Friday, April 29, 2011

Compagnie des Alpes Reports Satisfactory Sales at Ski Areas

Compagnie des Alpes reported a satisfactory winter season, despite light snowfall and poor skiing conditions at the end of the season.
After three years notable for their exceptional levels of activity, sales at ski areas for the first half of 2010-2011 were satisfactory, amounting to €316.0 million, an increase of 3.43% (3.24% on a comparable basis).
The Christmas holidays, which account for around 15% of the season, enjoyed early and abundant snowfall and good weather conditions, which mitigated the unfavorable impact of the Christmas-holiday schedule (Christmas and New Year's Day both fell on a Saturday). The four weeks of French school holidays in February and March enjoyed good results, compared with the same period a year earlier. The number of skier-days rose by just under 5% over the period, which highlights the appeal of ski products and ski areas managed by the Group.
Average revenue per skier-day rose 2.7% for the half-year.
After the close of the financial year, ski areas were affected by the late positioning of this year’s school holidays and Easter weekend. The weather conditions, with abnormally high temperatures, resulted in less abundant snowfall and a partial loss of interest by customers at the end of the season even though expenditures for artificial snow and ski trails and outstanding teamwork in ski-area maintenance provided quality late-season skiing conditions for most ski areas.
Overall, and given the expected increase in average revenue per skier-day, revenues from ski lifts should decrease only slightly (between -1% and -2%) for the full season.
The Group is taking measures to limit the impact on margins of ski-area activity, which in any event should be affected positively by compensation from the law suit relating to the Vanoise Express cable car (approximately €6.5 million in operating income).
Compagnie des Alpes is a major player in the field of leisure production in Europe. The company operates 26 leisure sites, with 11 leading ski areas in the Alps (La Plagne, Les Arcs, Peisey Vallandry, Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Menuires, Méribel, Flaine, Giffre -Samoëns, Morillon and Sixt-, Serre-Chevalier, and Les 2Alpes, ) and 15 leisure parks (including Parc Astérix, Grévin, Walibi, Futuroscope, …) in Europe: France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany. In addition, CDA has minority stakes in 4 ski areas (Chamonix, Avoriaz, Valmorel and La Rosière) and 7 leisure parks, in France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the U.K. During the financial year ended September 30, 2010, the Company had close to 23 million visitors, with consolidated sales of €597 million and net attributable income of €42 million. In 2010 Ski areas represents 61% of Group sales.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Season Ends For Most of Northern Hemisphere as more Records Set in North America

Most of the world’s ski area have now closed for the 2010-11 season, although over 100 in the northern hemisphere will be open this weekend for a final fling, others plan to stay open longer in to May and in some cases beyond.
The story of the season has continued for another week with the biggest falls in Western North America and resorts in the Alps very warm. This did not prevent good Easter Conditions at Europe’s highest ski slopes on the Klein Matterhorn with Cervinia on the Italian side of the area shared with Zermatt’s Switzerland still open from top to bottom over its huge vertical and reporting 10cm of fresh snow on Easter Sunday.
The season is now over at most US resorts but for several famous name areas it has been a record-breaking winter for snowfall, and those that are still open are racking up fresh snowfall even now. In Colorado Vail, which closed at the weekend, has reported more snow than ever before. Vail has received 511 inches (12.8m) of snow this winter, beating the previous record of 505 inches set in the 1977-78 season.
There has been little snowfall in the last week in Austria where about 25 ski resorts are still open. Only Sölden reports 12cm snowfall for the last seven days and the Stubaier Glacier had 5cm. Temperatures are going down in the next days and the snowline will be at 1700m. Open areas include the Mölltaler Glacier (300cm), Hintertuxer Glacier (255cm) and the Stubaier Glacier with 200cm snow depth at the mountain. In St. Anton/Arlberg (150cm) the skiing in continuing as well possible in the warm conditions as it is in Obertauern with 65cm snow depth. In Ischgl there’s 90cm snow at the slopes, this ski resort celebrates end of season with the famous Top of The Mountain Concert, on April 30th with The Killers performing.
About 30 ski areas are still open in France including many of the best known centres. The deepest snow is reported by Les 2 Alpes with 1.7m on upper slopes. La Plagne has reported 10cm of new snow in the past week, while Tignes got 5cm.
Snow depths have dropped in Italy where about 20 ski areas remain open, but are still at 2-3 metres at the glacier areas of Val Senales and Presana. Livigno has half its lifts open and 1.5m of snow on upper slopes.
High temperatures pushed every cloud away over the past week Switzerland got only 2cm new snow in Saas Fee. But there are still the deepest snow depths and the most open slopes in the Alps here. Around 30 ski resorts are open and bring skiers with ski lifts up to the top. Engelberg with a mountain station at 3000m has a phenomenal snow depth from 360cm, the deepest in the country. The glaciers offer the best ski conditions while summer starts in lower areas. As well as in Saas Fee and Andermatt snow depth are really good between 230cm and 241cm and Zermatt measures 90cm at the top.
The ski season ended over the Easter weekend in Spain and Andorra. Only Sierra Nevada remains open until next weekend. Baqueira Beret reported business for winter 10-11 was up slightly at around 750,000 skier days and that snowfall totalled 5.5m during the 149 day season. The Scottish ski season has come to an end, two months earlier than last year due to a lack of snow. Cairngorm Mountain, which has seen a healthy total of more than 130,000 skiers and snowboarders descend its slopes over a five month season since last November was the last of the five British ski areas to close, on Monday.
Norway’s summer ski areas aren’t open yet but a dozen or so of the country’s top resorts are still operating, albeit with bases down to a very thin 10-30cm in some cases, including Hemsedal which traditionally stages a big Mayday Festival next weekend. Voss continues to have some of the country’s best snow with a 2.5 base on upper slopes.
In Canada most of the ski areas have now closed for winter 2010-11 but there has been a few centimetres of fresh at still open Whistler Blackcomb on the west and Mont Sainte Anne in the East. Other still-open choices include Banff, Sunshine, Lake Louise and Marmot Basin.
Although most US resorts are now closed, two nearby Colorado resorts that are still open – Arapahoe Basin and Loveland – have both recently passed the 100 inch (2.5m) base level and, in Loveland’s case at least, may also set all time snowfall records. Loveland has had a foot (30cm) of new snow in the past few days and a similar amount is forecast for the next few days. So far it has received 536 inches of snow this winter and needs to pass 572 inches (the 1995/96 season total) to break records. Its season continues to May 8th. Arapahoe Basin has seen similar snowfalls recently although its season-to-date total is less than 400 inches (10 metres). It currently expects to stay open until at least June 5th. In California several resorts have set all-time snowfall records, including Mammoth Mountain which plans to remain open in to July. Squaw Valley is open weekends through May. Other still open options include Snowbird in Utah, Crystal Mountain in Washington state (which announced a foot of snow earlier this week and hopes to stay open to July) and Timberline in Oregon which aims to stay open almost year round (Closing for a few weeks in September). It issued a powder alarm for 41cm of new snow on Tuesday. Snowbird (picture took yesterday attached) also just reported it has received the most snow in its 40 year history at 690 inches (17.25m) . "This has been a remarkable season for Snowbird", said resort president Bob Bonar. "We’ll be celebrating with skiing until Memorial Day and most likely beyond, with conditions that are anything but typical spring skiing".

