Thursday, June 30, 2011

Where To Ski and Snowboard In July?

After a quiet few months with just a few dozen ski areas open in the Northern Hemisphere, the southern hemisphere’s 2011 winter is getting underway in July, Skiinfo reported. The choice of open ski centres is back up to triple figures, with 30 ski areas still open in seven northern hemisphere countries for the start of July too.
Europe
There are about a dozen glacier ski areas open through July. The past few weeks have been hot in the Alps and in some cases snow depths on the glaciers have been dropping at the rate of 30cm a week, but most still have adequate snow depths to see them through.
Austria has more spring, summer and autumn glacier ski areas than any other country but only three are likely to be open for some or all of July. They include Tux, which tries to open every day of the year and currently has a two metre base and more than 20km of piste open, as well as the Dachstein and Kitzsteinhorn (above Kaprun) glaciers.
In France all three French summer glacier areas re-opened in June and Les 2 Alpes and Tignes will be open through July, conditions permitting. Val d’Isere calls it a day on 2011 summer skiing on July 17th, however.
Italy also has a choice of three centres open. Val Senales re-opened last month to join Passo Stelvio, and now Cervinia on the Italian side of the Matterhorn is open for summer skiing, extending the area available all year from Zermatt and offering cross-border summer skiing.
In Switzerland the afore-mentioned year round snow slopes of Zermatt have been the only Swiss destination for skiers and boarders through June, and the snow is currently lying a metre thick there. A second Swiss ski choice re-opens on July 9th when its neighbour Saas Fee begins its 10 month season to May 2012, starting with some major events planned for its terrain park.
In Scandinavia, Norway is where to go with its three summer snow centres open and currently boasting the world’s greatest snow depths. Folgefonn has over 7 metres (23 feet) of snow lying, and Stryn and Galdhoppigen both have over three metres.
North America
In North America following the massive snowfalls of last winter it’s a remarkable picture for Canada Day on July 1st and Independence Day on July 4th in the US as most than a dozen West Coast ski areas will still be open, or will re-open for the holiday weekend on both sides of the border.
In the US how many will still be open after July 4th is not yet certain but it’s possible Mammoth in California (picture attached) and Crystal Mountain in Washington State will decide to do so. The latter has said it will stay open at weekends so long as the snow lasts, and it’s currently still more than two metres deep. Others who have not yet confirmed a closing date include Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and Snowbird and Snowbasin in Utah – all three open at weekends only at present. Timberline in Oregon WILL be open daily through July and August as it is every year. Californian centres re-opening for Independence Day weekend only include Alpine Meadows, Donner Summit, Kirkwood and Squaw Valley.
Mount Washingtom on Vancouver island is open for the first weekend of July only, to celebrate Canada’s national day, the first time the resort has ever opened in July. The Blackcomb glacier at Whistler is open longer, through to July 24 from 12pm to 3pm daily.
Southern Hemisphere
Australia
got off with a great start to winter 2011 with record early-openings in May followed by healthy snowfall for planned opening weekends in early June, with more snow falling later in the month. Cover in Australia is always a little problematic but so far it’s looking good for July at most resorts.
New Zealand had a very warm May and June and resorts that were due to have opened weeks ago got off to a slow start, but as we begin July Mt Hutt, Turoa and Whakapapa have limited terrain open, and it is snowing at last, so hopefully July will be a bumper month.
South Africa’s Tiffindfell ski area is out of-action this winter as ownership is auctioned off, but Afriski in Lesotho got off to a good, on time start to winter last month and currently has a kilometre long trail open plus a terrain park with a mix of machine made and natural snow cover.
South America
In Argentina the Puyehue Volcano erupting close to the continent’s largest ski resort in terms of uplift – Catedral – last month wasn’t a great start to the 2010 winter there, but a greater problem has been a lack of early season snow, which the resort says is why it delayed opening last week. Recently it has been snowing there and at another major Argentinian resort, Las Lenas, which also delayed opening, and they now both hope to open in early July.
Chile too has not had a great start to winter 2011 but resorts are opening, initially with limited terrain, but with hopes that conditions will improve dramatically during early July. Valle Nevado has delayed opening until early July and Portillo, although 30% open, has stopped selling lift tickets until conditions improve. Currently snow depths are 30-60cm.

