Monday, July 23, 2012

A Unified Freeride World Tour For 2013

Event organizers of Swatch Freeride World Tour, Freeskiing World Tour and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding announced a merger that will combine all three tours under one unified global 5-star championship series. The new six-stop world tour – named the Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face – will include freeride skiing and snowboarding at each stop.
Confirmed tour locations include Revelstoke (Canada), Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (France), Kirkwood (USA), Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal (Austria), and one more european stop still to be confirmed, before the World Tour finals in Verbier (Switzerland). "The union of the three tours is a major step in the sport’s growth", said Nicolas Hale-Woods, Freeride World Tour Managing Director Europe. "Not only at World Tour (FWT) level, but also at qualifying level, with events happening in New-Zealand, North & South America, and Europe, all counting for one unique Freeride World Qualifiers (FWQ) ranking, enabling riders from all active areas to qualify for the next season’s Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face".
"Big mountain freeriding has a long and rich history with incredibly talented athletes around the world", said Adam Comey, Mountain Sports International President and Freeride World Tour Managing Director Americas. "Now, with two great brands in Swatch and The North Face, and two dedicated organizations in Europe and North America coming together for one mission and one tour, the next chapter of freeride skiing and snowboarding is very bright".
"The merger of the two ski tours is a great step for our sport (...) It will add even more recognition around the world. For me as a rider I'm looking forward to an even more exciting season with a lot of new faces", said 2012 Swatch Freeride World Tour Champion Reine Barkered of Sweden.
American skier Drew Tabke, a long-time competitor and podium leader on both tours, agrees, "Beyond the details of judging, rankings, and format, I’m most excited to see the two tours’ top riders compete against one another. The best event last year was the combined event at Revelstoke. This event represented the ideal outcome of this merger of the two tours—a legitimate representation of the world’s best riders competing on a world-class venue".
American snowboarder Ralph Backstrom, a title contender on both tours says, "I couldn't be more stoked to hear that the The North Face Masters of Snowboarding and FWT will be combined for next season. I look forward to seeing some more North Americans at the European stops, some more Euros in North America, and an increased talent pool".
In addition to the Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face, there will be around 50 qualifier events (FWQ) around the world, ranging from 1 to 4-Stars for up-and-coming athletes to earn a spot on the next years FWT. For 2013, start lists will feature qualified athletes from all three of the 2012 Tours, as well as from qualifier events (4-star events), along with a limited number of wild card entries from both continents.
First stops of the 4-Stars FWQ will be in New Zealand and in Chile in August 2012. Riders will score points in two separate rankings, a 5-Stars FWT ranking and a 1 to 4-Stars FWQ ranking.
The North Face, a long-time supporter of big mountain skiing and snowboarding, Freeskiing World Tour and founder of The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, has joined on as presenting sponsor to the new merged Freeride World Tour. "Since the 1980's, The North Face has been at the forefront of snow-sports with our technical product and pioneering athletes, including Scott Schmidt and Jim Zellers. Inspired by our team at the recent Freeride World Tour - Giulia Monego, Janette Hargin and Xavier De Le Rue - we continue our commitment to the future of freeriding and the next generation of skiers and snowboarders. We are excited to be partner of the globally-unified Swatch Freeride World Tour and look forward to taking an active role with the tour's organizers and partners in the coming seasons", said Eric Pansier, VP Marketing EMEA The North Face.
Along with the addition of The North Face for 2013, long time partner of Freeride World Tour, Swatch is back as title sponsor for the second year, making it possible for a tour of this size to continue to thrive and evolve. "As a long-term supporter of freeride skiing and snowboarding we’re very happy to see the merger of the top European and North American events into the Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face. There’s nothing more exciting and inspiring than to see top athletes performing at their best, and the six big mountain venues on the new world tour are spectacular sites for all-out competition at the highest level. We can’t wait! [for the season to start]", said Marco Vaccari, Head of Marketing International Swatch Ltd.