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Compagnie des Alpes compensated 8.1€ million in settlement of suit on the Vanoise Express

A settlement agreement ending all legal actions relating to the Vanoise Express cable car has been signed by the principal parties concerned.
In November 2007, the discovery of a break in the cable coating of both tracks of the Vanoise Express cable car forced operations to be suspended for the entire 2007-2008 season, rendering connections impossible between the Arcs and La Plagne ski areas, including access to the Paradiski ski area. After a complete repair, normal operations of the Vanoise Express cable car resumed in December 2008. A legal expert was designated in 2008 to determine the origin and responsibility for the damage.
The principal parties in the law suit decided jointly to cease the various procedures and determined, in a settlement agreement, the amount of compensation for the tangible and intangible losses borne by the Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) Group. The CDA Group will receive compensation of €8.1 million. Given the terms of the settlement and the prefinancing transactions already completed, the positive impact on Group operating income will be approximately €6.5 million in the first half of the 2010-2011 financial year.
The Vanoise Express is a two-unit cable-car system linking the Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne areas. With a capacity of 200 passengers, the Vanoise Express is the largest cable car in the world (1830 m). It can cross the valley between the two ski areas in just 3 minutes and 50 seconds, at a speed of 45 km/h. This ultramodern cable car is equipped with two panoramic double-decker cabins, each of which can circulate independently, thanks to two separate cables. This system allows the transport of a large number of passengers in a reduced boarding/disembarking time, ensuring that traffic is both rapid and fluid, with a rate of 2,000 passengers/hour. Built by Poma and operated by the Compagnie des Alpes, the Vanoise Express cost over 15 million Euros and was officially opened in December 2003.
The Paradiski is one of the largest ski areas in Europe offering uninterrupted skiing in between the areas of Les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne. In sum, Paradiski is: 3 resorts and 20 destinations at 1,200 m to 3,250 m in altitude, with 70% of the ski area above 2,000 meters; 2 equipped glaciers; 3 summits above 3,000 meters; 425 km of pistes and 236 slopes for all levels (152 green/blue, 79 red and 22 black); 228 hectares of man-made snow (626 canons); 153 km of cross-country ski trails; 2 Snow Parks, 3 Boarder-cross runs, 2 Boarder-gliss courses, and 1 Half- pipe. The accommodations capacity is nearly 100,000 tourist beds.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Killers to Close Winter Season Next Saturday in Ischgl

The Killers, the American band that first made their name in the UK, will be the stars of the season-closing Top of the Mountain concert in the Austrian resort of Ischgl next Saturday 30 April. The concert at Idalp is a great excuse for skiers to have a late escape to the slopes. About 20,000 are expected to attend the concert, hold in a natural bowl near the top station of the Silvretta gondola lift at 2320 m with the stunning backdrop of the Silvretta mountains.
One of the best-selling bands of this century so far – their Day and Age album was in the Top 10 of best albums – The Killers have stacked up a huge list of awards since forming in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2001.
In the UK, their single Mr Brightside has been voted the second-best song of the decade and the album Hot Fuss spent a record 173 weeks in the UK Albums Chart. The band have sold more than 5 million albums in the UK and 15 million albums worldwide.
The Killers 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, Katy Perry and Alicia Keys. This season's opening concert was performed by Beth Ditto and her Indie rock band Gossip at the end of November 2010 to an enthusiastic crowd of 20,000.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Winter 2010-11 Winds Down

