Thursday, December 30, 2010

O'Neill Evolution 2011

From January 2nd until the 8th The O’Neill Evolution gathers the best Snowboarding talent in the world in Davos, Switzerland.
The 6 star Swatch Ticket To Ride (TTR) World Snowboard Tour event is once again pushing new boundaries. The event for 2011 now holds a 6 star TTR rating for both the women’s Slopestyle as well as the Halfpipe. And this year also sees the 6 star rating for men extended to the 2-hit Slopestyle course for the first time.
The Halfpipe finals will take place on Friday January 7th as 10 riders hit the 6 metre high, 130 metre long and 20 metre wide pipe which sits impressively at the base of the Jakobshorn.
Saturday sees a day of Slopestyle finals that will run into a floodlit night finale as the riders take to the skies under the gasps of the crowds gathered at the foot of the course.
"We always want to bring something new and exciting to this event", said O’Neill Global Event Director, Bernhard Ritzer. "It’s called Evolution after all", he said. "This year we’re changing the Slopestyle radically following feedback from the riders for less but more challenging features, and a mix of day and night riding will bring variation and challenges for the riders".
In addition to the spectacular show ahead, there are also new developments behind the scenes. A new judging system – the Snowboard Live Scoring System (SLS) – will be introduced allowing everyone to see how judges give points by scoring each trick individually in a rider’s run and adding a flow score for the overall impression of the run.
With the top ten Swatch TTR World Tour Men invited and the top eight Women, this is bound to be a week of non-stop action. Male and female riders from around the world will be making the trip to Davos to compete in both Halfpipe and Slopestyle formats for a piece of the $125,000 USD prize purse and a maximum of 1000 TTR World Ranking points. O’Neill Evolution is the first 6Star event on tour for the women and the second 6Star for the men after the Air & Style in Beijing.
For those not fortunate enough to attend the 6Star O’Neill Evolution in Davos, the finals for halfpipe on Friday, January 7th, 14: 30- 15:30 (CET), and slopestyle finals on Saturday, January 8th, 20:30-21:30 (CET), can be viewed live via webcast on or on
The Swatch Ticket To Ride (TTR) World Snowboard Tour is a non-profit organization aimed at establishing snowboarding as a major global sport while providing quality competitive experiences for snowboarders. Through the creation of the TTR World Ranking List and the TTR World Tour, the TTR is the world’s largest collaboration of independent freestyle snowboard events working together to create a global rookie-to-professional tour.

O'Neill Evolution - Trailer 2011 from O'Neill on Vimeo.

FResh Snow News - Heavy Snow In New England Follows Big Falls in West

Most of the world’s major ski areas continue to have good conditions with the biggest snowfalls of the past seven days reported in North America on both coasts. In Europe conditions remain largely good in the Alps and Dolomites with resorts in Italy and Switzerland reporting the best of the new snow of the past seven days.
North America has seen a further week of extreme snow on its East and West coasts with ski areas in between getting a good covering too. Resorts in New England received up to four feet (1.2m) of fresh cover in the much-publicised travel-stopping storms that generated a state-of-emergency in several states.
On the West Coast, the snow deluge that buried Mammoth in California a week ago turned its attentions further north to last winter’s snowiest ski centre, Mount Washington on Vancouver island off the BC Coast. It saw a similar fall to the one Mammoth had experienced, clocking up 2.5m (over eight feet) of snow over Christmas Weekend and has shot straight back in to the chart as the second snowiest resort on earth with a 518cm (over 17 feet) base.
Back in Europe, the Pyrenees could do with lower temperatures and more snow – although depths remain adequate at typically 30-90cm and in Eastern Europe it’s typically a freeze-thaw pattern more like Spring. Conditions continue to be good In Scotland where all five ski areas are open thanks to ongoing low temperatures.
In Germany many ski resorts like the popular Garmisch and Oberstdorf reported 10 cm of new snow on Christmas. In the Alps and the Black Forest another 10 cm of new snow are expected to fall until tonight. The Zugspitze has the deepest powder in the country (145 cm), Garmisch Classic reports 95cm.
In Austria the skiing conditions are generally good at the moment. Popular resorts like Saalbach, Ischgl and Serfaus have almost all of their ski lifts in operation. The snow depths are above two meters on the glaciers in Sölden, Mölltal, Kaunertal and Pitztal. For Christmas many ski resorts got 5-15 cm of new snow, including Kleinwalsertal, Montafon, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Großglockner, Bad Gastein and St. Anton. The latter reports a snow depth of 160cm and has 243km of slopes open. The coming days will bring some smaller snowfalls in many parts of Austria, according to weather forecasts. Over the New Year weekend sunshine is expected especially in the south.
It’s been a rather quiet week for snowfall in France over Christmas, the upside of which is that skiers and boarders have been able to enjoy the accumulated cover over the holiday period . The biggest falls reported was 40cm over the past week at St Gervais, Cauterets in the Pyrenees got 30cm. Isola 2000 has the deepest snow in the country at 2.1m (7 feet) after receiving another 10cm on Christmas Eve, it’;s one of four French resorts with more than two metres of snow accumulated now. Here’s a list of all snow depths in France.
Italy has some of Europe’s deepest snow and has had some of the most fresh snow of the past seven days. More snow ids expected across the country there too, although on the down side the Avalanche risk off piste is at its highest in Europe at many resorts here too – typically level 3 (moderate) to 4 (high). The Presena glacier has the deepest snow as usual with 4.5m (15 feet) – the world’s third deepest. Interestingly it’s Passo Tonale below that’s had the most snow this week – reporting another metre of fresh snow in the past seven days, although that’s apparently only added 10cm to the Presena Glacier’s claimed snow depth.
Christmas brought a lot of new snow in Switzerland. Dozens of ski resorts issued powder alarms because of 20-cm-snowfalls, under which Zermatt, Saas Fee, Engelberg and Sedrun. Engelberg has the deepest snow in the country (235 cm) and Saas Fee is not far behind (230 cm). Huge snowfalls were also reported from Andermatt. The ski resort had a more than white Christmas, issuing powder alarms on the 24th and again on the 26th for 20cm+ of new snow in 24 hours on each occasion and overall the resort received a metre of snow in seven days, bringing the overall snow depth there to 220cm. As with many Swiss resorts (especially in the south) the avalanche risk in Andermatt is set to level three (of five). From Thursday until New Year's Day sunshine is expected in the Swiss mountains - with the current snow this means almost perfect skiing conditions in the alpine country!
Snow cover is adequate but not exceptional in the Pyrenees at present with most resorts in Andorra, France and Spain still reporting snow depths of 30-90cm.
Voss has once again received the most snow in Norway over the past week, with another 30cm of fresh powder. It has Norway’s deepest snowbase at 115cm (nearly four feet). In Sweden Are and Vemdalen have both received similar new accumulations.
Most of Canada’s ski centres have healthy – if not as dramatically huge bases as Mount Washington, with Whistler benefitting from a healthy 75cm (2.5 feet) of new snow from the same Christmas storms, part of 1.8m (six feet) of snow received in the past week. In Alberta Nakiska is breaking skier visit records due to outstanding snow conditions and because guests have discovered all the recent enhancements including: trail improvements and the addition of ski runs, the new Monster Glades, snowmaking enhancements, added animation to the family learning area, and improvements to both the mid-mountain and day lodge.
It’s still snowing on the US West Coast, particularly California where Mammoth Mountain (picture attached) and with Mount Baker in Washington state, traditionally one of the snowiest places on earth, receiving a metre of snow in the past seven days. However the focus has been on the East Coast storms of the past few days which left the greatest accumulations of up to 1.2m (four feet) of new snow in New Hampshire with Cannon Mountain the leading beneficiary. The snowfall comes after a December of low temperatures allowed for plenty of snow making giving the region’s ski areas a superb base entering 2011.

