The Freeride World Tour (FWT) 2009 came to an end with an amazing fourth stage and grand finale: the Nissan Xtreme-Verbier.
This is Kaj Zackrisson's competition run. He placed 7th. His run features some incredible aerial shots as well as our new High Definition POV cameras which bring you to the heart of the action, like never before.
The FWT 2009 brought together the world’s best skiers and snowboarders to compete around the globe: Sochi, Russia, Squaw Valley, USA, Tignes, France and Verbier, Switzerland. Thanks to the 10 Freeride World Qualifiers, certain young talented riders were qualified to participate in this season’s major events.
For Nissan the FWT forming a key pillar in Nissan’s Sports Adventure programme which aims to support and promote adventure sports and an active outdoor lifestyle through world class events. Nissan has been involved with the legendary Xtreme, Verbier since 2006 and are pleased to see the 09 FWT once again climax at the Nissan Xtreme Verbier on the legendary Bec des Rosses. With Nissan’s support the tour has allowed more people in more countries across Europe to experience freeriding than ever before. Nissan’s involvement has also provided the next generation of talent the opportunity to experience the physical and mental challenge of competing with the world’s best freeriding skiers and snowboarders at the Freeride World Qualifiers.
The Nissan Sports Adventure winter programme encompasses the Freeride World Tour, the Freeride World Qualifiers and the Nissan Outdoor Games, whilst the summer programme includes the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, and the Nissan Outdoor Games which will take place in Interlaken, Switzerland between the 29th and 30th May 2009. Nissan Sports Adventure combines the spirit of adventure with the controlled elements and skills of more traditional sports within the context of challenging ever evolving environments. This sports adventure ethos reflects Nissan’s passion for adventure, independence and continuous achievement.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The Freeride World Tour (FWT) 2009 came to an end with an amazing fourth stage and grand finale: the Nissan Xtreme-Verbier.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
BBC correspondent Frank Gardner, who was himself shot and paralysed, explains how you can still ski when you can't use your legs during a skiing exercise up in the Bavarian Alps known as 'Battle Back' . Battle Back is a British Ministry of Defence initiative which aims to improve and formalise the use of Adventurous Training and Sport in the aftercare of wounded Service personnel in order to aid their rehabilitation and return to an active life.
Mono-ski: Individuals sit in a molded seat that is mounted on a single ski and use hand-held outriggers. The mono-ski requires the greatest balance and strength. It is designed for people with double amputations and spinal cord injuries, or other disabilities including spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy (The description taken from the National Sports Centre for the Disabled).
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Snow depths have continued to build with Ehrwald in Austria reporting 125cm (four feet) of fresh snow in the past seven days and Meiringen in Switzerland 75cm (2.5 feet). Still more snowfall is expected for the rest of the week, especially tomorrow (Thursday 26 March) in Austria. Several ski areas in the the region are now reporting accumulated snow depths in excess of five metres (17 feet) on upper slopes with the Dachsein Gletscher at 490cm (over 16 feet) and the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun at 455cm.
There has been a foot (30cm) of fresh snow in leading resorts in the northern French Alps yesterday. Chamonix and neighbouring Argentiere as was resorts around Flaine in the Grand Massif were beneficiaries. Chamonix now has some of the deepest snow in the French Alps with a 330cm (11 foot) base on upper slopes. Caroline Stauder of Les Carroz d'Araches told Skiinfo France, "The season has been very good. Since the early opening of the ski domain over the weekend of December 13th and 14th we have benefited from exceptional snow coverage. In the middle of March we still had 110cm (nearly four feet) of snow in the resort. The snow coverage is also of remarkably high quality. It was cold in February and in March the temperatures remained cold for the time of year. With this currently snow quality, the Spring sunshine and the uncrowded slopes make now a great time to ski. But with the recent big snowfalls the avalanche risk has now past in 3 out of a maximum 5, so be careful".
Italy has had a largely dry week with sunny days and proing like conditions although there were some snow showers in the north and centre of the country last weekend. The biggest snow falls of the past week have touched 50cm (20 inches) with Campo Felice near Rome accumulating 35cm (14 inches) and Limone Piemonte in the Alps 20cm (eight inches).
Sella Nevea still has the most snow in the country and possibly Europe with 640cm (over 21 feet) . The Presena glacier, which will remain open through May and in to June has 530cm (over 17 feet).
The Pyrenees have had dry sunny weather for the past week but that’s due to end this weekend with fresh snowfalls and wintry temperatures forecast. In the French Pyrenees Gourette and Cauterets have the most snow in France with over 450cm (15 feet) each. Snow depths for Andorran and Spanish resorts remain between 150 and 250cm (five and eight feet).
Formigal is at the upper end with 250cm (over eight feet) of snow on upper slopes. Throughout Easter Week, eggs will be hidden around the resort, both on the slopes and in the village. Find one with a face on it and you win a week’s Holiday to Formigal for the 09-10 season. Sierra Nevada still has the most snow in Spain with a 4m (13 foot) base, but Baqueira Beret isn’t far behind with 350cm (just under 12 feet)
In Eastern Europe Bulgaria received more snow with Bansko in Bulgaria now building up top touch four metres (13 feet) – it’s deepest snow yet this season , in contrast to resorts in the alps and Pyrenees where the peak appear to have past . More snow is falling this week.
In Scandinavia there have been occasional snowfalls over the past week, some of them heavy. At the weekend there were big snowfalls and hard winds in the northern Swedish mountains making conditions extremely hazardous. In Abisko they closed the whole ski system for half a day following six spontaneous avalanches during the night. There were no injuries and conditions have not stabalised. In the last seven days Ramundberget in Sweden got 21cm (eight inches) of new snow, Vemdalen 15cm (six inches) and Åre 10cm (Four inches). The most snow is in Storlien at the moment with 130cm (over four feet). The weather forecast shows more snow in the southern part of the mountains later in the week and during the weekend.