It’s been very warm in the Alps the past week and most resorts have now closed with the best conditions above 2,500m and particularly on the continent’s glaciers. However there has been up to 40cm of new snow on Austria’s glaciers.
North America continues to have the greatest snowfall, even though 95% of ski areas there have now closed for the season, but Loveland in Colorado has lead the snowfall figures for the past week with another 90cm (three feet) of snow.
Elsewhere in Europe there’s been a foot (30cm) of new snow in Eastern Europe leading to Bansko announcing its lifts will reopen for the Easter weekend and in Scotland Cairngorm is still open at the top.
Resorts in Austria did get healthy snow falls in the last seven days, up to 40cm were reported in Innsbruck and Kaprun. Hochzillertal, Sölden and Zauchensee had 20cm new snow. With these falls the resorts can look forward to a hopefully satisfactory Easter weekend. It is now sunny all over the country and will be very warm over the next few days. In Obertauern (90cm) skiing is possible up to 2400 meters and at Kaprun-Kitzsteinhorn (240cm) up to 3000 meters. Snow conditions are very good in this area and skier are welcome for the Easter days.
France’s high altitude resorts are coming in to their own for the last few weeks of the season with Alpe d’Huez claiming the deepest snow on upper slopes at 1.8m. Chamonix, Les 2 Alpes and Tignes are among those also open in to early May but conditions are getting closer to summer skiing – hard and icy first thing, stodgy by mid-afternoon.
There’s been little new snow in Italy in the past week, the most at Breuil Cervinia which has reported 10cm of new snow and still has pistes open over 1,800 vertical metres to resort level – just. The country’s summer ski areas are starting to come in to their own including Val Senales and the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale which has the country’s deepest snow at over four metres and will be open at least to June.
In the last week several Swiss ski resorts got new snow up to 32cm of new snow. Lötschental, Saas Fee, Gstaad and Laax were very lucky to measure snowfall between 20 and 30cm. Other resorts like Zermatt got 10-15cm new snow during the last seven days. There is still good snow at the mountains and ski conditions are good for April. More than 30 resorts are still open. The highest peaks have a snow depth from 200-250 cm. Engelberg has the deepest snow depth with 370cm. The next days are going to be very warm though with temperatures get up to 25 degrees.
There’s been no new snow for a month in the Pyrenees and it’s definitely feeling like the end of the season in Spain, but Andorra’s upper slopes still have a metre of snow on them .
Snow is still falling in Norway, in the north at least, with Narvik reporting 10cm of fresh snow earlier this week. The country’s summer ski areas at Stryn and Folgefonn are ready to open with up to 7 metre bases and the big Mayday festivities are coming up at resorts including Hemsedal in Norway and Are in Sweden.
Spring skiing is the order of the day in Canada where Lake Louise, Sunshine and Whistler are good choices for the end of the season – all open in to May.
In the USA most resorts have now closed but the snow is still good at those that haven’t – including Squaw Valley and Mammoth in California, open until the end of May and into July respectively. Loveland in Colorado has reported the most snow in the past week with 90cm of new snow. Mountain high in California rounds off its season on Easter day with a Meet Miss Mountain High: Christina Lopez session, a BoxZilla session on the resort’s giant 100 foot long funbox and a $299 Anytime Season Pass Sale where guests can purchase an adult Anytime Season Pass to Mountain High for next winter for just $299 - less than the cost of 5 visits.

Der Weisse Rausch. St. Anton am Arlberg

Next Saturday April 23rd 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 23rd) and in the mountain-bike marathon (August 20th).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hannibal

Last Friday April 15th, the historical spectacle of Hannibal was performed again on the giant open-air stage at Sölden's Rettenbach Glacier. The performance of "Hannibal – The Crossing of the Alps" is all about the historical facts of the Second Punic War and its protagonist Hannibal, who is described in a biographical way with all modern theater settings on a really incomparable Nature Arena.
500 actors took part in the new production of Carthage's epic attack on Rome by crossing the Alps. Instead of elephants the spectators will see snow-grooming machines, the modernized warriors are represented by skiers, climbers and skydivers. Brave horsemen ride on their skidoos across the glacier fields while acrobatic skydivers try to stop them heading towards the south. The entire show is completed by an array of light effects, music, videos and pyrotechnical shows.
A semicircle with a high-towered palace forms the center of the stage. Right in front of the spectators' area you find an antique site made of snow and ice. On the right you see Dido's Palace similar to a Maya Pyramid - the Castillo from Chichen Itza was its model.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Copper Mountain Swinger's Pass

After POWDR Corp purchased Colorado’s Copper Mountain from Intrawest, the ski resort started a challenging rebranding process in order to "contemporize" the brand. The exercise encompassed everything from the website to business cards, powerpoint templates to trail maps. In February 2010 Copper Mountain launched the "Swingers" campaign to boost the resort’s sex appeal. The aggressive campaign consisted TV, posters, OOH, direct mail and Craiglist postings. While the economy and the competitor ski resorts were down, Copper Mountain sales went up following the rebrand.

End Mountain Monogamy and Come Get Some! "There's no question of loyalty here. It's just a day riding a mountain with easier access, free parking and fewer crowds. Any season pass holder worldwide: Sneak over to Copper Mountain for a day and pick up the Swinger's Pass for the easy price of $39! Get to Guest Services or to the Ticket Windows of Copper Mountain to purchase this sexy deal".

Friday, April 15, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 11 (Riders: Karsten Gefle, Mike Lamy, Michael Devor)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 10 (Riders: Hugo Harisson, Pierre-Yves Leblanc)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 09 (Riders: Matt Annetts, Pierre Yves Leblanc, Mik Devor)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Still Dumping In Western North America, Snowing Again In The Alps