New Ski Utah iPhone App

Ski Utah has launched a new free App for the iPhone aimed at making The Greatest Snow on Earth even more accessible. In today’s fast-paced technological world, Ski Utah recognizes the importance of delivering information directly to the fingertips of both local and destination consumers.
The App highlights strengths of Utah as a ski and snowboard destination with high-resolution trail maps, detailed snow and weather reports, live resort web-cams, and up-to-date photos and video. New to the App, a Powder Alarm Clock enables users to specify their wake-up time based off new snow accumulation at their favorite Utah resorts. The App is also complete with a Yeti Ski Day Tracker helping snowriders to tally days, and share with friends via Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, the App provides users with resort information, seven-day weather forecast, vacation deals, trip planning tools, photos and video, and event listings.
"Upgrades to the new App make Utah’s resorts even more accessible to consumers, and integrate social media enabling them to share their enthusiasm within their networks", said Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. "I check the App each morning before I even roll out of bed". The introduction of the new App has received rave reviews with one user noting, "This App has everything a Utah winter addict could want".
The Ski Utah Snow Report App is available free for download at An application for Android will be release soon as well.

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse By Michael Black

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup goes to Bormio

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Bormio with the Downhill taking place next Wednesday. The slope "Stelvio" is the perfect venue for the annual men's downhill race. By unanimous opinion, alongside Kitzbuhel, this is absolutely the most spectacular and technically difficult course. The "Stelvio", which is almost 3,230 metres long with a 986-metre difference in altitude and a maximum gradient of 60%, is a notoriously unforgiving track and is the only one where the finish area can clearly be seen from the starting gate. "No outsider has ever won here" says Aldo Anzi, the Course Director. "The athlete who steps onto the podium in Bormio can be sure that he possesses exceptional competitive and technical skills". The snow surface is perfect, with much natural snow, then some warm weather, and again cold. The artificial snow just added the perfect touch and the Stelvio, this winter, will be smoother than the last few years. Maybe a bit easier with less bumps. Racers will feel just a bit less of fatigue, but it’s the FIS Course Setter Helmuth Schmalzl the man who could decide how difficult the course could be. Bormio hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1985 and 2005, as well as the World Cup Finals in 1995 and 2000.
The skiing area of Bormio, with more than 50 kilometres of slopes and 17 skilifts (A cableway, two aerial cable cars, seven chair lifts and seven ski tows) with a capacity of 14.000 persons/hour come up to most skiers expectations. Skipasses are available for the skiarea "4 Valli" –free bus service-, which are valid for the area Bormio, Livigno, S. Colombano (Oga and Valdidentro) and Santa Caterina. The skiing-mountain San Colombano hosts the slopes of the Valdidentro, which are in a very sunny position and connect to the Valdisotto (Oga). Offering a great panoramic alpine view, these sunny slopes invite to enjoy and ski. San Colombano offers 25 kilometres of slopes and 10 skilifts. Santa Caterina's slopes are exposed to the north, thanks to that fact skiers will find ideal snow conditions the whole winter season. 35 kilometres of slopes are to be reached by 7 skilifts. Livigno is a true skiing paradise, with 33 modern ski lifts and 115 kilometres of ski runs on six different slopes, all at an altitude of between 2000 and 3000 meters.
Bormio lies at the top of the Valtellina Valley formed by the Adda River. The Valtellina ski area is a component of five large skiing areas with 400 kilometres of pistes and 140 ski lifts: Alta Valtellina, Tirano, Sondrio and Valmalenco, Morbegno and Valchiavenna. Bormio with nearly two thousand years of history, has well established itself as tourist resort for more than a century. It is situated at an altitude of 1225 metres, right in the heart of the Italian Alps in the region Lombardy and has 4100 inhabitants. At the feet of the Stelvio Pass and the Ortler-Cevedale mountain range, Bormio is close to the Swiss border. It is surrounded by a limestone mountain-range with the main peak "Reit", which is 3075 metres high. The historical centre of Bormio is one of the most important of the whole province as well as one of the best preserved ones in the Alps.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ladies' Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Semmering

Ladies' Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Austria. Semmering will host two races, a Giant Slalom on December 28 and a Slalom on December 29. Making its World Cup in 1995, the compact Austrian Spa Resort is the preserve of the queens of the snow, having never held a FIS Men's event. The world-renowned Hirschenkogel course on the Zauberberg (Magic Mountain) is home to both the Giant Slalom and Slalom races, and as Europe's largest night skiing area the events are given a further magical aura under flood lights. This year everything seems ready for the World Cup entourage of the Ladies as was confirmed by the delegation of the International Ski Federation (FIS) including Goracd Bedrac who was excited by the conditions on the "Magic Mountain" at the border of Lower Austria and Styria. The conditions are said to be the "best in 15 years". There is a 60 cm thick and compact layer on the piste where the Giant slalom and night-Slalom will be held on 28 and 29 December. The race slope has been closed off since Monday to allow enough time for preparation.
The Semmering ski resort is located in the Eastern Northern Limestone Alps at the pass connecting Lower Austria and Styria and extends on to the Hirschenkogel mountain. It is mainly used by skiers from Vienna, from where it can be reached within one hour, but increasingly also by people from Hungary and Slovakia. The Semmering-Hirschenkogel ski resort offers 24 kilometres of ski slopes of varying degrees of difficulties.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fresh Snow News - Incredible Snow For Western US As Europe Shivers

