Friday, May 31, 2013

Longest Zip Line in The World!!!


ZipRider Promo from ziprider on Vimeo.

Seven Subaru Freeride Series Athletes Advance to 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face

Organizers of the Subaru Freeride Series are pleased to officially announce that seven skiers who competed in the 2013 Subaru Freeride Series Region 2 Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) competitions will advance to the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face. In accordance with the system rules, four male and three female skiers will advance from each of the two regions-Europe/Oceania (Region 1) and Americas (Region 2)- to the next season of top level Freeride World Tour competition.
Eighteen-year-old Ian Borgeson of Dillon, CO earned the highest FWQ ranking with 4,300 total points. Fresh off the Junior Freeride Tour, Borgeson had an impressive season with wins at Taos and Snowbird. Olympic, CA local Conor Pelton; long time competitor Garrett Altmann out of Taos, New Mexico and Patrick Baskins of Vail, CO will join Borgeson in ascending to the highest level of freeride competition.
In the women's field, Francesca Pavillard-Cain of Crested Butte, CO amassed 5,050 points throughout the season taking the lead for Americas Region women. Sasha Dingle of Bozeman, MT and Jackson Hole favorite Hadley Hammer will also advance to the 2014 Freeride World Tour.
"We are thrilled to see the newly unified Freeride World Qualifier system come full circle", said Americas Event Director Bryan Barlow of Mountain Sports International. "For the first time in history, freeride athletes have had the opportunity to compete in their respective regions and advance to world level competition on the Freeride World Tour".
The Subaru Freeride Series is sponsored by Subaru, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Clif Bar, The North Face, Black Diamond and Jagermeister.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2014 Calendar


The 2013-14 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face will take place at the same six stops as the previous season. Each stop has a five to eight day weather window designed to provide optimal competition conditions.

Competition Calendar:

1. Swatch Freeride World Tour Revelstoke by The North Face®
Location: Revelstoke, CAN
Dates: Dec. 18, 2013
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

2. Swatch Freeride World Tour Courmayeur by The North Face®
Location: Courmayeur, ITA
Dates: Jan. 18, 2014
Disciplines: Men's Ski and Snowboard

3. Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix-Mont-Blanc by The North Face®
Location: Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA
Dates: Jan. 25, 2014
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

4. Swatch Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal by The North Face®
Location: Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT
Dates: Feb. 1, 2014
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

5. Swatch Freeride World Tour Kirkwood by The North Face®
Location: Kirkwood, USA
Dates: March 1, 2014
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

6. Swatch Xtreme Verbier by The North Face®
Location: Verbier, SUI
Dates: March 22, 2014
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2014 Competition Schedule Announced

Event organizers of the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face have announced the details of the 2013-14 season schedule. Following the tremendous success of the inaugural globally unified Freeride World Tour (FWT), athletes and fans alike are eagerly awaiting next season’s competition to unfold live via webcast of all six stops on freerideworldtour.com. Over 637,000 viewers tuned in during the 2013 season to watch the world’s top freeride skiers and snowboarders compete on the most impressive terrain on the planet.
"To me, the 2013 season has marked a turning point for the FWT and for our sport. Freeride has achieved a certain maturity after existing for 20 years through competitions, and its legitimacy has been proven" said FWT Europe Region General Manager Nicolas Hale-Woods. "Its future is promising and we can even tell you now that the 2014 season is going to be awesome with 6 stops in the world’s most famous mountain resorts. The always growing list of FWT qualification events proves that young people’s interest for freeride is increasing".
"This past season was an incredible achievement for everyone involved on the Freeride World Tour", said FWT Americas Region General Manager Adam Comey. "Finally, we have crowned four true world champions in both men’s and women’s freeride skiing and snowboarding. This achievement represents the necessary progression of the sport and foreshadows even greater visibility for the sport to come".
The 2013-14 FWT will take place at the same six stops as the previous season. Each stop has a five to eight day weather window designed to provide optimal competition conditions. The tour will start at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, CAN (Dec. 18, 2013) and then cross the Atlantic to Courmayeur, ITA (Jan. 18, 2014) and Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, FRA (Jan. 25, 2014). From there, the tour will continue in Europe at Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT (Feb. 1, 2014) before returning to North America at Kirkwood Mountain Resort (March 1, 2014). After the Kirkwood stop an athlete cut will be made determining which riders will advance to the Swatch Xtreme Verbier by The North Face (March 22, 2014) and compete to be the new Freeride world champions. Additionally, the tour is thrilled to have the continued support of its title sponsor, Swatch, and presenting partner, The North Face.
Carlo Giordanetti, Creative Director at Swatch, said, "Nothing compares with the thrills and excitement of freeride skiing and snowboarding. We’re delighted to be the title sponsor, for the third year running, of this most spectacular freeride event. As a global brand, we help promote worldwide visibility for the sport as the Freeride World Tour jumps from one spectacular venue to the next. We are proud to support these amazing athletes, as they represent Swatch values at their best: dynamism, youth, provocation and the wish to go beyond the limits! They are a real expression of freedom and beauty".
In addition to top tier Freeride World Tour competitions, nearly 50 Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) events ranging from one to five stars will take place around the world providing opportunities for talent to develop and emerge. The first FWQs will take place in the Southern Hemisphere in New Zealand and Chile. Riders participating in FWQ events throughout the season will earn points, which could potentially advance them to the 2015 FWT.
"After the very successful 2013 edition of the newly unified Tour, both in terms of the level of the competition itself and the communication with an everyday growing audience for the sport, we are very excited to confirm our support to big mountain freeriding and the entire The North Face team is very much looking forward to a second edition that will surely bring us again amazing riding and new heights in engagement with the fans", said Eric Pansier, VP Marketing EMEA The North Face.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vail Resorts to Operate Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah

Vail Resorts today announced that the Company has entered into a long-term lease with affiliate companies of Talisker Corporation for Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah. Under the lease, Vail Resorts has assumed all of the resort operations of Canyons while Talisker has retained its development rights for four million square feet of real estate at the resort.
"With 4,000 skiable acres, easy access to the town of Park City and $75 million in recent resort improvements, Canyons is a perfect complement to our collection of world-class mountain resorts", said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. "I commend the Talisker and Canyons team for the outstanding work they have done to redevelop the resort, which is reflected in a top 10 ranking by SKI Magazine and #4 ranking by Outside Magazine. We look forward to building on that momentum and including Canyons in our industry-leading season pass products, which next season will offer guests access to Colorado, Tahoe and Utah on one season pass, a first in ski industry history. We will also leverage our guest database and domestic and international sales and marketing efforts to continue to drive Canyons’ growth. Talisker has an outstanding track record of high-end resort development and we look forward to working together to create something truly extraordinary with Talisker’s four million square feet of remaining approved residential and commercial density at Canyons".
The transaction also incorporates the potential for the lease, without additional consideration, to include the land under the ski terrain of Park City Mountain Resort that is adjacent to Canyons and is currently owned by Talisker and is subject to pending litigation. "We look forward to the litigation being resolved and hope that Vail Resorts can play a constructive role in helping to arrive at a solution that offers the best outcome for guests of both resorts", Katz added.
"We are thrilled to be able to bring in Vail Resorts to partner with us on our vision for Canyons", said Jack Bistricer, chief executive officer of Talisker. "Vail Resorts is the clear leader in the mountain resort industry and I am confident that they can replicate at Canyons the success they have delivered at resorts such as Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Northstar. I am incredibly proud of all that our team has accomplished at Canyons over the past five years and am confident that together with Vail Resorts, we can create one of the greatest mountain resorts in the world".
 The Company also announced that purchasers of the Epic Pass for the 2013-2014 winter season will receive unlimited and unrestricted access to Canyons, as well as to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood. The 2013-2014 Epic Pass is on sale now at $689 for adults, compared to the season pass price of $849 at Canyons this past year.
The lease has an initial term of 50 years with six 50-year renewal options. The lease provides for $25 million in annual fixed payments, which increase each year by an inflation linked index of CPI less one percent, with a floor of two percent per annum. In addition, the lease includes participating contingent payments to Talisker of 42 percent of the amount by which EBITDA for the resort operations, as calculated under the lease, exceeds approximately $35 million, with such threshold amount increased by an inflation linked index and a 10-percent adjustment for any capital improvements or investments made under the lease by Vail Resorts. The Company will be finalizing the accounting for the lease in the coming months but expects to record an obligation on the balance sheet of approximately $305 million in long-term debt (including capital lease obligations). The Company expects incremental annual Resort EBITDA from Canyons of approximately $15 million in fiscal year 2014 (excluding transition and integration costs) increasing to approximately $25 million in fiscal year 2017, not including any potential benefit the Company may receive from the Park City Mountain Resort land which is subject to ongoing litigation.
The Epic Pass provides unlimited skiing or riding, at $689 for adults and $359 for children (ages 5-12), at nine resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and now Eldora in Colorado and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe. New this year, the Epic Pass also comes with five free days of skiing or riding at the renowned Verbier Resort in Switzerland and an additional five free days of skiing and riding in Arlberg, Austria. No restrictions. At this spring rate, the Epic Pass pays for itself in just over five days.
Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).

The Conquest of Everest 60th Anniversary

On 29th of May 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and a Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, became the first climbers to conquer Mount Everest, the highest place on earth.
They reached the top of the world at 1130 local time after a gruelling climb up the southern face. "A symmetrical, beautiful snow cone summit" (Edmund Hillary).