It has been a roller-coaster weather week in Scotland’s mountains with double-figure temperatures (the warmest in the UK) dramatically cutting remaining snowpack at the end of last week, followed by stormy weather which did bring some fresh snow. Currently three centres – Cairngorm, Nevis Range and Glencoe are open for the Scottish schools Easter holiday skiing, which begins this weekend. Each has limited terrain available at present which may not be suitable for beginners or young children unless conditions improve.
Things are looking better for the ski hills in the southern Belgian region of the Ardennes. There were major traffic delays in the south of the country this morning caused by recent snow falls. On the E42 motorway Between Verviers and Prüm 30 trucks blocked the road for several hours. Now the people of Belgium and Holland are wondering if there’ll be a repeat of last year’s White Easter in the Benelux countries?
In North America the best of the fresh snow has been in the west of the continent with resorts in Alberta and British Columbia, reporting plenty of fresh, plus low temperatures to keep it in good condition. The opposite effect – warm weather, had been plaguing some Western US resorts last week but Colorado has benefitted from heavy snow in the past few days which follows on from a three foot (90cm) fall over Lake Tahoe last weekend. Copper Mountain (picture attached) reported having received 16 inches (40cm) of new snow in the past two days. Eleven inches (25cm) have fallen in the past 24 hours and the best part is. More is expected all week.
Mt. Bachelor in Oregon is the latest ski resort to announce an extended ski season, through to May 17th. The resort has also announced that the US Ski Team will be back to train at the mountain and that the resort’s terrain park and slopestyle will be expanded to create a spring super park.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Each day DJ’s will be positioning themselves in snowy strongholds around the mountain to blast out tunes across the slopes and Championship action. Off the hill it’s into the bar for a spot of après with live daily DJ and acoustic sets from the likes of Ben Howard and Joel Erith, then home, wash-down, and back out in time for one of nightly club sessions. Just remember, it’s a marathon…not a sprint!
To celebrate 20 years of the BRITS, Switzerland Tourism will be flying over very special guests, which will soon be announced to host the BRITS fancy dress 20th Birthday Bash! (Come as anything beginning with the letter “B”). Firmly grasping the party reins on the last night of the BRITS at the Riders Palace, the BRITS ‘B’ Party will top off the week with a night of classic 80’s tunes and flash dancer fever moves.
As well as a celebrated winter festival, The BRITS plays host to the prestigious British Snowboard and Freeski Championships that unites kids, rookies, pros and Olympians. The Championship action comes courtesy of the Trespass Snowboardcross/Skiercross, Quiksilver Big Air, Animal Slopestyle and SNO!zone Halfpipe.
BRITS packages start from £269 which includes seven nights’ accommodation, six days lifts pass and most importantly your BRITS event pack and wristband, which gives you access to event clubs and bars. So to join the 1000 or so revellers that will be hitting the BRITS for a week full of freestyle, music and mayhem and for a full music line-up.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Allalin Rennen are definitely amongst the most successful and largest events in the glacier village. Even after a quarter of a century, the exciting races still fill both young and old with enthusiasm. The start is at an altitude of 3,600 metres (bikers: 3,500), surrounded by a fantastic panorama and 13 fourthousand-metre-high peaks. From here skiers, snowboarders and daredevil bikers of all levels of ability will once again hurl themselves down the 9-kilometre descent, mastering the altitude difference of 1,800 metres during a lightening-quick descent and finally reaching the finish line at the Kalbermatten sports ground in Saas-Fee. On some sections of the course, speeds of up to 130 km/h can be reached, as for example on the legendary Kanonenrohr (Barrel of a Gun).
The Olympic ideal – "It is more important to take part than it is to win" – is still adhered to in Saas-Fee. The area around the finish line at the sports field is like one big festive cabin, inviting racers and spectators to enjoy a convivial party atmosphere. On Friday, musical entertainment will be provided by the solo entertainer Walter Keller from Grächen, and on Saturday the "Schneehuhnjäger" duo from Germany will take the stage.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The Freeride World Tour (FWT) 2009 came to an end with an amazing fourth stage and grand finale: the Nissan Xtreme-Verbier.
"We witnessed a fantastic show with historical runs on the Bec des Rosses. The riders proved their mastery and wisdom in tough conditions. They have shown the true evolution of Freeride as a sport. My feeling about this second edition of the Freeride World Tour is that it ahs progressed and there is potential for the future", said Nicolas Hale Woods, organizer of the Freeride World Tour and founder of the Nissan Xtreme - Verbier.
"The legend of the Bec de Rosses made the 14th running of the Xtreme a very exciting event. The athletes battled deep snow and windy conditions to give the large crowd a great show. Nissan are proud of the performance of our Nissan Sports Adventure athletes who triumphed in the challenging conditions.The Freeride World Tour has reached another level during the 2009 season, with the athletes pushing themselves to challenge the conditions, and in doing so raising the bar for the sport. Nissan are very proud to have been involved with the Freeride World Tour, as part of our Nissan Sports Adventure programme across Europe. Together with the tour we look forward to the continued development and success of freeriding", said Jean-Pierre Diernaz, General Manager, Marketing Communications, Nissan Europe.
Xavier de Le Rue and Aurélien Ducroz, leading before the stage in Verbier, brought honor to their Golden Bibs with historic runs. On the windblown Bec des Rosses face with 55° areas which was even tougher than usual, they both opted for really tough lines. Though he had already won the Freeride World Champion title before heading down the slope, Xavier de Le Rue won the competition hands down, this being his second victory of the season after winning the Nissan Freeride de Tignes. This is his second consecutive title.
After his podiums at the Nissan Russian Adventure (2nd) and the Nissan Tram Face (3rd), Aurelien Ducroz was victorious in Verbier. Like his winning run in 2006, he revealed his mastery and ease on such steep slopes. Very emotional at the awards ceremony, Aurelien has now claimed his spot as the discipline leader.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Fredrik Ericsson is one of the worlds leading high altitude skiers with ski descents on some of the highest mountains on earth, including Peak Somoni, Shisha Pangma, Gasherbrum 2, Laila Peak and Dhaulagiri.