Exceptional snowfall has been reported by ski areas in California, which have knocked an Italian glacier resort of the world top spot for deepest snow depth after falls of up to 12 feet (3.6 metres) in the last week sent the snowiest up towards the five metre (17 foot) accumulated snow base mark.
Elsewhere in the world the falls have been less spectacular. France did especially well at the weekend, with accumulations of up to a metre and several Swiss, Austrian, German and Italian resorts reported up to 560cm )two feet) in the past week – more than enough to boost coverage and with temperatures generally low, leave excellent conditions.
In Scotland – as well as other North Western European ski hills in England and Belgium – conditions are generally very good, with the highly unusual (...for the time of year in Belgium and England at least) pre-Christmas snowfalls and low temperatures leaving up to 30cm of great snow on the slopes.
While Northern and Western Europe freezes, Austria, which coped better than most in the recent cold snap, has had warmer temperatures and little fresh snow. Weather forecasts predict it will get colder again with more snowfalls on Christmas Eve. Dozens of popular ski resorts already have more than a metre of snow on their slopes. Famous winter resort St. Anton reports a snow layer of 170 cm, Obergurgl measures 180cm. On the glaciers the snow depths are even bigger 184cm at Pitztal and 193cm in Kaunertal while 220cm of snow on the Mölltal glacier is top of the list. The most new snow during the last seven days was reported in Hochfügen/Zillertal and Loser Sandling with 35-45 cm.
It’s snowing again in France, a few quiet days after the deluge at the weekend which saw Chatel clock up a metre on new snow I the past week. Montgenevre was the last to post a powder alarm with 20cm of new snow in 24 hours on Monday. Flaine and la Rosiere currently have the deepest snow bases in the country at 1.9m (over six feet) but freeriders considering venturing off piste should beware the avalanche danger is nearly at hits maximum danger level, with a four rating at several resorts in the southern Alps including Serre Chevalier.
It’s snowing in Italy today with Cortina reporting 50cm of new snow. Italy continues to have the deepest snowbases reported in Europe with the Presena Glacier near the top with 4.2m (14 feet) of snow still the deepest in Europe. Pejo is only a few feet behind with 3.6m (12 feet).
In Switzerland it is a similar picture to Austria, with current warmer temperatures and limited snowfall likely to change from Christmas Eve on, especially in the north and east, where snowfalls are predicted for Friday. But with the snowfalls of last week some Swiss resorts have had a lot of fresh powder anyway. Vercorin accumulated 85cm of new snow in the past week and Gstaad – Glacier 3000 had 70 cm. Crans Montana, Anzère and Lötschental also got at least 50 cm each. The biggest snow accumulation in Switzerland can be found in Engelberg – a snow depth of 215cm was measured there this morning. The winter resort has 60km of slopes and 18 ski lifts open. Laax, Saas Fee and Andermatt report 180-183cm of snow on upper slopes.
After the heavy snowfalls of last week in Germany you can find snow depths of around a metre in many ski areas now – in the Alps as well as the Central Uplands. Oberstdorf has 120 cm of snow lying on upper slopes, for example.
Last weekend over 30 cm of snow fell on Belgium. Resorts like Bütchenbach, Worriken and the Eifel Ski Centre in Rocherath are now on top of the country’s snow list with 60cm of snow lying at each. Only 2cm away is Signal de Botrange with 58cm and Belgium’s highest peak at 693m. Ovifat Alpine has 55cm and the country’s biggest alpine ski resort Baraque de Fraiture reports 50cm of snow.
Snow cover is adequate but not exceptional in the Pyrenees at present with most resortys in Andorra, France and Spain reporting snow depths of 30-90cm.
Scandinavian resorts have remained cold and snowy over the past seven days with the odd few centimetres of snow here and there. In Norway Hemsedal with 28cm of cover could ideally do with more, Voiss has 70-80cm and is in great shape.
Although the falls have not been as spectacular as further south, the snow has been topping up healthy bases in Western Canada and the three ski areas around Banff, for example, are fully open for Christmas offering more than 8,000 acres of terrain between them on one ticket. There’s less snow in Quebec but low temperatures have allowed the snowmakers to go in to action, and big resorts like Mont Ste Anne and Tremblant have over 60cm (two foot) bases at the top of the slopes.
The US West has been the big snow news of the past week, particularly California where Mammoth Mountain (picture attached) received a metre of new snow in 24 hours on Monday, the culmination, so far at least, of a spectacular week in which the resort received 3.6 metres of snow and its base reached 4.6 metres, now the deepest in the world. It is were not for Mammoth the five foot accumulations at most Lake Tahoe resorts to the north would be headline grabbing, as it is the top 15 snowfall accumulations of the past 7 days are all in California, the smallest 1.8 metres (six feet). And this is just the latest of a series of giant snow storms to hit the region, and it’s not yet Christmas. Conditions in other Western Us states like Utah, Wyoming and Colorado are all good too with most areas adding several feet to their healthy bases, Steamboat reports it has just passed the 150 inches of snow fallen season-to-date. On the east coast conditions are good too with cold weather allowing snowmaking guns to top up the recent heavy natural snowfalls with 60-70cm a typical base depth.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ladies' Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup goes to Courchevel

FIS Ladies' World Cup continues on Courchevel with a Slalom event. Returning after a 31 year absence, the Courchevel is getting in on the action and going all out to welcome eager ski fans and the world’s best women skiers. The last time (and only other time) the World Cup landed in Courchevel was in 1979, when Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark ran away with the race in giant slalom.
Race will take place on the Emile Allais Slalom stadium. Although the slope is not very steep and the course not terribly long (500 meters and it begins at 2,015 meters and finishes at 1,824) – it is not injected, which might pose some challenges to some racers. The race is getting a lot of hype in the Savoie region of France and organizers say that the town is completely full and they’re expecting a huge turnout.
Courchevel is part of the 3 Valleys the largest ski area in the world, linked together by ski runs and ski lifts, with 600 kms of interconnected slopes and 180 ski lifts. The 3 Valleys comprise the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-Les-Bains, Les Menuires - Saint Martin, Val Thorens and Orelle.
Courchevel is the most prestigious access door to the 3 Valleys Ski area. The 5 villages (Saint Bon, Le Praz, Courchevel 1550, Moriond 1650 and Courchevel 1850), located at different altitude, offers you their own exclusive atmosphere. The history of Courchevel began in Saint Bon, the original village at an altitude of 1,100 metres . Le Lac Bleu, the first hotel built in the resort, has been welcoming guests since 1925.
In the linked ski area of the Courchevel valley you can find 150 kilometres of downhill pistes, served by 62 chairlifts. If you’re a beginner, the "ZEN" and fun zones are for you, with 27 green runs and 44 blue runs to get you skiing in perfect safety. For hardened skiers, 38 red runs and 10 black runs will test your technique and ability to the full!

Audi FIS Ski World Cup City Event

The 1st Audi FIS Ski World Cup City Event will be staged on 2nd January 2011 in the Olympic Park in Munich. The Parallel Slalom competition at the Olympic Mountain will see the world's best 16 best female and 16 best male racers fight for overall World Cup points on a 200 meter long slope with approximately 20 gates, ending at the bottom of the upper Olympic Lake. Within the Parallel Slalom, two participants will compete against each other in an elimination system over two races. In the event that each of the athletes wins one race apiece, the sum of the time will be counted. The one with the lower time will advance to the next round. The rounds proceed to quarter finals, semi-finals, and a final: in the end only two participants will compete (in either gender category) in the final. The best athletes in the field will therefore compete against each other in a thrilling head-to-head race.
Local skiing stars such as Maria Riesch, Felix Neureuther will participate.The final list of participants will be available on 29th December 2010, following the Audi FIS Ski World Cup events in Bormio and Semmering.
"With the recent snowfall and cold temperatures as well as a positive weather forecast for the next days, we can expect good conditions at the Olympic Mountain on 2nd January", said Günter Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director for the Men's World Cup.
"There has been great interest by the TV broadcasters and over 4'000 tickets have already been sold. The signs are very promising and we look forward to a great event with new elements such as special lighting and music, all designed to create a fantastic show with all the top stars of today's Alpine ski racing".

