Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ski Resorts are retaining senior skiers

One of the most significant trends in the ski industry is the fact that skiers are getting older. The 2008 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.
A third of all resort visitors in 2007-08 were age 45 or older.
Since 1997-98, the percentage of visitors age 45 to 54 has increased from 14.0 percent to 19.9 percent; the percentage of visitors age 55 to 64 has doubled, from 4.6 percent to 9.2 percent; and the percentage of visitors age 65 and over has also increased, from 2.4 percent to 3.8 percent.The loyalty and staying power of older participants has helped fuel the increasing visits tallied in recent years, culminating in a record 60.50 million skier visits nationwide last season. The study also suggests a continuation of a “three-generation phenomenon”, as the Baby Boomers (ages 44 to 62 in 2008) continue to participate along with persons young enough to be their children and grandchildren, leading to an overall broadening of the participant age profile.
This year’s study also indicates continued growth in helmet usage. Forty-three percent of survey respondents were wearing a helmet when interviewed in 2007-08, up from 25 percent in 2002-03.A total of 114,010 surveys were completed during the 2007-08 season at 83 participating ski resorts.
The annual demographic study is available for purchase at nsaa.org.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Whistler Announces Renewable Energy Project Offsets Mountains' Annual Energy Consumption

The Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Project, located entirely within Whistler Blackcomb's operating area, will produce 33.5 gigawatt hours of hydro electricity per year – the equivalent of powering the ski resort's winter and summer operations including 38 lifts, 17 restaurants, 269 snowguns and countless other buildings and services.
The project is already under construction and is being developed by Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Limited Partnership, part of a joint venture between Innergex Renewable Energy and Ledcor Power Group. Ledcor CMI Limited is the contractor for the project, and is the major contractor for other hydro projects in the Sea to Sky corridor.
"While we have a solid track record on conservation, this is our first major renewable energy project and we are thrilled to see it come to fruition after six years of project assessments, careful planning, and stakeholder discussions. We can now firmly step forward in producing a renewable energy project that makes sense, and to help us move ever-closer to our goal of achieving a net zero footprint within our operating area" says Arthur DeJong, Whistler Blackcomb's Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager.
The Fitzsimmons Creek has an abundance of water, the necessary vertical drop, and it is not a major fish-bearing stream, nor is the creek used recreationally within the project area. The creek is already tied extensively into Whistler Blackcomb's snowmaking system, and much of the area that will need to be developed runs along an existing access road for Whistler Blackcomb's operations. The project will not require above-ground hydro lines and the lines can travel underground in a previously disturbed area.
The Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Project will have a single turbine with a capacity of 7.5 megawatt, and the power generated by the project will be sold to British Columbia's hydro electric utility, BC Hydro. The project will be among the first to use BC Hydro's Standing Offer Program that was created under the BC government's 2007 Energy Plan.
In addition to being a significant milestone in Whistler Blackcomb's environmental policy, the project also supports the Resort Municipality of Whistler's 2020 plan, which lays out a vision for success through 2020 based on the three pillars of sustainability; economic, social and environmental. "From what I understand about the project, it supports Whistler2020's Energy Vision of providing local sources of low impact, renewable energy", says Dan Wilson, Whistler2020 Energy Task Force Member. "It is an early stepping stone towards Whistler2020's goal of a sustainable Whistler".
Construction is currently underway and the project is expected to be operational by 2010. A series of open houses will be conducted in the fall of 2008 offering tours of the construction site and providing an opportunity for the community to learn more about the project.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Head For The Hills Tour Kicked Off

Filmed exclusively in the Eastern U.S. and Canada, the Meatheads' newest feature, Head For The Hills Tour was kicked off at University of Vermont's CC Theater on September 26th. The Film was premiered at the The International Freeskiing Film Festival in Montreal: "The huge buzz that was in the air for the next film became a full on roar as Head For The Hills by east coast legends Meathead Films took to the screen. No one shows the beauty, vibe and rawness of the east coast like the Meatheads, and this year they continued what they’re known best for with their unique brand of story telling, and it was without a doubt their best work to date".
The Film features many familiar New England ski resorts, cat skiing in the Chic Choc Mountains of Quebec, and more. Fresh backcountry footage is coupled with innovative park and urban skiing, which includes the 3rd annual Heat Harvest Superpark at nearby Sunday River ski resort in Maine.
Filmed in High Definition, 16mm, and Super 8mm film formats, Head For The Hills is truly a unique mix of visual mediums.
Based in Burlington, VT, the action sports capital of Eastern North America, Meathead Films is dedicated to creating innovative movies based exclusively in the East. The Northeastern United States and Canada mountains and talented athletes of the East are a resource virtually untapped by the ski movie industry.
The Head For The Hills DVD will be available for purchase that evening and will also be distributed in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and the U.K. by both Ally Video and Eastern Mountain Sports.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Aiguilles Rouges Trail