Europe Overtakes North America With The Northern Hemisphere’s Most Expensive Lift Ticket

Research by www.Skiinfo.co.uk has found that Europe’s most expensive six-day ski lift pass is now believed to be currently the northern hemisphere’s most expensive ski lift ticket due to the strength of the Swiss Franc.
A 483 Swiss Franc six-day pass offered by the little known village of Täsch would currently cost around £364 / $580, according to Expedia’s currency converter on 26 June, whereas the most expensive lift ticket in the US offered by several Colorado resorts at $561 (US) would cost £351 says Expedia.
Täsch is a small village below Zermatt where most of the famous resort’s guests park and take a swish rail shuttle to Zermatt itself. The 483 Franc pass includes the daily use of that shuttle as well as ski lift access to 350km of piste above Zermatt and over the border to Cervinia in Italy on Europe’s highest lifts incorporating some of the world’s most spectacular ski lift installations.
The same pass bought in Zermatt, excluding the shuttle train service, would cost 423 Swiss francs (£318 / $508 (US) . A slightly more expensive ticket including other ski areas in the Aosta Valley in Italy is also available.
It’s the first time that a European lift pass has been known to cost more than the most expensive North American one. US resorts, and occasionally Australian ones, have topped the worldwide lift ticket price tables for two decades. Prior to that Japan was the most expensive destination until its economic collapse in the early 1990s.
However Australia currently has the world’s most expensive lift ticket, again due in large part to the strength of the local currency. A six day pass for the country’s biggest resort, currently open for winter 2011, Perisher in New South Wales, costs $576 (Aus) for an adult – which Expedia converts to £379 / $604 US.
Switzerland had the most expensive passes in Europe in the 1990s but with the start of the new millennium several French giant regional tickets overtook Swiss prices, most notably with the world’s biggest ski area, the 3 Valleys, becoming more expensive to ski than the Swiss 4 Valleys around Verbier. That situation reversed again with the global economic crash.
Although the headline figures may seems alarmingly high, www.skiinfo.co.uk advises that in many cases skiers and boarders can ski for much less by visiting smaller resorts, ideally in low season and sometimes receiving further discounts by buying online or as part of a package with accommodation (frequently offered in North America with the headline price of the ticket meaning the saving seems very high – like ‘half price wine’ in the supermarket).
Even at Zermatt a ‘Zermatt only’ pass which still accesses 185km of slopes and one of the world’s biggest verticals is available for 371 Swiss Francs (£279 / $445 US), and children aged up to 9 or 10 (depending on their birth date) ski free, the world’s most generous season-long child pricing offer which can bring the overall cost for families down below other resorts with lower adult prices. In addition older children to 16 pay half price when at other resorts children often pay 70-80% of the adult price from age 5 and teenagers the full adult price.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where To Ski This Week

