Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yesterday I visited with Katrin Fahner responsible for Conferences, Conventions and Incentives in the Tourist Office of St. Anton am Arlberg the, Center for Wellness and Communication to explore possibilities for future collaborations. The modern center is divided in three different spaces. The Championship Hall with foyer and seminar rooms. The Wellness area with a scenic indoor pool, a heated outdoor pool, flume and waterfall, Finnish sauna, kelo sauna, samarium, steam bath, massage showers, 2 solariums, and a Fitness studio with a special massages zone. Finally, a Restaurant with terrace/snow bar.
The Center is another perfect example of the new architectural trends we can find in St. Anton am Arlberg and in Tirol. I wrote about other examples in this blog (the Innsbruck’s Nordkettenbahnen, the Alpinarium in Galtur, or two days ago the Galzigbahn). The architecture of the building with the grassed flat roof was designed to fussion with the landscape. The individual superstructures for the main hall, wellness center and catering area are designed to create associations with the numerous little hay shed on the surrounding slopes. The steel and timber porch that extends over the full length of the building and the horizontal structure selected for the façade form a semitransparent transition between inside and outside and also relate to the traditional style of timber construction in the Alps. The picture windows offer magnificent views of the mountain scenery.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ski Paradise enjoys Skiing in St. Anton am Arlberg

St. Anton is an internationally renowned touristic village in Tirol and a top ski resort. Located in the Stanzertal at 1,304 metres above sea level, the 2001 Alpine World Skiing Championships changed and renewed its image dramatically and now a pedestrian zone forms the center of the town after removing the train station to the other side of the Rosanna River. In St. Anton you can find a cosmopolitan ambience with people from all nations, looking to follow the tracks of the ski pioneers. Together with the villages of St. Cristoph (1,800 m) and Stuben (1,407) offer a Ski Paradise integrated by four areas: St. Anton, Rendl, St. Cristoph and Stuben, served by a modern web of 38 ski lifts with 1 Funitel (the Galzigbahn I wrote about yesterday), 2 Cable Cars, 2 Gondolas, 17 Chairlifts and 16 T bar/Drag lifts. There is something for every skier and level of ability with 20 blue, 19 red, and 5 black pistes. Experts also can enjoy the challenge of 16 Ski Routes.
In the St. Anton zone from the Valluga peak at 2,811 metres you can admire and incredible landscape and then skiing downhill the longest run to the bottom of the valley with a total length of 10.2 kilometres. Of course you need to try the famous Kandahar/Kapall/Fang slope, scenery in 1928 of the first Arlberg-Kandahar Race and nowadays Alpine Ski world Cup Race courses.
From St. Cristoph you can reach the Schindler Spitze peak (2,660 m.) and go downhill to Stuben through the Valfagehrjoch red piste before you can challenge yourself in the Extreme Ski Route named Pfannenköpfe-Valfagehr. In St. Cristoph you need to visit the old hospice founded in the 14th century by the shepherd Heinrich Findelkind to offer shelter to travelers crossing the Arlberg pass. Nowadays the hospice developed into one of the finest inns in the Alpine region, enjoying local and internationally reputation for its award-winning kitchen and excellent wine cellar (the entrance walls are covered with pictures of famous personalities and members of the European Royalty).
In Rendl you can find a sunny but less challenging terrain more suitable for intermediates, perfect in case of bad weather.
This winter the season began in November 30th and will end in April 20th in St. Anton and April 27th in St. Cristoph/Stuben. At this moment the region is covered by big amounts of fresh powder snow and we are enjoying great ski journeys despite the bad weather.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Galzigbahn in St. Anton

