Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2014: Zermatt and Saas-Fee are the Favourite Destinations in Switzerland

In the recent Travellers’ Choice Awards 2014, Zermatt and Saas-Fee came in top among Swiss destinations. In addition, Zermatt is the only Swiss resort that made it into the top 20 among European destinations.
According to the annual ranking by TripAdvisor, the popular travel site, the Zermatt-Matterhorn destination ranks 19th among the European destinations. For the first time this year, TripAdvisor also provided a Swiss ranking with Zermatt and Saas-Fee in first and second place respectively.
For the sixth time, TripAdvisor has been awarding the annual Travellers’ Choice Awards to top destinations all over the world, based on millions of evaluations and opinions of TripAdvisor travellers.
Daniel Luggen, Director of Tourism in Zermatt, is pleased with the ranking: "Taking the feedback of our guests very seriously, we feel all the more honoured to have won several awards. The ranking shows that Zermatt is viewed as an attractive destination".
In 2012 Saas-Fee / Saastal was voted Best Swiss ski Resort. Internationally it was even voted to second rank out of 55 top ski destinations in Austria, Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland. In terms of snow reliability, slope preparation and cosiness, Saas-Fee / Saastal hit top status. Together with Aletsch Arena and Zermatt, 3 of the first 5 ranks are taken by valaisian destinations.
"About 70% of all ski slopes in Saas-Fee are guaranteed for snow", says Rainer Flaig, CEO of the Saas-Fee cableways. The top rank in snow security is due to the unique glacier area and the unmatched height of the area, which is offering fun in the snow up to a height of 3,600 meters altitude. Above this, Saas-Fee cableways invested strongly into the artificial snow production over the last years.
"The Travellers’ Choice Awards inspire our travellers. The award winners are must-visits", says Pia Schratzenstaller, press officer for TripAdvisor Switzerland. Referring to the new Switzerland ranking, she says: "With its idyllic mountain areas and regional cuisine, Switzerland attracts travellers who look for a relaxing holiday. This is reflected in the ranking".

Swiss Top 10

1. Zermatt
2. Saas-Fee
3. Zurich
4. Grindelwald
5. Pontresina
6. Mürren
7. Geneva
8. Arosa
9. Lucerne
10. Verbier


Monday, July 21, 2014

Base Camp Matterhorn Now Open


Zermatt has opened "Base Camp Matterhorn", a temporary campsite that can accommodate up to 50 mountaineers during the 2014 season while the Hörnlihütte hut is closed for renovations.
The Hörnlihütte (3,260 m), which will remain closed for renovation during the 2014 summer season, nestles at the foot of the Matterhorn (4,478 m). "The Base Camp Matterhorn has been set up to replace the cabin throughout the 2014 season and prevent wild camping at the foot of the Matterhorn", said Kurt Lauber, Long-standing warden of the Hörnlihütte. 
The Base Camp Matterhorn in Zermatt opened its doors and has been inaugurated on 19th July. 25 tent-like structures made from aluminium and wood have been erected on Hirli (2,880 m) at the foot of the Matterhorn.
Due to the closure of the Hörnlihütte throughout the 2014 summer season, the first pop-up hotel in the Alps was set up to provide accommodation for Matterhorn climbers close to the king of mountains. With Zermatt making preparations for the 150th anniversary of the Matterhorn’s first ascent in 2015, the Hörnlihütte is currently being renovated and will reopen its doors in July 2015. In terms of comfort and sustainability, the forward-looking conversion of the chalet will satisfy all standards applicable to modern buildings in the Alps – including sustainable energy and water supply.
The pop-up Base Camp Matterhorn was realised thanks to partners Swatch and Mammut and the municipality of Zermatt. "The installation was a great challenge", says Hörnlihütte warden and building supervisor Kurt Lauber. "The spell of winter weather with snow made our schedule tighter and tighter". But all turned out well and the Base Camp Matterhorn will be open until 15 September 2014, making it easier for Alpinists’ to access the Matterhorn. After this date, the camp will be taken down and the shelters will be up for sale.
Erected to prevent wild camping and bivouacking due to the closure of the Hörnlihütte, the Base Camp Matterhorn was conceived to protect nature and implement long-standing laws. In summer 2014, strict controls will be carried out around the Matterhorn and any contraventions of the laws will attract fines of up to CHF 5,000.


Architects: Selina Walder and Georg Nickisch
Access: from Schwarzsee cable car station(2,583 m, 297 m altitude)
Accommodation: 25 shelters
One night with half board: CHF 150 per person
Booking by telephone only: +41 27 967 22 64


14 July 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn by Zermatt mountain guides and British mountaineer Edward Whymper. Zermatt will celebrate its famous mountain and honour it with a completely refurbished Hörnlihütte, which will open its doors on the occasion of the 150th anniversary celebrations in July 2015.
Since the first ascent of the Matterhorn by British mountaineers in 1865 laid the foundation for the tourism industry in Zermatt, the Matterhorn village has invited the Queen of England to attend the week-long celebrations in July 2015. Mountain guide Anjan Truffer was personally conveying the Queen’s invitation to Buckingham Palace in London.
Livia Anne Richard gave an overview of "The Matterhorn Story", an open-air theatre play that will be performed on Riffelberg (2,560 m) in front of 700 to 800 spectators in summer 2015