Skiinfo reports it has been a quiet week on the world’s ski slopes without much new snow anywhere. The French glaciers are now all open and more southern hemisphere ski areas are open, except in New Zealand where it remains unseasonably warm. In Austria the snow pack has declined at the remaining glacier slopes that are still open. In the Dachstein’s case down 20cm from 1.3m a week ago to 1.1m today. The Kitzsteinhorn is down 10cm to 1.7m – both centres say temperatures are reaching 5C on the glacier by early afternoon and as high as 8C at Stubai which has a 1.5m base. Tux has the most terrain open in the country at 22km with a two metre base.
In France all three summer ski areas are now open with Les 2 Alpes and Tignes (picture attached) joining already-open Val d’Isere last weekend. Both reported a few centimetres of fresh snow to pep up cover, which is deepest at les 2 Alpes.
Italy’s choice of summer skiing is down to two centres with the closure of the two intermediate runs on the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale after last weekend. Passo Stelvio reports the deepest snow depth in central Europe with up to four metres lying.
In Switzerland, Zermatt remains the only open ski centre option with a metre deep snowbase on its extensive glacier slopes, Europe’s highest.
It’s the end of the midnight sun ski season at Riksgransen in the Swedish arctic Circle, although the centre does plan to re-open for a final ‘Midsummer skiing’ weekend this Friday.
Norway’s summerski season remains in full swing with the three areas all boasting positions in the top five snowiest places in the world this week, led by Folgefonn with an incredible 7.1m (24 foot) base!
Arapahoe Basin has delayed plans to close after last weekend and will stay open weekends at least to the coming US Independence Day holiday where it will join Snowbasin and Snowbird in Utah, Mammoth, Alpine Meadows, Donner Ski Ranch, Kirkwood, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley USA, and Sugar Bowl in California; Timberline in Oregon and Crystal Mountain in Washington state in opening for skiing and boarding for Independence Day weekend next week.
In Canada Whistler has re-opened for summer skiing and boarding on Blackcomb glacier.
The so-far lousy start to winter 2011 continues in New Zealand where Turoa on the North island which was due to open this weekend join south island areas that are already ‘on hold’ for starting their season for several weeks as temperatures fail to drop quite low enough for consistent snowmaking or much natural snowfall.
Australia’s ski areas have had a mixed few days with some thawing but also fresh snow. Mt Hotham reports the average natural snowdepth is now 18cm after 5cm of new snow falling in the last 48 hours. The forecast ahead is a little mixed for the next week but there is certainly some snow in there. Snow flurries and a top of 1 degree is the plan for today with next Tuesday forecast to bring in blizzard conditions and up to 15cm of new snow, right in time for the first week of the Queensland school holidays.
In South America the season is getting underway. In Argentina Las Leñas hopes to open this weekend and has had fresh snow but Catedral has had to postpone its planned opening due to limited snowfall and also remains troubled by its proximity to the erupting Puyehue volcano.
600 miles north, Portillo in Chile is on target to open on the 25th but says operations will be limited, despite a 60cm base, with no heliskiing or off piste available yet.
In Africa, Afriski has a 1km long slope open with a 50cm base and reports excellent conditions.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Will Saas Fee Build Europe’s Highest Ski Lift?

Skiinfo reports the people of Switzerland’s Saas Valley are voting tomorrow (June 16th, 2011) on plans to open the highest gondola in Europe, and the continent’s highest lift, up to 4,000m on Längfluh.
Projects already planned for the next two years are include the extension of snowmaking facilities on Längfluh and on ski pistes in the Spielboden-Längfluh sector.
A new 8 place gondola from Saas-Fee to Spielboden to Längfluh and a new restaurant at Längfluh are also planned but the local population are due to vote on the lift company’s plan to go further with this gondola, up to 4000 meters.
The current highest lifts in the Alps are two drag lifts reaching 3899m at neighbouring Zermatt. A 4000m high lift would be among the world’s three highest, overtaking lifts at Breckenridge in North America and Gulmarg in India and, following the closure of higher ski areas in the South American Andes, leave only one small ski area at Jade Dragon Snow Valley (over 4500m) in the Chinese Himalayas as higher.
The original Längfluh cable-car was one of the first in Saas Fee and opened on 23rd December, 1959. It was rebuilt in 1977.
Saas-Fee is based at the foot of the Dom, which although not as internationally well known as the Matterhorn, is in fact Switzerland's highest mountain, and one of thirteen 4,000 metre (13,120 feet) plus peaks surrounding the village. These may be viewed at your leisure from the world's highest revolving restaurant on the Mittelallin at 3,500 metres (just under 11,500 feet).