Vail Resorts Introduces Epic Discovery

Vail Resorts announced that the Company has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service for a comprehensive summer activities plan at Vail Mountain, the largest ski resort in the United States.
Vail’s summer activity effort, named Epic Discovery, a Summer Mountain Adventure, will encourage "learn through play" by featuring extensive environmental educational elements interspersed between numerous new fun activities located in already developed areas of the mountain. Vail Resorts will work with The Nature Conservancy to bring scientific content to the eco-discovery experiences and will be contributing 1 percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue toward forest restoration projects. This substantial initiative marks the first proposal of its kind in the country following passage last fall of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act, championed by U.S. Senator Mark Udall of Colorado.
Epic Discovery is designed to connect kids and families with our national forests in an active, fun and engaging way. The proposal includes a number of new activities, including zip lines, ropes courses, mountain excursions and Forest Flyers with extensive environmental and interpretive programming, offering guests a unique opportunity to try new outdoor activities, challenge themselves physically, discover an appreciation for nature and create lasting family memories.
"Epic Discovery will allow our mountains to truly provide guests from across the country and around the world an experience of a lifetime in the summer. Epic Discovery will make the national forests accessible and engaging to people of all ages and abilities and will help educate them on the unique ecosystem and wildlife on our mountains", said Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts.
Vail Resorts also announced that it will work with the leading conservation non-profit organization, The Nature Conservancy, to assist with the creation of environmental education programming and interpretation. In an unprecedented move, Vail Resorts has created a new program, "1% For The Forest", under which it will contribute 1 percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest health restoration projects on national forest lands in the West. "When Vail Resorts, approached us with an incredible project such as this, we at The Nature Conservancy seized on the opportunity to not only help bring more families into the national forests, but to inspire them through nature education", said Tim Sullivan, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Colorado. "Then to further be able to raise funds to support forest restoration projects at such a critical time, this is exciting and important work we’ll be doing with Vail Resorts and their guests".
Vail Resorts hopes to begin construction on Epic Discovery activities, after U.S. Forest Service approval, in the summer or fall of 2013. When approved, the resulting on-mountain, eco-conscious experience will generate new jobs related to both the construction of the new facilities and the long-term operation, and will help support a much healthier year-round economy for the local resort community. Epic Discovery will also create a new iconic summer destination for Colorado, attracting guests from around the world.
"The creation of additional educational and recreational attractions during the summer months will create jobs in our mountain communities, help boost local economies and add to the amazing quality of life Coloradans already enjoy", Senator Mark Udall said. 
"Vail's new iconic summer experience will be an important addition to the state’s diverse tourism offerings. The activities and educational experiences Vail plans to offer in our national forests, all at nearly 12,000 feet, will be unlike anything else offered in the West. We look forward to the public input on this exciting opportunity", said Al White, director of the Colorado Tourism Office.
Epic Discovery activities and environmental interpretive programming will be designed to be compatible with the existing on-mountain infrastructure of lifts and trails, blending into the natural environment in an unobtrusive manner. In addition to the activities, U.S. Forest Service Rangers will be on site to provide eco-educational experiences for kids and families, helping them to learn more about their natural surroundings. Following are highlights of what guests will be able to experience, discover and learn across Vail Mountain from Adventure Ridge into Game Creek Bowl and down to the mid-Vail area, accessed by gondolas in Lionshead and Vail Village.

•Game Creek and Front Side Zip Line Tours: The ultimate outdoor experiences, these three-hour guided tours will immerse guests in the forest habitat with a stunning array of zip lines and aerial bridges. Guests will learn about the indigenous flora and fauna of this mountain ecosystem while working their way through each course’s challenges.

•Adventure Ridge Challenge Tour:A multi-stage tour combining zip lines, ropes swings, bridge components and other features.

•Micro-Interpretive Centers for Education:Integrated with trails and activities around the mountain, these interpretive experiential centers will provide guests with hands-on information and activities about forest health, wildlife and the mountain geography of the White River National Forest.

•More Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails:Comprehensive interpretive and directional signage will be integrated to encourage more hiking and mountain biking across Vail Mountain and descending into the villages below.

•Family Forest Adventure Park:A playground of rope challenges and bridges to introduce young children to the wonders of the forest.

•Forest Flyer™:An alpine slide that runs on raised rails, the Forest Flyers™ wind their way down the mountain, following the natural contours of the landscape through the forest.

•Game Creek Deck and Lookout Tower:A panoramic viewing balcony nestled within awe-inspiring scenery of alpine forests, meadows of wildflowers and wildlife.

•Segway Trails and Tours:A unique way to enjoy a guided tour with your own cross-terrain, self-propelled Segway.

Vail Mountain has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service that includes the above activities and vision for Epic Discovery. Following acceptance of the proposal, the agency will begin its comprehensive environmental review. Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain is the first installment of summer mountain adventure plans that Vail Resorts has for each of its seven world-class resorts. Plans for Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood will be announced and submitted at later dates.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Good Life Episode 4


The Good Life Episode 4: Bridger Bowl, Montana from OnTheSnow on Vimeo.

In the fourth episode of OnTheSnow's exclusive travel series The Good Life, the crew heads to the home of cold smoke powder and one of Montana's best kept secrets.

Mountain News Corporation, which includes Skiinfo and OnTheSnow, is the global leading snow media company with over 23 million unique users per ski season on web and mobile. The combined companies operates in 14 languages and 20 countries. The Company's mission is to give skiers the world’s most comprehensive and accurate snow reports, resort data and weather forecasts. Mountain News Corporation goal is to be the mountain traveler’s number one resource for planning their next epic mountain vacation.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Good Life Episode 3


The Good Life Episode 3: Big Sky, Montana from OnTheSnow on Vimeo.