Tomorrow the Chamonix Valley will host a new edition of the Aiguilles Rouges Trail, one of the most beautiful trails in all Europe: five lakes to admire, four Cols to pass and one all valley to run facing the Mont Blanc. Participants must deal a course of 54 kilometres and 3600 metres of elevation gain.
From Les Houches (1000 m) runners must go up to la Flatière (1400 m), then go downhill through le Hameau de Montvauthier to the village of Servoz (758 m). From this point they will go up through Passy’s Natural Reserve up to the chalets and Pormenaz Lake (1945 m). A little bit further the first food and drink supply at the chalets of Moëde d’Anterne (1996 m) before going back down to the Arlevé Bridge (1587 m). Paricipants will then go back up to the Brévent Pass. At the top of Brévent (2525 m, first food and drink supply) you could admire a breathtaking scenery. You run in full view of the Mont-Blanc, the Aiguille du Midi, The Drus, La Verte completing no ordinary Trail but a panoramic version.
Flirting with the Natural Reserve of Carlaveyron overlooking Les Houches you will go down to the Refuge of Bellachat (2136 m) then you will go downhill in zigzags towards Chamonix. Then runners must deal with the ascent to Planpraz (2000 m) where the second food and drink supply stop is located. You will continue your ascent to the Lac Cornu Pass (alt 2414 m) and then you will join up the Glière pass (2352 m). Further away you will get to the third food and drink supply stop at the foot of the Index. Take your time to enjoy a magnificient uninterrupted view of the Mer de Glace, with Les Grandes Jorasses at the background. A path will take you to the Lac Blanc (2352 m). At this moment you will be in the heart of the Natural Reserve of Les Aiguilles Rouges. You will be starting the final descent towards the Cheserys’s Lake, to the finishing line at Chamonix (1055 m).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tomorrow September 27th Tignes opens the Grande Motte ski area

This weekend the glacier at Tignes opens. The Grande Motte is the highest ski area in the Espace Killy. The scenery is breathtaking with the Vanoise National Park to the south, the Grande Motte (3,656m) and Grande Casse (3,852m) to the west, the Mont Blanc (4,808m) to the north and the Grande Sassière (3,747m) to the east. The glacier ski area at 3,000 m offers in autumn 130 hectares, 20 km of pistes with 750 m of vertical drop, and a beautiful snowpark (750 m by 250 m).
From november, you can ski from top of Grande Motte glacier to Val Claret resort, that means 1,500m of vertical drop.To hit the slopes of the Espace Killy, named after the skier and Olympic champion Jean-Claude Killy, you must wait until 1st december. Without doubt the Val d'Isere and Tignes combined skiing area is one of the most emblematic places to ski in the Alps. A modern lift network of 96 ski lifts: 2 funiculars, 4 cabin lifts, 4 cable cars, 45 chairlifts, 41 drag lifts – give access to 10,000 hectares and 300 kilometres of ski trails - 137 ski runs: 22 green, 64 blue, 35 red, 16 black - 9 slalom stadiums and 2 mogul stadiums - 2 half-pipes and 2 snow parks. The ski resort also has 331 snow canons which will ensure a bountiful supply of artificial snow for the slopes.And to round things off nicely, you can go to Le Lagon a 5000 m² aqua centre dedicated to sport, relaxation and well-being…featuring amongst other things 2 swimming pools, 1 with waterslides, a balneotherapy area with sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, as well as fitness and exercise rooms, all with unrestricted views over Tignes lake and the Grande Motte glacier.Tignes comprises 5 Villages; Val Claret, Tignes le Lac, and Le Lavachet close together at 2,100 metres, Tignes Les Boisses (1,850m) and Tignes-les-Brévières (1,550m).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Schweitzer Jib Jam premiere

The world premiere of Schweitzer Jib Jam is scheduled today, September 25th at 7:00 p.m at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint. This spring, Poor Boyz Productions brought competitive skiing into the Information Age with their Jib Jam Invitational, a live, online videocontest. The event gathered top-level athletes from around the globe and pitted them against each other on a gamut of monstrous terrain parkfeatures. The skiers rose to the challenge throughout the 10-daysession, throwing down terrain park trickery like you've never seenbefore. Jib Jam also includes an exclusive Tip Tricks section that shows you how to throw the big tricks!.
The ski movie, which was filmed exclusively at Schweitzer Mountain Resort outside of Sandpoint (Idaho), features some of the best freeride ski athletes in the world, including John Spriggs, Kyler Cooley and Oscar Scherlin. At the Panida event, Poor Boyz Productions Poor Boyz will also show their other new film for 2008-09, Reasons.
The nationally acclaimed production company responsible for the film, brings the event to the Panida along with several athletes who will be signing autographs.
Schweitzer offers 2900 beautiful acres spread over two distinct bowls in the rugged Selkirk Mountains with 300 inches (7.62 metres) of snow on average each season.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Zermatt Solidarity Event

On september 27-28 Zermatt will host a Roped party of solidarity. A joint campaign by ZONTA Morges-la-Côte and Europa Donna Switzerland to demonstrate that even after breast cancer one can lead a fulfilling life. To demonstrate that and to encourage women whose health has been affected, the organizaers are setting the following challenge: to reach the summit of the Breithorn (4164 m) peak. This top athletic feat is meant to bring together women affected by breast cancer and their family members with others who are committed to fighting breast cancer, supported by mountain guides and a group of volunteer helpers.
Using the "Roped party of solidarity to the top of a 4,000-metre peak" the organizaers would like to make clear to everyone that it is possible to lead a completely active life after breast cancer. In particular, the organizers would like to draw attention to the solidarity among women and show how important assistance and support are. Overcoming one's own limits also means reclaiming one's self-confidence, a feeling that often suffers considerably when faced with breast cancer.
Parallel with that, on Saturday evening, a round table on this theme will be organized, and opened to the public. Women involved with or afflicted by breast cancer from all over Europe and Switzerland, as well as people involved in politics and in the media have been invited to participate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vancouver 2010 Board of Directors receives positive venue construction report