Where To Ski This Week

Skiinfo reports there has been little new snow in the Alps - unsurprisingly for mid-June - but Passo Stelvio in Italy and the Stubai Glacier, both currently open for snow sports have each reported 5cm of snow in the past seven days.
In Austria temperatures have been hovering a few degrees above zero on the glaciers - typical late Spring conditions. Tux has one of the biggest ski areas open with 22km of runs on a 2 metre base.
In France summer skiing is reported to have re-commenced at Val d'Isere last weekend and the other two areas, much bigger at Tignes (picture attached) and Les 2 Alpes are due to re-open this weekend.
In Italy Val Senales re-opened last weekend joining Passo Stelvio and the Presena Glacier - which has two red runs available.
In Switzerland only Zermatt is currently open.
Norway's three summer ski centres are in full swing and boasting some of the world's deepest snow depths, particularly Folgefonn with 710cm on upper slopes - deeper than anywhere else in the world.
In Sweden it's coming up to the last weekend of the season and the last chance to try summer skiing under the midnight sun at Riksgransen in the Arctic Circle and Ruka in Finland finally closed last weekend.
The USA continues to have more ski areas open than any other country, although the huge snowpack is slowly thawing now and Australia and Argentina or Chile may change that after the weekend. You can still ski at Mammoth in California, Arapahoe basin in Colorado and Timberline in Oregon daily and at weekends at Crystal Mountain in Washington state or Snowbird and newly re-opened Snowbasin in Utah.
In Canada you can still ski on Grouse Mountain above Vancouver at weekends and Whistler's glacier ski season begins this weekend. Mt Washington on Vancouver Island is also re-opening this weekend but for one weekend only.
In the Southern Hemisphere the ski season got underway at the weekend in Australia and at Afriski, Lesotho, in Southern Africa where access roads were blocked by too much snow (30cm) and limited facilities to clear it.
Australian resorts have reported the best start to the season in 10 years. Mt Buller is typical reporting, "a fair to good cover of firm packed snow softening throughout the day". There is an average of 26cms of natural snow and up to 45cms in manmade areas.
The ski season in South America is due to kick off this weekend but resorts in New Zealand have had to delay opening for a second week due to on-going warm conditions.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Aestivation Entertainment Presents "Lifelong" Movie Trailer

Europe’s premier ski movie producers, Aestivation Entertainment, announce their 2011 release "Lifelong" presented by Gore-Tex. This feature movie which gathers the greatest European freeskiing talent at some of the best snow destinations worldwide: Kaunertal (Austria), Warth (Austria), Dolomiti Superski (Italy), Valhalla Powdercats (Canada), Kronplatz (Italy), Serfaus (Austria), Gulmarg (India), Sölden (Austria), Val Senales (Italy), West Coast of Norway, Folgefonna (Norway)- will hit the big screen in fall 2011.
Every ski season consists of multiple days, hundreds of runs and thousands of moments that we will last in our memory, some of them for the rest of our lives. Even in a winter that wasn’t the greatest in the Alps, the Aestivation athletes found plenty of these lifelong treasures. Markus Eder, Roy Kittler and Nico Zacek shredded the snow-prone cities of Munich and Dresden (Germany) in early December before hitting the backcountry in the Southern Alps later on. Ane Enderud and Phil Meier found perfect powder on Norway’s wild west coast, while a whole cast of freestylers and freeriders including Tobi Tritscher, Dennis Ehlert, Basti Hannemann and McFly took advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime winter season in British Columbia.
The Aestivation filmers Mo and Max Garhammer, Niclas Loeffler, Hias Springer and Sean Balmer followed the riders for six months and captured all the most memorable moments in Full HD. Over summer the Garhammer brothers will apply their legendary editing skills to finish "Lifelong" in time for its release in September. One of the highlights will undoubtedly be the halfpipe sessions of Kevin Rolland and Ben Valentin filmed in 3D and super slow-motion on the Kaunertal Glacier, a definite first in ski movie history. But also don’t miss the best ever girls’ kicker session at the Nine Queens in Serfaus, the incredibly deep powder of Kashmir and some late-season backcountry madness in Scandinavia with Lolo Favre, Leo Taillefer and Niklas Eriksson.
"Lifelong" presented by Gore-Tex will hit cinemas in more than 20 cities across Europe in fall 2011. For all those who won’t have the chance to see "Lifelong" on the big screen, the movie will be distributed with Europe’s leading ski magazines in December 2011 and available for download from the official website later on.

