Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shapes in White. Snow Sculpture Competition in Ischgl

During the 15th Snow Sculpture Competition in Ischgl, international artists made their snow sculptures, several meters high, showing their visions of the upcoming FIFA European Championship host by Austria and Switzerland in the summer of 2008. The massive sculptures were placed throughout the entire skiing area, where skiers can admire them on and next to the slopes. The winner was the sculpture named "Together we're strong".
Sculptures will stay in the pistes until the spring when the snow will melt.

Winter sport Academy in the Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rockies Academy is a winter sport instructor training facility at the fabulous Marmot Basin Resort, Jasper, Alberta. Its program, operated by Sports Academy in the United Kingdom in association with the ski resort, offers skiers and snowboarders an opportunity of a lifetime. The philosophy behind the Academy is to create a winter sport training centre for students from around the globe with emphasis on professional ski and snowboard training, environmental education, and personal development. For eleven weeks, the students train to successfully obtain either their Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA) certification or their Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI) certification.
During the program the students will receive avalanche safety training, emergency situation training, as well as the opportunity to job shadow the current instructors of Marmot Basin. During weekday evenings, Parks Canada offers the students the option to learn about the Canadian Rocky Mountains, astronomy, GIS/GPS Training, wilderness awareness, Jasper National Park, teamwork, history, etc.
The Canadian Rockies Academy is a true partnership which means that the course delegates get the benefit of training from within the resort structure itself while their progress is monitored and encouraged directly by me and my senior management. This exclusive arrangement means that my staff has one focus, which is ensuring that the delegates have the experience of a lifetime,” says Dave Gibson, President & CEO of Marmot Basin.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ski Regions in the Alps Ranking

BAK Basel Economics ranked these Ski Regions as the best 15:
  1. Kleinwalsertal (Vorarlberg)
  2. Zermatt (Valais)
  3. Zell am See-Kaprun. Europa Sportregion (Salzburg)
  4. Achensee (Tirol)
  5. Engelberg (Suisse centrale)
  6. Kitzbühel (Tirol)
  7. Gröden (Südtirol)
  8. Innsbruck (Tirol)
  9. Seefeld (Tirol)
  10. Schenna (Südtirol)
  11. Lucerne (Suisse centrale)
  12. Oberstdorf (Allgäu)
  13. Lech-Zürs (Vorarlberg)
  14. St. Moritz-Pontresina (Grisons)
  15. Kärnten Naturarena (Kärnten)

The BAK report states: “Thanks to their attractiveness each of the regions can ask for a hotel tariff above the average and at the same time achieve highest occupancy rates".

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Senior skiers in the slopes

One of the most significant trends in the ski industry is the fact that skiers are getting older. Ten, twenty years ago, if you saw someone on the slopes who was 70, it was a extraordinary fact, now it's nothing out of the ordinary. Keeping them on the ski resorts is critical for the industry. Seniors spend more money than younger visitors, and resort managers recognize they are critical to supporting slope-side amenities such as wellness centers, vacation homes, restaurants and resort shopping centers. Resorts also need to offer year round activities like alpine and cross country skiing in winter and golf, nordic walking and hiking in summer.
The 2007 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) National Demographic Study remarks the continued aging of the visitor base, with strong growth in skiers and riders aged 45 and older.
The average age of participants has risen steadily from 33.2 in 1997/98 to 36.6 in 2006/07. Specifically, since 1997/98, the proportion of visitors aged 45 to 54 has increased from 14.0 percent to 19.4 percent; the proportion of visitors aged 55 to 64 has almost doubled from 4.6 percent to 9.4 percent; and the proportion of visitors aged 65 and older has also almost doubled, from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Generation Ski Maps awarded in the ISPO winter fair