"I have already skied on three of the 14 8000m peaks. During these adventures I gained critical experience that will apply towards my goal of skiing the absolute highest. The project spans two years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world: K2 (8612m) this summer, Kangchenjunga (8586m) in autumn 2009, and Mount Everest (8850m) in the autumn of 2010", says Fredrik.
The first big challenge starts now when Fredrik, together with his Italian companion Michele Fait, go to the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. The mountain they plan to climb and ski, K2, is arguably the hardest of all 8000-meter peaks. It is an incredibly beautiful, remarkably steep pyramid with no easy route to the top. Climbing the mountain is complicated by unusually severe and unpredictable weather systems. K2 was first climbed in 1954 by the Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli. Since then, The Savage Mountain as it has come to be called due to the extraordinarily high number of deaths on the mountain has been climbed on 10 different routes and only around 200 people have summited. So far no one has made a complete ski descent from the summit of K2.
"This means that we can become the first in the world to ski the mountain", says Fredrik.
After a long, rough journey by airplane, bus, jeep and on foot the team will arrive on the Goodwin-Austen Glacier at the foot of K2 where they will set up base camp at an altitude of about 5,000 meters. They will prepare for the big challenge over a period of one month during which they will undertake several acclimatizing climbs. One of these training climbs will be a side trip to attempt the first complete ski descent of coveted Laila Peak (6069m). Mid-July will see the duo start the gruelling climb to the top of K2.
"We will not use supplemental oxygen and will carry all the same equipment as the other climbers. In addition, well also be carrying all of our ski equipment and wearing ski touring boots which are not nearly as warm, comfortable or functional as climbing boots. This makes the climb much more difficult for us than for other climbers", says Fredrik.
Fredrik and Michele plan to climb the south-southeast ridge, a long and serious route featuring extremely strenuous, high-altitude climbing. During the weeks leading to their final push, the team will methodically climb higher and higher up the mountain while their bodies and minds grow accustomed to the debilitating hardships of climbing at such altitude. When the team is fully acclimatized, the two intrepid skiers will need four days to get from base camp to the summit, spending three nights in desolate, high-altitude camps on the way.
"On the final day of our summit push we will start climbing from our 8000 metre camp at midnight and I believe it will take about 12 hours of climbing in The Death Zone to reach the top", says Fredrik.
The ski descent, which is the highlight of the two-month expedition, is expected to take five hours. The descent from the summit all the way to base camp, has a vertical drop of almost 3600 metres and has very steep sections of up to 50 degrees inclination.
"To ski at 8000 metres is extraordinarily difficult and in the beginning we have to stop to rest after only a few turns. After four to five turns ‘m as exhausted as after skiing 1000 vertical metres in the Alps", says Fredrik. The project to be the first in the world to ski the three highest mountains is a step towards Fredrik’s ultimate goal to ski all 14 of the worlds 8000-meter peaks.
Fredrik Ericsson grew up in a town called Umeå in the northern part of Sweden but since 2000 has spent most of his time in Chamonix in the French Alps. As a professional skier he spends the winter traveling to ski resorts in the Alps and exotic mountain ranges around the world.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
After the three Freeride World Tour stops in Sochi, Russia, Squaw Valley, USA and Tignes, France, only the top eight men and three women were qualified in each category. They will be joined by several "Wild Cards" as well as the winners from the Nendaz Freeride, Freeride World Qualifier and sister event to the Verbier Nissan Xtreme.
Although the title in men’s skiing is still up for grabs the Freeride World Champion 2009 in Snowboard is Xavier de Le Rue (FRA), who also won in 2008. He is of course the favorite for the grand finale in Verbier, where he lives for much of the year, and on a face that he particularly loves. The winner of the Nissan Freeride de Tignes last week, he continues to impress everyone with his line choice which are tough and fast. With Cyril Neri’s unfortunate injury (winner of the Nissan Russian Adventure 2009 and multiple winner of the Nissan Xtreme - Verbier), the second and third spots on the podium will be fought over by the Swiss contenders, Alex Coudray and Jonas Emery, as well as the Austrians, Max Zipser and Flo Orley. Another to watch out for, Matt Annetts (USA), the underdog who has done well in the FWQ events in the USA.
For the skiers, the door is wide open as the top 6 in the Freeride World Ranking can still mathematically win the title. Aurelien Ducroz (FRA), current leader and Nissan Sports Adventure athlete, is one of the favorites in Verbier as he won on this face in 2006 and is striving for the Freeride World Champion title. Right behind him, the competition is tough with the Swedes, Reine Barkered (winner in Squaw Valley), Henrik Windstedt (reigning Freeride World Champion 2008) and Sverre Liliequist (winner in Sochi) all battling it out for the title. The outsider for this event is Matthias Haunholder (AUT), who won last week in Tignes, as well as the Frenchmen, Sebastien Michaud (6th), Thibault Duchosal (7th) and Thomas Diet (8th), who took 2nd in Tignes.
In the women’s snowboard, Susan Mol (USA), winner in Squaw Valley, and Aline Bock (GER), winner in Sochi and this season’s revelation will fight for the title. Nathalie Zenklusen (SUI), currently 3rd, could also surprise us. However, for the grand finale, the favorite is definitely Geraldine Fasnacht who has already won several times in Verbier and made her come-back last week winning in Tignes.
For the women’s ski title, the Scandinavians should create some suspense with Marja Persson (SWE), current leader and Ane Enderud (NOR), currently 4th. However, they are closely followed by the Americans, Elyse Saugstad, winner in Squaw Valley, and Jess McMillan, winner in Sochi, who have the taste for victory. Caroline Meynet (FRA) who climbed to 2nd on the FWR after having won in Tignes, could also win on this technical face.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Here you can watch very impressive HD helicopter shots of the Nissan Freeride de Tignes, the third stage of the Freeride World Tour (FWT). The event took place on the impressive Grand Balme face. With more than 500 vertical meters and perfect natural terrain, the Grand Balme face has already been host to numerous major freeride competitions since 2001.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
German resorts also had up to 40cm of snow last Friday at Jenner by Berchtesgaden. Oberstdorf now has snow cover of up to three metres (10 feet), one of the deepest in the country.