Last September 17th, the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) held its fifth meeting of 2008.
The VANOC Board of Directors is made up of 20 members nominated by: the Canadian Olympic Committee (7); the Government of Canada (3); the Province of British Columbia (3); the City of Vancouver (2); the Resort Municipality of Whistler (2); the Canadian Paralympic Committee (1); a joint appointment by the Band Councils of the Lil'wat and Squamish Nations (1); and one member nominated by the other 19 members.
The Board reviewed a number of positive updates on the venue construction program which will see all competition venues completed and winter athletes competing at world- class levels on all venues this winter. The meeting also included a number of regular agenda items as well as updates to the Board of Directors on the business plan, sport, sponsorship, ticket sales, the launch of a new graphic identity and pictograms and the re-launch of the Official Website of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
"The pace for VANOC’s management and staff has already accelerated after the conclusion of a highly successful Beijing 2008 Games and the Board today received a number of updates that provide confidence we’re on track financially and ready for the pressure and spotlight that comes with hosting the next Games", said Jack Poole, Chairman of the Board. “Final touches on venue construction are underway and athletes are already here training and getting ready to compete. With the first of this winter season’s 16 sport events starting next month and tickets on sale in a matter of weeks, Canadians and sport enthusiasts around the world will be able to touch and feel the Games more and more each day”.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Gondola Sky Cabin Run on Whistler’s PEAK 2 PEAK

On Friday, September 19, twelve PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola Sky Cabins made the very first, epic journey across the 4.4km span between Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains. Doppelmayr employee Mathias Zudrell rode the carriage of the first gondola to perform visual checks of the gondola’s mechanisms as it travelled across the Fitzsimmons Valley. "Today was a hugely exciting day for everyone involved in the construction of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola", said Barb Houghton, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola Project Manager. "I am just so happy to see that first cabin come across safely after two years of planning and building".
On Thursday, September 18th a press event was held to announce the official opening date of December 12th, 2008, as well as to show off the Blackcomb terminal building and all of the Sky Cabins. This engineering marvel is set to become a new Canadian tourism icon, and will forever revolutionize the way visitors experience this four-season resort.
"This spring we had to move massive amounts of snow so it was a slow start but we have been able to stay on track with each construction phase" says Rick Temple, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola Construction Manager. "To be at this point in construction at this time is unheard of. Typically for a lift installation you are fighting the weather in November to get things done. However due to the incredible work by everyone involved we are ahead of schedule. We are very excited to have our official opening day announced and are looking forward to the day when our guests can experience this gondola".
The $532m Doppelmayr built lift will operate with 28 cabins, including two with glass floors, and set world records for the length of the unsupported span between two towers (3.024 kilometres) and its height above the valley below (436 metres over Fitzsimmons Creek).
Through October and November load testing will take place as well as evacuation training and simulations, and operator training. The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola will also be examined by the British Columbia Safety Authority through their Passenger Ropeways Safety Program which regulates the safety of lifts.
"There is always a ton of anticipation for the winter season and being able to announce the official opening for the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola gives our guests something else to look forward to this winter, a definitive date to mark on their calendars", says Dave Brownlie President and Chief Operating Officer of Whistler Blackcomb. "We know that on December 12, the way our guests use Whistler Blackcomb will be changed forever and we are extremely excited for that day to come".
Construction progress of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is captured daily via webcams, and weekly via photography and construction blogs on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola microsite.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

G-Cell glove

Can you hear me now - Wearable technology is the latest story in the ski, snowboard and winter sports glove business. Swany has developed the first hands free cell phone ski glove. This gadget has won the coveted Red Dot Award for design excellence for the second time in three years. The award is given to the outstanding design in a particular field, and there are 3,208 designs submitted from 51 Countries. Swany won the coveted award with its G-Cell glove, which has a fully integrated Bluetooth adaptable cell phone in a totally functional ski and snowboard glove. The glove integrates the speaker and listening device integrated into palm and thumb. The phone last for 12 hours on standby (4 hours talk time).

  • Incoming calls detected by vibrating wrist action. Push on back of hand to receive call.
  • Call out - voice command dial system.
  • Re-charger included. Phone will last for 12 hours on standby, 4 hours talk time.
  • Speaker and listening device integrated into palm and thumb.
  • Insulated water repellent outer shell for hours of warm dry use.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cheakamus Challenge

Today, September 2oth Whistler will host again the Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic Mountain Bike Race. This year the 22nd Cheakamus Challenge features the finest course that will make you realize why this race is the “King of the Classics”.
Starting at 10 AM at the Squamish Airport the course features over 70 kilometres of riding over the full spectrum of terrain. With over 2000m of climbing and 40 kilometres of single- track trails this course has it all with the Cheakamus River running beside or below you for most of the duration. This race is the classic point to point format with big climbs, stunning views, high speed rolling terrain and of course the classic Sea to Sky single-track. This year the finish will once again be at Dusty's Creekside who will be dishing up burgers and veggie burgers with fries for all the hungry racers and volunteers as part of the entry fee. The awards will follow the last racer at about 5 PM.
This year organizers also proposes the Pique Cheakamus Lite which features the last 40 kilometres of the full course which begins at noon at the Cal Cheak exit by the Whistler Bungee Bridge. This course features many of the tough sections of the course and is a great alternative for those looking for a solid 2-3 hour race.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Hilton Hotel in Niseko