SNCF Athletes Climb Mont-Blanc To Back Annecy 2018 Bid

With only days left until the host city is announced for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games 2018, the SNCF, French railway company and official supporter of Annecy 2018, has renewed its support for the bid - from the mountains, with the athletes and for the future - by sending an expedition of SNCF athletes to climb Mont-Blanc on 18th – 19th June 2011. The expedition will also include representatives from Annecy 2018.
Guided by members of the French Skiing and Mountaineering School (ENSA) and the company of guides from the cities of Chamonix and Saint-Gervais, the expedition will include three snowboarders from the SNCF – Paul-Henri De Le Rue (Olympic medal winner), Xavier De Le Rue (several-times world champion) and Sylvain Dufour (world medal winner), as well as cyclist Cathy Moncassin-Prime, Annecy 2018 CEO Charles Beigbeder, Mayor of Annecy and former SNCF athlete Jean-Luc Rigaut, and two employees from the SNCF.
Beigbeder and Jean-Luc Rigaut are using the trip as a planning session ahead of the final presentation in Durban.
After two days of high altitude preparation and acclimatisation, the team will set off on Saturday 18 June to climb Mont-Blanc. Once they reach the summit, which is the highest peak in France and Europe, the team will unfold a banner in support of Annecy 2018. The three SNCF champions will then snowboard back down Mont-Blanc, while the others will return on foot.
A corporate citizen with a commitment to sport, the SNCF has supported the French sporting movement since 1982 when it recruited its first athlete on a professional integration contract. With a keen interest in the sporting world, with which it shares common values, the SNCF offered its support for Annecy 2018 in its bid to host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2018. The host city will be announced by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) on 6 July 2011 in Durban, South Africa. In the meantime, the SNCF and its athletes will show their support for Annecy 2018 at an altitude of precisely 4,810 metres.
The expedition will officially set off when the athletes board the train at Paris’ Gare de Lyon station in the morning on Wed 15 June 2011. On the train that will take the team first to Lyon, and then on to Chamonix, a communication drive will be launched including autographs signed by the athletes and handouts of goodies. Passengers will have the chance to meet the athletes and talk to them about the adventure they are about to embark on.
In 1982, SNCF led the way by recruiting its first high-level athlete on a Professional Integration Contract (CIP in French). The contract is an innovative way to support the sporting careers of its champions. An agreement was drawn up between the SNCF and the French Ministry of Sports. Since then, more than 200 athletes have been trained and supported by the SNCF. Currently 29 French athletes benefit from the SNCF Athletes program, including snowboarders Paul-Henri and Xavier De Le Rue, gymnast Thomas Bouhail and foil fencer Brice Guyart.
Annecy is bidding with Munich and PyeongChang, for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.