The Swedish company Daylightagain has developed the myway map holder which gives the skier immediate access to the ski map.
The new idea was the winner of the ISPO - Brand New Award in the category Accessories. ISPO winter fair is the largest trade show for the ski industry and is taking place in Munich between January 27 and 30.
The need for a ski map becomes greater as the ski resorts expand into larger areas and the number of ski techniques increases. Måns von Rohr and Catharina Wikström looked back to antiquity in order to reinvent the ski resort map. Fed up with unhandy, delicate paper maps, which can hardly be handled with gloves, they invented a new version of the papyrus scroll. Their tear-resistant resort map is stored in two plastic poles (ca. 13.5 cm long) and can be rolled up and unrolled conveniently – even with gloves on. Inside the jacket, this device needs little space and is ready for action whenever you need orientation in the mountains.

SKIDATA establishes a local subsidiary in Spain

Austrian-based SKIDATA AG, a member of the Swiss Kudelski Group and leading international physical access control specialist, establishes a local subsidiary in Spain. As of January 1, 2008, SKIDATA Ibérica has taken over the business activities of SIATRON S.L. , SKIDATA’s distribution partner for the Spanish market since 1995. SKIDATA will hold the majority stake in the new company; the remaining stake will be held by Spanish-based security and traffic solution specialist Tradesegur.
This move underscores the ongoing worldwide expansion of SKIDATA in its core markets and reflects the company’s growth strategy, combining organic growth and M&A activities. “Strengthening our local presence will bring us even closer to our Spanish clientele and help us to further develop this strategically important market. It is a great opportunity to leverage our technological synergies for ultimate brand impact” says Charles Egli, CEO of SKIDATA AG. This sentiment is affirmed by the founder of SIATRON S.L., Christian Liesau: “After well over a decade of successful cooperation, we are very happy to join forces under the SKIDATA brand. This will allow us to serve our Spanish clients with an even wider range of tailored solutions and services”.
SKIDATA is an international solution provider specialised in professional access management and ticketing.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An enjoyable experience in an Igloo

In 1996, Adrian Günter built his first three igloos in Scuol, a vacation resort in the Lower Engadine. Since then, a continuous cycle repeats itself every winter in five different locations in the Alps (Davos, Engelberg, Gstaad and Zermatt in Switzerland and Zugspitze in Germany); 2700 hours are spent in December to convert 3000 cubic meters of snow into the unique white igloos that will completely melt away again in the spring. The igloo villages are open from 25th December 2007 (Zugspitze 31st of December) until 4th April 2008 (Gstaad 29th of March) and offers overnight accommodation in standard rooms, which have space for six people, or romantic suites for couples (Davos and Gstaad exclusive igloo suites includes private jacuzzi). The Igloo Villages are perfectly suited to events, incentive schemes or any kind of occasion. The Igloo Hotels are completely built of snow and offer to the guests an unique and lifelong experience. All rooms are artistically decorated, the beds equipped with cosy lamb skin and sleeping bags. Depending on location, you can relax in either a communal sauna follow for a skinny dip to cool down in the snow outside (Davos and Gstaad) or jacuzzi (Engelberg, Zermatt and Zugspitze).
You can visit the igloo bars decorated with snow sculptures. The house speciality is red or white mulled wine.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

German resort host the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues on 26 and 27 January in Ofterschwang (Germany) with the Giant Slalom and Slalom races. The event will take place on the "Ofterschwanger Horn" course, its start being at 1300 m and the finish line at 920 m above sea level.
Ofterschwang is a municipality in Oberallgäu, in Bavaria. Ofterschwang is actually an agglomeration of several small villages in the foothills west of Sonthofen and east of the Austrian border. In the two valley ski resort Ofterschwang-Gunzesried, there are seven lifts and a 30 kilometres of slopes. The area enjoys a scenic view of mountains that are close to 3,000 metres, such as the Ofterschwanger Horn, the Riedberger Horn and the Dreifahnenkopf.
Spanish giant slalom specialist Maria Jose Rienda will make her season's first appearance in Ofterschwang thus ending her comeback struggle to the "high level" competitive skiing after a serious and long knee injury. "I most certainly have an extremely difficult period behind me. Now, with newly discovered enthusiasm I'm opening a new chapter in my career. I don't expect great results in Ofterschwang due to the really long and hard period of recovery".

