Thursday, February 28, 2008

Arber (Germany) hosts the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup

The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues on March 1st and 2nd in Arber (Germany) with the Giant Slalom and Slalom races (Arber Kristall Pokal). The first Arber World-Cup race took place in 1975/76 at the Grosser Arber.
Located in the south-eastern part of Germany near the Czech border on the road from Munich to Plzen, Zwiesel has been known for a long time for its fine Crystal factories.
The Grosser Arber (1456 m) is the highest peak of the Bavarian-Bohemian-Mountain Ridge. The ski resort offers 7 kilometres of pistes (3 blue, 2 red and 2 black) served by 6 lifts (1 six-seater gondola, 2 six-seater chairlifts and 3 drag lifts) with a longest run of 5,000 m. The FIS racing runs and the new World-Cup Run, which is also the training slope for the federal training center for alpine skiing LLZ, provide the opportunity for sport skiing and carving.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Next stop for the Men's Alpine Ski World Cup: Norway

The Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Races (Downhill and Super G) will take place in Kvitfjell on the Olympic Downhill and Super-G courses on Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd of March 2008. This is the 13th year after the successful 1994 Olympics that Kvitfjell hosts Alpine World Cup races. Additionally, the men's World Cup downhill cancelled in Val d'Isere will take place next Friday.
Kvitfjell was built for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games. Since then, it has become one of the best and most modern ski resorts in Northern Europe. Kvitfjell is located just 2.5 hours north of the Oslo Airport. The ski are offers 24 kilometres of slopes with a vertical drop of 854 metres (from the top at 1039 m to 185 m above sea level) served by 9 lifts: 3 chairlifts, 3 T-Bar lifts, 2 telescopic lifts and 1 belt lift. You can find a piste for everyone with 7 green, 5 blue, 6 red and 3 black with a longest run of 3,500 m.

Monday, February 25, 2008

FIS Campaigns to promote Alpine Skiing (II)

At its meeting in Bariloche (ARG) in November 2007, the FIS Council decided that FIS undertake a year-long project which aims to ‘optimize' the FIS Alpine World Cup. The goal of the project is to assess the current state of the event series and suggest improvements designed to attract new fans to the sport of skiing and especially to alpine ski racing, as well as to bring additional value to current fans and partners of the sport. The project will concentrate on the areas of TV production, look and feel of the circuit, and event marketing, promotion and fan experience activities. FIS is collaborating with Infront Sports & Media AG of Zug (SUI) in this project.
Various experts from all different interest areas have been invited to contribute to the project. Following the initial brainstorming and development of ideas in progress, specific recommendations will be submitted to the FIS Council at its next meeting in Cape Town (RSA) at the end of May 2008.

FIS Campaigns to promote Alpine Skiing (I)

The International Ski Federation (FIS) is going to launch in the 2008/09 winter season a world-wide campaign to promote playing in the snow as the number one outdoor activity choice for kids and the youth in winter. The main aim of the “Bring Kids Back to the Snow” campaign is to generate passion for snow activities with the younger generations. The campaign will target kids and youngster aged 0-14 and their parents and families along with teachers and national and regional decision-makers, especially in the areas of education, sport and health. The target market for “Bring Kids Back to the Snow” will be countries which have snow on a regular basis or interest in snow sports.
This project - Bring Kids Back to the Snow- is crucial for encouraging children and families to spend more time in the snow”, said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. “Our partners in the ski industry have already pledged their support for making snow activities more appealing and accessible to families and kids and youngsters. Playing in the snow is one of the best ways to make children and the youth more active in winter time. It is also a great family experience and we must make sure more children and youngsters experience the joy of playing in the snow”.
The first milestone for the “Bring Kids Back to the Snow” campaign will be a presentation to the 46th International Ski Congress to be held in Cape Town (RSA) in May 2008.