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Club Med’s New Val Thorens Resort


Val Thorens Sensations is located in the heart of the 3 Valleys one of Europe’s most popular and largest ski regions in the world, with 372 miles of pistes for exploring. Ski season will run from November through May at the resort.
In keeping with the youthful and contemporary feel of the ski domain, this Resort will be chic and 
informal. The concept, highlighting sport and energy, will combine intense thrills with an inviting party 
atmosphere. The architecture by Studio Arch, in harmony with the ski domain’s young, modern allure, 
and the interior design by Sophie Jacqmin, seamlessly link the latest trends to the local spirit, for an 
up-to-the-minute spin on Alpine culture.
Club Med Val Thorens will have 384 rooms from 248-square-feet and up, including 12 Deluxe Rooms, five Junior Suites and six Suites. Family rooms will be available, as well as kids clubs for young skiers.

The project amounts to an €80 million investment on the part of Club Méditerranée and 
its partners, Crédit Agricole des Savoie, SETAM (Operating company for Tarentaise Maurienne cable-cars and managing ski-lifts for Val Thorens), CEPRAL (Caisse d'Epargne Rhône Alpes subsidiary), 2 RB-1(A Private investment company) and SSP (Mixed company combining the investments of the "Conseil Générale of the department of Savoie" in the local ski-lift companies; actor of the development of the ski resorts, it is also involved in real estate. Biggest shareholder of SETAM, it is particularly interested in the development of the 3 Valleys ski domain.). One third will be financed by the  simplified stock corporation SAS Val Thorens le Cairn, and two thirds will be financed by a banking  syndicate loan. Crédit Agricole des Savoie, SETAM and Club Méditerranée hold equal shares  amounting to 22.22% of the assets of SAS Val Thorens le Cairn, whilst CEPRAL, 2 RB-I and SSP hold shares amounting to 16.67%, 11.1% and 5.56% of assets, respectively.
Club Méditerranée will operate this Resort under a renewable 12-year leasing contract.

New Paris City Stop for US visitors:
With Club Med’s new City Stop option, guests can add on a stay in Paris when headed to or coming from one of Club Med’s French ski resorts. Flights, premium hotel accommodation and airport transfers will be arranged by Club Med, freeing guests up to explore the city.

Pioneer of the upscale holiday club concept, Club Méditerranée (Club Med) is the only global holiday brand and a leader in its sector: all-inclusive, high-end, friendly and multicultural holidays for families and couples.
With resorts in 26 countries, it boasts 71 Villages on five continents as well as the cruise ship Club Med 2, with 14,000 GOs and GEs representing over 100 different nationalities. Club Med also offers "Circuits Découverte By Club Med" discovery tours and "Club Med Business" incentive programmes and conferences.
Since 2004, Club Méditerranée has been pursuing a strategy of high-end repositioning, to meet the expectations of a clientele in search of an exceptional holiday experience.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Willy Bogner Film: Skiing Hawaii

A Willy Bogner Film

From "Ski Fascination" to "Fire and Ice" to the exciting action scenes in four "James Bond" movies: As of the early 1960th Willy Bogner is a successful cinematographer, director and producer. Bogner was honored with the "Bambi" as well as the "Bavarian Film Award". The Willy Bogner Film archive consists of about 40 movies, produced in more than 50 years.
Bogner teamed up with elite downhill snow skier Chuck Patterson for this amazing video.



Willy Bogner was born in Munich in 1942. Bogner took part in the Winter Olympics in 1960 and in 1964, won several titles at the German Youth Championship at the age of 16 or even earlier, and was the very first German to win the famous "Lauberhorn ski race" at the age of 17.
Willy Bogner entered the family business in 1972 – 40 years after its foundation in 1932. He expanded the company after his father’s death in 1977 continuously to one of the most established lifestyle labels in the world.
As of the late 1960th Willy Bogner devoted himself to another new challenge: He founded the film production "Willy Bogner Film GmbH" in 1968 and is well-reputed as one of the world’s best camera men on skis until today. He worked as cinematographer, director, actor, producer and screenwriter and took part in the production of almost 40 movies. Bogner was responsible for the skiing scenes in four James Bond movies (e.g. “On Her Majesty's Secret Service“ and “The Spy, Who loved Me“) as cinematographer und director. In 1987 he was honored with the Bavarian Film Award for the most successful German sports movie "Fire and Ice".

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

News From Vail-Beaver Creek 2015


FIS Finalizes 2015 World Chamiponships Competition Schedule

The competition schedule for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek is now set as the International Ski Federation (FIS) recently made final changes to the slate of Championships race events during their biennial Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
In addition, the international governing body also finalized start times for the individual races, as well as the Downhill training runs.
"The major change to our schedule was switching the Men’s and Ladies’ Super Combined dates", explained Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and head of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee. "The change was made in order to help ensure that we have the best possible course conditions for both men and women for these events (...) The switch means that the men’s Super Combined will now be run on February 8, while the Ladies will have their event on February 9".
The opening race of the 2015 World Championships will take place on February 3 with Ladies’ Super-G, while the Men’s Slalom will bring down the curtain on the Championships on February 15. All races are free to the public with stadium seating/standing areas filled on a first come, first served basis.
"Ski racing fans can ill afford to miss the 2015 World Championships", Folz added. "The U.S. Ski Team will certainly be in the medal hunt and all the races are free. It doesn’t get much better than that".
The speed events of Downhill, Super-G and Super Combined will take center stage during the first week of competition, while the technical events of Giant Slalom, Slalom and the Nations Team Event, a parallel Giant Slalom format, will occupy the second week.