Hundreds of resorts have been closing for the season on both sides of the Atlantic but with conditions very different in North America to Europe.
The Alps have had very warm weather in recent days, although it is getting cooler again now and up to 50cm of snow has fallen on the Austrian, Swiss and German Alps in the past 24 hours. But with temperatures well in to double figures at 2000m at the weekend many lower ski areas have been struggling to stay open or to provide decent conditions if they do.
Over in North America there have been still more big snowfalls with whistler receiving 30cm (a foot) in 24 hours and resorts in Utah reporting up to 1.4m (nearly five feet) of snow in the past week. An increasing number have announced they’re staying open to May, June and even July and that winter 2010-11 has brought them the most ever snowfall.
Only four resorts are still open in Germany but these resorts have good snow. Skiers will find 220cm at the Zugspitze, the highest peak of the country and 110cm in Oberstdorf in Southern Germany. In the next 48 hours, snow is expected on higher slopes during the night.
It was a warm week in Austria with nearly no snow until yesterday, April 12, but it is getting colder and snowfalls are possible over night. Pitztal got 5cm of snow last week but no other ski resort reported any snow. In the upcoming weeks the country’s glaciers are the best address to get definitely snow. Many resorts still have a snow depth of at least 80cm, which is enough for skiing and the glaciers all have a snow cover over 150cm (five feet). The Molltal glacier has the best snow depth with 310cm (over 10 feet). Today Skiinfo have issued several powder alarms for falls of 20cm or more in 24 hours. In the next two days the chance of new snow (today is quite high - it is getting colder and the snow line gets down to 500m. But for skiing in lower regions the advice is to take a look into a webcam and check snow conditions before you start your journey.
A warm week in France too with only La Plagne and Chamonix reporting fresh snow – about 5cm each, at the end of last week. The deepest snow depth at the tops of the mountains is now down to 1.8m (six feet) but even glacier resorts like Alpe d’Huez are reporting no snow left at resort level .
Italy is another country to have seen warm weather and little or no snowfall in the past week. The deepest snow remains on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale, but that has dropped to a mere 3.6m (12 feet) at the top. Probably still enough to ski on though!
There had been no new snow in Switzerland in the last seven days until Wednesday 13th. Temperatures where unusual ly high. Fortunately the country has lots of very high positioned ski resorts where the snow stays for a long time, even if temperatures in the valley are getting higher and higher. There are still eight resorts with a snow depth over 180cm (six feet). Engelberg is on first position with 350cm (nearly 12 feet), Saas Fee, Andermatt, Gstaad and Laax follows with still open ski lifts and white slopes. Thursday and Friday the snow line sinks down to 1300m at the northern Alps and in the region Wallis and it is snowing already on Wednesday 13th with Gstaad among several resorts reporting 30cm of new snow today.
Ski areas in the Pyrenees are winding down for the season although most are open to Easter Sunday weekend or later. Formigal (Spain) commented, "This season was very poor in snowfalls for all but in Formigal we were lucky and we were able to open a great number of slopes, which had better snow conditions than the ones in the other European resorts". Vallnord in Andorra currently has nice sunny weather but temperatures are 3 – 15 C and about two thirds of terrain is open. Grandvalira report snow depths of 20-80cm.
In Scotland it’s looking like the end of the season after very warm temperatures at the weekend followed strong winds and rain last week which has annihilated most of the snow pack. Four centres have closed for the season but Cairngorm remains open at the top with beginner skiing up by the restaurant and an intermediate and above trail down to the funicular mid-station. Cold temperatures overnight has brought fresh snow over the past few days but its not clear if the slopes will still be skiable for Easter.
There’s still good ski conditions at most of the still-open Scandinavian resorts. Norway’s three glacier summer ski areas are gearing up for their 2011 season and resorts like Hemsedal as well as Are in Sweden have big weekends coming up at the start of May, while Riksgransen will again offer skiing and boarding under the midnight sun. Narvik on the Norwegian coast was one of the few resorts in Europe to post a Powderalarm this week when it received 20cm of snow in 24 hours on Sunday.
Resorts are closing across Canada but it’s still snowing with plenty of fresh powder at those still open including Fernie – which reports more than 35 feet (12 metres) of snow this winter and Nakiska which has had more than 60cm (two feet) of new snow in the past week. Whistler posted a powder alarm on Monday with 28cm of new snow.
More than half of US resorts are now closed but California continues to set snowfall record with Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California reporting it has received 606 inches (over 15 metres) of snow this winter, more than ever before, and it is currently lying more than six metres (20 feet) deep. Mammoth currently has one of the highest recorded base depths of any ski resort in the world. Like Squaw Valley to the north, this is the most the resort has ever measured as receiving in one season and like Squaw, which recently announced it will be open on weekends through May, Mammoth has extended its season. However it will be open daily and right through to July 4th. Mammoth is no stranger to skiing through Independence Day; the resort has remained open for skiing until July Fourth four out of the last seven seasons. However in the past week it’s resorts in Utah that have reported the most snow – up to 1.5m.
In the southern hemisphere conditions are continuing to ‘pick up’ ahead of the 2011 ski season likely to start in about two months time in June. In New Zealand Mt Ruapehu is turning increasingly white after repeated snowfalls while in Australia Mount Hotham was covered by a blanket of snow on this morning and the temperature is below freezing.

Sun and Snow in St. Anton:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 08 (Rider: Matt Annetts)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 07 (Rider: Matt Reardon)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Zermatt Unplugged Amazing Kick-off