For more information click here

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Size is important in the Ski Industry

I wrote in a recent article about Zermatt how ski resorts have been forced to invest and innovate to remain competitive. Today, I want to focus our attention in all Switzerland. We can found 650 mountain transport and ski lift companies in all the country. They provide access to 12,000 kilometres of ski slopes. With 11,000 employees, the companies are a key economic factor in mountain regions. All together they have a combined annual turnover of approximately SFr840 million.
But most of the Swiss resorts can not compete in the current circunstances. Most of them are small and located in peripheral regions, they have low cash flow, an inability to attract investment capital, and are crippled by high labour costs, services and food. According to professor Thomas Bieger, head of the Institute for Public Services and Tourism at St Gallen University: "The Swiss ski industry is split into two camps: bigger companies (who managed large international resorts) that are innovative and can keep pace with global developments, and too many operators in small ski areas who don't have the means to invest". Bieger told swissinfo that consolidation is one of the answers to the problem. "Only then do you have enough money to make investments". He believes only around 20 of today's 164 medium-to-large ski resorts in Switzerland can be competitive internationally. And the large investments being made by these top 20 are reflected in the price because"If you target the wealthy, you will have stable and higher revenues in the long-run".
Zermatt is one of the Swiss leading resorts with enough capacity to invest to remain competitive, and can afford to focus its attentions on wealthy holidaymakers. But in an increasingly global industry, ski resorts need to look to the international market to found their clients. In Zermatt Swiss market still account for about one-third of all nights spent in local hotels or apartments, but tourist director Daniel Luggen says the number of Swiss visitors has decreased over the past five years and "one of the reasons is that Zermatt has increased capacity (to meet foreign demand)".
Medium-sized ski areas have important reasons to be worried about their future. First of all they do not have the capacity to draw holidaymakers from international markets. Secondly, they have not the capacity to invest in new facilities. For example a recent study found that one in three Swiss ski lift companies could not afford to upgrade its snowmaking infrastructure – considered a vital survival strategy nowadays. They need outside investors to deal with this, but investors are only interested in "integrated" models where the infrastructure – from the lifts and sport shops to the hotels and restaurants – are under single management. But there is no one company running everything in the typical Swiss resort. "Investors need to be able to make money from income streams that aren't completely snow-related", Rusty Gregory, CEO of California's Mammoth Mountain ski area explained in swissinfo: "It's very important to consolidate these income streams before [they] can bring capital in to improve the lifts and other aspects of the resort". These resorts"are only active in small markets and so it will be much more difficult for them to attract capital or foreign investors" Luggen said. "I'm convinced that some of these resorts will have to close in future".

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leading Companies in the Ski Industry

Today I started publishing a series of articles in a new categorie (Ski Tourism) in the IE Tourism and Leisure Weblog. The first of them analyse the case of the Compagnie des Alpes (CDA), the largest company in the European Ski Industry. Thanks to a recent agreement with SOFIVAL, the Group operates in the 2007/2008 winter season 18 ski areas (stake on the companies swing between 100% and 20%): La Plagne, Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d’Isere, Les Menuires, Flaine et Giffre, Méribel, Peisey-Vallandry, Serre Chevalier, Chamonix, Courmayeur, Verbier, Saas Fee, Riederalp, Morzine-Avoriaz, Valmorel and Le Rosière in three countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. The CDA Group constitutes 28% of the French market in terms of skier days, and close to 38% in lift sales. It makes up 9% of the European market for skier days. Compagnie des Alpes will be world leader in terms of visitor numbers with 18 million skier days in 2007/2008.
As part of the IE Communities the purpose of this sectorial community is to create a common, open space for all professionals from the tourism and leisure sector. A place to share ideas and thoughts with colleagues from the same field and with others interested in the development of this important and dynamic sector. The exchange of ideas, lines of research, and studies on current issues that concern all directors in this sector will help members of the community to develop their careers, launch new initiatives and advance their organisations. Community members will have access to a broad variety of resources, including subject-specific forums and virtual meeting rooms. Tourism and Leisure IE Community wants to become a worldwide reference point for all professionals in the sector, a hub of knowledge of tourism realities.

Great news for Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony

David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver–Whistler Olympics, today announced that the Government of Canada will contribute $20 million of VANOC’s total $40-million Opening and Closing Ceremonies budget. “The Government of Canada is a proud supporter of the 2010 Winter Games. We, and all Canadians, look forward to a memorable Opening Ceremony that will allow the world to see the best that Canada has to offer”, said Minister Emerson.
The Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games will capture the heart and spirit of Vancouverites, British Columbians, and Canadians. “The Opening Ceremony is our biggest chance to speak to a global audience and tell the story of a contemporary Canada that will inspire the world. So many talented Canadians have shared their thoughts and hopes for the ceremonies over the past six weeks and we are most grateful”, said John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).
The Games Ceremonies are mandated by the International Olympic Committee to promote international peace and understanding, honouring the world’s greatest athletes, and celebrating humanity. The Opening Ceremony will take place in Vancouver’s 60,000-seat BC Place Stadium, on February 12, 2010, and will welcome members of the Olympic Family and guests from around the world.