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup moves from Val Gardena-Gröden to Alta Badia

Today the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup circuit will move to Alta Badia. The prestigious ski resort in the heart of the Alto Adige Dolomites will welcome the 25th Alpine Ski World Cup Championships on Sunday 19th December 2010, on the Gran Risa slope in La Villa, with the traditional Men's Giant Slalom.
The 15th December 1985 saw the first Men's World Cup Giant Slalom on the Gran Risa slope. Marcello Varallo, current president of the Organising Committee, managed to achieve his dream by bringing a Ski World Cup competition to his home in Alta Badia. The competition was won that day by Alpine ski legend Ingemar Stenmark, followed by the Austrian Hubert Strolz and by local champion Roberto Erlacher.
Celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Ski World Cup in Alta Badia will take place at Club Moritzino Refuge, with the traditional dinner before the competition. Also, as part of the Ski World Cup, bars, pubs and other businesses in Alta Badia will organise a range of 25th anniversary celebrations. Between one run and another there will also be displays by the Frecce Tricolori National Aerobatic Team who will fly over Alta Badia at exactly midday to greet spectators and numerous local fans.
The "Casa Südtirol" gourmet area will also bring a special touch to this important anniversary. The public can take part in this sports event par excellence on the terrace next to the finish line and enjoy dishes by the "Dolomitici", prepared with typical Alto Adige-Südtirol products, in partnership with EOS (the Alto Adige Export Organisation).
La Villa is the most central of the villages in the Alta Badia, located at the foot of the Gardenazza and the Piz La Villa, dominated by “Ciastel Colz”. Alta Badia offers 130 kilometres of pistes served by 51 lifts and a modern well-planned artificial snow system. Due to its central position in the Dolomites' skiing area Alta Badia is the ideal starting point for some of the best ski tours in the alpine area.You can find a wide offer of Mountain Restaurants in alpine Tyrolean-style. Regular visitors to the valley especially enjoy ladin dishes such as canederli (bread and speck dumplings), barley soup or "Kaiserschmarren" (a sweet pancake eaten with cranberries).The resort is lift linked to the Sella Ronda sector of the Dolomiti Superski pass. The Sella Ronda is probably the world’s third largest lift-linked ski area with over 500km of lift linked ski runs. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200km of maintained piste served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Winner of the Innsbruck 2012 Mascot Competition has been Announced

Two months after the competition opened, over 100 entries later and after an exciting online voting on Facebook, the winner of the Innsbruck 2012 Mascot Competition were announced. The design of a goat dressed in lederhosen submitted by Luis Andrés Abbiati and Florenica Demaria from Argentina, gained 1,032 of the total 2,099 online votes. Once it has been adapted to the traditional Youth Olympic Games (YOG) 2012 pixel design, the official YOG 2012 mascot will be released in early February 2011.
The big online design competition was created to give young people from all over the world the unique opportunity to actively participate in the design of the official YOG 2012 mascot. A total of 104 designs from participants from 15 different countries were submitted, from amongst others, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Malaysia. 75 of these entries were sent from Austria, some of which came from schools. The top three designs – a snowman, a goat and an ibex – were chosen by the YOG 2012 Organising Committee, the final decision for the goat was made by the fans through a tense five-day online voting on the official YOG 2012 Facebook page.
As has often been the case in the history of the Olympics, the official YOG 2012 mascot will be an animal too. The idea of the goat came from 25-year-old Luis Andrés Abbiati from Argentina who found the competition on the internet. Together with his 24-year-old girlfriend Florenica, they carefully designed their submission. The appearance and clothing of the goat reflect the lifestyle and landscape of the host region while also combining the present with the past. Its graceful figure reflects the athletic aspect of the games and its youthful character will hopefully inspire interest and enthusiasm for the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic values friendship, respect and the striving for excellence from young people all around the world. Florencia: "It is a great honour for Luis and me to know that our design will be involved in the first Winter Youth Olympic Games". Second place went to the ibex, designed by Sabrina Tay from Singapore and third place went to Theresa Lechleitner from Tirol with her snowman.
In the coming weeks, in accordance with the International Olympic Committee, the goat will be adapted to the cool YOG 2012 pixel design, which combines the quadratic shape of the YOG 2012 logo with the colours of the Olympic rings.
The first Winter Youth Olympic Games will take place between 13 and 22 January 2012. The Winter Youth Olympic Games will be a 10-day multi-sport, cultural and educational event. The Games will bring together 1,048 athletes between 14 and 18 years of age from approximately 80 National Olympic Committees. The programme of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games will be established on the basis of the seven sports included in the Vancouver 2010 programme (Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, Luge, Skating and Skiing). The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) will highlight the different sports and provide an efficient platform to motivate young people to "get active" and adhere to the Olympic spirit.
Innsbruck (Tirol, Austria) was the host city to the Olympic Winter Games back in 1964 and 1976 (Innsbruck replaces Denver at short notice to host the Winter Games after the people of the state of Colorado voted to prohibit public funds from being used to support the Games).

Ice Climbing World Cup Returns to Saas-Fee

From 14 to 22 January 2011 the ice climbing elite will once again be meeting in the glacier village of Saas-Fee, and for the second time, the Ice Climbing World Cup will be accompanied by an exciting events programme. As well as the World Cup, visitors can look forward to the SAC Swiss Ice Climbing Youth Championships in Saas-Grund and the Ice Night ski-touring race (Swiss Cup) in Saas-Fee. Top ice climber Simon Anthamatten will kick off the event week with an opening talk in Visp. Those who fancy swinging an ice axe and taking on the ice wall themselves can register for the ice climbing workshop. Run by Bächli Bergsport, the workshop will be taught by two experienced mountain guides.
Like last year, the 2011 programme promises lots of excitement, variety and, above all, plenty of action for ice climbing fans of all ages. And of course the week wouldn’t be complete without the now-legendary Friday- and Saturday night parties, which will be held on 21 and 22 January in Saas-Fee’s multistorey car park. They are sure to have competitors, fans and organisers partying until the early hours. Ice Climbing World Cup & Swiss Masters The Ice Climbing World Championships in Saas-Fee’s multi-storey car park are a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with top class athletes and experience the exuberant atmosphere of the ice climbing scene! The competitions take place in a unique location that is very unlikely to be
replicated elsewhere. The 10-storey car park in Saas-Fee can also be used as a venue for staging the competitions in bad weather. Its round tower acts as a spectacular grandstand for spectators. Each year the spiral access ramp allows some 2,500 spectators to get up close to the climbers – so close you can see almost every detail of their ice axes. And to make sure no one misses a single second of the sensational action on the ice wall, the competitors are also
shown on various large and small screens throughout the venue. New additions to the accompanying programme this year are the Bächli Bergsport test centre, the Coffee Bar, a wine bar and music from DJ Alpenprinz.

FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Moves to China and Italy

After Ruka's, Kuusamo (FIN) and Meribel (FRA) successful events, today Friday 17 December, Beida Lake (CHN) will host the third stage of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup season 2010/2011.
The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup opening competition in Ruka was a feast for North American athletes. Five of the six podium spots were claimed by North American skiers, including both victories going to the USA. The strong North American field was only broken by Guilbaut Colas of France in third. Patrick Deneen won the men's moguls event, while Olympic champion Hannah Kearney took the first place in the ladies' competition.
In Meribel, the local hero Guilbaut Colas won the men's dual moguls ahead of Ruka winner Patrick Deneen. Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan triumphed in the ladies' competition beating Ruka winner Kearney in the final.
China's Beida Lake Ski Resort will host four FIS Freestyle events this weekend: Aerials today and tomorrow, an Aerials Team event on Sunday December 20, and a Moguls World Cup event on December 21st. These competitions mark the third time China has hosted a FIS Aerials World Cup Event. Beida Lake, designed by Ecosign, is located in Yongji County in North East China.
Innichen/San Candido (ITA) is also ready to host the Skicross World Cup Opening this weekend. The "Haunold-Baranci" ski area is a small family ski resort in the middle of the Dolomites of Sesto (Südtirol). The world cup slope brings you directly into town, and will be a 1 km long powerful slope with jumps, curves, mogles and other spectacular obstacles.
With a total of 10 FIS World Cup events on the schedule within the next week, a lot of exciting Freestyle action is in store pre-Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fresh Snow News - Heavy Snow For California, Germany and New England

It has been a quieter week for snowfall than recently with most areas reporting steady accumulations. The biggest falls of the past seven days have been in areas of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where up to 1.55m (over five feet) has accumulated over the past week. The Zugspitz glacier by 2011 Alpine World Championships venue Garmisch has had the most of the internationally well known resorts with 1.35m of new snow. In North America there have been particularly good falls in New England on the East Coast but resorts in Colorado and elsewhere in the West are also reporting on-going big falls.
In Scotland a slight thaw has led to a small deterioration in conditions, but a new front is due to sweep in on Thursday, bringing a return to sub-zero temperatures. If Glencoe opens as scheduled this Saturday, 18 December, all five areas will be open for the first time this winter, but that is yet to be confirmed.
Elsewhere in the world Japan’s Niseko is reporting heavy snow and its legendary powder starting to accumulate after a nervous November and in Israel a big fall of snow last weekend led to the start of the season at the country’s only ski area, on land disputed with Syria, on Mt Hermon.
39 powder alarms were issued in Austria on Monday and it is still snowing with up to 25cm of new snow reported in the mountains. The glaciers report the country’s biggest snow depths with 190-220cm in Pitztal, Sölden and Mölltal. St. Anton has 175cm (nearly six feet) of snow on upper slopes. The popular resort reports more snowfall today and has 56 ski lifts and 135km of slopes open.
There’s been very little snow in France over the past week, with no resort reporting more than 30cm of new snow, the most for a big name centre, 15cm at Tignes. The avalanche risk off piste remains quite high at many centres – typically level 3 to 4 (out of 5). Most resorts have quite healthy snoiw depths though, with Alpe d’Huez and La Rosiere having the deepest snowpacks of around 1.8m (six feet) on upper slopes.
Italy continues to hold the top four places for the world’s deepest snowpack led by the Presena Glacier with 4.2m (14 feet) as last week. Owever this has slowed down a good deal in the past seven days, the biggest accumulation at Cervinia, which has had 30cm (a foot) in the past seven daysm but the most recent was 15m (six inches) back on Thursday 9th.
It has been snowing in Switzerland and there has been 10-20cm reported from numerous resorts including Disentis 3000, Adelboden, and the Aletsch Arena. There were 10 powder alarms in Switzerland on Monday with Lenzerheide getting 20cm of new snow in 24 hours. Engelberg (190 cm), Andermatt (180) and Saas Fee (176) currently have the most snow in Switzerland.
It’s quiet in the Pyrenees with little new snowfall in the past week and snow depths typically between 30 and 120cm (1-4 feet).
Scandinavian resorts have been cold and snowy over the past seven day. Voss has had some of the best new snow of Norway's big name ski areas, receiving 38cm of extra cover. It’s snowbase of 80m is among the deepest in the country.
Conditions are looking good on both East and west Coasts of Canada, with plenty of fresh snow reported on either coasty. In Ontario the leading resort of Blue mountain was closed yesterday as too much snow made access difficulty and closed lifts, in British Columbia Whistler has reported the most snow of the past week (75cm) and Mount Washington the deepest snow in the country – as last winter – now up to 2.1m (seven feet).
Big snowfalls on East and west coasts have brought several feet of well-timed pre-Christmas snow to US ski areas. On the East coast resorts in New York state have reported 60cm of new snow, on the West even bigger falls have been eported in Tahoe, where a fast moving storm dropped up to two feet of fresh, light powder on Squaw Valley (picture attached) Tuesday night, setting the stage for a classic 'bluebird' powder day and excellent conditions for the coming holiday weeks. Other western resorts in Colorado and Utah also looking good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup goes to Val Gardena-Gröden

Next Friday Val Gardena-Gröden will host the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. Following two training runs on Wednesday and Thursday is the highlight of the weekend with the Super-G on Friday and the classic Downhill on Saturday. Races will take place on the legendary Saslong slope. The Saslong turns into a racing course only for about a week in December. It is a popular slope for recreational skiers during the rest of the winter. Steep and fast, but also broad and clear is how the course has been adjusted to the demands of ever modern skiers over the years. But not infrequently has the Saslong been underestimated. The steep slope section on the upper part, the bumpy passage and icy turns on Ciaslat and the Finish schuss demand it all even from the most experienced of skiers.This year, the total number of registered national ski teams is 19 which is three fewer than last year. In addition to the traditional nations from the Alps, Scandinavia and Overseas, newcomers include Moldavia and Kazakhstan. The participating nations of the World Cup in Gardena-Gröden on December 17th and 18th 2010 include: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Moldavia, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden and the USA.
The Val Gardena and the magnificent three villages of Ortisei, S. Cristina and Selva Gardena, surrounded by the scenario of the Dolomites, offer a paradise of opportunities for ski with 175 km of pistes, 85% of which has snowmaking cover, accessible by 83 lifts.The resort is lift linked to the Sella Ronda sector of the Dolomiti Superski pass. The Sella Ronda is probably the world’s third largest lift-linked ski area with over 500km of lift linked ski runs. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200km of maintained piste served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket.

Val d'Isère to host Ladies' Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup

FIS Ladies' World Cup continues on Val d'Isere with a Super G event rescheduled after last weekend’s weather cancelation in St. Moritz. On Saturday the Downhill will take place . On Sunday the Super-combined will take place on the women’s traditional course at Val d’Isere – the Piste Oreiller-Killy. Organized by the "Club des Sports" of Val d’Isère, the "Critérium de la Première Neige" is one of the most established World Cup "Classics" on the international
ski circuit. Since December 1968, the legendary French resort located in the Haute- Tarentaise area is welcoming what the veterans in the old days used to call the "White Circus"– when there were not more than ten main stages organized in Central Europe or North America!. At that time, the "Critérium" was the first top-event planned so early in the winter season – a month prior the most established stops on the international FIS circuit as Adelboden, Wengen, Kitzbühel or Megève. Nowadays, the "Critérium" still opens the season of the alpine "Classic" after the first races at Soelden, Levi and North America.
Val d'Isère is a megaresort located in the Savoie, recognisable by its charming Chalet architecture. People come to Val d'Isere with precisely one purpose in mind: to Ski. Val d'Isere offers to the skiers one of the most incredible Ski Paradises in the Alps: the Espace Killy, the Val d'Isere and Tignes combined skiing area, named in honour Jean-Claude Killy a magic skier, racing for Val d'Isere who won 3 gold medals in the 1968 Olympic games. 300 kilometres of slopes are served by 89 modern lifts. A playground for every skier with two glaciers (Pissaillas Glacier in Val d'Isere and the Grande Motte in Tignes) and 154 runs classified 22 green, 61 blue, 46 red and 25 black.
Val d'Isère became a ski resort in 1934. At the time one could only ski on the "Front de Neige" area as it would take a whole day and a pair of seal skins to reach the top of Solaise. The pioneer ski school was created two years later. The first cable car, Solaise, was inaugurated in 1942. From then on, Val d'Isère expanded rapidly and the "Critérium de la Première Neige", created in 1955, gave it international renown as a "sporting resort". The local Sports Club is proud to be the most titled ski club in the world. Henri Oreiller, Firmin Mattis, Jean-Claude Killy, Christine Goitschel and Marielle Goitschel, Patrice Bianchi, Mathieu Bozzetto, Ingrid Jacquemod, Audrey Peltier have between them brought home 10 Olympic medals and 22 World Cup Skiing medals.