The Kandahar, Men's Alpine World Cup in Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Chamonix valley celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Kandahar event on the mythical piste of La Verte in Les Houches. Created in 1928, it was the first international alpine competition to combine downhill and slalom events. This legendary race has become the main sporting event in Chamonix and is one of the reasons for the valley's celebrated skiing reputation. Today it is among the greatest downhill courses alongside Wengen and Kitzbuhel.
Two events of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup will take place on saturday 26 and sunday 27 in the French resort: Downhill and Super Combined. Chamonix offers a multitude of slopes for all levels in three ski areas : Brévent/Flégère, offering south-facing slopes and exceptional views of the Mont-Blanc chain, the Grands Montets, high altitude north-facing slopes which dominate the village of Argentière and the Balme area, wide open slopes at the top of the Chamonix valley, bordering on Switzerland. The resort of les Houches lies at the opposite end of the valley.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winter X Games in Aspen-Snowmass

Winter X Games 12 will be held January 24-27, 2008 in Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado (USA). The annual Winter X Games is the premier winter action sports event in the world, featuring athletes from across the globe competing in three sports: Ski, Snowboard and Snowmobile. Three new disciplines will make their debut this year: Snowmobile Speed & Style, Skiing Big Air, and Snowboard Big Air.
Fifteen hours of live programming on ESPN and ABC will be offered as well as Winter X Games 12 coverage on ESPN International,, ESPN360, SportsCenter and ESPN2's X Center. Everyday you can watch the replay and highlights on Coverage starts on 25 January 2008. All events will be held at the base of Buttermilk Mountain. "It is always our goal to present our viewers and spectators with the best event and experience possible" said Rick Alessandri, senior vice president, ESPN consumer products and X Games managing director. "The concert venue at Wagner Park has been a great location and we hope to possibly return to the venue in the future. However, this year we have decided to move all of our events and our music stage to one venue. We invite all spectators, fans, and the Aspen community to join us at Buttermilk Mountain".
The X Games is an annual multiaction sports event. ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Action Sports, first developed its X Games franchise in 1995. Today, the X Games are the biggest action sports events in the world. The games are broken into seasons: the Winter X Games—held in January or February—and the X Games—usually held in August. The location of the Winter X Games is in Aspen through 2010, while the location for the Summer X Games is in Los Angeles through 2009. The X Games also has international competitions and demos around the world that are held at varying times throughout the year.

Winter X 11 Games Highlights

Monday, January 21, 2008

Men´s Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Austria

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues tomorrow in Schladming, Austria, with the Slalom race. The nightrace has become one of the classics in alpine ski. More than 50,000 fans will go to Schladming’s Planai to see their stars.
Schladming is located in Styria, 60 minutes from Salzburg, between the magnificent southern walls of the Dachstein Massif and the peaks of the Schladminger Tauern.
The Schladming-Dachstein Ski Paradise (Planai & Hochwurzen, Hauser Kaibling, Reiteralm, Fageralm, Stoderzinken und Ramsau am Dachstein) offers 223 kilometres of slopes and 109 ski-lifts including the Dachstein glacier.
The Schladming-Dachstein Ski Paradise is a member of the Ski Amadé, Austria’s biggest ski alliance: one ski ticket for 5 ski regions with 860 km of slopes and 270 lifts.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mañana comienza Pirena 2008