FIS's Inspection Commission Visit Sochi

A delegation of FIS Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard experts inspected the Extreme Park in Krasnaya Polyana/Rosa Khutor, the future site of both Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard competitions at the Sochi 2014 Games. The visit, which took place from 21st to 23rd May 2013, was the latest in what will total 15 inspections before February 2014. In addition to FIS Officials, key staff from the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, Russian National Associations and representatives of the Olympic Broadcasting Service participated in the meeting.
Based on experiences at the FIS World Cup events in February 2013, a thorough evaluation was conducted with regard to the venue layout, competition schedule and organisational structure. Due to challenging weather conditions, 30 per cent of the 20 test events had to be cancelled, including two competitions in Freestyle Skiing and four in Snowboard. Overall, however, the past season’s test events served as an ideal dress rehearsal for the highlight event of 2014 beginning in 254 days.
"There were many exciting sporting moments and beautiful images generated by our FIS World Cup competitions in Sochi last season. Remarks from team officials and competitors concerning the courses and setup were generally positive. Looking ahead to the Games, we will take full advantage of the challenges we faced this year to ensure the highest possible level of readiness in February 2014", commented FIS Snowboard Race Director Uwe Beier.
The inspection also entailed an extensive review of the course layout, finish zones and stadiums. In particular, competition courses will be optimised, especially in the cross events that share the track except for 300 metres, as opposed to only 50 per cent of course length in February 2013. Details of the two stadiums were re-evaluated, one hosting the eight Olympic medal events in halfpipe, aerials and moguls and the other one staging a total of twelve events in parallel, slope and cross. This included a revision of the finish zones, stadium infrastructure and transition plans between the events.
"Overall, the construction work is at the final stage in order to deliver the courses, stadium and venues to the highest standards. We believe that once the full development of the infrastructure is concluded, the Rosa Khutor venue will provide a fantastic setting for our competitions", underlined FIS Freestyle Skiing Coordinator Joseph Fitzgerald.
To ensure global exposure, Games planning has reached a detailed level and the broadcasting schedule for all 20 Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard events during the 14 days of competition is well under way. With slopestyle and halfpipe in both disciplines now included in the Olympic Winter Programme, TV production will attain a new dimension and the inspection featured a review of all camera positions with the Olympic Broadcasting Service.
Finally, the planned organisational structure was adapted to consolidate each group by course rather than by discipline, which will make the work more efficient enhance sharing of know-how between Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard.
Upon his return, Fitzgerald concluded: "In collaboration with the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, we will now need to finish off the last few steps. Given better luck with the weather next year, we will enjoy great events on state of the art competition courses. The Sochi 2014 team has made good progress and I am confident we will stage truly memorable Games in both disciplines".
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007. Sochi won the vote against the cities of Salzburg (Austria) and PyeongChang (Republic of Korea) in the second round of voting. The Russian city edged out PyeongChang 51 votes to 47, with Salzburg having been eliminated in round one. The Sochi 2014 Games will play host to the seven Olympic Winter sports (Skiing, Skating, Luge, Biathlon, Ice Hockey, Curling, and Bobsleigh) currently on the Olympic programme and will run from 7 to 23 February 2014.

The Conquest of Everest 60th Anniversary

On 29th of May 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and a Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, became the first climbers to conquer Mount Everest, the highest place on earth.
They reached the top of the world at 1130 local time after a gruelling climb up the southern face. "A symmetrical, beautiful snow cone summit" (Edmund Hillary).
The two men hugged each other with relief and joy but only stayed on the summit for 15 minutes because they were low on oxygen. Hillary took several photographs of the scenery and of Sherpa Tenzing waving flags representing Britain, Nepal, the United Nations and India.
Sherpa Tenzing buried some sweets and biscuits in the snow as a Buddhist offering to the gods.

This post is a tribute to the legendary mountaineer, adventurer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary on the day he reached, with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the summit of Mount Everest. Sir Edmund Hillary died on 11 January 2008, after a heart attack in Auckland City Hospital, aged 88. He was farewelled at a state funeral – an unprecedented honour for a private citizen – on 22 January.
All we love the mountains and adventure need to remember Sir Edmund words: "The explorers of the past were great men and we should honour them. But let us not forget that their spirit lives on. It is still not hard to find a man who will adventure for the sake of a dream or one who will search, for the pleasure of searching, not for what he may find".
In a 2005 interview said: "My relationship with the mountains actually started when I was 16. Every year a group used to be taken from Auckland Grammar down to the Tangariro National Park for a skiing holiday (...) That was really the start of my enthusiasm for snow and ice and mountains in general. For a few years I skied whenever I could". He enjoyed skiing immensely, and when he was 50 years old, he decided to draw up a list of half a dozen things that he really hadn't done very well, and he was going to make efforts to improve. "One of them was skiing, and I did become a very much better skier".
Sir Edmund's greatest project was his Himalayan Trust, set up in the 1960s, to help improve the lives of the Sherpas and hill people of Nepal. Even more than Everest, this will remain a perpetual memorial to his life and achievements. From 1966 Hillary raised funds and made numerous visits to the Himalayas to build built schools, hospitals and other facilities in the mountains.

"I've had a full and rewarding life. Life's a bit like mountaineering - never look down"
(Sir Edmund Hillary, 1919-2008)


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Southern Hemisphere Skiing: Snowstorm Hit Argentina and Chile Ski Resorts

A big Pacific snowstorm is leaving heavy snow in Los Andes.
This first major storm of the season could allow ski operators to kick off their winter season. By Wednesday, the storm will leave upwards of 1 meter, or 3 feet, of snow along the Andes.


North Korea To Open "World Class" Ski Resort

North Korea is building a "world class" ski resort on Masik hill in Wonsan with a range of ski runs and a hotel, according to the North Korean state news agency.
Located in Kangwon Province, Masik hill is 2,520 feet (768 meters) high and typically receives heavy snowfall from early November through early March.
A series of photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaking with his staff in front of the ski resort site was released this week. The accompanying news report from the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the young leader dropped by to get a firsthand report on the progress of construction.
"He was greatly satisfied to learn that soldier-builders have constructed a skiing area on mountain ranges covering hundreds of thousands of square meters, including primary, intermediate and advanced courses with almost 110,000 meters (68.3 miles) in total length and 40-120 meters (131-394 feet) in width", said the KCNA report.
Kim also commented that it would be "more fantastic" to see the ground covered with snow and ordered the military to accelerate the pace of the construction so that the resort is operational from the coming winter.
The site also benefits from its proximity to the Pyongyang-Wonsan motorway, while a nearby military airfield might be turned into an airport to handle an anticipated surge in tourists.
KCNA quoted Kim as saying that once the resort is completed, "A skiing wave will seize the country".
 According to a tour agency specializing in North Korean travel, the new resort will be open to foreign tourists. "We've known of the plans for this development for a couple of years -- work only began recently though and I've seen the basic plans just last week", said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Paznaun: A Cycling Paradise in The Alps