Construction of New Beaver Creek Combo Lift Well Underway

Out with the old and in with the new. Construction is well underway in Beaver Creek this summer as the resort replaces the Centennial Express Lift with a new high-speed, state-of-the-art combination lift for the 2014-15 ski season and the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
The first ever of its kind and the longest ever installed by Doppelmayr, Beaver Creek’s unique combination lift configuration includes a series of six-passenger chairs alternating with 10-person gondola cabins. Skiers and snowboarders will have the option of riding on the chairlift which will be served by a moving conveyor to load the chair or in a gondola cabin that will load from a separate lift line.
The new uphill carrying capacity will be 3,400 people per hour, an increase of 35 percent. The new lift will debut opening day Nov. 26, 2014.

2015 Organizers Move World Championships Opening Ceremony to Solaris Plaza in Vail Village

With seven months remaining until the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships return to the Vail Valley, event organizers have relocated one of the main components of the Championships with the decision to move the 2015 Opening Ceremony to Solaris Plaza in the heart of Vail Village.
The free ceremony, scheduled for 7 p.m. on February 2, had previously been slated to take place in the Golden Peak Stadium at the base of Vail Mountain, which will play host to the Nations Team Event, along with qualification races for the Men’s Giant Slalom and Slalom during the second week of the Championships.
"Making the move to Solaris allows us to utilize the existing infrastructure such as big screens, a stage and sound system that will be in place for the nightly medal ceremonies", explained Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and head of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee.
Solaris Plaza, renamed Championships Plaza at the One-Year Countdown Celebration this past February, will also play host to the official Medal Ceremonies each evening during the Championships, along with free concerts, spectacular light shows and fireworks.

The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek are scheduled from February 2-15. The event is expected to showcase athletes from over 70 nations, along with an onsite media and broadcast entourage of approximately 1,500 members. An international television audience approaching 750 million people will watch the two weeks of racing and festivities.
Ladies' and Men's Downhill Events will take place on February 6th and 7th, 2015 in Beaver Creek.
Vail Resorts, the leading mountain resort operator in the United States, operate the mountain resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Zermatt: One-year countdown to 150th Anniversary of First Matterhon Ascent


On 14 July 1865, at 1.40 p.m., the first mountaineers reached the peak of the Matterhorn. Today, Zermatt is marking this historic day with the start of a one-year countdown. Seven pyro salutes will honour the seven mountaineers who accomplished this extraordinary feat. On 14 July 2015, the 150th anniversary of the first ascent, a series of events and celebrations will take place in the Matterhorn village in commemoration of this memorable day.
Today, the Swiss clock maker Tissot is unveiling its impressive countdown clock which will show the days, hours and minutes until the celebration of the historic event commences. Integrated into a pyramid, the display will draw attention to Swiss mountaineering sports and commemorate Zermatt‘s courageous mountain guides and the mountaineers who reached the peak of the Matterhorn in 1865.
Tissot’s cooperation with Zermatt underscores the Swiss character of the brand, creates a link with mountaineers and emphasises the company’s endeavour to provide them with top-quality precision instruments.



The Matterhorn (4,478 metres) was long considered too difficult to climb. On 14 July 1865, the British climber Edward Whymper reached the top together with three mountain guides and three English.
Edward Whymper was the first to reach the top. He was followed by the mountain guide Michel Croz (from Chamonix), the Reverend Charles Hudson, Lord Francis Douglas, Douglas Robert Hadow (all from England) as well as the Zermatt mountain guides Peter Taugwalder (father) and Peter Taugwalder (son). During the descent of the first climbers, the front four-member rope team (Croz, Hadow, Hudson and Douglas) fell to their deaths over the north wall while still above the shoulder. Three of the bodies were recovered a few days later on the Matterhorn glacier. The corpse of Lord Francis Douglas has not been found yet.
The tourist development of Zermatt had its beginnings here.
150 years later, the Matterhorn still stamps its imprint on the village at its base. In 2015, Zermatt will celebrate the mountain and the alpine tradition with events, experiences, festivities and special offers. The main player on this stage, besides the Matterhorn, is the Hörnlihütte, which will reopen in july 2015, as well as many other happenings.