In the third episode of OnTheSnow's exclusive travel series The Good Life, the crew heads north to Big Sky Resort in the southwest corner of Montana. Known best for it's rowdy inbounds terrain from the top of Lone Peak, the crew scores a powder day and some of their best skiing yet.


Mountain News Corporation which includes Skiinfo and OnTheSnow, is the global leading snow media company with over 23 million unique users per ski season on web and mobile. The combined companies operates in 14 languages and 20 countries. The Company's mission is to give skiers the world’s most comprehensive and accurate snow reports, resort data and weather forecasts. Mountain News Corporation goal is to be the mountain traveler’s number one resource for planning their next epic mountain vacation.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Good Life Episode 2


The Good Life Episode 2: Teton Pass and Grand Targhee Resort from OnTheSnow on Vimeo.

In the second episode of OnTheSnow's exclusive travel series The Good Life, the crew heads to Teton Pass, one of the world's most popular and stunning backcountry zones for some fresh tracks with local legend Jason Tattersall. Following up the pass, the crew then heads out to Grand Targhee Resort where they get hooked up with the resort's early tracks program and enjoy eight inches of fresh, teton powder.


Mountain News Corporation which includes Skiinfo and OnTheSnow, is the global leading snow media company with over 23 million unique users per ski season on web and mobile. The combined companies operates in 14 languages and 20 countries. The Company's mission is to give skiers the world’s most comprehensive and accurate snow reports, resort data and weather forecasts. Mountain News Corporation goal is to be the mountain traveler’s number one resource for planning their next epic mountain vacation.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Good Life Episode 1


The Good Life Episode 1: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort from OnTheSnow on Vimeo.

In the first episode of OnTheSnow's exclusive travel series The Good Life, the team heads to Jackson Hole Resort for a day of steeps, big lines and cold beer.

Mountain News Corporation which includes Skiinfo and OnTheSnow, is the global leading snow media company with over 23 million unique users per ski season on web and mobile. The combined companies operates in 14 languages and 20 countries. The Company's mission is to give skiers the world’s most comprehensive and accurate snow reports, resort data and weather forecasts. Mountain News Corporation goal is to be the mountain traveler’s number one resource for planning their next epic mountain vacation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Essentials of Tourism Destination Management: Ski & Mountain Resorts

Take a look at the content of my new website: http://www.skiresortsmanagement.com/index.html

There you can take a look at my presentations, cases of study, workshops and the content of my seminar about Ski Resorts Management.

OnTheSnow & Skiinfo


Mountain News Brand Video with Skiinfo Logo from OnTheSnow on Vimeo.

Mountain News Corporation which includes Skiinfo and OnTheSnow, is the global leading snow media company with over 23 million unique users per ski season on web and mobile. The combined companies operates in 14 languages and 20 countries. The Company's mission is to give skiers the world’s most comprehensive and accurate snow reports, resort data and weather forecasts. Mountain News Corporation goal is to be the mountain traveler’s number one resource for planning their next epic mountain vacation.

Ski Industry Report Shows Growth in Senior Skiers

One of the most significant trends in the ski industry is the fact that skiers are getting older.
A New Analysis of the UK Snowsports Market reports mature skiers have brushed off the effects of the recession to spend as much time on the ski slopes as during the boom times of 2007/08. The survey of the future prospects of the ski industry found that mature skiers were taking advantage of the cheaper euro (highest in four years) to head off on one or even two ski holidays in a single season.
Recent research from the new ‘SkiBase Report’ has shown that demand in the ski market is being sustained by experienced, mature skiers. The ski market in the short to medium term will be driven by people who have already been skiing, whilst there is an opportunity for commercial organisations to not only focus on the market that exists today but to look at the future, by actively engaging and attracting new prospective customers to ski.
The research revealed that the ski market overall needs to be managed to ensure new people take up skiing and to serve the needs of this part of the market. Skiers are resilient and will always continue to ski whilst one of the major reasons people gave for not skiing, as expected is cost. Disposable incomes have been squeezed in the past few years and the perception continues that skiing is too expensive.
"Overall, skiers are saying they intend to take more ski holidays over the next five years" says Roy Barker, Director of SPIKE who carried out this research. "We wouldn’t interpret that is saying the market is set to boom, but longer term it shows the ski market is in good shape for the future".
Over 18,000 people took part in the wide-ranging survey which quizzed respondents about every aspect of their skiing habits. The survey asked respondents used to rate their resorts and comment on their experiences. Any negative comments were subtracted from the total number of positive ones to give each country a score, with the average for all the countries set at zero.
Italy has been chosen as the top destination by UK skiers in one of the biggest surveys ever undertaken on the state of the UK ski industry. Italy narrowly beat France to top the Ski Index for the quality of skiing, which asked people to give overall ratings for quality of skiing, accommodation value for money, restaurants and bars, lifts and activities outside skiing.
The study also found that France had the most loyal skiers, with over 74% of people who skied there saying they are likely to choose the country for their next winter break.
The USA and Canada were given the top score when it came to the quality of entertainment and bars, while Andorra and Austria also scored highly.
Eastern Europe scored the lowest when it came to the perception of quality among respondents, although it scored highly when it came to value for money. Switzerland was rated as the least value for money, with a score of -30%.
North America was home to four of the Top five ski resorts, with Canada’s Whistler ski considered the best overall ski resort in the world with a satisfaction score of 72.9, followed by Banff, (63.1) Vail (61.5), Breckenridge (59.7) and Europe’s Tignes at fifth with (43.5).