On July 1, Hilton opened a new 506-room deluxe Hotel at the foot of 1,309 meter Mount Annupuri in one of Japan’s premier ski resorts.
Hilton Niseko Village has a ski-in, ski-out location and it is only a few metres away from the Niseko Gondola at the base of the Niseko Annupuri Area. A low pressure weather system from Siberia is responsible for dumping an average 11 metres of unusually dry snow, allowing you to to enjoy the spectacular deep powder that blankets the uncrowded slopes of the three areas of the Niseko United (48 kilometres, 61 ski runs served by 38 lifts) and 30 kilometres of challenging off-piste back country.
After a day in the slopes, you can slip into the open hot springs to enjoy bright blue skies and views of verdant Mount Yotei, or slip off to the spa for some pampering and revitalization.
To complete a perfect ski day, you can enjoy your dinner in the Melt Grill and Bar or immerse yourself in Japanese food culture and enjoy teppanyaki dishes at Ren Japanese Restaurant.
General Manager, Daniel Welk believes it’s only a matter of time before Niseko and Hilton Niseko Village become the buzz word for the international traveller. "The Niseko region has everything to lure the international traveller: big nature, vibrant villages and an intoxicating combination of historic culture and cuisine. On top of that, we are surrounded by some of the purest snow in the world and an enduring ski season that starts in November and lasts well into April", said Mr Welk.
"There is somewhere in the vicinity of a billion people living within a radius of four hours’ travel time of Hokkaido’s major airport and with an infrastructure that runs on time, every time, coupled with champagne snow conditions, this has got to be the one of the best ski areas around. Niskeko is on par with the best of the European and American ski resorts, complete with a unique Japanese mystique", Mr Welk added.
Mr Welk argues that what the Hokkaido region has not had until now is a premium resort operated by a recognized international brand that ensures a seamless experience. “We want our guests to be greeted in their own language at the airport by a Hilton person who can assist them to travel smoothly to the resort. While there, they can order authentic Japanese dishes as well as western cuisine in English at any one of our seven restaurant outlets, and have a ski and snowboard instructor they can easily communicate with”.
In summer you can tee up in the 18-hole course designed by Arnold Palmer, go horseback riding out in the crisp northern air, or try white-water rafting down Shiribetsu River.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vancouver 2010 launchs new graphic identity and re-launch of www.vancouver2010.com

Yesterday September 17th, the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games unveiled its new graphic identity (“Look of the Games”), an identity that will create a unified and inspiring visual experience leading up to and during the 2010 Winter Games.
Today VANOC will also launch a refreshed website designed to offer an enhanced, in-depth and interactive experience for virtual visitors worldwide.
The new graphic identity builds on the original colour palette of predominantly blues and greens found in the host region and is an intricate and colourful layering of many illustrated textures drawn from Canada’s natural and urban environments and rich cultural diversity. It captures, with imagination and creativity, the spirit of Vancouver 2010 in the universal language of design and incorporates elements designed by Xwa lack tun, a Vancouver-based Aboriginal artist. From banners to in-venue signage to postcards to workforce uniforms to building wraps, the Vancouver 2010 graphic identity is expected to become one of the most iconic elements of the Games experience.
Canadian Olympians Amanda Overland (short track speed skating), Chris Wong (freestyle skiing), Anne-Marie Lefrançois (alpine skiing) and Paralympian Tyler Mosher (cross-country skiing) yesterday unveiled 24 pictograms and a series of sport illustrations as part of the new graphic identity. Created in collaboration with illustrator Irene Jacobs of I’m JAC Design, the pictograms represent 19 Olympic and five Paralympic sport disciplines with a simplified silhouette while incorporating the added dynamism of the athlete in motion. The pictograms and sport illustrations were inspired by modern sport photography, pop culture, fashion illustration and manga-style comics (a Japanese genre of comic books) to give athletes an heroic feel and a close-up view of their intensity and athleticism, while also serving as an inspiration to youth.
With the launch of domestic online ticket sales just over two weeks away, http://www.vancouver2010.com/, powered by Bell, has been vastly enhanced and re-designed to ensure visitors, and particularly ticket buyers, truly experience the personality of the 2010 Winter Games. The refreshed vancouver2010.com site features the new graphic identity, sport illustrations and pictograms, as well as additional background on the new fusion look, including a behind-the-scenes video of how it was inspired and then created by VANOC’s in-house design team. The re-launched site now contains even more information about the 2010 Winter Games, including ticket information, legendary athlete bios, additional spectator information, and more in-depth content about Olympic and Paralympic winter sports. New features and functionality will be activated on the website as the Games approach, to engage Canadians and the world in the Vancouver 2010 experience.
An example of the new features launching today at vancouver2010.com is the first in a series of monthly video podcasts (vodcasts). This month’s vodcast features an informal interview with Canadian short track speed skating athletes during a recent training session at the Pacific Coliseum (competition venue for short track speed skating and figure skating during the Games). In the vodcast, the athletes describe their sport and share personal and often light-hearted insights about themselves and the Games. In the last year, vancouver2010.com received over three million unique visitors from around the world. This includes over two million Canadians from all regions of the country — or approximately one out of 17 citizens. Original website feature stories about athletes, sport, culture, sustainability and preparations for Canada’s Games are read by 30,000 people each month; videos on the website have been viewed some 435,000 times in the past year; and over 120,000 people have subscribed to receive the Vancouver 2010 General Update e-newsletter. The new website contains approximately 1,500 pages of content and is the number one source for information about the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Highlights North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2008