Friday, February 22, 2008

FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup goes to Whistler

The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup continues in Whistler (Canada). Whistler will be the official Alpine Skiing Venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Consistently ranked one of the top ski resorts in North America, the Whistler Resort welcomes more than two million visitors each year. Located in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler is approximately 115 kilometres from Vancouver. The men will compete in a super-G on Thursday, 21st February and in a giant slalom on Saturday, 23rd February. The ladies will compete in a downhill on Friday, 22nd February and in a super combined on Sunday, 24th February. The men's races will be held on the Dave Murray Downhill while the ladies race on the course named Franz's Run. Franz's Run name remenbers the personality of Franz Wilhelmsen, the driving force behind Whistler. He had a vision in the early 1960s of seeing Whistler Mountain as a major ski area catering to Vancouver and Seattle skiers. Through his tenacity, he managed to open Whistler Mountain in February 1966. Franz's was his favourite run and named in his honour.
The competitions will serve as the test events for all things related to the operations on the field of play for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games to be held on the same courses.
The two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb are connected by a pedestrian Village and offers a ski area of 3,307 hectares with three glaciers and 200 trails served by 38 lifts. In Whistler you can enjoy a vertical drop of 1609 metres, between the highest Lift Accessed Elevation situated at 2,284 metres and the Whistler Village situated at 675 metres, of ski terrain covered with great snow (average snowfall: 10.22 metres per year).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

La Pinilla

Los alumnos de Ski Paradise Productions han publicado un vídeo sobre la estación de esquí y montaña de La Pinilla.

Zermatt: A leading resort in the Alps

Zermatt (Valais, Switzerland) can be included in the selected group of the international destination resorts that attract skiers from all over the world. Zermatt is a car-free resort and mountain village at the foot of the Matterhorn, surrounded by an incredible landscape of mountains and glaciers.
Zermatt Bergbahnen, the largest aerial cableway company in Switzerland, understands nowadays the challenges for the ski resorts are gaining competitive advantage by being environmentally friendly and offering a quality service. On completion of a multistage auditing process carried out over a period of around one and a half years, the staff of Zermatt Bergbahnen have been granted on September 25, 2005, ISO-9001 Quality management certification and ISO-14001 Environment management certification for all enterprise areas of activity.
Also, ski resorts have been forced to invest and innovate to remain competitive; new ski lifts, snow making machines, cultural, sports and entertainment facilities and refurbished buildings are some of the necessary measures employed to render resorts more attractive. Since 2002, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG has invested CHF 105 million in transport equipment, CHF 39 million in pistes and artificial snow equipment, and CHF 34 million in property and vehicles.
On September 2007 Zermatt Bergbahnen AG reported figures substantially ahead of those reported five years ago at the time of the merger. The relatively warm winter seen again in 2006/07, with scant natural snowfall, proved the CHF 40 million in capital expenditures for artificial snow equipment to be a wise investment. An armada of over 700 lances and snow machines made it possible to open over 100 km of top-quality slopes in early December. The Matterhorn ski paradise posted record attendance for the period between Christmas and New Year's, with an additional 2,000 to 5,000 guests per day and 15,045 daily passes sold on the peak day of New Year's Eve 2006.
Matterhorn ski paradise daily pass sales for the last winter were up by 42,940 year-on-year (3.2%) to 1,368,920, and seasonal pass sales by 733,470 (7.3%) to 10,671,230. For the full-year, sales totalled 1.8 million daily passes and 12,956,230 seasonal passes. With over 2 million skiing days, the Matterhorn ski paradise is one of the largest contiguous ski areas in the world.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