LG FIS Snowboard World Cup continues in Telluride

After Telluride, Colorado (USA) celebrated a successful World Cup host debut last year (Telluride was recently recognized as the United States Ski & Snowboard Association’s Rookie of the Year as the best new venue for last year’s inaugural event), the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup returns to the winter sport resort in Colorado’s southwest. Telluride will be home to the international snowboarding competition as the 2010 Visa U.S. Snowboardcross Cup hits the Rocky Mountains this December 15 -18. In total, three events are scheduled in about 3,000 metres of altitude. On December 16th, the last Parallel Giant Slalom prior to the up-coming 9th FIS Snowboard World Championships is on the program. The day after, the Snowboard Cross athletes also battle for World Cup points in their last test prior the WCS taking place in La Molina, Spain, next January. The first out of two World Cup stops in the US – a big air will be organised in Denver late January 2011 – wraps up with the season’s sole team snowboard cross event on December 18th.
Telluride Ski Resort offers a genuine mountain experience for all levels of skiers thanks to a mix of quality terrain at all points on the mountain. From refined groomed runs to challenging moguls, there truly is something for everyone. Even beginners and intermediate skiers can ride to the highest peaks and enjoy terrain and views typically reserved for the experts. In Telluride you can find 125 trails (23% of them for Beginners, 36% Intermediate and 41% for Advanced / Expert skiers) and 18 lifts: 2 high-speed gondolas, 7 high-speed quads, 1 fixed quad, 2 triples, 2 doubles, 2 surface lifts and 2 magic carpets.

Meribel to host the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Moguls Event

After Ruka's, Kuusamo (FIN) successful event, today Wednesday 15 December, Meribel (FRA) will host the second stage of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup season 2010/2011. The world’s best mogul skiers will fight using their best technique and creative skills. Taking place in the centre of the resort, this spectacular show attracts a large crowd. Women and men qualification will take place in the morning. The finale will be at 1.30pm and will be followed by a Big Air Show, some live music, and other entertainment.
Moguls skiing is a spectacular discipline in which skiers demonstrate their technical skills in the moguls and their acrobatic skills by performing more and more impressive jumps. The events take place on a 26° to 32° slope, 210 to 270 metres long, filled with bumps and punctuated with two air bumps. The event comprises a qualification round and a final round. The score, awarded by the 7 FIS judges, is based on technique (50%), jumps (25%) and speed (25%).
The Dual Moguls event is a head-to-head race, where the competitors set out onto the piste in pairs, each in a separate ‘corridor’. The winner of the heat, based on time and score, qualifies for the next round. The final round decides the winner of this World Cup event.
Meribel is part of the 3 Valleys the largest ski area in the world, linked together by ski runs and ski lifts, with 600 kms of interconnected slopes and 180 ski lifts. The 3 Valleys comprise the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-Les-Bains, Les Menuires - Saint Martin, Val Thorens and Orelle.
Meribel is located at the heart of the 3 Vallées and it is the ideal starting point to discover the skiing area’s. In Méribel you can find 150 km of groomed runs and 28 km of itineraries, 7 black, 23 red, 34 blue and 9 green runs, 2 Olympic runs, 2 slalom stadiums and 2 great snowparks. Méribel is the only resort in the world to offer 15 high capacity gondola lifts. In addition there are: 17 chair lifts (including one 8-seater and six 6-seaters), 13 drag lifts, 4children’s lifts and 1 magic carpets. 728 snow canons ensure snow cover on 48% of the ski area. In addition, the majority of the ski area is situated above 1800m, which guarantees excellent snow cover throughout the season from December to April.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Today I´ll say goodbye to Sölden, the Alpine Ski World Cup venue and one of Europe's most renowned Ski & Snowboard Resorts. Sölden offers the marvelous BIG 3, Austria's only ski area with 3 mountains higher than 3,000 meters (Gaislachkogl, 3.058 m; Tiefenbachkogl, 3.309 m and Schwarze Schneid, 3.370 m) and two glaciers: the Rettenbach Glacier and Tiefenbach Glacier. 148 km of slopes and 34 ski lifts and gondolas, including the new Gaislachkogl mountain gondola, with a total capacity of 70,000 persons/hour guarantee ultimate skiing fun without queuing.
Here you can enjoy endless slopes like the downhill ski trail from the BIG3 viewing platform at Schwarze Schneide (3,340 m) to Gaislachkogl base terminal (1,370 m) and about 15 km to test yourself. Don't forget to try BIG3 Rallye, a route for fit skiers, covering a distance of around 50 km where you can experience one of Europe's most breathtaking 360° panorama views.
Definitely the perfect place to kick off the winter season :-).

PS: I'll be back in April 15th to enjoy the Hannibal Festival and continue working about the case of study (I selected Hannibal as an example to show how ski resorts are using events as a marketing and branding tool). The Rettenbach Glacier will host again this truly avant-garde theater play which deals with the crossing of the Alps by the Carthaginian army in a futurist setting. Instead of elephants the spectators will see snow-grooming machines, the modernized warriors are represented by skiers, climbers and skydivers. Brave horsemen ride on their skidoos across the glacier fields while acrobatic skydivers try to stop them heading towards the south. The entire show is completed by an array of light effects, music, videos and pyrotechnical shows.

Friday, December 10, 2010

LG FIS Snowboard World Cup continues in Limone Piemonte

Ekaterina Tudegesheva (RUS) and Benjamin Karl (AUT) have celebrated victory in the first parallel giant slalom of the 2011 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup held in Limone Piemonte, Italy, today. In the ladies finale, the World Cup leader edged off her team colleague Alena Zavarzina to the runner-up position thus clinching a back-to-back win after having claimed victory in the season’s opener in Holland. Svetlana Boldykova, who had successfully competed against Claudia Riegler (AUT) in the small final, completed the Russian podium sweep, the first ever in the history of the Parallel World Cup. While the Russians were the dominating team on the ladies side, Austria’s rooster put the hammer down in the men’s competition. Benjamin Karl, World Cup leader Andreas Prommegger and Manuel Veith brought home a 1-2-3 finish from the 450 metres long race course Marchetto Gorba. Switzerland’s Nevin Galmarini placed fourth.
Tomorrow, the season’s second parallel slalom will take place on the same slope.
Limone Piemonte, one of the oldest Alpine villages in Italy, is a municipality in the Province of Cuneo in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 100 km south of Turin and about 20 km south of Cuneo, on the border with France. The ski area (Riserva Bianca), located in the so called "Regione delle Alpi del Mare" offers 80 km of runs (Beg: 20% Int: 70% Adv: 10%), 16 ropeways, a wonderful conch which links the 3 valleys and offers both beginners and experts the chance to choose their level of difficulty. L.I.F.T. S.p.A , the society which controlls the entire ski area of Limone, is making a radical remodernising of the ski lifts.