On the last weekend of August Chamonix hosted a new edition of the North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2008. The international race, took place in one of the most incredible landscapes on the world. A breathtaking scenery of seven valleys, 71 glaciers and 400 summits like the Mont Blanc, the Dent du Géant and the rock face of the Grandes Jorasses.
The athletes covered a distance of 166 km and 9,400 of positive altitude change along the famous GR TMB, within 46 hours, at an altitude ranging between 1012 m and 2537 m., crossing six passes over 2000 metres high.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dolomiti Mountain Resort in China

The official opening of Dolomiti Mountain Resort was held on Saturday November 24th., 2007. The Resort is located at Chongli County, Zhangjiakou City of Hebei Province, 226 kilometers northwest from Beijing. Leading government officials from Hebei Province attended the official opening of the new resort together with a delegation of South Tyroleans, who traveled all the way to China for the event. Governor Luis Durnwalder, regional ministers Hans Berger and Thomas Widmann and also the Mayor of Sterzing, Fritz Karl Messner were among them.
The ski area is the first in China to bear the “made in South Tyrol” label. The resort has been created by a partnership between the Italian Leitner ski lift company, the Marzola Group, the developer of Dolomiti Superski and the government of Hebei Province where the resort is located.
The colorful Chinese opening celebrations were preceded on the evening before by a formal reception, at which a friendship agreement was signed between the provincial authority of Bozen in Italy and the municipal authority of Zhangjiakou as the administrative center of the district in which Dolomiti Mountain Resort is located.
The official opening provided a fine opportunity to celebrate completion of the first stage of the development project comprising a detachable six-passenger chairlift with canopy chairs, five ski trails with over 280,000 square meters of slopes with snowmaking, a fun park, a beginner’s slope and a base lodge with a rental store, ski school and restaurant. The resort itself is designed on the model of successful ski areas in the Alps but it will also be an all-year destination. The next resort development phases involve the construction of six lifts and ropeways, 17 kilometers of trails with snowmaking throughout, hotels for 4,000 visitors, condos and holiday bungalows, a shopping center and various leisure facilities.
Today we are celebrating a first and important step on the road to complete implementation of a project that will bring significant growth to the area in the years to come. We are committed to handling the project in co-operation with the local residents in line with the same motto that we observe in South Tyrol, "Good money with a good conscience!" That is a principle that we respect wherever we go, and we will observe it here in Chongli as an expression of our commitment to social responsibility” said Michael Seeber, CEO at Leitner, in his speech to more than a thousand visitors.
The Chinese government officials spoke of the importance of the project in developing a tourist industry in the region and for the regional economy as a whole.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Expo Zaragoza 2008. The "The World of Ice" Exhibition closed their doors

Yesterday September 14th at 20:00 pm the Expo Zaragoza Closing Ceremony was held at the Conference Centre. It was arranged by Calvari 13 (Joan Lluis Bozzo), a company devoted to producing events and shows with a broad experience in the artistic sector. The Closing Firework Show "Los Paisajes del Río" took place on the Ebro banks.
The Aramón Leitner Cable Car and "The World of Ice" Exhibition were opened to the public on June 14th, the day when the International Expo Zaragoza 2008 opens its doors. A ride in the cable car was a unique journey that boasts the best views over the Expo and the city of Zaragoza.
The Cable Car ticket also included admission to "The World of Ice" Exhibition. Following the success of his ‘Yeti, Mount and Mystery” exhibition at Expo Hanover 2000, which received over 2.5 million visitors, Aramón and Leitner invited Reinhold Messner to create a new exhibition especially for Expo Zaragoza 2008. He currently works in the Messner Mountain Museum, a unique mountain museum project comprised of five themes which complete "the mosaic of what mountains mean to mankind".
The exhibition revolves around snow and ice. Some 86% of our planet’s fresh water reserves are stored in a solid state. This ice is our most valuable reserve to ensure our survival. Ice has always played an essential role in religion, traditions, literature, the arts and even music: as a myth, creator and destroyer of life, metaphor and symbol, magnificent natural spectacle, the conquered territory of Polar Regions, as a fascinating and threatening element, in the mountains as the home of the gods, or as a backdrop for winter sports. This was a very apt for an International Expo with theme of "Water and Sustainable Development", encompassing a wave of sensations to brought visitors closer to this extreme phenomenon through works by different artists of international acclaim such as Messner, Eliasson, Aitken, Ditsch, Huber, Julien, Maté, Helnwein, Fulton, Almalé and Bondía. This pavilion offered visitors a unique and unforgettable opportunity to view the marvels of ice through contemporary art.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Matchstick Productions Ski Film to Debut in Whistler

Today September 14th Matchstick Productions' new ski film release, Claim, debuts in Whistler at the Telus Centre. This premiere marks Matchstick twentieth ski film release and fourth world premiere hosted by Whistler Blackcomb. "We have been doing this for over 15 years and we feel like with Claim we have created a masterpiece. This film is really going to blow some minds", says Executive Producer Murray Wais.
Claim features several longtime Matchstick Productions all-stars as well as a few newcomers, including Mark Abma, Ingrid Backstrom, Rory Bushfield, Chris Davenport, Simon Dumont, Stian Hagen, Hugo Harrisson, James Heim, Eric Hjorleifson, PK Hunder, CR Johnson, Shane McConkey, Jon Olsson, Sean Pettit, Chris Rubens, TJ Schiller, Colby West, and Jacob Wester.
Claim is shot in high-definition on location in Whistler, Chamonix, Courmayer, Valdez, Aspen, Chatter Creek, and additional destinations worldwide. The Matchstick Movie Tour visits over 100 locations across the globe this fall, featuring athlete appearances, poster signings, after parties, live entertainment, and more.
Matchstick Productions is a Crested Butte, Colorado based extreme sports film production company specializing in skiing videos.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