II Seminario Internacional de Turismo de Nieve

El Seminario Internacional de Turismo de Nieve ha cumplido su primera semana. Desde el pasado lunes los alumnos asistentes han podido disfrutar de la práctica del esquí en la Estación de Esquí y Montaña de La Pinilla al tiempo que dedicaban las tardes a analizar distintos aspectos relacionados con la gestión de las estaciones de esquí y el turismo de nieve. Entre los temas tratados por el Director del Seminario y de los estudios de Turismo de la IE Universidad, el profesor Raúl Revuelta Carbajo, destacan un repaso de la historia del turismo de invierno tomando como modelo y caso de estudio el turismo alpino, la evolución de las estaciones de esquí, las nuevas tendencias en la gestión de las estaciones o el análisis de los principales motivos que llevan a los turistas a los distintos centros invernales.
Durante la próxima semana las sesiones giraran en torno a la organización de eventos en estaciones de esquí y montaña. Después de una primera jornada de carácter introductorio, las posteriores sesiones se desarrollaran mediante el análisis de distintos ejemplos de eventos que tienen como escenario destinos turísticos de montaña, como los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno, los Campeonatos del Mundo de Esquí Alpino, la Copa del Mundo, la Red Bull X-Alps, los Nissan Outdoor Games, la Nissan O‘Neill Xtreme Verbier, los Winter X Games, etc.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Croatia

Sljeme's "Crveni spust" Slalom course in Zagreb (Croatia) is ready for the Ladies and Men's races. The "Vip Snow Queen Trophy" Alpine Slalom will take place tomorrow night, February 15 and the Men's Slalom on Sunday, February 17. This is the 4th FIS World Cup event on Mount Sljeme.
After the Men's race the humanitarian "HYPO Zagreb Ski Legends" race event starts, participated by 16 ski legends who will be competing in a parallel giant slalom. You will thus have a chance to see virtuous performances of Alberto Tomba, Marc Girardelli, Ingemar Stenmark, Stefan Eberharter, Bojan Krizaj, Franz Klammer, Günter Mader, Thomas Sikora, Hilde Gerg, Finn Christian Jagge, Jure Kosir, Armin Bittner and some others. The money collected at the humanitarian race will go to the Gornja Bistra special hospital for chronic child diseases.
The Croatian capitol Zagreb Ski Area is only twenty minutes away from the city center. The ski slopes are situated on the northern slopes of Medvednica, beginning at the Sljeme peak and using the varied configuration of the terrain, thus providing slopes of different levels of difficulties. The total slope length is about 4,500 metres, with 2 ski lifts (the White and the Green Slope), as well as a three-seat ski lift on the Red Slope with a total capacity of 3300 skiers per hour. The Red Slope is equipped with a snowmaking and night illumination systems.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nissan Outdoor Games in Chamonix

From Thursday 14 February to Sunday 17 February seven teams with the top athletes representing the extreme sports of skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, speed-riding and BASE-jumping will be in Chamonix to dispute the Nissan Outdoor Games by Columbia film and photo competition.
After 3 summer editions of the event, the Outdoor Games happen in the amazing scenery of the Mont Blanc region during the winter season. For five days preceding the event, as a prelude to this fantastic alpine show, the winter games will host about sixty athletes, photographers and cameramen from Europe and the USA to take part in the competition. Their challenge: shooting and editing 20 pictures and a short film, which according to the rules, must be no longer than 5 minutes including a sequence of BASE jumping, paragliding, mountaineering, skiing and snowboarding.
On Saturday night, downtown Chamonix, the films and the photos are shown to the public on a giant screen. A professional jury elects the winner, like in any other film festival. Sports initiations, ice climbing competitions and many other animations are organized for the public with some of the world’s best athletes.


Ride the planets winner Nissan Outdoor Games winter 2008:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Volunteer application process for Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games begins today

Canadians and Games enthusiasts around the world invited for volunteer experience-of-a-lifetime at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Volunteer application process begins today at and through
Approximately 25,000 volunteers are needed to stage the 2010 Winter Games. The online application process will remain open for a minimum of six weeks to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to register. VANOC will notify the public before the application process closes, with a minimum of two weeks remaining. Applications may be submitted at any time during the open call and will be assessed on qualifications and not according to the time a submission was received during the application process.
Volunteering at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games is a great career move and an opportunity to participate in an event that is synonymous with passion, dedication and inspiration,” said Patrick Sullivan, President of Workopolis, VANOC’s Official Supplier of Online Recruitment.

PS (Feb., 14): After one day, more than 10,500 Games enthusiasts apply to volunteer for 2010 Winter Games; sets new single-day record of more than 1.3 million page views.