Monday, July 16, 2012

2012 Crystal Ski Industry Report

The annual Crystal Ski Industry report was published last on July 10, 2012. The report shows a further decline in the British ski industry as the number of people skiing and snowboarding continues to fall. The number of people taking a ski holiday last winter fell by 16,200 to 894,700. That's a fall of 1.8% and is far short of the peak of 2007/08 when 1.22m skiers and snowboarders took a holiday. 2008/09 saw a fall of 15%, 2009/10 a reduction of 11% and 2010/11 was down 5%.Gone are the pre-recession years that saw steady annual growth.
Crystal is the largest UK ski tour operator and took 169,000 passengers last winter. Crystal is owned by TUI that also has Thomson and First Choice. Crystal Ski strengthened its market leadership last season by 1% to 33% partly due to its value-for-money Ski Plus packages. Thomson Ski saw a decrease of about 1,000 skiers. First Choice saw a fall in its customers from 10,000 to 7,000 as a result of strategic repositioning. However, TUI Ski remains the market leader with a 41% share, up from 40% last year.
The next biggest is Inghams with 100,000. Inghams is run by Hotelplan that also has Esprit Ski and Ski Total. Hotelplan's 3.7% reduction is mainly due to continued consolidation following the merger of Inghams with Ski Esprit and Ski Total.
Neilson, owned by Thomas Cook, remains in third place with a 6% decline in skiers.
Despite the fall there will be signs for optimism. "The ski market has been resilient despite challenging market conditions. Tour operators regained a marginal share of the overall market due to their ability to produce exceptionally good value ski holiday packages", said the Managing Director of Crystal, Simon Cross.
He predicts a growing increase in the internet both for booking holidays and keeping informed and up to date on what is on offer. "In 2011, an increasing number of skiers turned to online channels to research and book their holiday. We expect this trend to continue into the next season and beyond", he added.
France is still the most popular ski destination and is the choice of 34.6% of people though the gap is closing with Austria that now takes 27.9% of the UK market. France's share of the UK market has gone up after falls over the past three years.
Switzerland saw the biggest fall of any country and now has 4.9% of British skiers - it was down from 6% of the market in 2010/11. This is put down to the poor exchange rate that has pushed prices up.
Italy's share increased from 14.1% to 15.4%.
Andorra rose marginally to 6.5%. This is the principality's third year of growth, despite poor snow early in the season. Skiers are being lured back by the improving quality of hotels, combined with less expensive prices.
North America's 4.5% share has dropped slightly.
Bulgaria also saw a fall to 2.7% as did the smaller countries' sector that was down to 4.6%. The fall in Bulgaria is especially interesting as it shows the decline in the budget end of the market. Inghams has pulled out of Bulgaria for next winter.
Although the Crystal Ski Industry report does not specifically go into how each type of holiday sold, we have detected at the PlanetSKI that the top end market has held up well. It seems the bankers have still been getting their bonuses and are prepared to spend them on a ski holiday. "Interesting that Crystal hinted towards revival in 'premium' market - and that's certainly where we've seen the growth", said the managing director of Ski Solutions, Craig Burton.
The company has told us that it also saw a significant rise in short breaks last winter. It is expanding its capacity next winter. Short breaks are for the time poor and cash rich as a four day break can sometimes be not much less than a week long holiday.
Despite figures are in line with forecasts, with signs that the market may be stabilising, there is some concern in the fall in students and young people skiing and snowboarding. A recent survey revealed that 33% of people had their first experience of snowsports on a school trip. These trips have fallen with increasing pressures on family budgets.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Essentials of Tourism Destination Management: Ski & Mountain Resorts

Take a look at the content of my new website. There you can take a look at my presentations, cases of study, workshops and the content of my seminar about Ski Resorts Management.

Now on the spot: Corporate-Level Strategy

http://www.skiresortsmanagement.com/index.html

After this module students should be able to define vertical and horizontal integration and discuss the main advantages and disadvantages associated with this corporate-level strategy.

Students should be able to discuss how corporate-level strategy can be used to strengthen a ski resort business model and business-level strategies.