Pirena 2008-Gran Premio Affinity Advance, una de las pruebas más importantes del mushing del calendario europeo, tendrá lugar entre los días 19 de enero y 2 de febrero. Después de la fiesta de bienvenida de todos los participantes en Zaragoza, la travesía iniciará su recorrido en el Pirineo Aragones, en la sierra de la Partacua, continuando por el Valle del Tena y la estación de esquí de Formigal. Después de recorrer los Valles del Aragón, el Valle de Aran, el Pallars-Sobira, el Pirineo francés, Andorra y por último, después de quince dias de dura travesia, la etapa final en la estación de esquí de La Molina.
Pirena es una prueba puntuable para la Copa del Mundo IFSS (International Federation Sleddog Sports) y para la Copa de Europa ESDRA. Además ha sido declarada competición oficial de la Federación Catalana de deportes de Invierno (FCEH) y de la Real Federación Española de Deportes de Invierno (RFEDI).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Cortina d'Ampezzo

Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Cortina d'Ampezzo with three events. The Downhill race will take place on Saturday and the SG on Sunday's. The endless history of the SG cancelled in Aspen in December because of bad weather conditions and rescheduled in Cortina on Friday 18th should finish next week and it has been officially rescheduled on Monday 21st.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the most charming ski resorts in Italy. Located near the north-eastern border with Austria, and surronded by the imposing peaks of the Tofana, the Monte Cristallo and the Sorapis Dolomites, Cortina is known as the "Regina delle Dolomiti". The resort is part of the Dolomiti Superski Ski Paradise. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200 kilometres of maintained pistes served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket. Cortina offers, with the purchase of a Valley Skipass, the chance to ski in the skiing area Cortina d'Ampezzo, Auronzo-Misurina and San Vito di Cadore with a total of 140 kilometres of pistes served by 51 lifts and linked by buses. Snowmaking was increased to cover 95 per cent of the slopes.
Olympic village with international flair, Cortina d’Ampezzo bids for Alpine World Ski Championships of 2013.

Kitzbühel hosts the Men´s Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup

The 68th International Hahnenkamm Race will be staged in Kitzbühel from January 18th to 20th 2008. Four events of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup will take place in the Tyrolean resort: Giant Slalom, the famous Downhill on the Streif one of the most demanding runs of the FIS downhill calender, Slalom and Combined. With a total prize money purse of 550,000 Euros and nearly 80,000 spectators expected during the weekend, the Hahnenkanmm races are by known as the most prestigious during the World Cup season. The Kitzbühel races are part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).
Kitzbühel is one of Austria's best known and fanciest winter sport resorts. The city is situated along the river Kitzbühler Ache, and the car free historic centre is spectacular with cobbled streets and lovely medieval buildings.
The Kitzbühel Ski Paradise located at 800 meters above sea level, is conveniently embedded in the Kitzbüheler Horn, Bichlalm and Hahnenkamm mountain ranges offering 56 modern lifts, managed by the Bergbahn AG Kitzbüheland, serving 168 kilometres of ski runs and ski routes for all levels and abilities (13 black, 25 red and 22 blue pistes and 10 ski routes).


Avoriaz is a car free ski resort in the French Alps situated between Mont Blanc and Lake Leman. The pedestrian streets and the horse-drawn sleighs portray a romantic mountain image. Developed by the impulse of promoter Gerard Bremond in 1966, Avoriaz is rather distinctive amongst the 60's and 70's purpose built ski resorts. Jacques Labro, architect and Grand Prix de Rome, built the Dromonts hotel, inaugurated in Christmas 1966 and this design set the tone for the rest of the development. The design of this building avoided the Alpine Chalets more commonly found in this region in favour of a bold and unique design more in keeping with its cliff top location. The buildings of Avoriaz developed for Jacques Labro and his team (Jean-Jacques Orzoni and Jean-Marc Roques) are mainly built in wood and slate and from a distance blend into the surrounding mountain. The ski resort was developed in three phases between 1966-2000. In the first period Dromonts Village was constructed. In the 70's the Crozats Village, built during the oil crisis, changed the concept. In the 80's the Falaise Village supposed a return to the origins.
Avoriaz is located at the heart of the Portes du Soleil, a French-Swiss vast ski domain, one of the largest ski areas in the Alps, with 278 ski slopes, 650 kilometres of pistes and 202 skilifts available with one ski lift pass. Situated at 1,800 metres above sea level and with an average snowfall of 8,29 metres (over the last ten years) the ski resort is a ski paradise for all kind of skiers with 28 black, 104 red, 112 blue and 34 green pistes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tomorrow starts Avoriaz's Second International Forum: Wintersports resorts for a better world