In France there were snowfalls last Wednesday (11th March) with 30-40cm (12 – 16 inches) of snow at many resorts in the northern Alps including Chamonix, La Plagne and Val d’Isere. The French winter to date has been reported to be 1.2 degrees colder than usual and one of the three coldest of the past 20 years.
In Switzerland Disentis got 40cm (16 inches) of snow on Thursday and there were some smaller snowfalls on Friday. Andermatt is reporting the deepest snow in the country with a 460cm (Over 15 feet) base with Zermatt on 397cm (just over 13 feet), Engelberg on 385cm (just under 13 feet) and Saas Fee 353cm (just under 14 feet).
Italy has had a mostly sunny week with Courmayeur receiving the most snow – another 30cm (foot). Sella Nevea in the North East of the country has the most snow with 640cm (21 feet) on upper slopes . The warm weather is reported to have increased the avalanche risk.
Spain has also had sunny days and spring skiing conditions in Spain over the past week. Sierra Nevada will offer half price ski tickets after the Easter holidays and have announced that the season will last for an extra fortnight to at least mid-May because of all the snow. The resort, Europe’s most southerly, currently has five metres (17 feet) of snow on its slopes and 100km (63 miles) of piste open. Other Spanish ski resorts are almost as well endowed and have between 170cm (six feet) and 260cm (12 feet) of snow.
In Andorra on the French Pyrenees there have been similar dry sunny conditions with skiers enjoying the deep snow bases across the southern European mountain range. Cauterets in the French Pyrenees has the greatest snow depth in France with 480cm (16 feet) on upper slopes.
In Scandinavia it has also been one of the most peaceful weeks of the winter with mostly clear skies, although Klppen resort got 17cm (seven inches) of new snow over the past week. The Swedish weather service has published a map showing that more than half of Sweden still has snow coverage of at least 50-75 cm (20 – 33 inches), one of the best levels of snow cover at this time of the season for many years.
In Scotland conditions are the worst they’ve been for several months with Glenshee and The Lecht closed due to lack of snow cover and limited terrain open on the tops at the other three centres – Cairngorm, Nevis Range and Glencoe. Current warm weather won’t help matters.
In Eastern Europe snow conditions are holding up with cooler weather on this side of the continent. Bulgaria’s three major resorts have had small snowfalls over the past week and expect up to 15cm (six inches) more by the weekend. Bansko has the most snow accumulated with 240cm (8 feet) on upper slopes. At Borovets its 210cm (7 feet) and in Pamporovo 90cm (three feet). In the Czech and Slovak republics there has been heavy snow in high altitude ski resorts so very good conditions are projected for the coming weekend with 90 ski resorts open in Slovakia and 65 in the Czech Republic. The deepest snow, 180cm (six feet) is to be found at Chopok South in Slovakia and Praden Ovčárna in the Czech Republic.
In North America, Canada’s Alberta and British Columbia are reporting some of the greatest snow accumulations of the past week. With resorts like Sunshine and Whistler open in to May this is good news for superb Spring skiing conditions. Whistler reported 77cm (over 2.5 feet) of fresh snow at mid-mountain level over the past seven days including 18cm (seven inches) in the past 24 hours. In the US there’s been more fresh snow in the West with Telluride in Colorado announcing plans to extend its season by a week. The Canyons in Utah reported 15inches (37cm) of new snow falling to create great powder conditions. In New England more Springlike conditions with warmer temperatures have been reported.
In Asia, a spokesman for Niseko ski resort in Japan told Skiinfo, "We have experienced some beautiful sunny weather and mild temperatures along with the occasional winter storm so far this March. Temperatures are on the rise a little now with most days seeing the mercury rise above freezing level but with the snow base holding strong at 3.9 metres (13 feet), we can expect some great Spring skiing conditions".
Following the announcement of fresh snow at Mt Hotham in Australia last week, New Zealand’s Ruapehu (picture attached) reported fresh snow last week. Although the southern hemisphere ski season is more than two months off, the mountain was blanketed in a cover of fresh white snow. There would be as much as 10cm’s on the upper slopes. "March has definitely seen much cooler temperatures after what has been a really good warm summer", said Mike Smith of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The final stage of the Freeride World Tour (FWT), the mythical Nissan Xtreme will take place in Verbier, the ski resort in the Valais region, on Saturday, March 21st. The world’s top freeriders, both skiers and snowboarders, will be taking part in the 14th edition of the Nissan Xtreme Verbier. After the three Freeride World Tour stops in Sochi, Russia, Squaw Valley, USA and Tignes, France, only the top eight men and three women were qualified in each category. They will be joined by several "Wild Cards" as well as the winners from the Nendaz Freeride, Freeride World Qualifier and sister event to the Nissan Xtreme – Verbier.
The Nissan 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. For the first time at 3000m of altitude, a plane from the Red Bull Air Race will make a 15 minutes show just after the Nissan Xtreme competition above the Col des Gentianes.
Monday, March 16, 2009
For the 12th year in a row, the Subaru U.S. Freeskiing Nationals took place at Snowbird (Utah) on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. Approximately 200 athletes, including the reigning Subaru U.S. Freeskiing Nationals Champions, Dylan Crossman and Jaclyn Passo and the 2009 FWT points leaders Clif Bennett and Michelle Manning, took part in the competition.
2009 Freeskiing World Tour Next Events:
2009 Subaru North American Freeskiing Championships, Kirkwood, California. March 19-23
2009 Subaru Freeskiing World Championships, Alyeska, Alaska. April 8-12, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
In summer you can try ski joëring on rollerskis.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Nissan Freeride de Tignes , the third stage of the Freeride World Tour (FWT), took place on the impressive Grand Balme Face. After patiently awaiting the best conditions for the competition, the organizers and those from the Tignes resort provided an amazing playground for the world’s elite to reveal their talent. After the Nissan Freeride de Tignes, the top eight men and three women of the Freeride World Ranking are qualified for the grand finale of the Freeride World Tour March 21st, the mythical Nissan Xtreme 09 in Verbier .