Also students should be able to describe why, and under what conditions, cooperative relationships such as strategic alliances may become a substitute of vertical and horizontal integration.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

US Ski Facilities Industry Report

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Ski Facilities" report to their offering.
The US ski facilities industry includes about 350 companies that operate about 400 ski areas with combined annual revenue of about $2 billion. Major companies include Aspen Skiing Company and Vail Resorts. The industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest firms generate about 80 percent of revenue.
Ski facilities that provide overnight accommodations are not included in the industry.

Competitive Landscape
Good snow conditions and personal income drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective marketing and efficient skiing and business operations. Large companies have advantages in marketing and in sharing resources and staff among multiple skiing sites. Small companies can compete effectively by catering to the local population or providing customized services. The industry is labor-intensive: average annual revenue per worker is about $60,000.

Products, Operations & Technology
Major services at ski facilities are facility use, food and beverage sales, instruction fees, merchandise sales, and equipment rentals. Usage or admission fees (including lift tickets) account for 60 percent of revenue; about 10 percent comes from meals and beverage services; 10 percent from instruction fees; and less than 5 percent from merchandise sales and equipment rentals.
A typical ski season runs from mid-November to mid-April in the highest elevations. Facility staff members prepare and maintain trails; give skiing lessons; run restaurants and food concessions; rent, sell, and repair ski equipment; and operate onsite retail shops. Companies may outsource some services or lease concessions to third parties.

First Research is the leading industry intelligence company that helps sales teams perform faster and smarter, open doors, and close more deals. First Research performs the heavy lifting' by synthesizing hundreds of sources into an easy to digest format that a sales person can consume very quickly to better understand a prospect's business issues.'

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Essentials of Tourism Destination Management: Ski & Mountain Resorts

Take a look at the content of my new website. There you can take a look at my presentations, cases of study, workshops and the content of my seminar about Ski Resorts Management.

Now on the spot: Ski Resorts & Social Media. YouTube Case Study and Workshop

http://www.skiresortsmanagement.com/index.html

The goal of this Case Study and Workshop is to give students the opportunity to learn about the use of video sharing sites as a marketing and branding tool. These kinds of sites play an important role in how consumers discover and share information about ski resorts.

After this module students should be able to discuss how YouTube can be used to strengthen a ski resort value proposition.

We focus in YouTube because it has become the most successful Internet site providing a new generation of short video sharing service with over 800 million unique users’ visits each month.

After this CS and Workshop, students should be able to understand what makes a video successful in YouTube and the best way to use this video sharing tool in order to promote your ski resort and increase visits to it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Philipp Reiter is the overall winner of the Salomon 4 Trails 2012

The SALOMON 4 TRAILS ended today with a spectacular stage from Landeck to Samnaun. The youngest competitor Phillip Reiter (GER), who is only 20 years old, claimed the overall victory after four stages with a total of 152.1 kilometers and a total vertical gain of 9376 meters.
Second in the overall ranking was Thomas Lorblanchet (FRA), followed by Francois d’Haene (FRA) in third place. The three Team Salomon members dominated the whole race and left no doubt about their dominance.
After finishing second overall in 2011, Phillip Reiter showed his class this year and was the most consistent performer in the Men's category. On todays final stage of 44.5 kilometers and 2844 meters of total vertical gain, Reiter was able to defend his lead of four minutes successfully and thus claim the overall victory. Reiter's running time over the four stages from Garmisch-Partenkichen to Swiss Samnaun was only 16:05.37 hours. With a big smile in his face at the finish line he said: "Amazing, I can't believe what just happened. It helped me a lot to run with Francois and Thomas, we are a great team and supported each other. I would not have been able to run as fast as I did without their support".
Thomas Lorblanchet won two stages but lost a lot of time on the first stage of the race. The former trail running world champion finished second with an overall time of 16:09.30 hours.
Francois d’Haene managed to win the first and the last stage but got lost during stage two, which cost him more than twenty minutes. During the rest of the race he failed to catch up to the leaders and finished third with an overall time of 16:17.54 hours.
During the first part of the race the Spanish runner Jose Francisco Gutierrez of Team Avientu Tierra Tragame was a real contender for the podium, but he could not keep pace due to injuries and finished fourth overall.
Christian Stork’s (GER) was really strong in the second part of the race after having difficulties on the first two stages, and even claimed victory in his category (Master Men) on the final stage. Amazingly, the 42-year old started the last stage in fourth position in his category, but secured an overall Master Men victory with a time of 17:16.03 hours. Only a few seconds behind, Anton Phillip (GER) finished second. The previous leader Santiago Obaya Fernandez (ESP) of Team Avientu Tierra Tragame was dominating his age group, before a severe foot injury cost him 5 places today and he ended up sixth overall in the Master Men category with a total time of 18:13.39 hours.
The competitors in Senior Master Men category had no chance keeping up with Thomas Miksch (GER). The 50-year-old secured his second victory with winning all stages.
Regine Schlump unintentionally ensured excitement during today's stage. She was suffering from severe knee pain while leading the Women's category. Schlump's substantial lead of 21 minutes going into today's stage as Helen Bonsor (SCO) ran very well to claim the day four stage victory. In the end, Schlump's overall time of 20:27.10 hours was just enough to secure her first Salomon 4 Trails victory in the Woman's category.
On Day 2, when favorite Gaby Steigmeier (SUI) pulled out of the race, the Austrian Sonja Irendorfer (AUT) took the lead. And after the first three stages, Irendorfer was 36 minutes ahead of the second woman Gerti Ott (GER). During the final stage, the 43-year-old even increased her lead and won the category in a time of 21:43.45 hours, a massive 52 minutes faster than Gerti Ott.

PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee holds first meeting

As a testament to the swift progress that has been made in the year since winning the right to host the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the PyeongChang Organizing Committee (POCOG) has today announced some of POCOG's main achievements over the period, as well as improved venue plans, which are expected to add to the compact nature and festive mood of the Games.
"Since bringing the Winter Games to Korea last year, we have laid the foundations and the road map for the successful hosting of the Games in accordance with our vision of transforming Gangwon Province into a winter tourism hub in East Asia", said POCOG President Jin Sun Kim.
POCOG's announcements included information on improved venue plans, which are expected to add to the compact nature and festive mood of the Games.
"In the past year, the PyeongChang Organizing Committee has been established, a Special Act was approved to support preparation works, the ground for the Wonju-PyeongChang-Gangneung high-speed rail link was broken, and the designing of the competition venues has begun", added President Kim.
Since its election, and following consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Federations (IFs), POCOG made the decision to make some adjustments to the venue masterplan to improve the overall Games experience.
"The adjustments are inevitable in order to deliver the athlete- and Games-oriented concept that we had promised in the bid", said the president.
One of the key changes was to the location of the Opening and Closing Ceremony. The site has moved 2km from the ski jumping venue in the Alpensia ski resort, to a proposed site in Hoenggae. Measuring 80,000 sq. m, the site will be transformed into a festive hub capable of seating 50,000 spectators and including a Medal Plaza, an exhibition hall, traditional food markets and other attractions that are expected to be popular with athletes and tourists.
PyeongChang's dream to become the Host City of the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games came true last year when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the historic decision to award the Winter Games to the South Korean city. After bidding for the Winter Games twice before, today's decision by the IOC was a landmark moment for PyeongChang, the entire Korean nation and the whole of Asia. When the Winter Games comes to PyeongChang in 2018 it will be the first ever Winter Games in Korea.
The 23rd Olympic Winter Games will be held on 9-25 February 2018, and the 12th Paralympic Winter Games will be staged on 9-18 March 2018.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thomas Lorblanchet claims a 2nd stage victory at the Salomon 4 Trails 2012

Thomas Lorblanchet (FRA) ran up to form on today's course winning a second, consecutive stage. The former trail running world champion (2009) also managed to move up to second place in the overall ranking but still trails Philipp Reiter (GER) before tomorrow's ultimate stage. Thomas Lorblanchet, Philipp Reiter and Francois d'Haine – all Team SALOMON runners – have distanced themselves appreciably from the rest of the field of 350 racers by now and will likely divvy up podium ranks amongst themselves en route to Samnaun, Switzerland.
Thomas Lorblanchet showed his true colors on this third stage, which measured no less than 31,8 km in distance and tallied a total vertical gain of 1,834 m. The Frenchman was able to reach Landeck in 3:08.03 hours, ahead of Philipp Reiter (GER), who stayed on the victor's heels all morning finishing in 3:08.19 hours. Francois d'Haine (FRA) was also back in business today arriving in third place with a time of 3:08.39 hours. This strong perfomance allowed him to advance to 4th place overall again after a most unfortunate bungled day on the trails yesterday.
With a cumulative lead of four minutes, Reiter continues to hang on to the leader jersey in the Men category. However, he will have to manage this time buffer wisely as his fellow team members will likely mount a number of attacks tomorrow.
Today's victor Thomas Lorblanchet shared his thoughts and hopes on tomorrow's ultimate stage. "I'm glad, it went so well for me today. Sure, it would be great to win this race but Philipp proves to be very strong. I'm uncertain, if I can make up his lead and catch up to him tomorrow".
Jose Francisco Gutierrez (ESP, 3:14:49 hours) didn't quite manage to hang on to today's leading Team SALOMON trio and, as a result, dropped to third place in the overall ranking. However, it would be foolhardy to count this potential podium contender out of giving chase en route to Samnaun tomorrow.
Today's surprise victor of the Master Men was well-known Christian Stork who surprisingly has been the underdog in this year's event. However, today's trail time of 3:18.14 hours put the 42 year-old back into the limelight and should provide for sufficient motivation for continued attacks tomorrow.
The Master Men continue to be dominated by lightning-fast Santiago Obaya Fernandez (ESP), however, even though the Spaniard had to cede today's podium altogether. The member of Team Avientu Tierra Tragame arrived in fourth place after 3:23.22 hours on the trail, a performance that was still good enough though to hang on to the leader jersey for tomorrow's ultimate stage.
Senior Master Thomas Miksch will sport a third change of the coveted leader jersey on tomorrow's stage, as he managed to stay out of touch with his age peers throughout the morning. The German member of Berglaufteam Haglöfs made it Landeck well before noontime after crossing the Venet Range in just 3:29.46 hours. Short of calamity, Miksch would appear to be unbeatable at this point given his cumulative lead of 70 minutes over his closest competition.
Regine Schlump likewise managed to pull off a hat trick by being the first of the Women to arrive in Landeck. By covering the distance in under four hours (3:59.55 hours), the thrity-two year-old extended her overall lead to 21 minutes, which - at least in theory - should be sufficient leeway for overall victory at this point.
As Gaby Steigmaier dropped out of the race yesterday, the lead of Master Women category now appears to be in firm hands with Sonja Irendorder (AUT, 4:25.38). Her overall victory would also seem a given considering a comfy 36- minute lead over her closest pursuers of Orthomol Sport Team.
Still, tomorrow's stage has to be considerd the toughest of the four trailrunning days of the SALOMON 4 Trails 2012. It sports not only the longest distance, the highest elevation but also the biggest cumulative vertical in this yea's race. Definitely a course that could provide for the unexpected!