Monday, February 11, 2008

II Seminario Internacional de Turismo de Nieve

Del 10 al 22 de febrero, la Estación de Esquí y de Montaña "La Pinilla", ubicada en el Valle de Riaza (Segovia), acoge la segunda edición del seminario internacional de turismo de nieve organizado por la Universidad del Instituto de Empresa. Los alumnos, procedentes de Alemania y España, conoceran durante estos días la evolución histórica y el desarrollo actual de las estaciones de esquí y de montaña mediante el análisis de distintos modelos de gestión en Europa y en el continente americano.
El seminario ha sido inaugurado hoy en el Salón de Plenos del Ayuntamiento de Riaza por Benjamín Cerezo Hernández, Alcalde del Ayuntamiento de Riaza y Presidente del Consejo de Administración de La Pinilla, José Antonio Montejo Urioste, Concejal del Ayuntamiento de Riaza, y Consejero Delegado del Consejo de Administración de La Pinilla, Ramón Valle Palacios, Director de la Estación de Esquí y Montaña de La Pinilla y por Raúl Revuelta Carbajo, Director de los estudios de Turismo de la IE Universidad y Director del Seminario Internacional de Turismo de Nieve.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Val d'Isere FIS World Alpine Ski Championships

The International Ski federation (FIS) entrusted the organization of the 2009 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships to the French Ski Federation and Val d’Isère. The village candidature was the starting point for many projects based on the sustainable development of the town for the next fifty years. It is an opportunity to implement the various projects undertaken by the community acting in the interests of the alpine environment and way of life, or management of the expansion of the tourist trade. The FIS Organization contract signed by the Organizing Committee included this term in the "Principals of Organization" clause: "The national association, town and Local Organizing Committee agree and accept that the respect of the environment is an important factor and pledge to carry out their obligations and activities according to the terms and conditions of this present contract in such a way that all current legislations concerning the environment are fully respected, and whenever possible, to act in such a way to promote the protection of the environment". Val d'Isère Environment Committee set up the following guidelines:

  • carry out environmental impact assessments on all actions
  • adopt a " high environmental quality " (HEQ) approach for all buildings and plan a long-term use for them
  • work in association with ecologists and landscape architects for slope development work
  • work on transportation (to/from and within the resort) in the aim of a "car-free World Championships"
  • manage energy
  • create a master plan for water
  • increase waste matter valorisation
  • reduce tree felling to a minimum, program compensatory measures and integrate new town owned compartments in the sylvicultural system
  • approve the Risk Prevention Plan (taking into account the major risks in Val d'Isère, the pressure of the environment)
  • certify the World Championships ISO 14001
Val d'Isere has fully understood the necessity of improving on the environment in order to improve the quality of life in the village. During the 12 days of the 2009 World Championships, a predefined zone within the resort of Val d’Isère will create a “car-free” experience. The development of car parking, creation of car parks, road improvements and the definition of a pedestrian area -the area between the bus station and the Tourist Office roundabout- will all reduce traffic flow. These improvements are essential both for the organization of the World Championships and the successful running of the resort.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Men’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup will continue with a slalom event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Men’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup will continue with a slalom event on 9th February 2008 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The competition will be held on the new course on the legendary Gudiberg slope.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a market town in Bavaria, southern Germany. The twin cities were joined in 1936 for the celebration of the Winter Olympic Games. Traditionally, a ski jumping contest is held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year's Day, as a part of the Four Hills Tournament. A variety of Ski World Cup Races are also held here, usually on the Kandahar Track outside town. The 1978 Alpine World Skiing Championships were organized in Garmisch and the Alpine World Ski Championships 2011 is to be held there as well. It was also announced on December 8th 2007 that Garmisch-Partenkirchen will put in a bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics together with partner candidates Munich and Schönau am Königsee. Garmisch skiing in based on four main areas. The Kreuzeck, Osterfelder and Hausberg areas are connected to one another on the south side of the town. The Zugspitze area, under Germany's highest mountain, is reached by cable car or by mountain railway and is dealt with in Ski Germany's special Zugspitz skiing area, the"Germany's only glacier ski area". Garmisch has a tremendous variety of skiing for a relatively small ski area (72 kilometres of pistes served by 34 lifts).