The French snowboarder, Xavier de Le Rue, took his first victory of the season reinforcing his top spot of the Freeride World Ranking. Among the first to head down the slope, the Freeride World Champion 2008 had an exceptional run recognized by the judges and spectators gathered at the foot of the magnificent Grand Balme face. The Austrian Max Zipser took second with a well-thought run after several podiums in Freeride World Qualifier events. Alex Coudray also impressed the media and spectators, thus was given the Media Judges Award.
Caroline Meynet also from France took her first major victory of her career. Using her technical talent, she was able to beat out the leaders of the Freeride World Ranking. With a powerful runs and perfectly mastered jumps, Marja Persson (SWE, 2nd) and Elyse Saugstad (USA, 3rd), Freeride World Champion 2008, were not able to steal the spotlight from Caroline.
In the men’s ski competition, the young Austrian Matthias Haunholder also took his first victory on the Freeride World Tour after having had an impressive season at the qualifier level in 2008. This skier from Fieberbrunn won by a landslide ahead of Thomas Diet (FRA), who also achieved his career best result. From Val Thorens, Thomas finally revealed his talent climbing his first podium just ahead of the Freeride World Champion 2008, Henrik Windstedt (SWE). The favorite, Aurelien Ducroz, current leader of the Freeride World Ranking, unfortunately fell after a perfect start.
In the women’s snowboard competition, Geraldine Fasnacht (SUI), winner of the Nissan Xtreme de Verbier several times, made her comeback with a great victory. Granted a Wild Card after a knee injury in 2008, this snowboarder from Verbier chose the perfect line. She won ahead of Susan Mol (USA), winner of the Nissan Tram Face that took place just a few days ago in Squaw Valley USA.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Vail Resorts reported results for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 (ended January 31, 2009). Resort Reported EBITDA, which includes the Company's Mountain and Lodging segments, of $105.9 million in the second fiscal quarter decreased by $9.6 million, or 8.3%, from the prior year second fiscal quarter. Commenting second quarter fiscal 2009 results, Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer said, "Our second quarter Resort segment results, which encompass the first part of the ski season, reflect the impact of the severe downturn in the economy. The Company's Mountain segment results were negatively impacted by lower destination visitation, which drove lower lift revenue and to a greater degree a decline in our ancillary business revenue, including ski school, dining and retail/rental (...)However, the Company remains in a strong position from a capital structure and balance sheet perspective which we believe will enable us to navigate through the current environment, even if prolonged, while still delivering on our mission of extraordinary resorts, exceptional experiences", Katz said.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
In the boarder region of Germany and Austria the snow ploughs have a lot of work with March continuing to be a very snowy month, especially in and around Oberstdorf in Germany. The local ski hill of Nebelhorn had 80cm (nearly three feet) in the past seven days. "For the staff on the slopes and from the road department it’s a very tough job these days to get the slopes, roads, pavement and hiking trails fit for service quickly" Rolf Köberle of Kleinwalsertal Tourismus, another area hit by more heavy snow, told Skiinfo. "The team are working especially hard however as sunny weather and warmer temperatures are expected from Friday onwards and we expect a lot of skiers will want to get here to enjoy the great conditions", Mr Köberle concluded.
There is lot of new snow again in Austria with some areas reporting up to 95cm (over three feet) in the past seven days. Important resorts like the Skiwelt region, Saalbach, Hochfügen, Ischgl and Silvretta Montafon each had at least 20cm (eight inches) during the last 24 hours. St. Anton and Kaprun/ Kitzsteinhorn had 30cm (a foot) each yesterday, so the latter has more than four metres (13 feet) on the glacier now. The avalanche risk has also risen again, in parts of the Steiermark, Upper Austria, Tirol and Vorarlberg (Lech picture attached) it is high (level 4) today, so staying on the marked slopes, where conditions are fine, is strongly recommended there. In Kühtai in Tirol an avalanche came down on a road this morning but luckily did not harm any people. The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) in Austria expects up to 50cm (20 inches)of new snow in Tirol and Vorarlberg for today.
In Switzerland alone there have been more than 50 powder alarms this morning. Five resorts reported more than a metre in 7 days and the avalanche risk reaching 4 in some areas (the highest is level five). Andermatt-Gotthard now has a 500cm (17 feet) base on upper slopes and some Swiss ski areas report up to 140cm (4.7 feet) of new snow in the past seven days.
Skiinfo France issued more than 60 powder alarms for French ski resorts on March 6th and 7th and the snow kept falling with another four alarms issued on Monday 9th March for La Plagne, Montchavin - Les Coches, Saint Jean d'Arves and Pralognan la Vanoise. More snow is falling in the French Alps today.
The Pyrenees continue to be the snowiest part of the country with snow depths reaching 500cm (17 feet) in Gourette. In Piau Engaly, the snow depth is 300cm (10 feet) at the summit and 250cm (eight feet) in resort. It has received the most new snow in the past seven days with 155cm (over five feet) of new snow. "We have not seen so much snow so early in the winter for at least 15 years", said Blandine Vernardet, manager of the resort. "The biggest snowfall was on February 12th and 13th when 180cm (six feet) fell in 24 hours. Last week was almost as good with 140cm (nearly five feet) falling on March 6th and 7th. The ski patrol employed the rarely used technique of dropping explosive grenades from the helicopters to secure the ski domain and the local roads from avalanche danger. The ski area is now totally secure, but be careful with off-piste skiing because the unprepared snow-cover is very unstable due to the rising temperature".
Other parts of the Pyrenees are also reporting good cover. In Andorra there have also been more fresh snowfalls, if a little less spectacular than over the border in France, however all ski areas in the principality report upper base depths of at least 2.5m (over eight feet) and some are nearing three metres (ten feet).