The largest mountain biking area in the Eastern Alps extends from Ischgl right into Switzerland’s Samnaun region and throughout the Paznaun region. A perfect infrastructure has also been created in the Silvretta Bikearena, providing an all-round service for mountain bikers. From free cable car transfer, through to free road books and GPS data available to download, Ischgl provides attractive services. All this makes long planning and preparations for a bike holiday, along with the tedious task of working out tours, unnecessary. Those looking for a challenge in the guise of competitive events can compete at the 19th Ischgl Ironbike and the 1st Ischgl Overmountain Challenge with other leisure riders and stars from the scene.
Ischgl provides leisure riders and touring and Enduro pros alike with an appealing, variety-filled alpine terrain and a wide range of wonderful routes which may, in parts, be combined to create Big Mountain and multi-day tours. Riders will want for nothing and we are always working to ensure that there are new highlights on offer for your riding in the Paznaun region. For instance, there is our revised GPS tour portal which has an interactive bike map. It is not just navigation specialists who will find their tour of choice here. You can see routes specifically arranged according to various difficulty levels and get information about the route profile and the tour characteristics with just one click; perfect for planning at home. On site you can of course avail of very de-tailed information material about individual MTB tours, and possible variants, with our free of charge mountain bike tour book. However, a cyclists’ paradise needs more than just perfect tours for you to get those cranks turning, and endless singletrails. Comprehensive route signposting ensures the ultimate riding fun, while numerous cable cars and lifts take cyclists up to 2800 metres, free of charge. Freeride, downhill and cross-country specialists benefit from this service as much as leisure riders who want to sample the altitude air without sweat emanating from every pore.

Bike Academy, endless single trails and speedy downhill sections
Beginners and leisure riders hone their skills in the professional Bike Academy with guides and riding technique workshops, before hitting the dreamy trails through the Velilltal valley, or heading across the panorama trail through the Fimbatal valley. Ambitious, expert riders will also find ideal conditions to take themselves to their limits on challenging single trails and speedy downhill sections – and also on the old smuggler’s trails. The route network proceeds from Ischgl in Austria, right into the Samnaun region in Switzerland. A special bike service and hire service, along with the bike hotels, which meet the bespoke needs of riders, round off the perfect infrastructure which is available here.

Top events in the summer

The classic Ironbike route race distance covers some 79 kilometres and 3820 metres altitude and is famed for its beautiful singletrails, as well as its steep climbs. Along with the marathon distance there are also two shorter routes. The shortest circuit at 27.5 kilometres, covering some 755 metres altitude and is achievable by any ambitious leisure-oriented rider who wants to get a taste of a competitive atmosphere. Participants start together and split up to go their separate ways at signposted branch-off sections, according to whether they have opted for the short, moderate or the long-distance event.
New in the event calendar is the 1st Ischgl Overmountain Challenge – an Enduro mountain bike event. From 13th to 15th September 2013 Ischgl, together with pre-mium partner Cannondale, will present the first European Enduro Open. As a result, it is not just the fastest Enduro racers on the continent who get to compete, all singletrail fans really get come into their own at this sporting highlight. Stars from the scene, like Jérôme Clementz and Dan Atherthon will be at the start, alongside leisure riders.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

High-Bike Test Center Paznaun

The ‘High-Bike Test Center Paznaun’ is the only cross-brand motorbike testing centre in Europe and therefore in the Alps and will be entering its third season on 1 June 2013.
Following the enormous success of the first two years, the four motorbike brands BMW, Ducati, KTM and Triumph will be back when the test bike engines start up again in the Alpine spring and will also be joined this season by Aprilia, a leading European manufacturer. All five brands will be presenting newly developed bikes and the key models in their renowned selections during the 2013 season. The focus this season will primarily be on the many new products (Aprilia Caponord 1200, BMW R 1200 GS, Ducati Multistrada 1200 S and Touring, KTM 1190 Adventure, Triumph Tiger Explorer XC and Trophy SE) which reveal the special advantages of their high-tech features during an extensive test ride. The Ischgl test centre is ideal for this. There are also plenty of new items to impress scooter enthusiasts: the high performance BMW bikes C 650 GT and C 600 Sport will be ready for testing.
Users of the ‘High-Bike Test Center Paznaun’ will find around 40 recent motorbike models from 5 manufacturers available for all-day test rides between the start of June and end of September – all in perfect condition. Upon presentation of a Paznaun guest card, the fee for a day’s test ride is great value at just 70 or 90 euros depending on the bike category; without a guest card, the cost is 100 or 120 euros per day. These prices include fully comprehensive insurance with a 500 euro excess (deposit required!) The Ischgl test centre also has long opening hours; motorbikes can be taken out between 8:00 and 11:00 and returned between 16:00 and 19:00. This leaves plenty of time to explore the many tours in the surrounding area and the 30+ mountain passes. Each test driver will also receive special rucksack on loan for the day for storing odds and ends and any route documents; detailed information and route diagrams are available for 14 different day tours from Tyrol to Bavaria, Vorarlberg, South Tyrol and Switzerland. 30 mountain passes and thousands of bends attract fans to the Alps!
In addition to offering test motor bikes maintained with Motorex products and equipped with Metzeler or Pirelli tyres, the test centre also provides Rukka outfits for men and women, Schuberth helmets and Daytona boots to test for a small fee. Customers who wish can therefore arrive in the comfort of their car (including with their family) and then set off on a full-day test tour from Ischgl with the perfect safety equipment and motorbike of his/her choice. Motorbike equipment supplier Louis has also been secured as an additional partner.
The second season of action at the ‘High-Bike Test Center Paznaun’ ended last autumn with exceptional results. The approx. 1,200 test riders covered a total of 332,000 km. The bikes most in demand were the Ducati Multistrada, the BMW models R 1200 GS and K 1600 GT/GTL, the KTM 990 SMT and the Triumph Tiger Explorer.