The Second International Forum will take place the 17th and 18th January 2008 in the French ski resort Avoriaz. The aim will be to bring together top international mountain environment specialists to nurture stimulating reflexions about the future of ecological mountain resorts. Destined for all those playing a part in mountain life (resort managers, tourist companies, communities, etc.), the enriching of the contents of these reunions will take place notably by the parallel organization of workshops/conferences and exhibitions of innovative products and equipment that hold solutions for issues linked to environmental protection. These meetings will provide the opportunity for the most advanced companies in this field to exhibit top-of-the-range equipment as far as environmental performance is concerned for snow-clearing and winter maintenance of ski slopes, landscaping and maintenance of mountain terrain, renewable energy sources, water and waste management in the mountains, etc.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Swiss Ski Resorts introduce radar monitors to control speed on the slopes

Skiers are being tracked by radar monitors as part of an insurance company's bid to raise awareness of the dangers of taking to the slopes too fast. Insurance company Suva said it has set up the radar devices at the Andermatt ski resort in the the Gotthard holiday region, and plans to expand to 12 other resorts in Switzerland during the current winter season.
Skiers are invited to pass by the monitor and then estimate the speed recorded. Those who are correct within two kilometres per hour will receive a "small present," the company said. First results show that most skiers underestimate their speed by 10-20 kph, Suva spokeswoman Marie-Christine Repond said. "Very few people judge their speed correctly. Skiers can hit 50 kph or even more very quickly".
A collision at 50 kilometres per hour can lead to injuries equivalent to those from a fall of nearly 10 metres, while one at 80 kilometres per hour is equal to a fall of 25 metres, Suva said.
The company has recorded around 70,000 accidents and a dozen deaths on Swiss ski slopes in recent years.
There are no plans however to introduce speed limits or penalties, though the Swiss accident prevention bureau is considering making it compulsory for children to wear helmets on the slopes.
Two years ago Grindelwald introduced a 30 kilometres per hour speed limit on one of its runs.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pitztal Lift Company buys IDE Snowmaker

Pitztal Gletscherbahnen is the second Company to order, following Zermatt’s footsteps, a new kind of artificial snow system: the IDE’s All Weather Snowmaker. Dr. Hans Rubatscher Manager of the Pitztaler Glacier lift company said their 1.5 million Euro investment into the optimization of the existing facilities meant that they would be able to guarantee early autumn opening. He also said the idea of installing the IDE system first arose during the exceptionally warm fall of 2006.
IDE Technologies is a world leader and pioneer in water desalination, wastewater concentrators and purifiers. The snowmaking technology comes from the mining industry where it is used to cool the goldmines. IDE’s All Weather Snowmaker is a unique, environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient solution. The energy it requires for a year is the equivalent to that of one household.
Pitztal is Austria’s highest glacier ski area (the Pitz Panoramabahn brings skiers 3,440m above sea level) and one of the five Tyrolean glaciers among which you can enjoy skiing all year round. The glacier ski area offers 28 kilometres of pistes (6 blue, 17 red and 5 black) served by 7 lifts (1 funicular, 1 cable car of 16 gondolas connected together into 4 groups, 1 gondola, 1 chair lift and 4 drag lifts).