In Spain the country’s sensational winter 2008-9 continues in to a fourth month of regular powder snow. The greatest snow depths in the country have reached five metres (18 feet) at Sierra Nevada, the continent’s most southerly major ski area. In the Spanish Pyrenees the greatest snow depth is at Baqueira Beret which has 390cm (13 feet) on upper slopes, but all areas in the region have at least two metres (seven feet) now on their slopes. This bodes very well for the coming Easter holidays.
Italy has had plenty of snow too, particularly in the north with Piancavallo reporting 180cm (six feet) of snow falling in the past seven days alone. Maximum snow depths have passed six metres on upper slopes for the first time in a number of resorts including Sella Nevea 640cm (21.5 feet). The Presena glacier above Passo Tonale is just 10cm (four inches) behind at 590cm.
The new snow means the avalanche risk is high in parts of Italy too. For the last five days in the Dolomites, the danger of avalanches has been at level 4. The rising temperature, after the snowfall of the last hours, makes the situation even worse. In the next few days the danger will remain high, particularly on steep non-forested slopes in the middle of the day away from groomed trails.
This week is the biggest of the season for ski competition in Sweden as Scandinavia’s leading resort, Åre, which staged the alpine world Championships in 2007, hosts the World Cup Finals. The Men’s and Women’s Downhill races were scheduled to go ahead today. Sweden’s downhill skier Hans Olsson reports that the slopes were good overall but that some of the steep parts were very icy. The weather forecast predicts mixed weather during the rest of the week with temperatures between -1 to -5 degrees and some small snow showers. Elsewhere in Sweden it is Lindvallen that got the most snow in the past seven days with 29cm (a foot)of fresh cover. Lindvallen is included in one of Sweden’s biggest ski systems - Sälen, which has the most skier days in the country.
In Eastern Europe conditions are reported to be good at Bulgaria’s major resorts despite a wide variation in snow depths. Bansko claims the most impressive tally of 240cm (eight feet) whilst Pamporovo has a more modest 90cm (three feet) on upper slopes. In Slovakia 100 ski resorts will be open for skiing this weekend, in the Czech Republic the number is nearer 60. Tatranská Lomnica has the most snow in the Slovak Republic with 130cm (over four feet) on upper slopes. Fresh falls of up to 20cm (eight inches) have been reported this week. This weekend the Slovak snowboard association is organising a competition in freestyle snowboarding at Jasna on the biggest SnowPark in Slovakia with prize money of 1000 Euros.
In Scotland all five ski areas are near to full operation as a second week of more snowy weather has continued to enhance conditions after the dramatic thaw that ended a fortnight ago decimated the great cover a month ago. The main weather challenge in recent days was gale force winds on Monday which led to some lift closures but conditions have since stabalised and temperatures are low.
In North America the snow deluge in California seems to have eased although several resorts have doubled their base depths in recent weeks with Squaw Valley now reporting more than four metre (14 feet) of snow lying on upper slopes – be aware of avalanche danger. There’s been some fresh snow in the Rockies with many resorts in Colorado reporting up to 30cm (12 inches) of fresh snow. In New England there have been some small falls but temperatures are also warming again leading to some thawing.
There’s still more than two months of the season left at some Western Canadian resorts including Sunshine and Whistler and conditions in the region are continuing to improve still further with up to a foot (30cm) of fresh snow helping to further build bases and very cold temperatures maintaining snow integrity. On the East Coast too leading resorts like Tremblant reported another 10cm (four inches) of snow keeping base depths above 1.5m (five feet).
Although the start of winter in the southern hemisphere is more than two months off, Mt Hotham in Australia reported snow flurries last Thursday (March 5th), surprising ‘summer’ guests.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The show starts at 9am at the foot of the Grand Balme.
The ski resort Åre is one of Northern Europes most attractive ski resorts, with a long tradition and heart for skiing. Åre ski resort, is located 650 km northwest of Stockholm, and actually comprises three villages, Duved/Tegefjäll to the west, Åre in the middle and Åre Björnen. You will be surprised to discover a small village with both historical landmarks as "Bergbanan" at the Åre square and the modern atmosphere with great restaurants and shops with high class fashion. The village with its surrounding mountain, Åreskutan, will create a stunning backdrop for the Arenas of the World Cup Finals 2009.
SkiStar owns and operates Åre. Company's operations in Åre include the ski area, seven ski rentals and a ski school. Approximately 35% of the land on which operations in the ski area are conducted is owned by SkiStar and the remaining 65% is leased for between 30 and 50 years.
SkiStar is one of the leading resort operators in the world and the largest company in the Scandinavian Ski Industry (Company’s market share of ski-pass sales in Scandinavia amounts to 43%). The Group owns and operates alpine destinations in Sälen, Åre and Vemdalen in Sweden, and Hemsedal and Trysil in Norway. The Company’s market share of ski-pass sales in Scandinavia amounts to 43%.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
From the beginning on, the goal of SAAC was to give the participants of the camps a basic knowledge about avalanches and the risks in alpine territory and make them especially aware of the risks in the areas around ski resorts, where many skiers and boarders by mistake feel safe due to the nearby civilization.
The SAAC basic camps are a two-day-course of basic knowledge about avalanches and the risks off-piste. In these two day the SAAC guides - all of them certified - inform about the dangers and how to behave in the backcountry. Participants have to be at least 14 years old and to be able to ski or board off-piste.
SAAC also offers advanced course to deepen your knowledge about avalanches and the dangers off-piste. SAACnd Step camps are offered as 3-and-a-half-day or as 5-and-a-half-day courses. Package prices include participation, emergency equipment rental (shovel, probe, transceiver) and accomodation.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
After the Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi and the Nissan Tram Face in Squaw Valley, the world’s best ski and snowboard riders moves to France. The Nissan Freeride de Tignes event is the third of four Freeride World Tour (FWT). With over 40 cm of fresh snow, the first possible day for the contest is Tuesday, March 10th. The contest will take place on the north face of the Pramecou as it offers the best conditions for such a superb competition. The rider from Tignes, Guerlain Chicherit, has tested the current conditions on the slope where the start is at an altitude of 3000m.