Developed by Doppelmayr and CWA Constructions the Funitel system operating in St. Anton offers outstanding lateral stability for operation at wind speeds of 100 km/h or above. The use of two parallel haul ropes 3.2 m apart makes it possible to achieve extremely long spans. A special pneumatic cabin suspension ensures that the 24 passengers enjoy the ride in maximum comfort. Line speeds of up to 7.5 m/s generate transport capacities of 3,200 - 4,000 persons per hour. The spectacular cableway innovation is based on a Ferris wheel which makes it possible for the guest to enter one of the 28 gondolas at ground level. Every gondola is brought down to floor height by a Ferris wheel, the guests then enter and are brought back up onto the cable by the Ferris wheel. Besides this special entry comfort the new Galzigbahn carrying capacity is increased by three times, waiting times in the valley are definitely a thing of the past. The Funitel accesses the Galzig slopes and connects to Schindler Spitze (2,660 m.) and Valluga (2,811 m.) peaks.
Just like the technology, the glass building from the architect Georg Driendl is in itself fascinating, thanks to the transparency of the new Galzig valley station the impressive Ferris wheel with its advanced technology is just as good to see from the outside as from inside. The Galzigbahn was awarded with the "International Chicago Architecture Award 2007".
Glass, steel, concrete - sober feedstock, yet sensual in its combination. The form of the new basis station directly evolves out of the transport function it has to achieve. The desire for readability and transparency defines the material choice. Glass reveals technical inner life and previews the trip up to the mountain. Concrete grounds the construction, anchors it into the slope, creates a counterweight and is a carrier of a space truss (organized in triangulated bracing and as filigree as possible) which carries off the weight of the roof; the visible construction of the space truss (with its riggings and the chosen profiles) directly evolves from the prevailing wind- and weather conditions, always standing in attention to defy wind, rain and snow-masses” (Driendl Architects).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ski Arlberg

The Arlberg region in Austria is one of the most important destinations to enjoy the alpine winter in their entire splendor. Lech, Zürs, St. Anton, St. Cristoph and Stuben, together they form a single ski region: Ski Arlberg, a Ski Paradise with world-famous reputation for decades. It is one of the most varied ski regions of the world where snow is virtually guaranteed, on average 7 metres of snowfall each winter complemented by snow cannons which cover 60% of the slopes (at this moment we are enjoying 360 centimetres of snow in St. Anton). The winter season extends from late November to late April or beginning of May. The Arlberg skiing region includes 85 cable cars and ski lifts travelling between 1,300 and 2,800 metres above sea level, 25 ski conveyor belts in the children’s and beginner’s areas, 280 kilometres of groomed pistes and 180 kilometres of deep-snow runs, offering unlimited possibilities and varied terrain for experts and adventurous intermediates. But Arlberg also is the perfect place to learn to ski with more than 1,000 local and international winter sports instructors at 7 ski schools.
Ski Arlberg has been evaluated 2 times and has been awarded the title “Top Skigebiet” with 5 stars from during the world wide ski resort tests held annually. Ski Arlberg also was tested by Snow-Online and has been awarded with the No. 1 rank on the 2004/2005 winter season.
The closests airports are Innsbruck, Zurich and Munich with shuttle services and frequent train connections to the airports.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ski Paradise goes to St. Anton am Arlberg

Tourism on the Arlberg dates back to the 19th century. But it was not until the advent of Alpine skiing, pioneered to a large extent by men from the Arlberg, like Hermann Hartmann who climbed the Galzig for the first time on skis on 1899, Professor Karl Gruber, Max Madlener, Josef Ostler, Oswald Trojer, the landlord of the hospice of St. Christoph, and Viktor Sohm.
The history and the development of ski are, without a doubt, closely associated with St. Anton am Arlberg -and its neighbouring village of St. Christoph- and the eminent Austrian skiing pioneer Hannes Schneider (1890-1955). Hannes Schneider laid the foundation stone for today’s global “ski school” upon his invention of the Stem Christiania –a stem turn- and, consequently, his “Arlberg technique”.In the twentys Arnold Fanck films contribute to the popularity of Hannes Schneider and the Arlberg Technique. In 1926 Fanck and Schneider published the work Wunder des Schneeschuhs (The Miracle of the Snowshoe). Ein System des richtigen Skilaufens und seine Anwendung im alpinen Geländelauf a ski handbook published many times in many languages.
In 1927, Arnold Lunn visited the Arlberg in order to become acquainted with Hannes Schneider and the skiing technique he knew from the films by Arnold Fanck. Lunn’s visit to the Arlberg in 1927 had far-reaching consequences: together with Hannes Schneider, he planned the first Arlberg-Kandahar competition for 1928. From 1931 on, the competition was held alternately in Mürren and St Anton.
Der Weisse Rausch (White Ecstasy) –the first skiing film to be set to music- was made in 1931 on the Arlberg. It was also Hannes Schneider’s last major film role in which he played himself as a ski instructor. The plot was a really simpleone: a “cheeky little madam from Berlin” (played by Leni Riefenstahl) learns how to ski at Schneider’s ski school, and in the subsequent fox chase, her and Schneider are chased by 50 pursuers. Further roles are played by the young Lothar Ebersberg, Guzzi Lantschner and Walter Riml, plus Rudi Matt, the most talented actor amongst all the Arlberg ski instructors.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Vancouver 2010 Marketing Facts