The route: 5 places - 4 stages – 3 countries
Four unforgettable days in breathtaking settings await the participants of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS. The route takes them from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) over Ehrwald (AUT), Imst (AUT) and Landeck (AUT) to Samnaun (CH). Every day about thirty to forty kilometers and over 2000 altitude difference must be covered. In a high alpine terrain with altitude of up to 2800 meters above sea level the participants must be good prepared but also show some fighting spirit. The much sought-after finisher shirt awaits the runners after altogether 158 kilometers and 9800 altitude difference.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Salomon 4 Trails Second Stage

Today's second stage of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS 2012 offered quite a surprise as hitherto dominant leader-of-the-pack, Francois d'Haene, missed a pivotal trail turn-off just ten kilometers short of the finish line. The Frenchman, known to set a punishing pace, had managed to distance himself comfortably from his pursuers on the very last climb of the day but failed to play out his lead of several minutes by straying off the marked course. His closest competition, Thomas Lorblanchet (FRA), Philip Reiter (GER) and Jose Francisco Gutierrez (ESP), closed the gap arriving in Imst to claim podium positions. Francois d'Haene's fateful detour not only caused him to loose what had seemed another sure stage victory but also the overall lead in the four-day race.
Thomas Lorblanchet (FRA) used the surprising upset to charge ahead beating Philip Reiter (GER) to the finish line by mere seconds. His time of 4:05.58 hours for the 39.5 kilometer stage didn't just secure a stage victory but also advanced the former trail-running world champion to third place in the overall ranking. Yet, Philip Reiter' solid perfomance of 4:07.18 hours on today's trails securing him the leader jersey he had long coveted. Yesterday's second-placing Jose Francisco Gutierrez (ESP, 4:10.54 hours) arrived in third place today, his time allowing him to remain in second place overall. With only nine seconds separating him from the 20-year-old leader, the upcoming third stage should prove thrilling for both athletes and spectators alike.
Twenty-year-old Reiter commented on the surprising turn of events towards the end of the race when the cumulative climb of 2.288 m already laid behind the vanguard racers: "Once again Francois was very strong this morning and solidly extended his lead on the last climb. Thus, we were quite surprised that he had not shown up ahead of us at the third food stop. Naturally, I'm delighted to be wearing the leader jersey for a day – even though Francois would have deserved it more than me".
Among the Master Men, it was Santiago Obaya Fernandez (ESP, 4:19.43 hours) of Team Avientu Tierra Tragame who celebrated a consecutive victory extending his overall lead to comfortable 10 minutes.
Thomas Miksch (GER), the unflailing dominator of the Master Men category in the past, is racing as a Senior Master this season, clearly stirring up the ranks in that age cohort. Used to taking his competition to the cleaners, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Miksch finished first in his category today with a stellar time of 4:39.02 hours, already banking a solid lead of one hour after only two days of racing.
Team SALOMON's Regine Schlump (5:08.22 hours) also covered today's trails in blistering speed, arriving in Imst over nine minutes ahead of her closest pursuer. Schlump's overall lead tallies 21 minutes by now which bodes well for a top podium position in the Women category.
Gaby Stegmaier, who had claimed the fastest time among all female racers yesterday, was forced to withdraw from the race due to pulmonary problems halfway through today's stage. As a result, Sonja Irendorfer (AUT) moved up into top position among the Master Women with her stage time of 5:36.33 hours.

