limited facilities. It’s a different story on the East Coast alas where extremely warm weather has caused a rapid thaw at most areas. To the north Whistler Blackcomb has announced the decision to extend skiing and riding on Whistler Mountain by one week. Whistler Mountain’s last day of operations will be Sunday, April 25 while Blackcomb Mountain’s last day of operations will be Monday, May 24. "With over 1,353 centimetres (533 inches) of snow so far this season and a current snow base of 363 centimetres (143 inches), this incredible season is far from over", says Dave Brownlie, President and chief operating officer at Whistler Blackcomb. "The great snow was a key factor in deciding to keep Whistler Mountain open an additional week, but guest feedback about Whistler Mountain closing during the second week of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival played a big role in the decision as well. We listened to the feedback, then reviewed and revised the required lift maintenance schedule, allowing us to extend Whistler Mountain’s winter operations by one week".

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Study Finds More People Know About Whistler Thanks To The Olympics

Early results from the 2010 Winter Games in Whistler show that the resort's role as Host Mountain Resort has led to significant gains in international awareness according to the Canadian resort, "...a critical element in growing visitation over the coming years".
Whistler calculates that approximately 3.5 billion people around the world watching the Games on their televisions and online.
Based on a study conducted by Tourism Whistler in partnership with Tourism British Columbia, awareness of Whistler increased significantly in the key overseas markets of United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. The study measured awareness of Whistler before and after the 2010 Winter Games (November 2009, January 2010 and March 2010).
Increases by market:
United Kingdom awareness of Whistler increased from 32 per cent to 45 percent, in Germany awareness increased from 19 per cent to 42 per cent and in Australia, already the most aware with 48 per cent of Australians knowing about Whistler before the Games, 62 per cent were aware afterwards.
During the 17 days of the Olympic Winter Games, Whistler achieved an average occupancy of 97 per cent. In the months leading-up to February 2010, Tourism Whistler had forecasted 90 per cent occupancy during the Olympic Winter Games period, acknowledging that this would require out-performing the levels achieved by each of the recent host destinations of the Winter Games - including Torino, Italy and Salt Lake City, US.
The value of the Games-time broadcast coverage is being leveraged by Tourism Whistler - with marketing and sales efforts aimed at converting awareness of Whistler into visits from travellers in existing and new markets in the months and years ahead.
A vital new message being shared with potential visitors focuses on the many legacies of the 2010 Winter Games that will now be an essential part of their Whistler experience. Some of the Whistler legacies that will be enjoyed by future visitors include Whistler Olympic / Paralympic Park which the resort intends to position Whistler as a destination for cross-country skiers from around the world and as a site for future World Cup events.
The Whistler Sliding Centre will launch a public ride program in the 2010/ 2011 winter season for visitors who want to experience bobsleigh and skeleton. World Cup competitions have already been scheduled for next winter.
The $600 million investment to improve the safety, reliability and capacity of the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler will be publicised for providing visitors with a faster, easier and more enjoyable journey to and from the resort than previously.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Candide Thovex New Film

Check out the new film project from Candide Kamera by Enjoy Studios in Association with Coreupt:



Candide Thovex was born in Annecy, Haute-Savoie in May 22 1982, and grew up in the village of La Clusaz. 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 (Verbier) put him on top of the men’s ski ranking 2010.

Check out Candide Kamera previous film (Intro, 2009):