The challenge of financing the Olympic Games has been a recurring theme throughout Olympic history. The Olympic marketing programme has become the driving force behind the promotion, the financial security and stability of the Olympic Movement.The organisation of the Olympic Games is entrusted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the country of the host city as well as to the host city itself.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.
VANOC’s marketing program is focusing on securing mutually rewarding partnerships with shared values to generate sufficient revenue to host successful Winter Games in 2010 and to leave a financial legacy for sport. VANOC’s International Partners include Coca-Cola, Atos Origin, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa. VANOC’s National Partners are Bell Canada, HBC, RBC Financial Group, GM Canada, Petro-Canada and RONA.VANOC’s Official Supporters include Air Canada, BC Hydro, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Canadian Pacific, and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Jet Set Sports, Ricoh Canada Inc., the Royal Canadian Mint and Teck Cominco Limited. VANOC’s Official Suppliers are 3M, Birks, Britco, Dow Canada, EPCOR, Haworth Canada, Nortel, Purolator, Saputo, Sun Microsystems of Canada,, TransCanada, Vancouver Airport Authority, Vincor Canada, Weston Bakeries and Workopolis.
The sale of television rights is the main source of revenues of the Olympic Games. It is estimated that broadcasting the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be the equivalent of eight to 10 Super Bowls simultaneously for 17 days. Vancouver will host an event that will attract more than three billion television viewers and 75 million website visits worldwide.

Friday, March 21, 2008

VANOC’s work to reduce the environmental footprint of the 2010 Winter Games

The Board of Directors for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) met on March 19 in Vancouver for its second meeting of 2008. At the meeting, the Board was briefed on the details pertaining to VANOC’s 2010 Carbon Management Strategy. The goal of this initiative is to know how much carbon VANOC is emitting to stage the Games, publicly track and report on it; to reduce as many emissions as possible at source; to be responsible in offsetting emissions that cannot be reduced or eliminated; and to align with and activate others by using the 2010 experience to increase awareness of and participation in climate change solutions. The desired outcome is to create a legacy that will generate long-term benefits and reflect positively on British Columbia, and on Canada as a whole. The Board commended VANOC’s management team on its approach, and directed it to continue pursuing development of this strategy. VANOC expects to release details on its 2010 Carbon Management Strategy in late spring. At the Board meeting, it was also announced that the Organizing Committee will release its Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Report 2006-07, the second of five such reports that will be published, on March 31.
The day before of the Board meeting an important agreement between BC Hydro and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games was reached. In its role as an Official Supporter of the 2010 Winter Games, BC Hydro will provide the resources to supply clean power for the Games. In addition, through its Power Smart programs, BC Hydro will work with VANOC to ensure the Games are energy-efficient and promote energy conservation across BC.As part of its Official Supporter partnership, BC Hydro will provide secondments of personnel, as well as the temporary use of some BC Hydro properties and electrical connection equipment during the Games. By using clean, hydroelectric power, the 2010 Winter Games will see their carbon dioxide emissions from power generation reduced to the lowest level yet for an Olympic Winter Games — less than 10 per cent of the emissions of previous Olympic Winter Games, which relied on diesel-based generation. VANOC will pay for the electricity it consumes on the same basis as other large commercial customers; however, since the use of clean, hydro-electric power is a lower cost alternative to diesel-based generation, VANOC will realize significant cost savings over previous Olympic Winter Games.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ski Paradise Editor visits Tirol