Carte-postale-sport por annecy-2018

Saturday, June 11, 2011

IOC Awards US Broadcast Rights To NBCUniversal

Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded NBCUniversal (NBCU) the broadcast rights in the US for the XXII Olympic Winter Games (2014) in Sochi, Russia, and the Games of the XXXI Olympiad (2016) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games, which have to be awarded to a host city.
NBCU has acquired the broadcast rights across all media platforms, including free-to-air television, subscription television, internet and mobile. The total agreement is valued at USD 4.38 billion.
"We are delighted to have reached an agreement with our longstanding partner NBCU", said IOC President Jacques Rogge. "We received three excellent bids and would like to thank each broadcaster for their presentations. In the end we were most impressed with NBCU, which not only has a track record for broadcasting the Games that speaks for itself, but also has a clear and innovative vision of where it wants to take the broadcast of the Games between now and 2020. We look forward to continuing to build on our already strong relationship beginning in London next year".
The IOC based its decision on a long-term broadcast strategy aimed at ensuring broadcast of the Olympic Games of the highest quality, maximising exposure across all available media platforms, and securing the financial future of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement.
"We had an obligation to pick the best bid on behalf of the entire Olympic Movement", said IOC Executive Board member Richard Carrión, who, along with IOC President Jacques Rogge, led the negotiations. "We assessed each bid against a thorough set of criteria and believe that the long-term nature of this agreement will not only ensure fantastic Olympic broadcast coverage in the US, but also support the long-term financial stability of the Olympic Movement as a whole. NBCU has proven its worth time and again over the years and we’re very excited to continue working with them".
The IOC has enjoyed a long partnership with NBCU, and this agreement will mean that by 2020, NBCU will have covered a total of 17 editions of the Games, beginning in 1964.
"We are honoured to continue as the US Olympic broadcaster for the remainder of this decade. The vision for our new Comcast-NBCUniversal was to create new platforms and technologies to distribute the very best content. Every two years the Olympic Games provides iconic content for us to deliver on all platforms. We are proud to continue the rich heritage and long association that NBC has had with the IOC and I personally want to thank President Rogge and Richard Carrión for their long-term trust", said Brian Roberts, CEO and Chairman, Comcast, parent company of NBCUniversal.
The decision came after two days of meetings held at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, during which ESPN, Fox and NBCU each gave a presentation and submitted their proposals to the IOC. The negotiation process started earlier this year with preliminary discussions conducted with all interested parties. Each proposal was discussed by an IOC delegation chaired by President Rogge.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vail Resorts Has Record Season

Vail Resorts reported Thursday an increase in net income, a record number of skier visits and its first quarterly cash dividend in the company's history.
The publicly traded Broomfield-based ski resort, lodging and real estate company reported net income of $76.9 million for the three-month period that ended April 30, or $2.08 per share. That was up from $72.8 million, or $1.98 per share for the same period the year earlier.
Skier visits at Vail Mountain alone grew by 150,000 skiers in the 2010-2011 ski season to an all-time record of 1.75 million, the company said in its quarterly earnings report.
"The investments we made at our resorts, our focus on driving lift revenue and ancillary spending, as well as shifting guests to advanced purchased products, allowed us to report strong growth in Resort Reported EBITDA, despite an economy that continues to be in flux", said Rob Katz, Vail's Chief Executive.
At the same time, Vail Resorts said its first ever quarterly cash dividend would be 15 cents per share of common stock.
Across the Colorado ski industry, skier visits topped 12 million for the first time since the 2007-2008 ski season, according to the trade group Colorado Ski Country USA. Total skier visits at Colorado resorts this winter likely topped 12 million for the first time since the 2007-2008 season,according to the trade group. The trade group records skier visits at 22 member resorts, excluding the Vail Resorts properties. There were close to 6.9 million skiers at all other Colorado resorts for the season, a 2.6 percent increase over the 2009-2010 season, Vail Resorts said.
Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. Vail Resorts owns and operates the six premier year-round resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone mountain resorts in Colorado and the Heavenly Ski Resort and and Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada.