British Columbia Winter Resorts see rosy future

By Shawn Conner
As published in The Vancouver Sun (May, 2013)

When Howard Katkov first visited Red Mountain on a ski trip, he fell in love with the Rossland, B.C. hill. Four years later, he bought it.
"I had a friend who kept telling me for six years that it was the greatest ski hill in North America", the San Diego-based businessman said. He bought some property there in 2000, then put together a partnership to buy the hill.
At the time of his purchase, in 2004, the economy was still in a phase of what he calls "irrational exuberance".
"We built and sold almost $60 million of condominiums, and I sold almost $20 million worth of land", Katkov said. "We were rockin’ and rollin’. Then 2008 showed up. From then until 2011, we were just in capital preservation".
But in the last couple of years things have started to turn around, Katkov says. And Red Mountain isn’t the only hill seeing some growth.
In Fernie, the Fernie Alpine Resort has seen "a significant increase in skier visits", according to Matt Mosteller, VP, Marketing & Sales for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. The company’s holdings also include Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort — resorts that also just had good years, Mosteller says.
"Fernie is famous for snow, but I think word is getting out about the incredible variety of terrain", Mosteller said. The resort was the only one in North America to put in a new ski lift last year, the Polar Peak chairlift. "That added more vertical and more terrain, and that put Fernie in the big leagues", Mosteller said. The hill now has more runs and more vertical than any ski area in the Canadian Rockies, Mosteller says. "And it’s always had the most snow".
For the last four years, Silver Star’s business has been flat, Marke Dickson says. But the director of sales and marketing for Silver Star says things are looking up for the Vernon resort as well.
"I think not seeing any growth forced the industry to look deeply at how we do business and how we could improve", Dickson said. One of Silver Star’s solutions was the "my1pass", which it launched in late summer of 2012. The pass gives the holder access to all the mountain’s activities, from bike trails to tubing to skating.
"At the time, it was quite revolutionary", Dickson said. "It wasn’t so much about discounting, but making the most of a winter holiday. A plain old ski-ticket became an all-inclusive pass for the family-focused winter activity on the resort". The result was a 10-per-cent increase in season passes in the fall.
United Air service direct from L.A. to Kelowna is also helping the resort. Travellers can be skiing within four hours of leaving Los Angeles for $400, Dickson says.
Meanwhile, Whistler’s booming. "2011/12 was our busiest winter season on record for room night", Louise Walker, VP of marketing strategy for Tourism Whistler said. "We saw a significant increase of 18 per cent. For this year, it looks like we’re going to be on par with those numbers".
Resort operators are seeing signs of recovery in the U.S. economy based on increasing numbers of American visitors. Katkov says most visitors to Red Mountain still come from Canada, but more are starting to come from south of the border. The increase may also be due to some great press.
In January, the New York Times named Rossland and Red Mountain number eight in its list "The 46 Places to Go in 2013".
"And that’s a list not just of ski resorts, these are places to visit", Katkov said. "We were ahead of Istanbul".

Saturday, May 25, 2013

SkiBook: MountVacation Reservation/Booking System

By Tatiana Rokou
As published in The Travel Daily News (May, 2013)

MountVacation.com was founded in 2008 as a direct response to the growing trend of online holidays shopping. The mission of the company is to link together accommodation as well as all related services providers for mountain tourism. With one single click, MountVacation.com enables its visitors to easily view as well as book their holidays in the mountains.
MountVacation.com has a global vision and offers holidays in ten European countries, including Slovenia and its nine different ski resorts/ areas. The system currently operates in eight languages, and is being developed to introduce additional ones.
What is and why SkiBook? SkiBook is an application available only to those who already are member of the Facebook network. It allows its users to relate, review their skiing experience - complete with appraisals, scores and stats - about the European ski resorts they have visited but also to share them amongst friends and connections.
MountVacation, specialist in ski and mountain holidays has developed its own state of the art reservation/booking system. A little less than 5 months after its launch, the application has already connected together more than a quarter million skiers.
The aim of the SkiBook couldn’t be clearer; to gather in a single place – through spirit of competition - the reviews as well as stats of al the skiers and snowboarders using the application. Users will compete against their friends and other connected skiers as to how many European ski resorts or skiing areas they have already visited and will be able to compare their rankings. All the reviews and stats are aggregated thus allowing all users to find and preview the ski resorts other Facebook users have been to. With all that data at hand, MountVacation actively interacted with the targeted audience from whom all the data are extracted in order to help skiers and snowboarders make an educated choice when selecting their holidays in the mountain. The criteria established are the following: ski, Snow Park, hiking trails, cross-country tracks, free style, family-friendly, apres-ski entertainment...
Dejan Romih, CEO and founder of MountVacation.com said "The SkiBook application is based on reviews and stats provided by real holidaymakers to assist users in selecting the next destination for their ski holidays. In return, MountVacation.com’s SkiBook stimulates resorts to show improvements as it also clearly compares them against their competition. I am certain that the SkiBook application is useful for both users as well as providers".
The highest ranked ski resort at the moment is the French ski resort of Val Thorens with an overall score of 7.4 (out of 10), followed by Austria's Saalbach Hinterglemm; with third and fourth place going to France’s Saint Sorlin and Italy’s Kronplatz, respectively. Kronplatz on the other hand was best ranked among the European family ski resorts category, just before the French ski resort of Puy Saint Vincent.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A New Concept For Families - Free Children's Programme of Events in Paznaun