Thanks to a Wild Card, the French champion Guerlain Chicherit comes back for the Nissan Freeride de Tignes. Even though he decided to stop competing, Guerlain Chicherit from Tignes finally decided to give in to the temptation to compete on the Grande Balme. "It is a face that I know well where I know I will have fun. And it’s my home" The Nissan Freeride de Tignes is the only competition in which the 4-time Freeride World Champion will compete in. At the base of the face, he will be impatiently awaited. He concentrates on filming and shooting, far from the pressure of competition, is however very happy with the arrival of the Freeride World Tour. "Thanks to this new World Tour, the sport of Freeride is more present in the media in Europe and this makes the sport evolve. The way the seeing the sport is different, with better prepared athletes, more control and less risk taking. It is a good thing".
Tignes offers to the skiers one of the most incredible Ski Paradises in the Alps: the Espace Killy, the Tignes and Val d'Isere 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), 154 runs and the Kingdom of Freeriding.
The final contest of the Freeride World Tour (FWT) will take place in Switzerland with the mythical Nissan Xtreme 09 in Verbier (20-29 Mar).
Saturday, March 7, 2009
The first and unique stage (the second stage scheduled at the mythical Tram Face slope was cancelled due to bad weather) of the Nissan Tram Face (Squaw Valley, USA) took place Friday, February 27th on the impressive Silverado face with excellent conditions. the video shows some of the best crashes during the competition. None of the riders were injured!
Friday, March 6, 2009
The event will take place on the "Ofterschwanger Horn" course, its start being at 1300 m and the finish line at 920 m above sea level.
Ofterschwang is a municipality in Oberallgäu, in Bavaria a few kilometers north of Oberstdorf and the Kleinwalsertal. The Alpine neighbours Tirol and Switzerland or Lake Constance are only a "stone’s throw" away. Its small hamlets have preserved a traditional, rural character. Ofterschwang is actually an agglomeration of several small villages in the foothills west of Sonthofen and east of the Austrian border. In the two valley ski resort Ofterschwang-Gunzesried, there are seven lifts and a 30 kilometres of slopes. The area enjoys a scenic view of mountains that are close to 3,000 metres, such as the Ofterschwanger Horn, the Riedberger Horn and the Dreifahnenkopf.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Austria, where several villages were cut off by excess snow last week, has had a quieter seven days. There was still more new snow on Friday generating 35 powder alarms with up to 40cm (16 inches) reported but since then the snowfall has been a lot less dramatic and the avalanche risk has reduced to a level of 2-3 now. On the Planneralm (one of the ski resorts that was cut off a week ago) there are very good skiing conditions again with all lifts open and all slopes well-prepared. Austria can now start to capitalise on the heavy snowfall of last week now that the problems it caused have eased. Lisa-Maria Beck of Lech Zürs Tourismus told Skiinfo's Pascal Bovée, "We’ve had an increased number of overnight stays and arrivals compared to last season, which was already the best winter ever. We have had more guests from Germany, in parts due to a tv campaign we launched last November. We are very pleased by the current numbers. Of course there are still important months to come and what counts is the final result after the season. But we are very optimistic that this winter season will show no sign of recession". Skiinfo's Snowfinder snowfall projection service forecasts much more new snow for Lech Zürs up to Sunday.
The rate of snowfall has also slowed down in Switzerland where Zermatt received another 18cm (seven inches) of snow in the past week taking its European best snow depth of 715cm (24 feet) on its glacier. Davos also received more snow, adding 15cm (six inches) to its snow depth.
In Germany it’s the Zugspitzplatt near Garmisch that has the greatest snow depth with 385cm (13 feet), Nesselwang had the most snowfall in the past week, adding a foot (30cm) of new snow.
It’s a similar picture in France where it has been snowing a little in the North Alps and the Pyrenees, but not in the volumes previously reported. The temperatures are now falling after a spring weekend and Les 7 Laux has reported the most snow in the past week with 20cm (eight inches) of fresh cover.
In Italy there’s also been more fresh snow and challenging weather conditions, especially in the north. The forecast is for more snow from today onwards. As we go to press the first powder alarm of the day has been activated at the ski resort of Valmalenco where 20cm (eight inches) of snow has fallen this morning. It is also snowing across the country from Champorcher in the north (10cm/four inches) to Campo Felice-Rocca di Cambio near Rome in the south (5cm/two inches). The ski resort of Colere has the most snow with 600cm (20 feet) on upper slopes.
The Pyrenees still have the most snow in France with snow depths of up to 4.5m (15 feet). Andorra’s ski areas still have a healthy cover too, after small recent fresh falls topping up the deep snow depths.
In Spain after several sunny days, it is snowing once again. At Formigal the latest dumps, which are predicted to last all week, come on top of weeks of snowfall which have left the resort with depths of more than two metres (seven feet). Conditions are still good in all Spanish resorts and Sierra Nevada in the south leads the way with four metre (13 feet) snow depths on upper slopes. However the resort has been in the news for the wrong reasons this week after a quad chairlift tower collapse on Monday morning led to 23 skiers being injured. Experts are still trying to discover what caused the accident.
In Norway it is holiday time for the western part of the country which is especially good news for ski resorts in that region as they’ve had the most fresh snow in the past week, with several places receiving 30 - 80cm (12 – 32 inches) of new snow. More snow is expected at higher altitudes. The World Cup comes to Kvitfjell from 6-8th March with the disciplines of downhill and Super-G and the resort has received a lot of new snow this week. Fresh snow is often a greater challenge for resorts than too little snow but Ole Johan Bjørge who is leading the resort’s preparations for the World Cup is not worried. He reports they have managed to take away much of the fresh snow so the hard packed snow will ensure high speed racing conditions.
Many resorts in Sweden have reported 10- 22cm (4-9 inches) of new snow over the past few days, keeping snow conditions fresh. The leading resort of Åre is currently preparing to host the Alpine World Cup Finals which starts on March 11 with the downhill finals and continue to the Nations team final event on Sunday 15th.