Munich 2018's Festival at the Allianz Arena

Germany's unmatched passion for winter sports and the snowballing public support for Munich's bid for the 2018 Winter Games will come together on Saturday 11 June when the city's iconic Allianz Arena hosts "Stars, the Winter Games and You!", a huge celebration -eight hours of family entertainment- of winter sports with an estimated 25,000 winter sports fans, 40 world-famous sports ambassadors, more than 800 young athletes, seven international performance artists. The Festival will be broadcast live nationwide.
The Munich 2018 Bid Committee and its partner Allianz SE are inviting fans from across the nation to support the event, where Munich's credentials for hosting international mega-events with a uniquely Bavarian flavour will take centre stage. Sporting heroes past and present will lead the festivities, alongside world-famous musicians and performers. Inclusivity is the watchword this weekend, with tickets starting at just €5 and the event being broadcast live on national television. 25,000 people are expected to attend and the carnival atmosphere will offer a small taste of the unforgettable Festival of Friendship that will greet the entire Olympic family in 2018 should the Winter Games be awarded to Munich.
"It's really great that people from across the nation will join us in Munich this weekend to back the bid - it shows just how much the public is behind us. We also get to show the world that Munich is the place to be for winter sports, even in the height of summer!. Passionate engagement from the fans is something the international sporting community can expect when visiting Munich and this event will be no exception (...) At the ‘Stars, the Winter Games, and You!' celebration, each Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games discipline will be represented by huge balloon icons as, for one day only, football gives up the limelight at the Allianz Arena. The event will help spread the Olympic spirit to all ages, with young families invited to try their hands at the winter sports in the stadium", said CEO of the Munich 2018 Bid Committee, Bernhard Schwank.
Munich 2018 sports ambassadors Georg Hackl, three-time Olympic champion in luge, and Markus Wasmeier, two-time Olympic champion in alpine skiing, will also take to the stage in support of the bid and showcase their skills for the public. Speaking ahead of the much-anticipated event, Markus Wasmeier said: "This really will be a great day. We Bavarians will show what we can do. People will experience the Allianz Arena from two very different perspectives at once - a winter sports celebration in the middle of summer".
Munich, together with Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Sliding Centre at Lake Königssee, is applying to host the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Munich is bidding with Annecy and PyeongChang, for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

Southern Hemisphere’s 2011 Ski Season Underway

The 2011 ski season has begun in the southern hemisphere, with a 600m long slope at Afri-Ski in Lesotho the first to open, on Thursday, June 9th. Skiers and boarders who weren’t already resident at the ski area had difficulty reaching it though as access roads were closed by drifting snow. The ski area itself reported snow depths of 50cm thanks to 30cm off natural snowfall and over 150 hours of pre-season snowmaking.
Similar snow cover has been reported at ski areas in Australia, the largest of which, Perisher, opened early on June 10th (picture attached), with natural snowfall and low temperatures for snow making. It had in fact already opened for a weekend in May after record pre-season snow then. Mt Hotham will also be opening following what the resort describes as, "plentiful natural snowfalls and a good snowmaking run". Hotham will open three lifts, The Big D, Summit Trainer and Upper Playground this coming Saturday 11 June. The last time Hotham Alpine Resort opened three lifts on Opening Weekend was seven years ago, in 2003.
Things are looking promising in South America too where most resorts will start opening from next weekend. Chile’s Valle Nevado reported 15cm of new snow in 24 hours last week and Catedral, the continent’s largest ski area in Argentina has said it will open despite having its slopes coated in ash by an erupting volcano, which also grounded flights in the region.
New Zealand, where the season was due to start last weekend, is still waiting for cold enough weather for snowmaking, or natural snowfall, following its warmest ever May.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

An Open-air Gym To Exersice On The Peaks

The innovation for Summer 2011 in Alta Badia is an area called "Moviment", located between the uplands of the villages Corvara, La Villa and San Cassiano. This is a real paradise for sports fans, with two panoramic platforms and a range of fitness equipment, two completely green Kneipp paths, natural paths for foot reflexology, sky walking rings and paths for Nordic walking that stretch over 100 km and have varying levels of difficulty. Enjoying physical activity in the brisk, fresh air on the mountains in a real open-air gym is not only effective and stimulating, but it involves the whole body. There are a wide range of benefits: physical activity reduces the possibility of cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, etc), lowers cholesterol and prevents obesity. It also helps you recharge your batteries so that you can return to work in the city in perfect shape.
The whole area is car free and can be reached with ski lifts from the villages of La Villa, San Cassiano and Corvara. To use these, there is the Mountain Pass Alta Badia dedicated to those who love activity in the midst of nature. The pass allows adults and children to use the 14 Summer ski lifts, all public buses around the Sella Mountain and the Val Badia, Val Gardena, Val Pusteria and Valle Isarco bus routes to Bolzano, as well as countless special offers for entrances to swimming pools, ice rinks, the biotope lake, the Adventure Park, themed excursions organised each day and much more. The Mountain Pass can be purchased from numerous accommodation structures, ski lifts and Tourist Offices.