Vail Resorts Wins Travel + Leisure SMITTY Award


Vail Resorts was awarded "Best Overall Use of Social Media by an Attraction" in the 2014 Travel + Leisure Social Media in Travel and Tourism (SMITTY) Awards. The award recognizes the Company’s “"Epic Race to Ski the World" and the engagement that the program drove across several of Vail Resorts’ social media channels.
Each year, the Travel + Leisure SMITTY awards recognize companies in the travel and tourism industry showcasing the best and most innovative uses of social media. A jury of digital insiders and travel professionals reviewed hundreds of submissions and named winners and runners-up in 30 categories.
"The SMITTY is an amazing recognition of a truly epic competition", said Vail Resorts vice president of corporate communications, Kelly Ladyga. "One of the best things to come out of the Epic Race is the amazing passion and dedication of the over 200 skiers and riders who participated, the fun they all had and the camaraderie that developed among the group, and the highly entertaining and inspiring content they all shared through social media".
The Epic Race was created to highlight the benefits of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, primarily the ability to ski or ride 26 mountains in four countries across the world. The first 10 participants to complete the season-long competition would win the industry’s ultimate prize – an Epic Pass for life. Racers logged over 4,300 visits to Epic Pass resorts, uploading nearly 13,000 photos and videos to the official site, as well as through their own social media channels.
In 2013-14, Epic Pass resorts were Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps, Minnesota; Mt. Brighton, Michigan; Verbier, Switzerland; Arlberg, Austria – St. Anton, Lech, Zürs, St. Christoph and Stuben; and Les 3 Vallées, France – Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle.
The Epic Pass is the world’s most popular pass, sold in all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries around the globe. It features unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. In 2014-15, Epic Pass holders will have the opportunity to extend their skiing and riding adventures from the U.S. to Europe with five free consecutive days at the renowned mountain resorts of Verbier, Switzerland and and five free consecutive days at Les 3 Vallées, France. And new this season, they will be able to enjoy five free consecutive days at powder haven Niseko United in Japan.

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).

Dimitris Theodorakakos and Nuria Picas are the overall winners of the Salomon 4 Trails 2014


The 4th edition of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS ended on Saturday with a spectacular stage from Landeck to Samnaun.


Dimitris Theodorakakos(GRE) 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 Men's overall ranking was Iker Karrera (SPA), followed by Mirco Berner (GER) in third place.


Nuria Picas (SPA) was the Women's overall winer followed by Tina Fischl (GER) and Zhanna Vokueva (RUS).

The route: 5 places - 4 stages – 3 countries

Participants enjoyed four unforgettable days (July 9th -12th) in breathtaking settings in the SALOMON 4 TRAILS. The route took 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 was covered.

Partenkirchen via Ehrwald, Imst and Landeck to Samnaun, the challenge is to overcome a total of 152.1 km of distance and about 9376 meters of elevation - a challenging undertaking, because even the shortest stage from Imst to Landeck features a distance of more than 31 km and 1,800 meters of difference in elevation. At that point participants will already have the starting stage from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Ehrwald in their legs and also the high-alpine stage 2 featuring Grünsteinscharte and Tschirgant. The king's stage follows on the last day of the event: More than 44 km and close to 2,900 meters of elevation gain will then take the trail runners to an unforgettable finisher in Samnaun.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Post-Sochi Research Demonstrates Appeal of Olympic Winter Games


Last Tuesday the IOC Executive Board received a presentation on research (Click here for information on the research) conducted on the IOC, the Olympic Games and the Olympic brand that demonstrated the awareness and appeal of the Olympic Games and the Olympic brand.
The research survey was conducted by KantarSport (a division of Kantar Media), commissioned by the IOC, after the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games earlier this year, with a total of 36,000 people surveyed in 16 countries.
Both the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games had the highest awareness and appeal of any sports or entertainment event surveyed.
There continues to be considerable growth in the interest of the Winter Games globally – with a broadcast audience of 2.1 billion people, an increase of 13 per cent from Vancouver 2010 to Sochi 2014. There was also more broadcast coverage available, with 114,000 hours broadcast across all media platforms, an increase of 101 per cent on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. There were 250 individual broadcasters covering the Games, compared to 114 for Vancouver 2010, an increase of 119 per cent. There were 1.4 billion digital video views globally, a significant increase of 334 per cent over Vancouver 2010.
Athletes and spectators surveyed at the Games in Sochi rated their enjoyment of the Games very highly, primarily due to the standard of the sports competition, the quality of the venues and the atmosphere at the event.
In terms of brand recognition, 93 per cent of respondents were aware of the Olympic rings – making it the most widely recognised of all the brand symbols surveyed. There was almost equal recognition not only across geographies, but also amongst men and women, as well as age ranges. Respondents strongly associated the Olympic symbol with values like global, inspirational, friendship, diversity, peace and excellence.
The IOC was seen as showing leadership and being strict on doping, and there was widespread recognition that hosting an Olympic Games brings benefits to the host country.

During the Olympic Games in Sochi in February, millions lived, and contributed to, the passion of the Games via the social media platforms.
Olympic athletes and fans took social media engagement to new heights during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, accounting for some 2 billion impressions across all Olympic platforms.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) tracked social media activity on the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, the IOC’s social media platform that combines feeds from more than 6,000 Olympians across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The metrics included mentions, likes, shares, photos and interactions across these platforms and VKontakte (VK), the most popular social network in the world for Russian speakers.
More than 2 million new fans joined the Olympic Facebook page during the Olympic Games, the Olympic Twitter account amassed 168,101 new followers, the Olympic Instagram account gained more than 150,000 new followers, and VK saw over 650,000 new fans join the Olympic page, with a total of 3 million visitors in total during February 2014.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard Inspection at PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Venues