24th World Mountain Running Trophy

Tomorrow, September 14th, the region of Sierre Crans-Montana will host the World Mountain Running Trophy 2008. A demanding course over a distance of 12 kilometres and 960 metres of elevation gain, leads runners through an area of outstanding beauty, where nature is ever-changing, as it connects valley to mountain.
Starting from Sierre (540 m) and after a brief passage through town, the course continues up through the vineyards along stony paths. The sight of the plain and Sierre slowly moving away is splendid. The picturesque village of Venthône is soon reached. The course then continues in alternating woodland and meadows, with splendid opening on the plain, towards Montana-Village and Bluche. A forest road finally leads us to Crans-Montana (1500 m) where the runners will arrive on the site of Ycoor at the centre of the resort.

Friday, September 12, 2008

China will host the 2009 Universiade

After Beijing Olympic Games, China will host one more major international sport event. The 24th 2009 World University Games, also known as the "Universiade" will be held in the country’s skiing capital city Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, 800 kilometres north of Beijing and a former host of the Asian Winter Games. The Universiade, a combination of the words University and Olympiad, is an International multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The 24th Winter Universiade was attributed to Harbin, at the FISU Executive Committee Meeting in Innsbruck, Austria, on January 10th, 2005.
The ski events will be held at Sun Mountain Yabuli, China’s premier and most well known destination ski resort. The resort is now operated by Melco China Resorts Ltd (MCR) listed on the TSX Venture Exchange in Toronto, Canada in May 2008. Hong Kong-listed Melco International Development Ltd. is the founding strategic partner and investor of MCR. It has become China’s largest ski resort developer and operator with five premier resort properties: Sky Mountain Beidahu, Adventure Mountain Changchun, Star Mountain Beijing, The Lotus Mountain Club and Sun Mountain Yabuli. The company initial focus is the rapid transformation of five existing ski areas in northern China into unique, year-round, world-class resorts offering the very best in snow sports throughout the winter. MCR offers a range of accommodations, including five-star full-service hotels, condominium-hotels and luxury resort homes. The Sun Mountain Lodge, currently being constructed at the Yabuli Resort has been accepted as part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World Group (SLH) brand. Recently ranked the "top overall luxury hotel brand for 2007" and the brand that offers the "Best Customer Experience", by the New York-based Luxury Institute, the SLH portfolio comprises over 450 luxury hotels in more than 70 countries.
At Yabuli a $25m investment has been made in the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment which adheres to international safety standards and introduces services and amenities that have never been seen before in China, including sophisticated snowmaking and grooming technology which will guarantee snow throughout the winter season, eight-passenger heated gondolas imported from Europe, and six-passenger high-speed chair lifts.
According to the China Ski Association, the total number of ski visits in China increased at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 109% to over 4 million during the period 1999 and 2004 and is the fastest growing ski market in the world. The number is expected to increase to 10 million by 2010.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Where to Ski and Snowboard 2009" Launch

The launch event for Where to Ski and Snowboard 2009, Britain's leading annual guide to winter sports resorts, took place in London on Monday 8 September. The guide launch party marks one of the first social gatherings of the new winter season. This year 130 guests join Editors Chris Gill and Dave Watts, and team, at the National Liberal Club London. The event was co-hosted by the Association of Snow Sports Countries (ASC), launching their Freshers' Ski Week (January 2009) - free beginner packages in 46 resorts for anyone fancying their first go at skiing and boarding.
The guide has made three awards to resorts for outstanding service or improvements they are offering skiers and snowboarders. In this year edition Best North American Resort 2008 went to Whistler for the Peak to Peak gondola. The European award goes to the SkiWelt, for their new connection to Westendorf. And Deer Valley, Utah won Best Service to Expert Skiers - recognising the unusual free Black Diamond mountain tours.
The 600 pages guide includes a detailed description and evaluation of over 430 resorts (in around 150 areas) in the Alps, North America, the Pyrenees, eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Japan and Scotland.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

International Freeski Film Festival

The DNA IF3 International Freeski Film Festival, presented by Salomon and Bula, is back for its second edition September 11-15 in Montreal, Quebec (Canada). The DNA IF3 will feature the world premieres of twelve of the top professional, and five amateur freeski films, drawing athletes and adrenaline addicts from all over the world. The film showcase and its surrounding events will take place all weekend at Cinema Imperial, Centre Sandra & Leo Kolber Salle Lucie et André Chagnon, in Montreal.
"For the second year, we are incredibly honored to partner with our sponsors to bring the entire world of freeskiing together for three days to give the community a chance to see the talent that our community has been fostering over the last few years", says IF3 President and co-founder Felix Rioux.
"Last year’s IF3 set an exciting precedent for the future of freeski", says JF DuRocher, IF3 co-founder and Director of Marketing for Bula, one of the show's sponsors. "We’re confident this year’s festival will overcome people’s expectations and we’ll make sure to maintain the prestige of being 'the Cannes Film Festival’ of Freeskiing'".