Ruka to host the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Opening

Tomorrow the Opening of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup season 2010/2011 will take place at Ruka, Kuusamo (FIN). Five years after Ruka hosted the successful FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in 2005, excellent winter conditions await the athletes for the season's first mogul competitions on Saturday, with a great amount of snow.
Ruka has indeed already opened the Freestyle season on 3rd December with a FIS level mogul competition. Ski teams from Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Italia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Japan and Finland have already been training on site for several days. Over a hundred athletes are expected to compete in the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Opening at Ruka.
The mogul piste was reshaped after last weekend's competition and has been receiving much positive feedback. More than 20 staff have been working on it for days now. "The slope is in an excellent shape and has been much appreciated by the teams. Big thanks to the piste crew for doing such great work", said Chief of Competition Jussi-Pekka Kinnunen.
"The course is fantastic, and the organizing committee has everything structured super well. To start the season off with these kind of conditions is really good", says Canada's World Cup mogul team leader Darcy Downs.
It looks like the moguls events will be carried out in nice weather, too. According to the forecast for Saturday, the temperature should stay around -14 degrees Celsius. Wind shouldn't cause any problems since it's expected to blow from northeast, leaving the moguls course mostly calm.
The only challenge in Finland has been the strike of the Finnish airhostesses and stewards. "The teams have arrived although some required special arrangements. The biggest impact, however, will be for the departure from Ruka to the next World Cup competition in Meribel next Wednesday. In practice there is only one travel day so we will have to consider alternative options seriously if the strike continues over the weekend," said Marko Mustonen from Ski Sport Finland.

FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Opening Ruka - Official training Dec 10th 2010 from Ski Sport Finland on Vimeo.

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

This weekend the Audi FIS Men’s World Cup continues on Val d'Isere with the Giant Slalom on Saturday and Slalom on Sunday. The slope to be used at these events is the legendary Bellevarde Olympic "Face", which hasn't been used as a race slope since the 1992 Olympic Winter Games until the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Val d’Isere and the Bellevarde in particular stand out in racers’ minds as one of the steepest, iciest courses on the technical tour. With a GS starting elevation of 2,292 meters and finish at 1,842, it is also hard on the lungs.
After five events, the overall World Cup is led by Mario Scheiber of Austria ahead of Didier Cuche (SUI) and Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR). At this point of the season the field of possible winners has visibly grown; in fact in the five events so far there have been a total of 15 podium finishers. Obviously the slightest of mistakes on the course or in the equipment selection can make the difference between finishing on the podium and in the lower end of top 30. The Austrian men's team has begun its comeback season with a vengeance, already collecting two wins at three speed races, including a double victory in the season opening downhill where Michael Walchhofer stole the title of the oldest downhill winner from Didier Cuche. In Beaver Creek, Georg Streiberger conquered the Birds of Prey Super-G.
Val d'Isère is a megaresort located in the Savoie, recognisable by its charming Chalet architecture. People come to Val d'Isere with precisely one purpose in mind: to Ski. Val d'Isere offers to the skiers one of the most incredible Ski Paradises in the Alps: the Espace Killy, the Val d'Isere and Tignes combined skiing area, named in honour Jean-Claude Killy a magic skier, racing for Val d'Isere who won 3 gold medals in the 1968 Olympic games. 300 kilometres of slopes are served by 89 modern lifts. A playground for every skier with two glaciers (Pissaillas Glacier in Val d'Isere and the Grande Motte in Tignes) and 154 runs classified 22 green, 61 blue, 46 red and 25 black.

St. Moritz to host the Ladies Alpine Ski World Cup

With the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup returning to Europe for this weekend - the Men will be heading to Val d'Isère (FRA) for a technical weekend and the Ladies to St. Moritz (SUI) for Super G and Giant Slalom races - seven Ladies and five Men's FIS competitions have been staged, or just below 20%. Double Olympic champion Maria Riesch has put down a stellar start with five podiums and 7 out of 7 top ten finishes so far. She also recorded back-to-back downhill wins at Lake Louise for the first time in her career. In the overall rankings Riesch has built a lead of 169 points over Lindsey Vonn, the reigning overall champion, who has suffered from some inconsistency until now. Vonn did however clinch her first season win at Lake Louise super-G, her career first super-G win there. Behind the two dominators, the group of athletes fighting for the third spot is led by Viktoria Rebensburg (GER), Liz Görgl (AUT) who will be sidelined for a few weeks due to a knee injury sustained in Lake Louise and Julia Mancuso (USA), who has celebrated her best season start ever.
St. Moritz lies on the south side of the Alps, in the Engadine Valley. St Moritz is Switzerland's most famous exclusive winter resort: glitzy, expensive, and fashionable. Few ski destinations can claim even one five-star hotel, but this sunny Swiss lakeside resort boasts five, including the all-suites Carlton, located in Tsar Nicolai II’s former vacation house. St. Moritz Dorf in the hillside over the lake includes Via Serlas’s jet-set shooping "luxury mile", with boutiques like Emilio Pucci, Gucci, Chanel or jewelleries like Bucherer, Cartier or Chopard. St. Moritz Bad, at the lake’s foot, hides local gems among its shops, restaurants and hotels.
The valley offers nine ski areas accessed with a single ski pass. Several of them are connected by lifts; the rest are connected by bus. The Engadine Ski Paradise: St. Moritz-Corviglia, Corvatsch, Diavolezza are synonymous with breathtaking and unforgettable skiing experiences. 60 modern transportation facilities open up on 350 km of snow covered runs at altitudes from 1,800 to 3,300 metres above sea level of slopes in nine different skiing areas with 37 mountain restaurants.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Xavier de le Rue's Timeline Project

"Twice a month TimeLine will get you behind the scenes access to exclusive footage of my season. You’ll discover what it takes to film a big mountain video part, to compete on the Freeride World Tour and what is happening during trips to Canada, Japan, Norway or Alaska. It will show you team efforts of passionate friends to seek the best lines and best snow and use the best mountains as our playground, Guido Perrini as filmer, Tero Repo as photographer and myself along with my friends", Xavier de le Rue.

Timeline Trailer featuring Xavier de le Rue from TimeLine on Vimeo.

International Free Ride Film Festival (Saint-Lary-Soulan)

Bruno Delaye Production and the City of Saint Lary Soulan presents the 6th edition of the International Free Ride Film Festival. The event will take place in the cinema of Saint Lary Soulan December 9-11, 2010. 14 films participate in the competition with more than 3000 visitors and 30 foreign and French journalists attending to the Film Festival. The aim of the event is to show some of the best and most beautiful creations to make the public discover these films and this sport. It is also a tribute to this genre, which helped developing ski and snowboard as well as giving them theimage that they have today.