FIS Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard experts are currently in PyeongChang (KOR) to make their fourth inspection for the Olympic Winter Games in 2018.
The officials are meeting with the sports managers for each discipline, resort staff, KECC Engineering and mountain resort planners, Ecosign for an on-site inspection of the future venues. Just like in Sochi, which were hugely successful for Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard, both disciplines will share the same venues in 2018. During the inspections, the requirements for the disciplines are being defined and elaborated in follow-up meetings.
The venues are scheduled to host official FIS World Cup events that will serve as test events in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 seasons.
FIS Freestyle Skiing Coordinator Joseph Fitzgerald commented: "This design challenge is the opposite to Sochi. Now we have a fully functioning ski area, whereas everything was designed at a brand new ski area in Russia. We now need to fit everything into fully operating ski runs and ensure it all fits together and functions. I am confident that in PyeongChang 2018 we will be able to produce another rock 'n roll show, like we did in Sochi and in Vancouver".
FIS Snowboard Race Director Uwe Beier added: "We are building on the experience gained from Sochi where Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing already shared the same venues. In collaboration with the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee and the many experienced professionals involved in the project, we have laid the foundations for the next four years and are confident that we can stage spectacular competitions in 2018".

The PyeongChang 2018 Games, which will take place from 9-25 February 2018, will be the third to be staged in Asia, and the first ever in the Republic of Korea, following Nagano (JPN) in 1998 and Sapporo (JPN) in 1972.
The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee’s (POCOG’s) ‘New Horizons’ vision aims to expand winter sports in Asia and transform the local Gangwon province into a new winter sports and tourism destination.
From a logistical point of view, the concept for the 2018 Winter Games is one of the most compact ever seen.The vision for PyeongChang is based on a compact geographical area, split between a coastal and a mountain cluster.
The coastal cluster, centred around the town of Gangneung on the Republic of Korea’s eastern seaboard, will provide the setting for the events on ice (speed skating, figure skating, short track, ice hockey and curling), with the main Olympic Village complex and mountain cluster (comprising the skiing and snowboarding courses and the bobsleighluge and skeleton track) located only a 30 minute car journey away.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Oslo, Almaty, Beijing Named as 2022 Winter Games Candidates


The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) unanimously agreed today that Oslo (Norway), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Beijing (China) would progress from the Applicant City Phase to the Candidate City Phase in the bid to host the Olympic Winter Games 2022.
The EB based its decision on a technical analysis of the Applicant Cities’ applications submitted earlier this year. The analysis and subsequent report were made by an IOC-appointed working group of Olympic Games experts who assessed each Applicant City’s potential for successfully staging the Olympic Winter Games 2022. The technical assessment was based on a number of criteria, covering a variety of areas such as venues, transport, accommodation and security.
Each city was encouraged to produce a bid best suited to their own unique circumstances, with plans that reflect their own specific vision for how the Games can benefit their cities and regions and ensure positive, sustainable legacies for their populations. Oslo, Almaty and Beijing have done that:
  • Oslo is focusing its bid on youth and building on the great legacy of the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer 1994. It hopes to inspire the population to embrace a healthier and more active lifestyle.
  • Almaty’s legacy plans centre on providing the conditions to enable the city to become a sports, tourism and convention hub in Central Asia.
  • Beijing is seeking to provide an extended legacy for venues built for the Olympic Games 2008. It wants to create a winter sports centre for China and use the Winter Games to act as a catalyst for the further development of the tourism and winter sports industry.
"The Executive Board was impressed by the legacy plans of each of the three cities, and will continue to support any future candidate or host city in developing them further", said IOC President Thomas Bach. "This support will be practical, involving the detailed transfer of knowledge as well as financial. In this respect it was good to see that each of the bidding cities understood the difference between the Olympic Games budget and the long-term infrastructure and investment budget, which will benefit their communities for decades to come", he added.
"The Executive Board is confident that the future hosts of the Olympic Winter Games can break even with the Olympic Games budget – as Vancouver has just announced for the Olympic Winter Games 2010. Or, as in the case of Sochi, make a considerable profit, which they project to be in the range of 200 million dollars", said President Bach. "This is possible not least because of the extensive financial assistance given by the IOC. In the case of Sochi, this amounted to USD 750 million and it is likely that figure will be even higher for the host of the Olympic Winter Games 2022", he added.
The Candidate Cities have until January 2015 to submit their Candidature Files – in-depth blueprints of the cities’ Olympic projects. The IOC President will then appoint an Evaluation Commission made up of IOC members (who are volunteers) and experts to visit each Candidate City and prepare a technical risk assessment to assist IOC members in electing the host city. This report will be made available to all IOC members ahead of a two-day briefing that provides the members with the opportunity to question the cities directly about their Olympic projects.
In line with the IOC’s commitment to transparency, the documents pertaining to the 2022 bid process are available to the public on www.olympic.org.