Tirol, or Tyrol, is a historical region in Western Central Europe, which includes the Austrian Tirol and the Italian region of Südtirol/Trentino-Alto Adige. In 1919, after Worl War I St. Germain Treaty South Tirol became part of Italy. The northern part, including the Northern Tirol and Eastern Tirol, is today one of nine states (Bundeländer) of the Federal Republic of Austria with the capital located in Innsbruck. Tirol is divided into 9 districts (Bezirke) -Landeck, Reutte, Imst, Innsbruck Stadt, Innsbruck Land, Schwaz, Kufstein and Kitzbühel in the North Tirol and Lienz in the East Tirol- and 279 Communities (Gemeinden). The administration of the Tirol is led by the Tyrolean Regional Government (Tiroler Landesregierung) elected by the Parliament (Tiroler Landtag).
With 12,648 square kilometres and 700,000 inhabitants, Tirol is Austria´s third largest state. Only 13 % of the entire country is habitable with around 20 % of Tirol´s landscape declared nature preserve. Tirol shares borders with Germany (Bavaria), Italy (Südtirol) and Switzerland as well as the provinces of Vorarlberg, Salzburg and Carinthia. Großglockner, with 3,797 metres is East Tirol and Austria´s highest mountain. Wildspitze, with 3,770 metres is North Tirol´s highest mountain. Gepatschferner is Tirol´s largest glacier covering 17 km2.
Tirol, which was called "Land im Gebirge" (Land in the Mountains) in medieval times, is the perfect place for lovers of winter sports and mountains. Tirol offers you 38 scenic holiday regions at the heart of the Alps and is famous worldwide for some of the best ski areas in the Alps. Ski resorts like St. Anton am Arlberg, home of the world's first ski school founded by Hannes Schneider, Ischgl, Kitzbühel, Seefeld or Sölden achieved international renown.
The scenic Tirolean glacier ski areas of Kaunertal, Pitztal, Sölden, Stubaital and Hintertux, are known as outstanding year-round skiing areas where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the alpine scenery while you ride ski runs covered with superb powder snow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vancouver 2010 operational expenses in line with business plan projections

Second quarter financial statements of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) released last Friday 14 reflects operational expenses are in line with business plan projections.“Financially, we’re in a positive position with a cash balance of $56.5 million and a sound contingency on the capital construction side,” said VANOC Chief Financial Officer John McLaughlin.
VANOC’s net deferred operating expenses in the current quarter were $57.3 million as compared to $6.4 million for the period ending October 31, 2007. Excluding the impact of unrealized foreign exchange losses and gains, deferred operating expenses were $43.1 million for the quarter ended January 31, 2008, and $25.7 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2007. The $17.4 million increase over the preceding quarter is the result of higher spending across all divisions as activity increases organization-wide in the move from a planning phase to an operational phase.
VANOC’s net deferred operating revenue from sponsorship and other sources for the quarter ending January 31, 2008 was $43.1 million, as compared to $6.7 million in the last quarter.
Domestic sponsorship revenue increased significantly over the prior quarter, from $4.3 million to $43 million, as several large cash milestone payments were received, and $4.1 million in domestic value-in-kind (VIK) revenue was recorded during the quarter. VANOC has now entered into domestic sponsorship agreements worth approximately $709 million in total, or over 90 per cent of the overall target of $760 million. VANOC’s total venue development expenditures for the quarter were $38.4 million, as compared to $63.3 million in the previous quarter, and now total $466.3 million. VANOC’s venue development central contingency remains adequate to protect against the remaining $125.5 million in the venue construction budget.
The venue construction timeline ensures venue readiness through Sport Events and other training and competition in advance of the Games. In particular, VANOC completed its field-of-play testing at the first official VANOC Sport Event for alpine skiing – the recently completed FIS Alpine World Cup, at Whistler Creekside.
VANOC’s workforce continues to grow substantially as the 2010 Winter Games draw near – increasing by 87 during the reporting period, to reach a total of 590 full-time staff. In accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles, all operating revenues and expenses are deferred prior to Games time. VANOC’s next quarterly report, covering the three months ending April 30, 2008, will be available in June 2008.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Magazine Mountain Awards