Sestriere hosts the Ladies Alpine Ski World this Weekend

Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Sestriere with two events. The Downhill race will take place on Saturday 9th and the SG on Sunday 10th. The speed races will bring the athletes down on the Kandahar Banchetta Giovanni Nasi Olympic slope from the top of the Motta mountain for almost 3 km with a maximum gradient of 55% and a vertical drop of 800 metres.
The ski resort is located in the Piemonte region at 2,035 metres on the Col of Sestriere at the foot of Mount Sises and is surrounded by Mount Banchetta and Mount Fraiteve. Sestriere is a popular skiing resort, together with the villages of Claviere, Sauze d'Oulx, Cesana Torinese, San Sicario, Pragelato and the French Montgenèvre, it makes up the Via Lattea skiing area. It offers more that 200 skiing connected courses, that is a linear extension equal to 400 Km, whose altitude ranges from 1350 metres in Cesana to 2800 metres on top of the Motta course. 60% of the skiing area is covered by the planned snowmaking system net.
Sestriere regularly hosts Alpine Ski World Cup events, and it hosted the World Championships in 1997; it was a main venue during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, hosting the men's alpine skiing competitions and being the site of one of the three Olympic Villages.
The history of Sestrire goes back to the 1930s when senator and FIAT's founder Giovanni Agnelli commissioned the building of two towers to use it as Hotels on the huge meadows of the village's hill. In this place were also set up the first two cableways directed to Banchetta and Sises mountains.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

World Lift Ticket Price Report

Sponsored by, Snow24 have published the VIIth World Lift Ticket Price Report, comparing the high season, non-discounted, prices of six-day lift ticket at more than 550 ski areas in 40 countries (Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dubai/UAE, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, USA) around the world.
As in previous years US resorts lead the world in headline lift ticket prices with Vail selling the world’s most expensive peak season six day lift ticket at $552. But Report Editor Patrick Thorne said, “Whilst US resorts come out as the world’s most expensive on paper, the reality is that resorts like Vail and Whistler have the most sophisticated pricing models with dozens of price combinations and many ways to pay much less. A recent report in the Vail Daily News said that whilst Vail had the most expensive day ticket of $92, in reality last winter it averaged $47 per day ticket sold. In other parts of the world prices are often set at one rate all winter, so whilst you may get a better price at the ticket window high season, you’re less likely to make much of a saving any time”.
The World Lift Ticket Price Report shows how prices in Europe and North America have moved closer together as a result. Remarkably the most expensive lift tickets for single resorts in Europe are to by found in Spain, where price inflation has taken the cost of a six day pass at former Alpine World Championships centre and arguably the continents most southerly ski resort, Sierra Nevada, to $320.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ski Safaris

Clients are looking for unique experiences in their holidays, a trend specially remarkable in the ski and adventure market. Operators have the challenge to innovate more and more attractive products to fulfill the clients needs for emotional experiences. One of the most interesting offers I found in the current ski tourism panorama trying to meet clients new expectations is an UK Company named Ski Safari .
Ski Safari began over a decade ago by introducing multi-resort Ski Safaris in Canada to the UK market. A Ski Safari is a skiing holiday on which you visit two or more resorts, driving yourself between them. On a Ski Safari your flights, accommodation, vehicle and Ski Extras are all booked for you before you leave. As demand for North America grew the Company expanded to include the key resorts in the USA. Afterwards they include in their portfolio Ski Safaris in Switzerland and Japan.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ski to Live

Recently I read in a magazine about a Ski Clinic at three Utah ski resorts (Snowbird, Alta and Park City) called Ski to Live that uses Zen to teach students how to master fear and boost performance. Instruction consists on a four-day retreat of yoga sessions, on-hill ski coaching with Kristen Ulmer and her pro pals, and evening interactions with Zen master Genpo Roshi to let go of negative experiences and thoughts.
Kristen Ulmer was a mogul specialist on the US Ski Team and an American pioneer of the Extreme Sports revolution. Powder Magazine called her "The biggest icon the ski industry never expected" and the "protoplasmic mass of the ski industry" in a cover-feature about her life. Expanding into other dangerous sports such as rock and ice climbing, paragliding, adventure cycling and kiteboarding also scored her the vote in Women's Sports and Fitness Magazine as the most extreme woman athlete in North America. Kristen Ulmer was voted one of the ten skiers in the world "most likely to die". Jumping cliffs in ski flicks and being the first woman to ski down Wyoming's 4,179 metres Grand Teton were just two of her claims to fame.
Now called the “Ski Guru” by the American outdoor industry, she summarizes: "I'm proud of my ski career, and jumping off 70 foot cliffs was exciting, but not nearly as exciting as helping people access something they already know-- what they're capable of, not just as athletes, but as human beings".