Phase 2:

In Phase 2, Candidate Cities will be requested to detail their Olympic projects in their Candidature File and prepare for the visit of the IOC Evaluation Commission. The Evaluation Commission will make a detailed technical risk assessment of each candidature and publish a report in time for the Candidate City Briefing to IOC Members.
  • Submission of the Candidature File and Guarantees – 7 January 2015
  • IOC Evaluation Commission visits – February to March 2015
  • Evaluation Commission report / Candidate City Briefing for IOC Members – May to June 2015 (TBC)
  • Election of the 2022 host city by the IOC Session – Kuala Lumpur – 31 July 2015

Hannes Reichelt and Felix Neureuther Presented with Kitzbuehel Gondolas


It has been a busy two Saturdays for Kitzbühel. On the 28th of June 2014 Hahnenkamm Downhill winner Hannes Reichelt attended the presentation of the gondola named in his honor. While on the 5th July it was Felix Neureuther’s turn to attend the presentation of the gondola he earned by winning the 2014 slalom race.
Over 180 friends and acquaintances accompanied Hannes Reichelt to Kitzbühel. The surprise couldn’t have been better for Reichelt, with the Radstadt Town Band, SC Radstadt junior team, town mayor and former ski racers, Andi Schifferer and Günther Mader in attendance. President of the Salzburg Ski Assoc, Bartl Gensbichler and the Reichelt Family also joined the festivities. Hannes Reichelt’s grandmother in particular wanted to join him at the Start Hut.
Representatives on behalf of Kitzbühel included K.S.C. President, Michael Huber (who is also Chairman of the HKR Organizing Committee), Race Director Peter Obernauer, the Mayor of Kitzbühel, Klaus Winkler, Cable Car Co Chief, Josef Burger as well as ski legends, Ernst Hinterseer, Hias Leitner and Fritz Huber (all members of the "Wonder Team"). The winner of Hahnenkamm 2014 was overwhelmed by his reception. "Thank you all. The best part of this is that I can be here to celebrate with you all", said Reichelt, delighted. Josef Burger officially presented Hannes Reichelt with his honorary gondola at the top station of the lifts, where Reichelt thanked the K.S.C. for their hospitality. "I knew from many other athletes that you are particularly well looked after in Kitzbühel".


A week later, it was time for German slalom specialist Felix Neureuther to attend his second gondola reveal (he first won in Kitzbühel in 2010), equipped with a seating heating system. Neureuther brought his parents Rosi Mittermeier-Neureuther and Christian Neureuther to the celebration while a group of some 100 members of his fan club showed up to provide their support.
Neureuther’s visit to Kitzbühel proved a great opportunity for Michael Huber, President of the Kitzbühel Ski Club (KSC) to also presented Neureuther with a new trophy. Last January the original "gams" Neureuther received at the price giving ceremony got broken and had to be replaced. The festivities ended with part of the Fan Clubs hiking the Streif together with chief of slope Stefan Lindner.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vancouver 2010 Broke Even, Final Financial Report Says

Eleven years after winning the right to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the Vancouver Organising Committee (VANOC) has released its final financial and operational report showing a positive financial outcome and no liabilities, officially bringing its activities to a close. VANOC has achieved its goal: to deliver successful Games with lasting, debt-free legacies.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) acted as a key player in enabling VANOC to achieve this positive financial outcome as it contributed a total of USD 721 million to the Olympic Games budget. This Olympic Games budget was almost entirely privately funded, with a large contribution by the IOC from revenues received through the sale of broadcast rights and through the Olympic Partner Programme, TOP. Organising Committees then have their own revenue streams, including from national sponsors, licensing and ticket sales.
From new state-of-the art sports facilities, venues, transport and infrastructure improvements to environmental and economic benefits, Vancouver used the Olympic Winter Games as a catalyst to inspire shared pride and unity from coast to coast, and to create a number of lasting legacies.
VANOC’s final financial accounting reports both revenues and expenses of approximately CAD 1.9 million, with all suppliers paid and all revenues collected. As promised in December 2010, the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver have been concluded free of debt, and with no additional government funds needed.
Over the dissolution period, which started in 2010, VANOC settled and closed over 2,700 expenditure contracts and over 250 revenue contracts for goods and services required to stage the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Lasting Community Legacies

More than four years after it hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver is still benefitting from being an Olympic city thanks to the legacy plans that were put in place by the Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee (VANOC), local stakeholders, and with the support of the IOC.
For example, thanks to assistance from the IOC, VANOC was able to ensure that the Whistler Sport Legacies facilities were positioned to be sustainable as they transitioned to long-term operations under the ownership of a not-for-profit society.
Similar successes occurred in Vancouver as well. The Richmond Olympic Oval skating track has, for instance, been transformed into a community facility that includes an indoor track, two ice rinks, badminton courts, volleyball courts and a 2,300-square-foot fitness centre, helping get more people, especially local young people, involved in sport.
Vancouver was the first host city to set up a not-for-profit organisation during the bid process to develop lasting community legacies. 2010 Legacies Now focused on legacies in sport, the arts, literacy, environment, accessibility and volunteerism.
Last April, the City of Vancouver, in cooperation with VANOC, sold the remaining condominium units from the former Olympic Village to a private entity, enabling them not just to pay off the debt of the Olympic Village development but to make a profit of CAD 70 million, which will be re-invested into community amenities and public infrastructure.
The Olympic Village housed some 2,800 athletes and officials during 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Built on the last remaining piece of underdeveloped waterfront of the city, it was developed in such a way as to become a model community of economic, social and environmental sustainability, and has been instrumental in revitalising the waterfront neighbourhood.
Whistler used the Winter Games as a catalyst to achieve its long-term development goals in the local community, according to former Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed.
Four years on from hosting the Games, Melamed says that Whistler’s tourism is also now witnessing a post-Olympic boost.
"We’re now experiencing the lift from the global recognition that the Games brought Whistler", he explains. "We anticipated that there might be a little bit of a delay, but visitor numbers are now up. People got to see Whistler – and the beautiful scenery and visuals that were beamed around the world – and it may have taken them a couple of years to put it on their travel plan, but now they’re starting to come in increased numbers".A study made after the celebration of the 2010 Winter Games in Whistler show that the resort's role as Host Mountain Resort has led to significant gains in international awareness according to the Canadian resort, "...a critical element in growing visitation over the coming years".