This summer Paznaun will be transformed to become a hot-spot for families. Paznaun-Ischgl’s tourist board has developed a new concept - between 24th June until 6th September the programme of events for children and teenagers will for the first time offer activities in a different town in the 30 kilometre long valley every day – alternating between Kappl, See, Ischgl and Galtür. For children and teenagers this means exciting variety; a new adventure every day and new discoveries in the middle of the Alps. While climbing in Silvapark Galtür, rock-climbing acrobats get to experience a new bodily sensation and will balance themselves as they learn to keep one another safe and to rely on one another. Klara, the herbal sorceress in Kappl and Willi, the mischievous forest imp in See, let you in on secrets about the plant and animal kingdom. During mountain bike tours teenagers get to enjoy fast-paced riding through Ischgl’s mountains. The special aspect to the family concept - the programme of events takes place for the most part in the middle of the mountains; there are only a few in the valley. Children between the ages of 4 and 10 can head out on an exploratory tour with Kids Club Paznaun; while action for older kids, between the ages of eleven and 16 is on offer in Youth Club Paznaun. Register right at the location. And the best thing – taking part is free of charge when you have the Silvretta Card All Inclusive. All guests staying the night receive this regional discount card even before they get here.
The Silvretta Card All Inclusive rounds off the new family concept in Paznaun. Every guest who stays the night receives this discount card; it is even sent to their home before they come away on holiday. Thanks to the services included, this means that families already save on toll fees if they are travelling via the famed Silvretta high alpine road. Having arrived in Paznaun, with the All Inclusive Card families get to take part in the programme of events for children and young people free of charge; extra costs only have to be paid for entry fees and for any hire equipment. Participation in the sports, cultural and weekly programme of events is also included. This includes, among others, a glacier safari, a family climbing session and a smugglers and summit tour up to 3000 metres altitude. Here too trained staff supervise your children and also take them on lots of voyages of discovery. ‘All in’ also applies to use of all cable-cars, chairlifts and buses in the towns of Ischgl, Galtür, Kappl and See.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NSAA Names Five Ski Areas as Winners of 2013 Sustainable Slopes Grants

Today the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) named five member ski areas as the recipients of its annual Sustainable Slopes Grant program. Grant recipients include Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, Canyons Resort in Utah, Giants Ridge Ski and Golf in Minnesota, Greek Peak Mountain Resort in New York, and Mt. Ashland in Oregon. Three of the five recipients, Arapahoe Basin, Canyons Resort and Giants Ridge, are participating in NSAA’s Climate Challenge, a voluntary program to inventory, target and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Of the five grants awarded, two are cash grants for innovative sustainability projects. With funding from the grant program, Arapahoe Basin will install two vestibules at two entrances in the lowest level of its base lodge to prevent cold air from coming in and improve energy conservation in the lodge. Mt. Ashland will apply the grant funds to implement watershed restoration projects both on and off its permit area that will reduce sediment and improve water quality in the Ashland Creek watershed, including the drinking water source for the City of Ashland, Oregon. These two cash grants were made possible by generous donations from the Sustainable Slopes Grant program sponsors, CLIF Bar and LeitWind.
"These grants are a great vehicle for implementing sustainability projects at U.S. ski areas and in particular help us highlight the fantastic work going on at ski area members who have committed to the Climate Challenge", says NSAA President Michael Berry.

Two in-kind high-efficiency snowmaking system grants provided by Massachusetts-based HKD Snowmakers were awarded to Giants Ridge and Greek Peak. Each ski area will receive 5 high-efficiency snowmaking guns from HKD Snowmakers, a total value of $40,000.
"HKD is excited to assist Giants Ridge and Greek Peak with bringing about immediate energy and water savings through the application of our equipment", says Charles Santry, president of HKD Snowmakers.

Canyons Resort received an in-kind grant for a comprehensive on-site energy audit from Brendle Group, a Colorado-based sustainability engineering firm, with a total value of $5,000.
"Brendle Group looks forward to working with Canyons resort, a participant in the Climate Challenge, on a comprehensive, on-site energy audit for the ski area", says Judy Dorsey, principal and founder of Brendle Group.
Past winners of the Sustainable Slopes grants include Alta Ski Area, Utah, Arapahoe Basin, Colo., Beaver Valley Ski Club, Ontario, Burke Mountain, Vermont, Copper Mountain, Colo., Crested Butte, Colo., Grand Targhee, Wyo., Mt. Abram, Maine, Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon, Oak Mountain, New York, Spirit Mountain, Minnesota, Stevens Pass, Wash., Stratton, Vermont, Sugarbush Resort, Vermont, and Telluride Ski and Golf, Colorado.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), formed in 1962, is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. It represents 325 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has 472 supplier members who provide equipment, goods and services to the mountain resort industry.

Sustainable Slopes Grant Program
Launched in 2009, the grant program provides cash and in-kind funding to support sustainability projects at NSAA member ski areas.
Since 2010, HKD Turbo, a snowmaking technology company and supplier to NSAA based in Massachusetts, has donated $120,000 worth of high-efficiency snow guns to deserving resorts as part of the program. HKD has committed an additional $40,000 this year, and through Brendle Group's donation, 2012 winners will receive an additional $5,000 per resort in sustainability services including a utility analysis and customized on-site energy audit.
Brendle Group's support will help extend cost savings from the new HKD Turbo snowmaking equipment to other identified energy efficiency and peak load management opportunities.