The 44th World Cup Golden Fox in Maribor

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Giant Slalom and Slalom races takes place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 in Mariborsko Pohorje (Slovenia) a low mountain range whose highest peak reaches 1347 metres close to the city of Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city. You can reach the gondola that runs from the valley to the ski slopes by city bus. The ski resort offers three ski areas: Snow Stadium, Bolfenk and Areh with 40 kilometres of pistes connected by 21 lifts (1 gondola, 4 chairlifts and 16 drag lifts) with a transport capacity of 19,200 persons/hour. Snow making facilities and careful grooming guarantee 100 days of skiing, and when temperatures remain low enough, the trails are snow-covered all the way to the valley. The area is lit for night skiing, and its illuminated five kilometer ski run is the longest in Europe.
Slovenian best known ski centers world-wide are Kranjska Gora and Maribor. Last year, because the lack of snow and cold weather, the 43rd Golden Fox Trophy was forced to move to Kranjska Gora.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary dies

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest (8,850 metres), died of a heart attack at the Auckland City Hospital at the age of 88. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt.
Since his ascent, Sir Edmund has devoted his life to helping the Sherpas of Nepal's Khumbu region through the Himalayan Trust a non-profit organization set up by the New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. The organization is dedicated to improving the living conditions and economy of people living in the Himalayas. Although he will always be remembered for reaching the summit of Everest, his greatest satisfaction came with the Nepalese people he befriended. He explained: "My most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and clinics. That has given me more satisfaction than a footprint on a mountain" . He was made an honorary Nepalese citizen in 2003.
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".

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

78th International Lauberhorn Ski Race in Wengen

The 78th International Lauberhorn race takes place in Wengen (Switzerland) next weekend. As part of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup this is taking place from January 11th to 13th, 2008 with three events, a Super Combination, a Downhill and a Slalom races. The International Lauberhorn races are part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).
Wengen (1274 m) is a car free resort located on a sheltered, sun-soaked terrace, 400 metres above the picturesque Lauterbrunnen Valley. The fantastic surrounding scenery is dominated by the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau massif.
The holiday destination of Wengen is situated in the in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, 18 kilometres from Interlaken, the Lakes of Thun and Brienz, and close to the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn. The Jungfrau Region Ski Paradise offers 45 lifts and 213 kilometres of pistes in three different ski areas: Grindelwald-First, Wengen (Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen) and Mürren-Schilthorn, with its revolving Piz Gloria Restaurant, made world-famous by the James Bond film On her Majesty's Secret Service. offers 45 lifts and 213 kilometres of pistes.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Law banning off-piste skiing in two areas of Vallorcine in the Chamonix Valley

Patrick Ancey, the current Mayor of Vallorcine, has passed a by-law banning off piste skiing within parts of his commune. The ban, valid from the start of the 2007/2008 season, bans skiiers/boarders from entering the very avalanche-prone off piste zone of the Aiguillette des Posettes which is above the cross country ski area in Vallorcine, 10 kilometres of cross country pistes starting from the foyer or Le Buet, along the banks of the river 'Eau Noire'. Another area has received a ban when the avalanche risk is three or above.
Patrick Ancey, who is himself a mountain guide, claims that these bans are necessary to protect areas in his commune. The main problem is that the area can be accessed by the Posettes chairlift from the neighboring village of Le Tour and so access is not under the direct control of Vallorcine.
Such by-laws are controlled by the state. Legal experts believe that ban is illegal under French law. A ban must respond to a clear risk, level 3 on the avalanche bulletin may too general to count, it must be proportionate to the risk and limited in time. Previously the resort had circumvented the current state of French law by declaring the area as a nature reserve as there are sensitive species in the area. However, the ban is expected to remain in place for the whole of the 2007/08 season, despite objections.
Vallorcine is a small authentic mountain village located at the gateway of the region of Mont Blanc near Switzerland, composed of hamlets scattered on the mountain sides.
Last Friday, January 4th, three skiers have died after being buried in an avalanche at Formigal, a ski centre in the Spanish Pyrenees.
Click here to watch a new video published by the Chamonix Tourism Office about the dangers that you have to face in mid-range and high altitude mountain in winter and summer.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Switzerland