The Peak Performance Magazine published the editor’s choice in different categories:
  • The Most Scenic: Zermatt (Valais, Switzerland)

  • The Best Snow: Alta/Snowbird (Utah, USA)

  • The Best Resort: Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia, Canada)

  • The Best Park: Snow Park (Southern Alps, New Zealand)

  • The Most Classic: Sun Valley (Idaho, USA)

  • The Wildest: La Grave (France)

  • The Best Heliskiing: Canadian Mountain Holiday (Canada)

  • The Most Exclusive: Yellowstone Club (Montana, USA)

  • The Party Capital: Are (Sweden)

  • The Most Exotic: Gulmarg (Kashmir, India)

  • The Dark Horse: Thredbo (Australia)

  • The Holy Grail: Alaska (USA)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nissan O‘Neill Xtreme Verbier

After North America's Mammoth Mountain Challenge in California, Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi, Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro 2008 (a mobile event in the Alps), and the Nissan Freeride de Tignes 08 , the final contest of the Freeride World Tour will start tomorrow in Verbier. From 14th till 16th of March 24 of the world’s top freeriders, both skiers and snowboarders, will be taking part in the 13th edition of the Nissan O'Neill Xtreme Verbier.
The Nissan O’Neill Xtreme Verbier is held on the North face of the Bec des Rosses, which features an over 50° gradient in certain parts. Riders express their talent by tracing their own lines and putting on a stunning show for the around 5000 spectators gathered on the Col des Gentianes.
The winner of each discipline will receive the Gilles Voirol Trophy, named after a young swiss snowboarder who was killed in an avalanche in Bella Coola in 2003. Gilles Voirol was the rookie of the Verbier Xtreme’s first edition in 1996 and placed second.
After the Xtreme there will be a winner of each discipline of the Tour and the four Freeride World Champions will be crowned.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bormio host the FIS World Cup Grand Finals

From 12th to 16th March 2008, Valtellina will be hosting the Big Finals for the FIS Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard World Cup. The Alpine Skiing races will be held on the stunning “Stelvio” slope in Bormio, the perfect venue dubbed «winter sports’ answer to La Scala Theatre» by Gianfranco Kasper, FIS President. The “Stelvio”, which is almost 3,230 metres long with a 986-metre difference in altitude and a maximum gradient of 60%, is a notoriously unforgiving track and is the only one where the finish area can clearly be seen from the starting gate. Bormio hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1985 and 2005, as well as the World Cup Finals in 1995 and 2000. The Cross-Country races will be held in Santa Caterina Valfurva. And the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard events will take place on the slopes of Valmalenco.
28 races are on the schedule in the 5 days, from Wednesday the 12th of March to Sunday the 16th.55 crystal globes will be awarded with 159 medals to more than 800 racers attending this greatevent with a total prize money of about 900.000€.The Organizing Committee is ready to deliver more than 5.000 credentials. During the event more than 6 hours of live show will be broadcasted daily from the area.
A packed programme of side events, concerts and cultural attractions gives the area an enjoyable party atmosphere, and provides the perfect backdrop to one of the most eagerly awaited sporting events of the year.
Skipasses are available for the skiarea “4 Valli” –free bus service-, which are valid for the area Bormio, S. Colombano (Oga and Valdidentro) and Santa Caterina. The skiing-mountain San Colombano hosts the slopes of the Valdidentro, which are in a very sunny position and connect to the Valdisotto (Oga). Offering a great panoramic alpine view, these sunny slopes invite to enjoy and ski. San Colombano offers 30 kilometres of slopes and 10 skilifts. Santa Caterina's slopes are exposed to the north, thanks to that fact skiers will find ideal snow conditions the whole winter season. 40 kilometres of slopes are to be reached by 7 skilifts.Bormio lies at the top of the Valtellina Valley formed by the Adda River. The Valtellina ski area is a component of five large skiing areas with 400 kilometres of pistes and 140 ski lifts: Alta Valtellina, Tirano, Sondrio and Valmalenco, Morbegno and Valchiavenna.Bormio with nearly two thousand years of history, has well established itself as tourist resort for more than a century. It is situated at an altitude of 1225 metres, right in the heart of the Italian Alps in the region Lombardy and has 4100 inhabitants. At the feet of the Stelvio Pass and the Ortler-Cevedale mountain range, Bormio is close to the Swiss border. It is surrounded by a limestone mountain-range with the main peak "Reit", which is 3075 metres high. The historical centre of Bormio is one of the most important of the whole province as well as one of the best preserved ones in the Alps.
P.S.: Ladies' and Men's Downhill races at the FIS Grand Finals 2008 in Bormio (ITA), scheduled for 12th March 2008, have been cancelled due to soft snow conditions.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Curso sobre la gestión de estaciones de esquí y montaña en Sierra Nevada