Thinking Outside the (Ski Resort) Box 1: Discover the birthplace of cool with new "Holland. The Original Cool." campaign.

Were you among the first of your friends to start biking to work or shopping at vintage boutiques and organic farmers' markets? Your answer may be yes, but a new marketing campaign launched today called "Holland. The Original Cool" shows travelers that what is now considered cool in America has been part of the cultural fabric of Holland for centuries.
Through this new multi-year campaign, the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Marketing, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol targets American travelers and invites them to explore and embrace Holland, a country that has always had a cool attitude toward art, design, architecture, eco-consciousness and more.
"The best place to start discovering why Holland is the original cool is with a visit to Amsterdam in 2013", said Rosina Shiliwala, Director, NBTC North America. "Together with our partners and a little help from Pim de Koel, Americans are sure to learn something new about Holland and be inspired to check out just how cool it is".
The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) is responsible for the global marketing of the Holland brand. To do this diligently, NBTC has established itself as an authority when it comes to research, branding and marketing (including consumer marketing) for Holland.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Austria Is Now Epic

Vail Resorts announced an epic partnership with the one of the most famous ski regions in the world, Arlberg, Austria, home to legendary mountain resorts of St. Anton, Lech-Zürs, St. Christoph and Stuben. The Epic Pass now features five free consecutive days of skiing and riding in Arlberg, bringing the total access to 15 world-class mountains in three countries and further enhancing the already exceptional value of the world’s greatest ski pass. At only $689, the Epic Pass is the best value on a lift pass in the industry. Epic Pass holders have the opportunity to extend their winter from the U.S. to Europe—for the second consecutive year—and experience both Verbier, Switzerland, and now Arlberg, Austria, in addition to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado, and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe. Boasting an average annual snowfall of 23 feet, the Arlberg area is legendary among skiers and riders from around the globe as the cradle of skiing, revered for the world-class experience and innovation in the sport that it affords while maintaining its traditional, Alpine character.
"We are pleased and proud to announce our partnership with Arlberg as Epic Pass holders can now ski the best resorts in the world in three countries on one pass. Vail Resorts continues to look for opportunities to enhance the incredible value of the Epic Pass that our guests already receive and enjoy. In March, we announced that we increased the number of free days of access to Verbier, Switzerland, from three to five for the 2013-2014 season and we added, Eldora, a local Colorado ski area to the Epic Pass", said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. "Epic Pass holders already enjoy an incredible experience with unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail Resorts’ seven world-class resorts in the United States, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood, as well as Arapahoe Basin and now Eldora, but the addition of world-class skiing in both Austria and Switzerland makes the Epic Pass even more compelling for our guests looking to take a ski vacation to Europe".
Boasting 174 miles of marked ski runs, 112 miles of open free riding terrain, 94 gondolas and lifts, and approximately 23 feet of annual snowfall, The Arlberg is arguably Austria’s most popular mountain resort group. Modern and vibrant, St. Anton am Arlberg also maintains its traditional Tyrolean charm. The Arlberg ski area will be open from Dec. 6, 2013 – Apr. 27, 2014.
"Arlberg and Vail Resorts are arguably the world's premier ski resorts, offering exceptional experiences on the mountain and an unparalleled level of customer service", said Hermann Fercher, chief executive officer of Lech-Zürs. "We are looking forward to a successful partnership and welcome Epic Pass holders to Austria next winter", chief executive officer of St. Anton am Arlberg, Martin Ebster, went on to say.
The Epic Pass provides unlimited skiing or riding, at $689 for adults and $359 for children (ages 5-12), at nine resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and now Eldora in Colorado and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe. New this year, the Epic Pass also comes with five free days of skiing or riding at the renowned Verbier Resort in Switzerland and an additional five free days of skiing and riding in Arlberg, Austria. No restrictions. At this spring rate, the Epic Pass pays for itself in just over five days.
Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).

Sunday, May 5, 2013

PyeongChang 2018 Unveils Official Olympic Emblem

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) has launched its official Olympic emblem in a ceremony that took place simultaneously in PyeongChang and Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea.
"I would like to congratulate the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee on the launch of its innovative new emblem. As an athlete, part of the excitement of participating in the Games is discovering the culture and traditions of the host country and for the PyeongChang Games that discovery begins today with its new identity. Combining elements of the Korean alphabet and oriental philosophy, this new brand will allow people to immediately connect with Korea and the 2018 Games vision of New Horizons. I wish PyeongChang 2018 a great deal of success in sharing this new emblem with the world", said  Jacques Rogge,  President of the International Olympic Committee

Emblem concept
A square where the earth meets the sky, and where athletes excel in snow or on ice - that’s where everyone will celebrate the world’s biggest winter festival in 2018.
The design of the emblem has its roots in the Korean alphabet, better known as Hangul in Korea. Both the “ㅍ” and “ㅊ” shapes in the emblem stem from the first consonants of each syllable in the word “PyeongChang” when written in Hangul - 평창.
“ㅍ” also represents a gathering place where the three elements of Korea’s traditional humanism, called Cheon-ji-in (天地人: literally meaning heaven, earth and human), are in harmony.
“ㅊ” symbolizes the epitome of winter sports, snow and ice, as well as athletes’ stellar performances. PyeongChang aspires to become a hub of winter sports in Asia, and such a goal will be carried out under the vision of “New Horizons.”
The color scheme uses five Korean traditional colors, namely white, black, blue/green, yellow and red. Traditionally, blue and green were represented by a single word in Hangul. Western influence brought a change in the view that green and blue are variations of a single color and separate words for each color now exist in Hangul.
These five cardinal colors are found in many aspects of daily life and tradition in Korea. They often appear in Korean clothing, celebrations, martial arts, architecture, art, food and other symbols.
Such a color scheme also reflects the six colors of the Olympic flag – blue, yellow, black, green, red and white.
PyeongChang 2018’s new emblem represents a grand gathering of people from all around the world in celebration of Olympic winter sports, which takes place in the harmonious land of PyeongChang.