Zermatt's Festival is going to kick-off with a very special event: on the 11th and 12th of April, Naturally 7 will record their new Web clip in the airy heights of Zermatt at altitudes between 2,600 and 3,100 metres above sea level. The idea was thereby born to record the new and still unreleased song "Keep the Customer Satisfied" in what is probably the most unusual public means of transport of all - in a cable car of the Zermatt Bergbahnen, and that during the ski season. Naturally 7 is an American music group with a distinct "a Cappella" style they call "Vocal Play". They sing primarily Rhythm and blues. Band members are Roger Thomas (musical director, arranger, 1st Baritone, Rap), Warren Thomas (percussion, guitar, clarinet, 3rd tenor), Rod Eldridge (1st tenor, scratching, trumpet), Napoleon (Polo) Cummings (4th Tenor, guitar), Dwight Stewart (2nd baritone, vocals, trumpet), Garfield Buckley (2nd Tenor, Harmonica) and "Hops" Hutton (Bass). What makes Naturally 7 special, is that every instrument sound that they sing is created from the human voice. There are no actual drums, guitars, horns, flutes, or any other instrument that is heard when listening to them perform; it’s the band members playing each of their vocal instruments. The band came up with their first big hit with Phil Collins' "Feel it (In The Air Tonight)". More than 5 million users saw their clip on the Paris Metro on YouTube. The director of this clips is Fabian Kimoto from Switzerland, who won an award with his documentation about the "Roc Kidz Crew", the "The Rising Sun" – he was thereby the only Swiss film to be nominated for the documentary film competition at last year’s Zurich Film Festival. "The Rising Sun" also won the Award of Merit at this year’s Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood. Like his brother Benny, Kimoto himself is a member of the "Roc Kidz Crew" - a break-dance group consisting of 6 different nationalities and which will enhance the cable car Web clip of Naturally 7. The 4th edition of Zermatt Unplugged Festival will take place from the 12th – 16th April 2011. With the magnificent background of Zermatt's mountain scenery and amongst spring snow, international superstars and newcomers will be rocking the Matterhorn village on eight festival stages over a period of four days. Founded by Thomas Sterchi und Marco Godat as a singer and songwriter festival in 2007, Zermatt Unplugged has increasingly developed into a meeting point for the fans of authentic sounds. Musicians and bands like Suzanne Vega, Chris de Burgh, Alanis Morissette, Billy Idol, Lionel Richie, Jason Mraz and Reamonn were enthusiastic about the "Unplugged" idea, and have played on the marquee and club stages of the festival. Zermatt Unplugged digs its way through the snow and ice of the early year at 1,620 meters above sea level, always at the end of the winter season, from the 12th – 16th April in 2011. The Festival challenges outstanding and internationally renowned musicians to measure themselves against the unique high alpine scenery, completely without studio technology.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Zermatt Unplugged: Legends, Classics and Singer-songwriters in the Marquee

The annual Zermatt Unplugged Festival comes around again for the 4th edition from the 12th – 16th April 2011. With the magnificent background of Zermatt's mountain scenery and amongst spring snow, international superstars and newcomers will be rocking the Matterhorn village on eight festival stages over a period of four days. "We expect at least 15,000 Festival visitors this year, not the least due to the attractive supporting program of the New Talent Stages: 35 free concerts with emerging talents", explained Festival President Thomas Sterchi. There were 11,000 visitors in 2010. The 2011 budget is somewhat higher than that of last year: CHF 2.5 million. 10 TV programs are expected during the festival period, as well as the presence of up to 80 media reporters. Among others, this is also a result of the cooperation with the Montreux Jazz Festival, which is announcing its program for this year within the context of a press conference in the Mont Cervin Palace during Zermatt Unplugged. "As music festivals with breathtaking natural backdrops, we share similar goals: the presentation of a high quality range of concerts and strengthening the attractiveness of Switzerland as a tourist destination through outstanding cultural events", explains Claude Nobs, the Festival Director of the Montreux Jazz Festival. "Thomas Sterchi, an ally and a very good friend, has the courage to implement unusual visions. A further shared characteristic that unites us".
Seal, Roger Hodgson (the voice of Supertramp), David Gray, OneRepublic, Naturally 7, Sina, Marc Sway and ... with the Swedish rock band Mando Diao, the roots-reggae musician Martin Jondo and the British singersongwriter Duncan Townsend, Zermatt Unplugged has completed a first class programme for the 4th edition of Europe’s largest unplugged Festival.
Plus 14 acoustic formations from Switzerland, Great Britain, America,Germany and Australia with up to five musicians will be playing every day from 1 p.m. until deep into the night on six stages - the New Talent stages - during the complete Festival period. With the exception of the Blue Lounge, which is in the ski area, all the stages are within the village. They include hotel bars and patios (Alex, Cervo), a club (Pink) and a bar (Elsie's Bar), as well as the Foyer Marquee, which is directly opposite the Marquee stage, and is the most important meeting point, with a VIP lounge, bar and the New Talent stage. Admissions to all New Talent concerts are free. Zermatt Unplugged organizers have announced the concerts from OneRepublic, the US-American band from the Rocky Mountains, and the Swedish group, Mando Diao, has sold out. The Swedish rockers created a sensation with its MTV Unplugged performance and have apparently spent a whole month just preparing for the Zermatt gig. The Club Vernissage concerts, which last year sold out very quickly, are also showing a steady upwards trend and the demand is exceeding all expectations of the organizers – especially for tickets for Sina, the dialect rocker from the Upper Valais, who cleaned up on the Swiss charts with "Ich schwöru".
Founded by Thomas Sterchi und Marco Godat as a singer and songwriter festival in 2007, Zermatt Unplugged has increasingly developed into a meeting point for the fans of authentic sounds. Musicians and bands like Suzanne Vega, Chris de Burgh, Alanis Morissette, Billy Idol, Lionel Richie, Jason Mraz and Reamonn were enthusiastic about the "Unplugged" idea, and have played on the marquee and club stages of the festival. Zermatt Unplugged digs its way through the snow and ice of the early year at 1,620 meters above sea level, always at the end of the winter season, from the 12th – 16th April in 2011. The Festival challenges outstanding and internationally renowned musicians to measure themselves against the unique high alpine scenery, completely without studio technology. From now people interested in the festival can find the program, visitor info, location and news. The official Zermatt Unplugged Web application is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and Android. Visitors surfing on the event website from their mobiles will be automatically forwarded to this optimized site.