Entre los días 31 de marzo y 4 de abril se celebrará en la estación de esquí y montaña de Sierra Nevada (Granada) un curso universitario bajo el título: El turismo de invierno. La gestión de las estaciones de esquí y montaña.
Organizado por la Universidad de Granada, con la colaboración de la estación de Sierra Nevada, el curso está dirigido por Rafael Barranco Vela y el Dr. Francisco D. Porras Lima y coordinado por los profesores Dr. Francisco J. Durán Ruiz y el Dr. Raúl Revuelta Carbajo de la IE Universidad. El curso comprende jornadas de esquí en horario de mañana y clases teóricas y prácticas en horario de tarde. Estará impartido por profesores de diferentes Universidades y profesionales con una dilatada experiencia en la gestión y el estudio de las estaciones de esquí y montaña, directamente relacionados con el turismo de invierno, así como especialistas en Derecho Deportivo, Medio Ambiente y Turismo. Entre otros: Estanislao Arana, Rafael Barranco, Francisco J. Durán, Ignacio Jiménez Soto, Francisco D. Porras, Raúl Revuelta, Ignacio Valenzuela y Fernando Almendros.

El precio del curso es de 375 euros e incluye:
  • Cuota de inscripción
  • 5 noches de alojamiento en Hotel Montesol (habitación multiple)
  • 5 días de regimén de media pensión (desayuno y cena)
  • 5 días de uso ilimitado de remontes
  • Seguro de accidentes

El plazo de inscripción finaliza el 27 de marzo. Para reservar plaza en el curso deberá enviar un correo electrónico a Una vez recibida la confirmación de disponibilidad de plaza se deberá abonar la cuota de inscripción en la Cuenta Bancaría de Caja Madrid 2038 9840 12 3000319771 incluyendo en la referencia los apellidos y nombre del alumno.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

4th Stop of the Freeride World Tour

The fourth contest of the Freeride World Tour took place today at the freeriding Mecca of Tignes.
After North America's Mammoth Mountain Challenge in California, Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi and the Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro 2008 (a mobile event in the Alps), the World Tour made a stop on Grande Balme legendary slopes. The world's 45 best freeskiers and snowboarders met again for an edge cutting run counting for World supremacy ranking.
The Nissan Freeride de Tignes 08 started at 09:00. After a 30 minute hike the 45 competing riders reached the summit of the north face of Pramecou at 3080 metres. At this point riders chose between different starting options for the 400 metres long face. At the top of the face there are some steep sections of 50 degrees and then it mellows out a bit to an average of 40 degrees. Judges base their ranks on 5 essential criterias: line choice and execution, fluidity, control, skill and style, and rythm/agressivity. Henrik Windstedt from Sweden and Elyse Saugstad from USA in ski and Xavier De Le Rue and Bérengère Moroc from France in Snowboard were the winners.
The Freeride World Tour: After 13 years organizing the Verbier Xtreme Freeride, this winter, organizers created a Freeride World Tour for professional freeride skiers and snowboarders. The competition comprises five events and boasts the biggest prize money ever in the history of this sport. The best Freeride spots on earth have been selected by the organizers and the Pro Freeriders Board (PFB) to host the 5 main events of the Freeride World Tour (FWT), the 3 qualifying events of the Freeride World Qualifying Series (FWQS) and 2 open events.