The FIS Ski World Cup Adelboden on the Chuenisbärgli Mountain will take place on Saturday 5th January with the Giant Slalom and on Sunday 6th January 2007 with the Slalom. The event is officially recognised as one of the "Swiss Top Sport" events, and one of Switzerland's fourteen foremost sporting attractions. Adelboden is also part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).
The holiday destination Adelboden-Frutigen is situated in the centre of the western Bernese highlands, 15 kilometres south lake Thun, and is one of the best ski resorts in Switzerland. In combination with the neighbour resort of Lenk offers 56 lifts and 185 kilometres of pistes with 60% of the slopes equipped with snowmaking facilities. A Ski Paradise with six different ski areas (Elsigen-Metsch, Engstligenalp, Tschentenalp, Chuenisbärgli, Adelboden Silleren-Hahnenmoos-Metsch Lenk, Betelberg) operated by 5 different companies (Lenk Bergbahnen, Bergbahnen Adelboden AG, Tschentenbahnen AG, Bergbahnen Engstlipenalp AG and Elsigenalpbahnen AG) in which every skier will find his or her ideal conditions (80.5 km of blue slopes, 83 km of red slopes and 21 km of black slopes).

The Alpine Ski World Cup visits the Czech Republic

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues on 5 and 6 January in Spindleruv Mlyn with the Giant Slalom and Slalom races. Spindleruv Mlyn, situated in the north-east Bohemia along the polish border, is one of the most popular skiing centre in the Czech Republic. The town lies in the Giant Mountain National Park at 715 - 1310 metres above the sea level where the Dolsky stream joins the river Labe. The ski resort, named Skiareal, has 5 cableways and 11 ski lifts in two different ski areas: Špindlerův Mlýn and Horní Mísečky, with a total of 26 kilometres of slopes (3 black slopes, 10 red and 7 blue). 95 % of the slopes can be covered by artificial snow in the case of bad weather conditions. The resort attracts around 700,000 visitors each winter season.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Lugares míticos de los Alpes (IV): Saas Fee (3)

Ayer comentaba como Saas Fee ha realizado una apuesta decidida por la sostenibilidad. El punto de partida lo situábamos en 1951 cuando la comunidad decidió prohibir el tráfico rodado en el casco urbano, quedando reservado a los peatones y los vehículos (taxis y pequeños autobuses) propulsados por motores eléctricos.
Ese compromiso de las instituciones y la comunidad local con la sostenibilidad se ve correspondido por unos turistas que valoran y se sienten identificados con esa política. Recordemos que la reducción del impacto ambiental de nuestra sociedad depende fundamentalmente del compromiso individual. Cada uno de nosotros en nuestra vida cotidiana podemos adoptar comportamientos, que sin reducir nuestra calidad de vida, contribuyan a una mejor conservación de nuestro entorno. Además podemos mostrarnos como consumidores comprometidos con la sostenibilidad escogiendo aquellos productos y servicios que se identifiquen con estos valores y apliquen una política activa para alcanzar ese objetivo.
Renunciar a utilizar nuestro vehículo para desplazarnos hasta Saas Fee y apreciar el valor de un espacio sin coches donde podemos pasear libres de humos y ruidos es una identificación con el compromiso por la sostenibilidad. La obligación de colaborar activamente en la gestión de residuos sería otro ejemplo.
Por último quisiera recoger un hecho anecdótico que considero muy ilustrativo. La nochevieja es tradición en Suiza que sus habitantes salgan a la calle con la llegada del nuevo año a lanzar fuegos artificiales y otros elementos pirotécnicos. Junto a nuestro apartamento, una familia hizo un verdadero despliegue de luz y color. A la mañana siguiente pudimos contemplar como el padre y el hijo regresaron al lugar y recogieron todos los restos que quedaron en la nieve la noche anterior. No fue un caso único como pudimos comprobar al desplazarnos por la estación. La limpieza de sus calles y la casi total ausencia de basuras no era el resultado de la actuación de las brigadas de limpieza sino la consecuencia lógica de un comportamiento cívico y un compromiso individual con la conservación del medioambiente.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lugares míticos de los Alpes (IV): Saas Fee (2)