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 06 (Base Jumpers: Robert Pecnik, James Boole, Jean-Noël Itzstein)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 05 (Rider: Ane Enderud)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Lindsey Vonn announced as first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games Ambassador

Olympic champion skier Lindsey Vonn has today been announced as the first Winter Youth Olympic Games Ambassador. One of the most successful Alpine skiers of all time, the American star, who has been hitting the slopes since she was two years old, will take a leading role in mentoring young athletes at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, in January 2012. Now 26, Lindsey, who overcame injury to win Olympic gold in the Women’s Downhill at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, understands the importance of having a strong role model to look up to. Recalling a memorable experience in her career, she says: "When I first met my hero, Picabo Street, it was a huge thrill and an unforgettable moment for me. She inspired me to become what I am today. If I can have half that effect on some of the young athletes I come into contact with, it will be worth it. I’m really looking forward to it". Lindsey’s appointment follows the success of the Summer Youth Olympic Games Ambassadors Usain Bolt, Yelena Isinbayeva and Michael Phelps. From 13 to 22 January 2012 Innsbruck and Seefeld will host to the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games, which will see 1,058 athletes aged 14 to 18 from over 70 nations compete in 63 sporting competitions. Following the Winter Olympic Games in 1964 and 1976, the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games will give Innsbruck and Seefeld the chance to welcome the Olympic Family for a third time. The programme of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games will be established on the basis of the seven sports included in the Vancouver 2010 programme (Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, Luge, Skating and Skiing).
As well as the sports competitions, athletes will also participate in a Culture & Education Programme (CEP) designed to raise participants’ awareness of the Olympic Values and address topics including Olympism, skills development, well-being & healthy living, social responsibility and expression through digital media. With youngsters from the local region also invited to be a part of this range of cultural initiatives, the CEP is set to be the platform for intercultural exchange, transforming the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games into a unique festival of sport and culture.

Six New Events Added to the Sochi 2014 Programme

The sports programme of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was expanded by six events on 6 April 2011 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed the inclusion of Ski Halfpipe (Men and Women), Women’s Ski Jumping, Biathlon Mixed Relay, Figure Skating Team event and Luge Team Relay. The decision to include the new events was based on a report presented by the Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) to the IOC Executive Board (EB) in Acapulco in October last year. The OPC studied the proposal of the individual International Sports Federations and, at the request of the EB, compiled a detailed analysis of all candidate events at their respective world championships this winter. In addition, the OPC looked at an operational feasibility study conducted by the organisers of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. The key positive factors included whether the changes would increase universality, gender equity and youth appeal, and, in general, add value to the Games. Other considerations included the cost of infrastructure, and the impact on the overall quota and the number of events. "The inclusion of these events on the Olympic Winter Games programme is sure to be appreciated by athletes and sports fans alike", said IOC President Jacques Rogge. "These are exciting, entertaining events that perfectly complement the existing events on the sports programme, bring added appeal and increase the number of women participating at the Games. I look forward to watching the athletes compete in these events in Sochi 2014". Five other events - Ski Slopestyle (Men and Women), Snowboard Slopestyle (Men and Women), and Alpine Team Parallel competition - are subject to a further feasibility study. A decision on the inclusion of these five events will be made within the coming weeks. Ski Halfpipe is a young and dynamic event that will complement the recent introductions of the popular Freestyle Ski Cross and Snowboard Halfpipe events that drew high spectator numbers and television audiences at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. One competitor at a time performs a routine of acrobatic jumps, flips, twists and other manoeuvres on a Halfpipe. The athletes are judged on their take-offs, the height they reach above the top of the pipe, and difficulty of their manoeuvres. A qualification round and final round are staged, with two runs per athlete in both. Ski Halfpipe will make its first appearance in January 2012 at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 04 (Rider: Lene Nordermoen)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 03 (Rider: Pierre-Yves Leblanc)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 02 (Rider: Xavier de le Rue)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them. The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Increasingly High Temperatures In Europe, Still Snowy But Areas Closing en Masse For Season In North America

As lower elevation ski areas in the Alps and many major resorts in North America approach their final few days of winter 2010-11, the snow is still falling in many areas. The Alps have had rather a good week with some healthy snowfalls but it is also getting ever warmer meaning conditions are often getting sticky quite soon each day, particularly on lower runs. Temperatures are expected to hit 20C in some places by the end of the week. The biggest snowfall figures of the week have again come from North America where, ironically, some of the resorts that have reported the biggest falls will actually close this weekend. The heaviest falls have moved a littler East from the coast to Colorado and the Alberta/BC border. There have been good snow falls for Austria in the last week. Several resorts got up to 25cm snow, including Sölden (25cm), Zugspitzplatt (20cm) and Pitztal (15cm). Weißsee and Kaprun-Kitzsteinhorn received 20-25cm new snow during a 24 hour period earlier this week and Kaprun-Kitzsteinhorn now has a snowbase from 210cm. Most popular resorts are still open. Weather forecast reports warm temperatures in the next two days. There will probably be no new snow until the weekend but best ‘firn conditions’ for skiers and boarders. The Mölltaler Glacier now has the deepest snow depth of the country with 310cm. There’s been little new snow in France with Chamonix reporting the biggest new accumulation of 10cm, La Plagne had 5cm. Most of the country’s top resorts still have 1.8-2m of snow on upper slopes but in an increasing number of cases the valley runs are closed, or nearly-so wioth cover at or near zero. No new snow has been reported in Italy in the past week and temperatures are warm. But more than a dozen areas including Bormio, Livigno and Madesimo have a snow depth of more than two metres and the Presena Glacier, which will probably be open to June, one of the deepest accumulations in Europe with 5.5m (over 18 feet). Snow falls of up to 30cm have been reported in Switzerland during the last seven days. Veysonnaz, Thyon-Les-Collons and Nedaz got 30cm each. Verbier and Saas Fee followed with 20cm. Many other resorts got new snow between 10cm and 19cm. Switzerland still has six resorts with a snow depth over two metres with Engelberg the clear leader with 360cm. Temperatures will be rising up to 20 degrees in the next few days, but skiing in upper slopes is still fun. There’s been no new snow reported in the Pyrenees but snow accumulated earlier in the season is generally keeping base depths up to 30/60cm on lower slopes in Andorra and still above 1.5m on upper runs. It has been very warm (as well as very windy and rainy) in Scotland too and although there have been ‘snow flurries’ on the mountain tops when it has been raining below in recent days, only Cairngorm now currently has enough snow cover to open its upper runs. Scandinavia really comes in to its own in April and beyond as the northerly latitude helps to keep the snow in great shape for big late-April and early-May events in resorts like Are in Sweden. It’s still snowing too, Voss reported 25cm of new snow this week. Fernie in Canada currently tops the world snowfall chart for the past seven days, with more than three feet accumulated but many other resorts are looking snowy too. Big White, Revelstoke and Sun Peaks all received 60cm/2 feet plus for example. Although most Canadian resorts will close this week or next, Banff, Lake Louise and Whistler (picture attached) are all open in to May. Although many ski areas there are closing this weekend or next, the US has again dominated snowfall totals this week. Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Washington State resorts have taken the thunder of California at last and reported 2-4 feet (60-120cm) of new snow at many resorts, but on the East Coast too, where Killington in Vermont announced it will open in to May, some resorts like Sugarloaf and wildcat have reported up to 60cm (two feet) of new snow.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Perfect Moment - Chamonix. Episode 01 (Rider: Kaj Zackrisson)