About the designer
HA Jong-joo is the mastermind behind the development process of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic emblem. He is known for his branding expertise that spans across a wide range of projects, such as the corporate identity (CI) designs of major global corporations.

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, May 3, 2013

NSAA Names Top Ski Area Marketing Programs

Yesterday the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) named seven ski areas as winners of its annual Marketing Awards. The awards, sponsored this year by strategic marketing and database technology firm Ryan Solutions based in Ohio, are presented to NSAA member ski resorts, both large and small, for their successful marketing programs that ultimately help grow the sports of skiing and snowboarding. The 2013 NSAA Marketing Award winners are:

Judges for this year's awards were Nancy Berenato, senior sales manager for Mountain News; Michael Bisner, vice president of sales and marketing for Body Glove Winter; and Diane Foster, city manager for Park City Municipal. Winners were announced live May 2 during the 2013 NSAA National Convention and Tradeshow being held in Palm Springs, California. An in-depth review of this each of this year’s marketing award winners will be highlighted in the Summer issue of the NSAA Journal.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), formed in 1962, is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. It represents 325 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has 472 supplier members who provide equipment, goods and services to the mountain resort industry.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thirteen Ski Areas Recognized With Annual Safety Awards

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) honored 13 member resorts with its annual National Ski Area Safety Awards, sponsored by Wells Fargo Special Risks. Each season the awards recognize those resorts that have done an outstanding job of educating employees and guests about skiing and snowboarding responsibly. The 2012/13 winners are:

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), formed in 1962, is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. It represents 325 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has 472 supplier members who provide equipment, goods and services to the mountain resort industry.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ski Areas Honored with Annual Golden Eagle Environmental Awards

Today the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) presented seven ski areas with the 2013 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence including California’s Homewood Mountain Resort, Utah’s Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude ski areas, New York’s Greek Peak, and Vermont’s Killington Resort. The annual Golden Eagle Awards, now in its 20th year, are the ski industry’s most prestigious award for recognizing ski area environmental programs and projects. Awards are given based on three ski area size categories (up to 200,000 annual skier and snowboarder visits; 200,000 – 500,000 visits; and more than 500,000 visits).
"Ski area environmental programs have come a long way in 20 years, particularly in terms of their level of sophistication, demonstrated results, and their concerted focus on addressing climate change", says Michael Berry, president of NSAA.
As part of its winning effort among small ski areas, Homewood Mountain Resort (California) dramatically reduced erosion through on-mountain restoration projects, including removal and restoration of nearly four miles of unpaved on-mountain roads. The ski area also brought about a 41 percent reduction in watershed sediment in just one year thanks to a new peer-reviewed stream monitoring method developed by the project team.

This year judges report that there were a number of high-quality applications received in the medium ski area size category, creating a tie between two ski area projects.
First, the combined environmental stewardship efforts of Utah’s Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude ski areas has earned an unprecedented joint Golden Eagle Award. Since 2002, these four resorts have worked together in partnership with Salt Lake City and the U.S. Forest Service to support conservation projects on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The resorts have also collectively donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation (CCF) through participation in the National Forest Foundation’s Ski Conservation Fund. The four resorts are the primary funding mechanism for CCF, which now has an annual budget of $240,000.Meanwhile in New York, Greek Peak was also recognized in the medium size category for its green building efforts with the construction of Hope Lake Lodge. The lodge features reclaimed lumber, efficient lighting and automated controls, heat recovery, a Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) heat pump system, a Direct Digital Control (DDC) building management system, condensing hot water heaters, and ozone-based laundry equipment among other green implementations. These green features have resulted in annual energy savings of about 690,000 kilowatt hours (kWh). In May 2012, Hope Lake Lodge received Platinum Rating from Audubon International’s International Green Lodging Program for its eco-efficiency and environmental performance.

Finally, Vermont’s Killington Resort earned a Golden Eagle award in the large resort category for its leadership in implementing innovative clean energy and energy conservation measures that help fight climate change. A participant in NSAA’s Climate Challenge, Killington powers its K-1 Express Gondola with electricity generated directly from cows on Vermont dairy farms through Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power program. The power comes from methane released from manure as it decomposes, helping local farms, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and ultimately helping to keep snow on the mountain. Killington also offsets 100 percent of its electricity use through the purchase RECs, which in total has resulted in emissions reductions of 66,000 tons.
The GEA judging panel includes Katie Wallace from New Belgium Brewing Company; Elysa Hammond and Ryan Mayo with CLIF Bar; Tiffany Beal from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA); Jim Bedwell from the U.S. Forest Service; Kirk Mills from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE); Judy Dorsey from Brendle Group; and Geraldine Link from NSAA.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), formed in 1962, is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. It represents 325 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has 472 supplier members who provide equipment, goods and services to the mountain resort industry.