Los pronósticos apuntan una degradación de la situación meteorológica para los próximos días, con precipitaciones en forma de nieve. De momento hoy hemos vuelto a disfrutar de un día maravilloso de esquí aunque las piernas empiezan a resentirse especialmente dadas las condiciones de la nieve, dura y con algunas placas de hielo.
Saas Fee es una estación que además del increíble paisaje que la adorna cuenta con algunas características que la convierten en un destino especialmente atractivo para algunos mercados, especialmente para el familiar, con una oferta de actividades muy amplia. Además la comunidad ha comprendido que su competitividad depende de la correcta conservación de los valores naturales que hacen de este lugar un espacio único. La apuesta es por tanto ofrecer un servicio de calidad y realizar una adecuada gestión medioambiental, en definitiva una oferta de turismo sostenible.
Las pistas son suficientes para que disfrutemos durante nuestra estancia, aunque repitamos varias veces muchas de ellas, y algunas son perfectas para perfeccionar nuestra técnica. Dentro de estas podemos destacar la pista roja y negra nº. 2 (Galen) a la que accedemos utilizando el telecabina Plattjen. Al tratarse de una pista menos concurrida, nosotros hemos comenzado esquiando por las mañanas en esta zona esperando a que las colas para acceder al glaciar se despejaran.
El glaciar es sin duda alguna el Ski Paradise de esta localidad del Valais. Con una altitud máxima de 3.600 metros accedemos utilizando el funicular llamado Metro Alpin. La zona de esquí esta situada a los pies del Allalinhorn, la montaña más emblemática de Saas Fee, y junto al Feegletscher, una impresionante masa de hielo que desciende hacia el pueblo y que se nos muestra sobrecogedora. Es esta una de las zonas de esquí de verano mejores de los Alpes con 20 kilómetros de pistas servidos por tres telearrastres. En el encontramos un Snowr Park que en verano hace las delicias de los snowboarders y los amantes del Freestyle.
Por último decir que en el dominio podemos encontrar una oferta de bares y restaurantes de montaña mas que satisfactoria, donde disfrutar de una cerveza o alguna de las especialidades de la cocina alpina suiza mientras contemplamos unas vistas espectaculares.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Lugares míticos de los Alpes (IV): Saas Fee

El sábado pasado Saas Fee nos recibió nevando ligeramente. Saas-Fee es la localidad principal del Valle de Saas, sin duda uno de los valles más espectaculares del Valais y de los Alpes, lo que le ha valido ser conocida con el apelativo de la “Perla de los Alpes”. Saas Fee es un pueblo bien conservado donde pasear por sus calles se ve facilitado por la decisión que la comunidad adoptó en 1951 por la que se cerró el casco urbano al trafico rodado.
Saas Fee es una estación pequeña situada a 1.800 metros sobre el nivel del mar que cuenta con 100 kilómetros de pistas de dificultad media. Los espesores oscilan entre los 30 y los 115 centímetros de nieve polvo dura. La orientación norte de la estación y las elevadas cumbres de las montañas que la rodean, por encima de los 4.000 metros, permiten que la nieve se conserve en unas condiciones excepcionales.
La posibilidad de esquiar rodeado de glaciares es sin ningún género de dudas uno de los elementos que convierten a esta localidad en una de las citas ineludibles para todos aquellos que amamos los Alpes. Durante estos tres primeros días de esquí el sol nos ha acompañado aunque las temperaturas han sido francamente bajas (-18 º en el glaciar).