Perfect Moment is a Clothing Company based in Chamonix, France, Born from the Film Brand Nuit de la Glisse, Who have been making Extreme Sports Films and TV Series for over 30 Years. The philosophy of the films, directed by Thierry Donard is to capture the Rider's Perfect Moment, that Instant where all of the elements needed to create this moment come together in perfect harmony, the unforgettable split second where the rider is at one with nature and the elements surrounding them.
The legend asscociated with off-piste in the Chamonix valley was born on the confines of the glaciers, there where the slopes seem to go on forever. The Valley Blanche, the Pas de Chevre, the Rognons glacier, so many fabulous names and places that, each year, attract the elite of Freeride.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Squaw Valley Breaks All Time Snowfall Record and Extends Season Until May 30

After breaking the highest season snowfall total on record with an accumulation of 691 inches (17.3m) so far this season, Squaw Valley has extended their ski season to May 30, 2011. Squaw Valley is widely known as North America’s Spring skiing capital, however, conditions this year will be better than ever as a result of this season’s phenomenal snowfall. The storms of the last two weeks brought more than 150 inches (3.75m) of fresh powder to the resort. With records dating back to 1970, Squaw Valley has surpassed the highest season snowfall total on record of 662 inches (16.55) set in the 1994-1995 winter season. Nearing the 700 inch milestone, the resort has already exceeded the average total of 450 inches. More snow is sure to come with two more months until the season end. "With this much snow, Squaw Valley will have great coverage through May 30 and possibly even longer", said Andy Wirth, Squaw Valley’s Chief Executive Officer. "We will certainly be examining the possibility of opening for July 4, conditions permitting". Springtime at Squaw Valley means more elbow room on the slopes, less need for bulky clothes and the opportunity to enjoy Squaw’s many outdoor sundecks, patios and mountaintop swimming lagoon. The high altitude pool and Jacuzzi offers skiers and snowboarders a one-of-a-kind mountain experience. Only at Squaw Valley can guests combine a great day on the slopes with a dip in a mountaintop swimming pool and a soak in a giant slopeside Jacuzzi. The free-form swimming lagoon is heated to approximately eighty degrees and contains two twenty-five meter lap lanes. The twenty-five foot diameter spa is heated to a soothing 103 degrees and surrounded by expansive decks and the casual Umbrella Bar.
Squaw Valley is located on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada (California). Squaw Valley is one of the largest ski areas in the United States, and was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It is the second-largest ski area at Lake Tahoe after Heavenly. Squaw receives heavy maritime snowfall. The Average Annual Snowfall is 450 inches (11.5 m). Squaw Valley’s commitment to providing the newest and best in lift technology is evidenced today by the resort’s 33 lifts including: 1 Funitel, 1 Cable Car, 1 Pulse Gondola, 4 Express six-packs, 3 Express Quads, 1 fixed-grip quad, 9 triple chairs, 8 doubles, 3 surface lifts and 2 Magic Carpets.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Winter Games New Zealand 2011 On Track

All the host ski fields of Winter Games NZ (WGNZ) are gearing up for a good winter with pre-season preparations well underway. Coronet Peak, host of the Alpine Ski Racing Events, has made improvements to its terrain while Cardrona Alpine Resort, host of the Halfpipe, Big Air and gravity Cross Events, has extended its snow making capacity. Snow Park NZ, home of the WGNZ Slopestyle, has invested in two new groomers to maintain its world class park facilities and Snow Farm is busy preparing its extensive Cross-Country tracks. Mt Hutt has also been busy with the development of new trails and snowmaking. "All the behind the scenes work shows it's going to be business as usual this winter with everyone gearing up for a great season", said Arthur Klap, Winter Games NZ CEO. "Bringing Winter Games NZ to throughout the South Island will only help provide an extra boost for the region and showcase the amazing facilities and terrain we have here in New Zealand". Many of 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games partners joined together this month in the spectacular setting of Queenstown to get the inside scoop on what's new and exciting at the second Winter Games NZ and also discover opportunities surrounding the extensive programme. "It was a hugely worthwhile day, giving our partners the opportunity to network together, learn more about the event and also help shape the future of Winter Games NZ", said Arthur Klap. "There were some great minds in the room, with discussions generating some win win ideas for our partners and the Games. Now we're all working hard behind the scenes to bring these ideas to fruition - August is going to be a very exciting time in the world of snow sports!". Expanding on the successful inaugural event in 2009, 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games, will feature 16 days (13-28 August 2011) of snow and ice sports and is expected to attract over 1,000 elite athletes from throughout the world to the most spectacular setting possible, New Zealand's Southern Alps. The audience reached in 2009 was 765 million, a target Winter Games NZ is aiming to at least equal in 2011 and also improve on in terms of where the television product is shown with more prime time slots.