Thursday, July 3, 2014

FIS Issues Social Media Guidelines


The general framework for how businesses should set up social media policies is still under consideration. It is smart for companies to set up their social media policies like guidelines reminding to use common sense when they use it.
During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, a group of athletes - among them a Greek triple jumper and a Swiss soccer player - were cut from their respective teams for sending offensive messages over Twitter.
Top European athletes have understood the potential benefits of promoting theirselves on social media websites. One of the best tactics an association can undertake is encouraging members to use Social Media in a positive manner. 

Today, the FIS PR and Mass Media Committee has issued a Social Media Guidelines document to serve as a do’s and don’ts guide for athletes, coaches and officials to use as they participate in the realm of Social Media.
Social Media has become a key tool of communicating the goals and aims of those involved in professional sports. The personal element of social media is both its attraction and its principal danger. Providing details of activities and expressing opinions face-to-face to close friends restricts the size of the audience, but going through social media makes ideas and opinions available to the entire world. Furthermore, once information or an opinion is published, it is there forever.
FIS and many National Ski Associations have prepared guidelines regarding the use of Social Media to try to assist using the available tools effectively and to avoif pitfalls. The influence of national culture and legislation will result in many differences from country-to-country but a certain number of basic do’s and don’ts are applicable for all those wishing to use Social Media.

Valuable Tips Regarding The Use Of Social Media (By FIS)

DO
  • Promote the FIS disciplines 
  • Show your personality - imagine you are chatting to an audience and make it fun, informal and interesting 
  • Remember everyone can see you before you write, so think before you post 
  • Be informative as you are selling the sport, so share good news and hot topics 
  • Encourage interaction and answer questions that have been posed, promote dialogue, share content, use @ mentions and #tags 
  • Include links to ski related websites and personalities in your posts 
  • Engage with the community and share experiences 
  • Be careful and respectful toward others 
  • Post regularly and consistently to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more 
  • Make sure that any links you give will send users to appropriate and suitable content 
  • Be honest, tell the truth and correct any mistakes you make as quickly as possible
  • Post photos and updates about attending events and remind users to watch the LIVE broadcasts where available 
AVOID TO
  • Comment on any legal matter 
  • Share confidential information 
  • Use inappropriate language 
  • Comment on any activity outside your area of competence 
  • Comment on the performance or decisions of athletes or officials 
  • Talk negatively and gossip about companies, brands, sports, competitions or athletes 
  • Post in the heat of the moment, while under the influence or in any highly emotional situation 
  • React if you see or receive negative messages, but seek advice from a communication’s professional 
  • Use jargon all words that are difficult to understand 
  • Forget about spelling, grammar and language 
  • Link or use any unsuitable content 
  • Publish any of your own photos without obtaining the permission of the people in the photo 
  • If using other people’s photos do not publish without the photographer’s permission. Remember that when in public you are also open to being photographed and images of you may appear online. Act accordingly.
If at any time there is a doubt then refrain from commenting or posting information.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2013-2014 Report Shows Great TV Coverage for FIS Events


A season 2013/14 final report by Repucom summarising the TV coverage of the Cross-Country, Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined, Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard FIS World Cups showed that the overall total broadcasting time amounted to almost 7’500 hours. The total cumulated TV audience is estimated at 6’239 million.
Highest broadcasting time in Alpine Skiing, highest audience in Ski Jumping
In terms of both broadcasting time and audience, Alpine Skiing accounted for 48% of the total broadcasting time (3’551 hours) and for a total audience of 2’721 million. The respective figures for Ski Jumping are 21% of broadcasting time and a total audience of 2’963 million and for Cross-Country Skiing, 14% of broadcasting time and 1’245 million audience.
Nordic Combined, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding make up the remaining 17% of broadcasting time and 457 million audience.
FIS Marketing Manager Marcel Looze commented on the trends in the past season: "As we measure different amount of regions and different countries it is not correct to compare the results of the various disciplines with each other. We do use our research to monitor the development of each individual discipline and to see how we do compare to other sports. It is good to see that all winter sports are dominating TV broadcasts between October and March and even better to see that FIS events contribute with a significant share. On the sports dedicated channel Eurosport this was 60% across the season.
We also see that in order to keep growing in terms of media impact we need to work hard on keeping our sport attractive during the whole competition as TV viewers tend to pick their moments and prefer to watch the deciding moments only
".