In Eastern Europe, 160 Slovak ski resorts and 80 Czech ski resorts are currently operating with Strbske Pleso boasting the most snow in the region with 150cm (five feet). Most resorts are offering up to 50% discounts at present to try to encourage springtime business, in Jasna, the area is charging 13 Euros for a day ticket. Bansko continues to have the best snow conditions in Bulgaria with up to two metres (seven feet) of snow on upper slopes and top-to bottom skiing. IT, as well as the country’s other ski areas, have seen mixed conditions through the past week, which are set to continue with sunshine interspersed with cloud and snow flurries.
After the severe thaw in Scotland over the past fortnight decimated the superb snowfall of mid-February, fresh snow in the past 24 hours has dramatically improved conditions once again with most areas receiving at least six inches (215cm) of fresh snow.
In North America it’s the West Coast which is performing well for snowfall, whilst the West Coast is currently very cold again, helping to maintain snow depths and quality there. In the US a strong low pressure system has brought 120cm (four feet) of snow to Squaw Valley USA in 24 hours, and counting. The US National Weather Service is calling for another 12-18” tonight, another 2-4” tomorrow and snow in the forecast through to Friday March 6, making for epic ski conditions, and a perfect driving window for skiers and riders to make it to Squaw Valley to enjoy the fresh snow this weekend.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The French skier, Aurelien Ducroz, third in after taking second in the Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi moves to the top of the Freeride World Ranking. "I am really happy to lead the FWR because this is the first time that I am at the top. There are two stages left; it will be be tough but I prefer to arrive in Europe in first place and keep my lead. I am going to try to stay consistent, to always be on the podium like I have been since the beginning of the season and of course to win. The next two faces are amazing and tough. I really like their profile and I hope to use them to make the difference".
Team Golgoth, winner Jury's Special Award, Nissan Outdoor Games winter 2009:
Ride the Planets, winner Best Sportive Sequence Award, Nissan Outdoor Games winter 2009:
For the second time the Outdoor Games took place in the amazing scenery of the Mont Blanc region during the winter season. The Nissan Outdoor Games is a completely unique event combining sporting competition and a film and photo festival. From Friday 20 February to Saturday 21 February 5 teams with the top athletes representing the extreme sports of skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, speed-riding and BASE-jumping were in Chamonix to dispute the Nissan Outdoor Games competition.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
In Nagano, in the center of Japan's main island, Honshu, about 200 km from Tokyo, Snowboarders will compete for the titles in four of five World Cup disciplines: Parallel Slalom, Parallel Giant Slalom, Snowboard Cross and Half-pipe.
For Snowboard as a discipline, going to Japan also means a return to the site of its first inclusion in the Olympic Winter Games. The first Olympic Giant Slalom was staged in 1998 on Mt. Yakebitai, whereas the first Olympic Half-pipe competitions were held in Kanbayashi. This time, the competitions will be organised by the Shiga Kogen Ski Club in the Chubu Region, in the shadow of Mt. Fuji. Shiga Kogen is the largest ski resort in Japan, lying in the heart of the Johshinetsu Kogen National Park, and has already hosted 12 FIS Alpine World Cup events for Men and for Ladies. Specifically, the Parallel events will be hosted at the Yomase Onsen ski resort, the half-pipe at the Takaifuji ski resort and the Snowboard cross competitions at the Ryuoo ski park.
Hospital reports nine injured guests continue under treatment. One 37 years old woman is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with abdominal trauma.
The Emille Allais fixed-grip chairlift (the quad-seater chairs are permanently attached to the haul rope) is a Doppelmayr lift, and was installed in late 80’s. A world-leader in lift design and manufacturing, Doppelmayr lifts are in operation throughout the world and their safety record is excellent.The regional government of Andalucia, Guardia Civil, Doppelmayr and Cetursa, the company that manages the ski resort, has opened an investigation into the incident with the skilift.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Moguls, Dual moguls, and Aerials will take place at Listel Ski Fantasia. It is a well-known ski resort to both athletes and fans since the World Cup Moguls were held there in 1988. The ski area is not so big, but its daffy course, a stage for duals moguls, is very famous as it is one of the most difficult courses with a fall line as steep as 37°degrees.
Ski Cross competitions will take place at Snow Paradise Inawashiro Ski Resort.
The Halfpipe competition will take place at Alts Bandai Ski Resort, the largest ski area in Fukushima prefecture.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the small town "under the Zugspitze", is one of the most famous winter sport resorts of the whole alpine region. In the coming years the host town of the Winter Olympic Games 1936 and the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships of 1978 has big events coming up. In 2011 the Alpine Ski World Championships will once again take place in the Bavarian towm. At the same time Munich together with Königsee and Garmisch-Partenkirchen apply for the candidature of the Winter Olympic Games in 2018.
Several of the participating athletes have even already made their mark on the World Cup circuit. Names such as Lara Gut (SUI), Anna Fenninger (AUT), Tessa Worley (FRA), Marcel Hirscher (AUT), Tina Weirather (LIE) and Viktoria Rebensburg (GER), who will be defending three medals from the 2008 championships in Formigal (SPA), are well known from this season's results list at the highest level.
The Junior Worlds have a special importance as one of the major milestones onto the way to the 2011 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The competitions take place on the newly renovated and reconstructed world championship slopes, the legendary Kandahar (DH, SG, GS) and the Gudiberg Mountain (Slalom, with a spectacular new finish in the historical Olympic Stadium). Entry is free and the organizers look forward to great crowds to cheer on the young stars. Walter Vogel, managing director of the event organization commented: "We would like to provide the young athletes a memorable time in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and motivate them to continue on their way towards the international elite". Peter Fischer, head of the organizing committee added: "Garmisch-Partenkirchen will provide the youngsters with a proper stage, appropriate for World Championships, to present themselves. The spectators will surely be impressed by the level of their performances".
The opening ceremony will take place today on the Mohrenplatz in the Centre of Garmisch. Also the first competition, the Ladies' Slalom, will take place today. The award ceremonies of the single contests will be celebrated every evening at 6 PM at Mohrenplatz. On Wednesday the 4th of March at 7:30 PM there will be a big Party for athletes and attendants.