Sochi 2014 moves into Games-delivery phase

The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission paid its fifth visit to Sochi, Russia, and confirmed that preparations for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games are moving quickly into the Games-delivery phase. The Coordination Commission, chaired by Jean-Claude Killy and supported by IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, held meetings from 21 to 23 March, which provided members with a full update on the progress of preparations for the next edition of the Winter Games. Speaking after the event, Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy said, "Once again, we’ve seen great progress during our visit to Sochi (...)On the construction front, the initial vision for the transformation of the region is starting to materialise, with infrastructure and venues rapidly rising from the ground. The mascots have been selected, and planning is reaching a new level of detail. Sochi 2014 is starting to bring its Games vision to life, and is delivering on the legacy of improving the living conditions in the region through bringing infrastructural and environmental improvements". During the visit, the Commission was able to see first-hand the advances being made on the sites of the Alpine skiing slopes and the sliding track. The Commission also received updates on a variety of topics, including venues and infrastructure, product and experience, International Federations and sport, National Olympic Committee and athlete services, media services, the Paralympic Games, marketing and sponsor services, Games operations and services, communications, the environment, culture and education. The Commission identified four priorities that the organizers must continue to focus on over the coming weeks and months:

  • Identifying, recruiting and training the workforce for the Games will require a nationwide effort, and providing accommodation for that workforce and visitors to the Games remains a top priority.

  • A precise staff relocation plan was presented to the Commission, outlining the large numbers of people that will soon be moving from Moscow to Sochi. This is an important and symbolic step in making the Games even more of a reality for the local population.

  • Olympic-related transport infrastructure will be of the highest quality, but the planning to ensure a top-level client experience within the transport system is crucial to the success of the Games.

  • Finally, the great ambition of the local authorities to create a year-round centre for tourism is becoming a reality. It is the entire hospitality industry that must be mobilised.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) elected Sochi as the host city of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014 during its 119th Session in Guatemala City. The Russian resort triumphed over competing bids from Pyongchang in South Korea and Salzburg in Austria. Set between the golden shores of the Black Sea and the soaring snow-capped Caucasus mountains, Sochi is a treasure among winter sport enthusiasts, who can discover here a paradise of alpine valleys and skiing trails. Beautiful weather and an abundance of powdery snow are enough reasons to travel to Sochi. The Caucasus Mountains, which form a backdrop to Sochi, are one of the few large mountain areas in the world that have escaped significant human impact. Extensive tracts of undisturbed forests, from the lowlands to the sub-alpine zone, are unique in Europe. The mountain scenery of high peaks, wide valleys, mountain lakes and 60 remnant glaciers will be an unforgettable but undisturbed backdrop to the most celebrated winter sporting event in the world.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Timeline Bonus 1. Eye Candy HD TimeLapses

When sessions with Xavier de le Rue are over, Guido Perrini keeps his camera switched on and capture the beauty of nature. Enjoy a series of magical mountain timelapses with a delightful tune from DJ Ryzk a.k.a. No-Bless. Shot mainly on a canon 7d with a pclix intervalometer.lenses, tokina 11-16 and canon 24-105.
The tracking motion is done using a metal thread connected to a tobin timelapse unit for an old 16mm bolex.


Xavier de le Rue's Timeline Project: "Twice a month TimeLine will get you behind the scenes access to exclusive footage of my season. You’ll discover what it takes to film a big mountain video part, to compete on the Freeride World Tour and what is happening during trips to Canada, Japan, Norway or Alaska. It will show you team efforts of passionate friends to seek the best lines and best snow and use the best mountains as our playground, Guido Perrini as filmer, Tero Repo as photographer and myself along with my friends", Xavier de le Rue.

Eye Candy HD TimeLapses - TimeLine bonus 1 from TimeLine on Vimeo.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Whistler Blackcomb Adopts Skier Height Restriction

Whistler Blackcomb has instituted a new height restriction for all skiers and riders due to the area’s prodigious, record-breaking snowfall this season. The policy is intended to prevent guests from drowning in the bottomless pow. To that end, the resort is prohibiting guests shorter than 350cm/11.5 feet tall, the current snow base, from accessing Whistler Blackcomb without a snorkel, shovel and point of view camera. The resort may also require guests to carry sirens. Before the policy went into effect, mountain safety teams were frequently able to locate individuals immersed in snow by following their cries of "woohoo!" and "yeehaw!" "Having too much powder is a big problem here at Whistler Blackcomb", said John McGroomer, senior vice president of snow surface preparation and guest relations, citing widespread instances of selfish behavior and intolerance of others. "Not only do we encounter a lot of powder frenzy, many powder hounds adopt a ‘no friends on a powder day’ attitude", leaving many relationships strained, McGroomer lamented. Whistler Blackcomb was forced to institute its height restrictions after nearly 46 feet of snow fell this season, well above the average annual snowfall of 33 feet. Thanks to the new regulations, however, the area plans to remain open for at least 50more days. Ironically, Whistler Blackcomb chose to reiterate its intention to remain open for nearly two more months on April Fool's Day, making it nearly impossible to separate the fact from fiction in the announcement above. Any light you can shed on which is which, dear readers, will be greatly appreciated. On February 17, after a Storm Cycle Delivers 186 cm (73 inches)of Snow in Seven Days, Whistler Blackcomb has officially surpassed the average annual snowfall (1,025cm, 404 inches) with three months remaining in the ski/snowboard season (currentlty Whistler reports 1,410cm, 555 inches of Snow and a Base of 348cm, 136 inches).