Repucom offers a single, global source of independent market insights and sport sponsorship & sport marketing consultancy. Repucom is the data provider of choice for over 1,000 of the top brands, agencies, clubs, rights holders and broadcasters across the sports industry.
In 2010, Repucom merged with SPORT+MARKT to form the RSMG Insights group, which created a global network comprising1,400 employees. Two years later, another significant expansion was made with the acquisition of IFM Sports group, which included both IFM Sports and Sports Marketing Surveys. In 2013, the Group’s business units around the world were united under the Repucom flag to establish a single, global leader in sports marketing research.

Where To Ski in The Alps in July?


Tignes. This summer, the Grand Motte Glacier ski area will be open from June 21st till August 3rd 2014. The 20 kms of pistes and 12 lifts are accessible via the Perce-Neige funicular which takes you up to the glacier in just 7 minutes.
At an altitude of 3,456 meters, the glacier was the meeting place of freestylers, pros and amateurs for summer snowboarding and skiing.The snowpark team shaped many runs for both beginners and experts (10 kickers and about 12 rails). It will be open from July 6th to August 4th 2013.
From June 29th 2013 you will have free access to the Lagon swimming pool with your 2-to-10 day Tignes ski pass.

Les 2 Alpes. Les 2 Alpes has one of the largest summer ski areas in Europe. The Mont-de-Lans Glacier will be open from June 21st to August 30th, 2014. A cable car (Jandri Express) transports skiers up to the glacier’s eight runs (2 red, 4 blue and 2 green) and a freestyle area in 24 minutes. Les 2 Alpes’ snowpark rivals that of Saas-Fee's glacier, with its snowskate zone, slopestyle (Big Air, tables, kickers and rails), cool zone, half-pipe (4.5m/15ft high, 120m/400ft long) and a smaller pipe suitable for beginners.

Val d'Isere. The Val d'Isere summer ski season is quite short. The Pissaillas glacier is open from june 7th to July 13th. The ski area is served by two ski lifts: Teleski des Montets and the Cascade Express chairlift.

Alpe d'Huez. The Pic Du Blanc Glacier ski area will be open next Saturday, July 5th. The Alpe d'Huez lifts will be open for skiing and boarding "as long as conditions allow" from 7th of July until 24th August.
Last year Alpe d'Huez decided to reintroduced summer snowsports after around a decade long break.


Austria

Dachstein. The Dachstein Glacier above Ramsau am Dachstein, is open 11 months of the year beginning at the end of May. The Dachstein Gletscherbahn brings you uphill to 2,700 metres above sea level. Flat, northward-facing slopes guarantee ideal snow conditions. It boasts 18 km (12 miles) of ski runs as well as the popular Horsefeathers Superpark, featuring boxes, jumps, rails, jibs and tubes.

Hintertux. The Hintertux Glacier is Austria’s only year round ski resort and one of the two remaining glaciers in the Alps to open 365 days a year. The Hintertux is During summer, 22km (14 miles) of runs are open and accessed by nine lifts, including the Glacier Bus 3 with 24-person cabins, capable of transporting 3,000 skiers per hour. The Hintertux offers a good range of runs for all levels, but is famous for its steep, challenging terrain. The Betterpark Hintertux with 5 lines (Pro Line, Medium Line, Easy Line, 2 Jib Lines) and a 100-m long super pipe was designed by park builder Wille Kaufmann according to the motto "Best air time for everyone", so that not only the pros, but also rookies will find obstacles suitable for their individual skill levels.

Kaprun. The Kitzsteinhorn Glacier ski lifts and slopes are open down to Alpincenter. Glacier skiing area opened until 9th June and from 27th June to 20th July 2014. After a few runs, chill out at the Ice Arena with its snow beach, igloos, snow slides and ice bar. Non-skiers can take free guided panoramic hikes across the glacier between July and September.

Stubai. At the Stubai Glacier you can go skiing till the 4th of July 2014. Last season, Stubai Glacier resort has been named the most family-friendly skiing area in the Alps by ADAC SkiGuide for the third time in a row. The resort was established in 1973 when skiing pioneer Dr Heinrich Klier built the first three ski lifts at Stubai Glacier. Today Stubai Glacier is the largest glacier ski resort in Austria.

Italy

Passo Stelvio. 20 km of slopes among Ortles-Cevedales and Cristallo mountains, at 3000 meters of height, on the glacier near the biggest Pass of Europe. The glacier is open from May 31st to November 2nd.

Cervinia. The access to the glacier from Cervinia will be open from June 28th to September 7th 2014.

Switzerland

Zermatt has a whopping 21 km of summer skiing on its Theodul Glacier accessed by the Klein Matterhorn cable car. Zermatt is Switzernd’s only year round ski resort and one of the two remaining glaciers in the Alps to open 365 days a year. The summer ski area is shared with Cervinia in Italy, so you can ski over the border for lunch. The 13 runs are divided into blues and reds. The Gravity Park features a half-pipe, kickers and rails and also offers one of the best views of the Matterhorn.

Saas-Fee in Switzerland is scheduled to open for summer skiing on July 19th. Saas-Fee offers ideal summer skiing and snowboarding conditions. Up on the glaciers there are 20 km of slopes to suit all levels. The Allalin Glacier is accessed via the underground funicular and is open from mid-July to late October. The glacier is particularly popular with freestylers and race teams. Swiss and international ski teams come here for their summer training sessions every year.