Friday, February 1, 2008

Champs Open by Rip Curl in Crans Montana

The 17th edition of the Champs Open, one of the biggest European freestyle events starts today February 1st with training sessions in Crans-Montana (Switzerland). The best freeskiers and snowboarders in the world compete on a new course made up of two big airs, rails, a 60 metres superpipe and a quarterpipe. The competitions will be held in the center of the resort of Crans-Montana, on the slopes of Cry d’Er, at the junction of the cable cars Cry d’Er and Signal. At the center of the course, the “Place to Ride” village will be open to everyone with food and drinks, Hot Fondues from Gruyère AOC, free snowboard tests and music from the CHAMPS Open DJs.
After the competitions, the “Place to Be” situated at the Bretelle des Charmettes, will be open from 15:00 to 19:00. This “Après-Ski” gathering will allow spectators and competitors to meet in the very center of Crans. Every day the program will be as entertaining as the competitions with live concerts and DJs. The event’s main sponsors, Rip Curl, Swatch and Gruyère will also be giving out prizes through daily contests: Hot Fondues from Gruyère, Swatch watches, liftpasses for the snowboard finals on February 8th and many more…
The Champs Open will also organize a special “80’s Deluxe” party presented by Gustav Mag, which will start at the “Place to Be” and finish at the Monk’is and Amadeus for an unforgettable disco night.
Located on a sunny plateau in the heart of the Alps in the Valais, Crans-Montana offers visitors an outstanding Alpine panorama over the most beautiful peaks in the Alps, such as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Skiers and snowboarders will enjoy 140 kilometres of pistes including the mythical Plaine Morte and the National. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were held in Crans-Montana in 1987.

Freeski programme

Snowboard programme

Men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup goes to Val d'Isere

One year before Val d'Isere celebrates the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, the International french resort hosts the men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill and Super Combined races on February, 2 and 3, 2008. The slopes to be used at these events are exactly the same as what will be raced in the 2009 World Championships, including the legendary Bellevarde Olympic “Face”, which hasn't been used as a race slope since the 1992 Olympic Winter Games.
Val d'Isère is a megaresort located in the Savoie, recognisable by its charming Chalet architecture. People come to Val d'Isere with precisely one purpose in mind: to Ski. Val d'Isere offers to the skiers one of the most incredible Ski Paradises in the Alps: the Espace Killy, the Val d'Isere and Tignes combined skiing area, named in honour Jean-Claude Killy a magic skier, racing for Val d'Isere who won 3 gold medals in the 1968 Olympic games. 300 kilometres of slopes are served by 89 modern lifts. A playground for every skier with two glaciers (Pissaillas Glacier in Val d'Isere and the Grande Motte in Tignes) and 154 runs classified 22 green, 61 blue, 46 red and 25 black.

St. Moritz host the Ladies Alpine Ski World Cup

For second time this year St. Moritz hosts the Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup with two speed events: Downhill and Super G.
St. Moritz lies on the south side of the Alps, in the Engadine Valley. St Moritz is Switzerland's most famous exclusive winter resort: glitzy, expensive, and fashionable. Few ski destinations can claim even one five-star hotel, but this sunny Swiss lakeside resort boasts five, including the all-suites Carlton, located in Tsar Nicolai II’s former vacation house. St. Moritz Dorf in the hillside over the lake includes Via Serlas’s jet-set shooping “luxury mile,” with boutiques like Emilio Pucci, Gucci, Chanel or jewelleries like Bucherer, Cartier or Chopard. St. Moritz Bad, at the lake’s foot, hides local gems among its shops, restaurants and hotels.
The valley offers nine ski areas accessed with a single ski pass. Several of them are connected by lifts; the rest are connected by bus. The Engadine Ski Paradise: St. Moritz-Corviglia, Corvatsch, Diavolezza are synonymous with breathtaking and unforgettable skiing experiences. 60 modern transportation facilities open up on 350 km of snow covered runs at altitudes from 1,800 to 3,300 metres above sea level of slopes in nine different skiing areas with 37 mountain restaurants.