The route: 5 places - 4 stages – 3 countries
Four unforgettable days in breathtaking settings await the participants of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS. The route takes them from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) over Ehrwald (AUT), Imst (AUT) and Landeck (AUT) to Samnaun (CH). Every day about thirty to forty kilometers and over 2000 altitude difference must be covered. In a high alpine terrain with altitude of up to 2800 meters above sea level the participants must be good prepared but also show some fighting spirit. The much sought-after finisher shirt awaits the runners after altogether 158 kilometers and 9800 altitude difference.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Francois d'Haene victorious on 1st stage of the 2012 Salomon 4 TRAILS

A posse of roughly 350 trail runners left Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, at breakneck speed this morning embarking on a 4-day quest to reach Samnaun, Switzerland by Saturday. The race sports a strong field of athletes from 19 nations promising lots of competitive action along nearly 160 km of mountain trails. It was Francois d'Haene (FRA) who claimed the top of the podium on the first stage today but it was indeed a hard-earned victory. Several runners kept nipping at his heels, occasionally claiming the lead for short stretches en route to Ehrwald, Austria.
Twenty-six year-old Francois d'Haene (FRA) of Team Salomon clocked in with a time of 3:52.18 hours as he arrived in Ehrwald, Austria, with a two-minute lead over his closest competitor. That performance ended up being only seconds over last year's speed record set on the same track by Tom Owen's (3:51.53 hours).
Jose Francisco Gutierrez (ESP) of Team Avietu Tierra Tragame, who had challenged today's leader repeatedly with tactical charges, ended up crossing the finish line in second place (3:54.03 hours). A seemingly fatigued Philip Reiter (GER) of Team Salomon Deutschland ended up being third after 3:57.30 hours on the trail.
Former trail-running champion (2009) Thomas Lorblanchet (FRA) missed his chance for a podium position but arrived fourth overall with a time of 4:02.00 hours.
It turned out to be a riveting day on today's 36,3 kilometer stage which packed gruesome 2,410 m of vertical gain. Philip Reiter, widely considered a top podium contender, started out in a slow 10th position but successively worked his way to the front – eventually even leading the field by two minutes. On the ascent to the German-Austrian border his pursuers Jose Francisco Gutierrez and Francois d'Haenem caught up, however, and eventually managed to shake off the German pacesetter on the lengthy downhill sections into Ehrwald. Philip Reiter ended up being surprised about the turn of events: "I was astonished to find myself in the lead mid-way. But in the end the heat got to me on the last long climb".
Among the Master Men forty-year-old Santiago Obaya Fernandez (ESP) traded his colorful team garb for a leader jersey by the end of the day. He spent 4:03.38 hours on the cross-broder trails between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Ehrwald, earning a respectable 5th place overall with this performance. His team colleague Juan Agejas of Avientu Tierra Tragame (ESP) successfully fought for second place among the Master Men (4:06.55 hours) – a time fast enough for 6th place in the overall ranking.
Thomas Miksch (GER), five-time champion of the GORE-TEX® TRANSALPINERUN,cinched up another stage victory in the Senior Master Men category. The trail-running surgeon lived up to known form and reputation with his time of 4:26.49 hours.
In the Women category, it was Regine Schlump (GER) who had the honor of being first to rip through the finish banner in Ehrwald. However, the thirty-two year-old had to cede the overall leadership to lightning-fast Gaby Steigmaier (SUI), who started in the Master Women category but clearly still rules the trails. The forty-six year-old Swiss proved impossible to beat in today's stage with her time of 4:46.41 hours – a lead of nearly five minutes over junior competitor Regine Schlump (4:51.37 hours).

The route: 5 places - 4 stages – 3 countries
Four unforgettable days in breathtaking settings await the participants of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS. The route takes them from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) over Ehrwald (AUT), Imst (AUT) and Landeck (AUT) to Samnaun (CH). Every day about thirty to forty kilometers and over 2000 altitude difference must be covered. In a high alpine terrain with altitude of up to 2800 meters above sea level the participants must be good prepared but also show some fighting spirit. The much sought-after finisher shirt awaits the runners after altogether 158 kilometers and 9800 altitude difference.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Salomon 4 Trails 2012

In two days the second edition of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS will start in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. From July 4th to 7th 2012 about 400 expected participants will cross the Alps.
 
The route: 5 places - 4 stages – 3 countries

Four unforgettable days in breathtaking settings await the participants of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS. The route takes them from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) over Ehrwald (AUT), Imst (AUT) and Landeck (AUT) to Samnaun (CH). Every day about thirty to forty kilometers and over 2000 altitude difference must be covered. In a high alpine terrain with altitude of up to 2800 meters above sea level the participants must be good prepared but also show some fighting spirit. The much sought-after finisher shirt awaits the runners after altogether 158 kilometers and 9800 altitude difference.