The DNA IF3 Official Professional Feature Film Schedule Includes:
  • Nimbus Independent - Hunting Yeti (USA)
  • Poor Boyz Production - Reasons (USA)
  • Rage Films - Such is Life (USA)
  • Theory 3 - The Journal (Canada)
  • Ride The Planets - Up in Snow (France)
  • Tanner Hall/Red Bull - Massive (USA)
  • Field Productions - Get Lucky (Norway)
  • Level 1 – Turbo (USA)
  • Meathead - Head for the Hills (USA)
  • Ski Vision - Alliance (France)
  • Mystic Land Production - Broadcast (Canada)
  • Kriss Ostness/Atomic - Skiing is_____ (USA)
In addition to the loaded film schedule, the DNA IF3’s activities will include daily autograph signing sessions, the launch party on Thursday night with the Salomon 10 years of 1080 party, Friday night’s Tanner Hall Massive Reggae party featuring Cali-P, Saturday night’s Newschoolers Awards with DJ Set of Ghislain Poirier (Ninja Tune), with activities ending with
Monday’s JF Cusson Golf Invitational.

Monday, September 8, 2008

When snow Melts river runs (IV)

With the name When snow melts river runs, I started a new post series about Whitewater activities like Rafting, Hydrospeed, etc. Today I want to end it for this season with a post about rafting on the Flathead River in Montana's Glacier National Park with the Glacier Raft Company. The Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.
Glacier Raft Company proposes a multy-day (2/3 days) rafting trip itinerary of river-running, fishing, camping and outdoor fun through the John Stevens Canyon on the middle fork of the Flathead River along the southern border of Glacier National Park. Trip includes 13 named rapids, mostly Class II and III whitewater (medium whitewater with numerous waves, narrow passages, eddies and bends), including Tunnel and Jaws. You'll paddle through the same rapids where Meryl Streep guided her family on the river in the exciting Universal film "The River Wild". You'll be guided by the hosts & technical advisors of the movie.
You also can choose the 5 Day Great Bear Wilderness Ride and Raft trip spending 2½ days riding horseback followed by a 2½ whitewater rafting trip on the upper middle fork of the flathead river, all within the Great Bear Wilderness, part of the largest wilderness area in the Continental U.S. You'll experience exciting whitewater and great fishing. The Upper Middle Fork of the Flathead is a run that rivals any in the West and offers remote access to class III-IV rapids. The rapids of Three Forks, 25-Mile Creek, Lunch Creek and Spruce Park Gorge will give you lifelong memories.
Fishing is a popular activity in the Glacier Park and some of the finest fly fishing in North America can be found in the streams that flow through the park. If you remember Montana is the stunning backdrop of Robert Redford Film “A River Runs Through It”. The best whitewater is before July, but the fishing peaks later that month during the caddis-and-stone-fly hatch.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Red Bull Dolomitenmann

The Red Bull Dolomitenmann marathon event, starting today at 10:00 AM in Lienz (Austria) combines mountain running, paragliding, kayaking and mountain biking.
First of all the 110 teams have to cover an 1700 meters in altitude track leading to the Dolomites. At an altitude of over 2400 metres they will hand over to the paragliders and scrip 200 metres downhill to the take off area. From there they'll pass some of the most breath taking peaks in the dolomites before negotiateing in intermediate landing. An another 500 meter run to the next take off station follows. After that they'll sore down into the town of Leisach, where they hand over to the kayakers, who have two selective segments to overcome. Starting with a tight 1000 metre slalom course against the raging current in the river Drau. After that a short portage segment leaves them to the river Isel for a quick downwater run to the final changeover. Now it's all up to the mountainbikers. The final 12 kilometres and 1300 vertical metres lead them over a rollercoaster course. Through narrow woods and steep sections where they have to shoulder their bikes to blistering downhills on tight switchbacks. And over open fields and screeping alpine paths that break … speed. A delvy burndowny asphalt into Lienz again for the finish.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Jungfrau Marathon

Tomorrow Interlaken, the holiday resort located in the heart of the Swiss alps in the Jungfrau-Region between the Lakes of Thun and Brienz and at the foot the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau will host again a new edition of the Jungfrau Marathon.
Starting in Interlaken at 566 metres and finishing in the Kleine Scheidegg at 2,100 metres runners must deal with a positive drop of 1,829 metres. The breathtaking scenery and the superb challenge have made this event a cult race, the alpine equivalent of the New York event. You run in full view of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau completing no ordinary marathon but a panoramic version. Along the 42.195 kilometres the scenery keeps changing. The emerald Lake Brienz contrasts with the icy giants of the Bernese Oberland, the sheer rock faces in the Lauterbrunnen Valley with the bubbling waters of the Lütschine, the gnarled stone pines below the Wengernalp with the eternal ice of the majestic Silberhorn.
The Jungfrau Marathon is supported by almost 1000 volunteers from over forty clubs in the region.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Alaska Kayaking

Today I want to write about another incredible trip, a kayaking journey up the West Arm of Glacier Bay, where the ice has retreated just far enough to slip into the heart of Alaska.
Explorers’ Corner, a referral-only, high-end, specialty adventure company offering unique destinations and experiences, proposes a 8 day voyage (4 Nights Hotels or Bed & Breakfasts, 4 Nights Tented Camp) starting in the little town of Gustavus, the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park. Glacier Bay is a natural waterway from Alaska's Inside Passage to the tidewater glaciers. Long sunlight hours are devoted to following the retreat of the glaciers, with stops every so often to explore the mountains by foot. On Day 7 you will board a charter boat for the scenic half hour cruise across Icy Strait to Point Adolphus on the north shore of Chichagof Island in the Tongass National Forest.
The trip combines an exploration of two of the most impressive locations in coastal Alaska: Point Adolphus for unsurpassed humpback and orca whale watching and a paddle back in geologic time up the West Arm of Glacier Bay, considered by many to be the most spectacular area in all of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. You are likely to see humpback and orca whales, sea lions, seals, otter, migrating salmon and bald eagles as well as brown bears, black bears and more.
This year the Company offers a one day extension to the trip. From Juneau you will board a floatplane to visit Pack Creek on Admiralty Island, known to the Tlingits as Kootznoowoo or “fortress of the Bears”.
Explorers Corner is made up of a small group of passionate travelers and professionals that share the vision of this unique “old world (one-to-one customer service)” travel company—Olaf Malver, Lou Gibbs, Paul Schicke and Karla Leibowitz.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