Where To Ski This Week

Skiinfo reports in Austria five glacier ski areas are open but with diminishing snow pack and open lifts. The biggest reported drop is 60cm in the past week at the Dachstein glacier. The Kaunertal glacier is the only one to report fresh snow in the past week (10cm) but it plans to close on Sunday.
After a month or so of closure, skiing is due to return in France this weekend when Val d'Isere's glacier is open to July 18th. It will be followed a week later by Les 2 Alpes and Tignes, which are open to 28 August and 4th September respectively.
In Italy a third area, Val Senales (picture attached), re-opens this weekend joining Passo Stelvio and the two red runs still open on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale.
In Switzerland Europe's highest lifts above Zermatt remain the only open option at present
In Scandinavia it's the last weekend of the season for Finland's only open ski slope at Ruka in Finland. It's also into the last few weeks of skiing, including under-the-midnight-sun twice a week at Riksgransen in the Swedish Arctic Circle, but all three Norwegian glacier ski centre1s are open with deep snow bases.
In US it's the last weekend of the season at Donner Summit by Lake Tahoe but a surprise re-opening, for the first time ever, has been announced by Snowbasin in Utah, on weekends during May. You can still ski at Mammoth, California; Crystal Mountain in Washington State, Timberline in Oregon, Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and Snowbird in Utah. The choice of seven resorts is more than at any other country on the planet at present, as it has been for the past month or more.
Canada's Grouse Mountain is offering the country's only snow sports at present with weekend opening. Whistler's Blackcomb glacier re-opens for summer snow sports the weekend after next (June 18) and Mt Washington also plans to open then.
In the southern hemisphere, Lesotho's Afriski is currently scheduled to be the first ski resort in the southern hemisphere to open, on Thursday 9th June, following Coronet Peak in New Zealand's failure to open as planned, due to inadequate snow cover after New Zealand's warmest ever May, last weekend.
However another New Zealand resort does hope to open this Saturday 11th June as does the Australian resort Mt Hotham.
The south American ski season is due to start a week after and Valle Nevado has reported 15cm of new snow in the past few days. However some of the continent's moere southerly resorts including Bariloche in Argentina, are sufferening the results of a major volcanic eruption in the area which is likely to delay the start of the 2011 ski season there if not completely wipe it out.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Winter Games NZ To Make History

New Zealand is once again leading the way in the evolution of competitive snow sports with the announcement that August’s 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games will feature dual sanctioning between TTR (Ticket to Ride) and FIS (Federation International de Ski) for snowboard events and FIS and AFP (Association of Freeski Professionals) for free ski events. The event will also feature the first ever FIS sanctioned freeski big air event.
New Zealand was instrumental in getting freeski halfpipe and ski cross events included in the 2014 Winter Olympics following the FIS Snowboard & Freestyle Junior World Championships in 2010 in Lake Wanaka which marked the first time freeski and snowboarding had been combined at a world championship level.
Now in another world first, 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games will host a FIS freeski big air event. The inclusion of freeski big air by FIS in its sanctioning programme is an indication of the growing stature the sport is receiving on the elite global competitive circuit. At Winter Games NZ, freeski slopestyle, halfpipe and big air will be dual sanctioned by FIS at Continental Cup level and by AFP at Silver Star level.
In the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games’ snowboarding programme, the slopestyle and big air will both be dual sanctioned at TTR 3* level and FIS Continental Cup level.
"New Zealand punches way above its weight in terms of the influence it has had on global competitive snow sports over the last few years", said Winter Games NZ CEO, Arthur Klap. "What we produced at the junior world championships essentially secured the inclusion of freeskiing into the Winter Olympics and now we’re proud to deliver another influential competition with the first ever FIS freeski big air. This is huge for the sport as it receives official recognition from FIS and is also great for New Zealand given our strong history in freeskiing with such athletes as the Wells brothers".