Stockhorn ski lift extends the free ride area in Zermatt

In the summer of 2007, a new ski lift was erected in Zermatt extending the possibilities to enjoy Freeride in the Triftji/Stockhorn area. Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, the management company of the ski lifts, attaches great importance to making the downhill run area accessible even after the closure of the Hohtälli - Stockhorn cable railway.
This winter season, thanks to the new lift, you can reach the Stockhorn restored mountain station at an altitude of 3,405 metres to access the Stockhorn Ski Route or connect with the Ski Routes accessible by the Hohtälli or Rote Nase lifts.
Now with the Stockhorn ski lift a total of 38 kilometres of Ski Routes are available in the Matterhorn Ski Paradise to enjoy challenging skiing in one of the most spectacular off piste terrain in the Alps.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Men´s FIS Alpine Ski World Cup takes place in Kranjska Gora

The Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Giant Slalom and Slalom races takes place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 in Kranjska Gora (Slovenia). 47 Pokal Vitranc Competitions are taking place in the polygon of Podkoren ski area. In addition to the skiing competition, visitors can enjoy the concerts and animations organised as part of the X-plosion of Fun event.
Located between the Karavanke Mountains and the Julian Alps, Kranjska Gora is Slovenian best known ski center. The ski area of Kranjska, from the hill of Vitranc to the village of Podkoren and Planica, offers 19 lifts serving 21 pistes for skiers of different skiing abililities (15 blue, 3 red and 3 black).

Crans Montana hosts the Ladies Alpine Ski World Cup

Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup moves to Crans Montana for the World Cup Downhill and the Super Combination from Saturday, 8 March to Sunday, 11 March. Located on a sunny plateau at 1,500 m above the Rhone Valley, Crans Montana offers visitors an outstand- ing Alpine panorama over the most beautiful peaks in the Alps, such as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. The ski domain of Crans Montana (1500-3000) allows skiers and snowboarders to enjoy snow thanks to 30 lifts and 140 km of pistes (53.2 blue, 70 red and 16.8 black) including the mythical Plaine Morte and the National. The Piste Nationale downhill course was remodelled on 2006/07 and two tunnels added to improve access during competitions.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Glacier Express operators decide to invest 20 million francs

In the roaring 1920s, and because of adventurous reports from alpine enthusiasts, the travel-keen upper-class from all four corners of the world at long last discovered the rustic charms of the Swiss Alps; previously remote mountain villages such as Zermatt and St.Moritz were transformed into chic health resorts. In June 25, 1930 the Glacier Express ran for the very first time from Zermatt to St. Moritz. The opening of the Furka base tunnel in 1982 also signified the year-round operation of the Glacier Express and passenger numbers quickly rose from around 20,000 to 90,000. The first use of panorama carriages in 1993 marked a further milestone in the history of the Glacier Express. Since then, around 250,00 enthusiastic passengers per year have enjoyed the trip with unique panoramic views of the passing mountainscapes. A year after its 75th anniversary, the train operated by the partnered Rhaetian Railway (RhB) and Matterhorn Gotthard Railway (MGBahn), invested over 50 million francs in 24 new, modern panorama carriages and four service carriages.
Now, to further develop the positioning of the Glacier Express as a premium product, both partners have decided to jointly order additional panorama cars. This means that as from the summer of 2009, four equivalent trains will operate daily services between St. Moritz/Davos and Zermatt. To achieve this, RhB and MGBahn are investing a total of approx. 20 million francs in new rolling stock. The new panorama and service cars are being purchased from Stadler Rail AG in Altenrhein.