St Moritz To Bid For 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

Together with Switzerland's skiing federation, Swiss Ski, St. Moritz will be bidding to host the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships of 2015.
Hugo Wetzel, President of the association "Alpine Sport Events St. Moritz/Engadin" (ASESE), that was founded for this purpose, sees the St. Moritz bid as a logical sequel to the successful and widely praised FIS Alpine World Ski Championships of 2003. Wetzel further refers to St. Moritz' long-standing tradition and event strategy that tops its regular seasonal events with a major sports happening every 10 to 20 years. After two Olympic Winter Games – the only ones ever held in Switzerland – and four Alpine World Ski Championships (1934, 1948, 1974 and 2003), St. Moritz is looking to run the World Ski Championships for a fifth time – a feat that knows no equal elsewhere in the world, and which but serves to confirm the Engadiners' standing at the forefront of international winter tourism.With its renewed bid, St. Moritz is targeting three main goals – to consolidate its image and reputation as a world leader among alpine resorts, to take advantage of and continuously upgrade its mountain infrastructure, and to further develop its regional resources in volunteers and leading staff at regularly run World Cup events.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

St. Moritz Match Race

From September 2 to 7 Engadine will be the centre of the sailing world. At the St. Moritz Match Race 2008 the elite will sail for prizes and points on Lake St. Moritz. The sixth edition of the event in the Engadine Valley form part of the World Match Racing Tour for 2008. The Tour stages 10 events throughout the world and the prize money totals more than 2 million Swiss francs. The winner of the Tour will become the ISAF Match Racing World Champion 2008.
On the sponsor side, contracts with the three existing partners – AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding, UBS and Badrutt’s Palace Hotel – have been renewed. These companies will be supporting this top sailing event in Switzerland this year as main partners.
Match racing is certainly one of the most exciting competitions in sailing. Two teams compete directly against each other. The St. Moritz Match Race will be sailed this year for the first time with a new class of boats, the blu26. This four-man sportboat is new to the market and has been especially designed for Match Racing in Switzerland.
Once again the St. Moritz Match Race has attracted the world’s best Match Race skippers to the Engadin Valley. Along with last year’s winner, Ian Williams (GBR), are Richard Mathieu (FRA), Paolo Cian (ITA) and Sebastien Col (FRA) currently the four best sailors in the Match Race world ranking list. The two ’young and wild ones’, Adam Minoprio (NZL) and Torvar Mirsky (AUS), have already shown their talent at different World Tour events and will try to prove themselves at the St. Moritz Match Race. Both are well placed in the world rankings, in10th and 7th place respectively. America’s Cup teams will also be represented at the St. Moritz Match Race by Paolo Cian (Shosholza), Sebastien Col (K Challenge), Jes Gram Hansen (Mascalzone Latino) and Philippe Presti (ex Luna Rossa now French Spirit).
You can follow the Tour shows at Sail TV.
St. Moritz is located on the mountain side of the Engadine facing south at 1856 metres above sea level. The spa resort originally gained its significance from its mineral springs, which had been known for their curative effects for some 3,000 years already. Nowadays is one of the most renowned holiday resorts of the world.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gore-Tex TransRockies Run

Last Saturday August 30th, TransRockies runers reach the finish line at Beaver Creek. Up to 150 teams of two participated on the Colorado Rockies Race, a running experience like no other. During the six days of the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, runners from all over the world ran, ate and lived together as they cover 200 kilometres. The Gore-Tex TransRockies Run course runs from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek, through the heart of the White River and San Isabel National Forests. The course includes a mix of singletrack and forest road with nearly 7,620 metres of elevation gain, reaching altitudes of over 3,800 metres.

Based upon the wildly successful Gore-Tex TransAlpine-Run in Europe and the TransRockies mountain bike race, the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run is run on a multi-day point-to-point format which allows athletes to access and traverse wild and fantastic scenery, while building camaraderie, overcoming adversity and sharing a singular adventure.
TransRockies Run organizers designed a breathtaking course through an spectacular scenery and the following stages:
  • Aug 25, Stage 1: Buena Vista to Vicksburg
  • Aug 26, Stage 2: Vicksburg to Twin Lakes (shuttle to Leadville)
  • Aug 27, Stage 3: Leadville to Camp Hale
  • Aug 28, Stage 4: Camp Hale to Red Cliff
  • Aug 29, Stage 5: Red Cliff to Vail
  • Aug 30, Stage 6: Vail to Beaver Creek

The Gore-Tex TransRockies Run is organized by TransRockies US Inc. With decades of high level event organization experience including the first World Cup mountain bike events, the TransRockies Team is widely regarded as being among the best in the world of outdoor and adventure sport. The group currently manages the Gore-Tex TransAlpine Run (Europe, founded in 2005), the Jeantex TransAlp Challenge (Europe, founded in 1998), the TransRockies Challenge (Canada, founded in 2002) and the Craft TransGermany Challenge (Founded in 2007).