Teaser Officiel Festival Freeride 2010
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Lech am Arlberg's Snowboard Cross Races

With all other disciplines of the 2011 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup season in full swing, snowboard cross racers kicked off their competition winter on December 7th and 8th at Lech am Arlberg, Austria. A first time Snowboard World Cup venue, Lech hosted two SBX races. The first was a calendar highlight as it was the only snowboard cross held as night final under flood light.
The World Cup debut in Lech was a first check for the current form and an important test on high class competition level before the FIS Snowboard World Championships 2011. Besides the two races at Schlegelkopf, there will be only one more World Cup scheduled in Telluride, Colorado, before the world’s best battle for WCS medals in La Molina, Spain, next January.
First Race (December 7th): In the night finals held under floodlights Dominique Maltais (CAN) and Nate Holland (USA) won the first snowboard cross of the 2011 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup season. At Lech am Arlberg Maltais edged off her team mate Maelle Ricker to the runner-up spot after battling down a close ladies’ final. Yuka Fujimori (JPN) raced on her career’s first podium as third. On the men’s side, Nate Holland brought home an invulnerable victory after long-time leading and later on fourth ranked Canadian Dan Csokonay crashed at the half of the 1,250 metres long course at Schlegelkopf. Tom Velisek (CAN) and Austria’s Mario Fuchs rounded out the podium as second and third.
Second Race (December 8th): Dominique Maltais (CAN) and Luca Matteotti (ITA) have claimed victory in the second snowboard cross race of the 2011 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup. The Canadian rider celebrated her second win within less than 24 hours after having also won Tuesday’s snowboard cross season opener which was also been hosted on the 1,250 metres long Schlegelkopf course in Lech am Arlberg, Austria. Her team mate Maelle Ricker came in second, just like yesterday. Alexandra Jekova of Bulgaria finished third. On the men’s side, Luca Matteotti was able to bring home a historic win in his first World Cup final ever. After a waiting time of five years, the Italian secured a long-desired triumph in the Snowboard Cross Word Cup for his national team. Australia’s Alex Pullin, who was the best qualifier, ranked second while Paul-Henri De le Rue of France rounded out the podium as third.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fresh Snow News - Warming Up Then Getting Colder Again

After the heavy snowfall of last week, resorts in the Alps took a breather this week in most cases and in some cases even saw a thaw as temperatures rose. This led to rain as high as 2500m and high avalanche danger off piste as the freshly acquired snow became unstable. However temperatures are falling again and a return to ‘winter’ with more snow is now expected from Thursday.
It’s a little different in the far North East of Europe where snow conditions on slopes in England, Belgium and the Netherlands are as good as they get. In Scotland a fourth ski area, Nevis Range, opened two weeks early attracting 8,000 people and in northern England, the slopes of Weardale were busy. The country’s artificial surface year-round snow slopes saw booming business too as people arrived to use their uplift facilities for easy access to ski the snow that’s fallen across the country.
There’s snow in most parts of Holland and Belgium and last weekend the first alpine slopes opened their gates for their many winter sports fans. The most snow is reported at Belgium biggest alpine ski slope Baraque de Fraiture - currently 35cm after last weekend’s 15-20cm snow dump. Also the slopes of Ovifat opened, and have 25cm of snow on their slopes.
The last big snowfalls in Austria were reported last Friday with 30cm on the Mölltal glacier, 20cm in the Zillertal and 15cm in Serfaus. The country’s biggest snow depths are reported from the glaciers – the Mölltal glacier claims a snow depth of 220cm. The Kaunertal (196cm) and the Pitztal glacier (184 cm) are not far behind. Silvretta Montafon Nova will open this weekend with currently 60 cm of snow on their slopes. Gerlos/Zillertal Arena (where the season already began last weekend) will also celebrate its official opening from Friday to Monday. A snow cover of 50cm is reported from there. Other Austrian ski resorts about to open the next days are the Großglockner resort Kals/Matrei (snow depth 85 cm), Kleinwalsertal (50 cm) and Nauders (100 cm).
In France after the cold temperatures and heavy snowfall last week, a thaw and rain came in earlier this week to undermine the work of ski resorts in slope preparation. Thus, after snowfall of 60cm in the northern Alps and about 40 to 50cm in the southern Alps and the Pyrenees this weekend, the weather trend has completely reversed since Sunday resulted in two consecutive days of rain at high altitude (2500m). The gradual return of colder temperatures is expected from Thursday, reassuring ski resorts and skiers. The deepest snow depth are at ski resorts located in the Southern Alps (up to 210cm in Isola 2000, 180cm in Val d'Allos and 170cm in Montgenèvre). But the snow depth is also very good in the Northern Alps (140cm at the top of the Val Thorens's slopes, 130 cm in Sainte Foy and 125cm in Les 2 Alpes).
Italy continues to report the deepest snow depths in the world at present with five resorts including Aprica and the Presena Glacier reporting between 3 and 4.2m (10 and 14 feet) accumulated., Italian resorts are also claiming the biggest snow accumulations of the past seven days – up to 1.3m (four feet) of new snow.
In Switzerland Gstaad – Glacier 3000 issued a powder alarm on Tuesday with 25cm of fresh snow. The resort has up to 165cm of snow on its slopes now, one of the biggest snow depths in the country. Andermatt is on top of the list with a snow cover of 180cm at the top station. Zermatt has 173 cm on the mountain and still 70cm on lower slopes with 200km of ski runs open at the weekend, probably the most anywhere at present. Other resorts reporting big snow depths are Saas Fee (172 cm) and St Moritz (150 cm). In addition the Aletsch Arena reported a 15cm-snowfall yesterday bringing the snow depth there to 105 cm. The resort opened last weekend and has 18 lifts running at the moment.
There’s been little fresh snow in the Pyrenees and the snow depths have declined a little with most resorts having less than a metre accumulated. However the good snowfalls in late November is helping jeep things skiable. The deepest snow in Spain is currently at Europe’s most southerly resort, Sierra Nevada, which has a metre lying and received 20cm more in the past week. In the French Pyrenees there’s 100cm of snow in Font-Romeu, 80cm in Peyragudes.
It’s cold and snowy across most of Scandinavia, with Tryvann, the main local ski hill for Oslo, Norway, reporting the most snow of the past seven days – 35cm. It’s snowing today in Voss – another 10cm.
Kimberley Alpine Resort (picture attached) in British Columbia, Canada, is set to open for a special preview weekend this Saturday December 11th and Sunday December 12th. The resort has received over 70cm of snowfall already, and there’s more significant snowfall in the forecast for later this week. On The east Coast Mont Sutton in Quebec starts its 50th season at the weekend too, also boasting good conditions.
The snow is still great in most parts of the US. Smugglers Notch in Vermont on the East Coast has had some of the biggest falls of the past week, accumulating over 70cm (two feet plus) while the greatest snow depth in the country is now claimed by Mammoth, California, over on the West coast with over 2.4m (eight feet) already!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lake Louise and Beaver Creek to host Alpine Ski World Cup

The Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in North America at Beaver Creek and Lake Louise. Beaver Creek hosts the Super Combined, Downhill, and Giant Slalom Men events. During the weekend the Ladies’ World Cup Tour continues in Canada. Lake Louise Village, Alberta, will host two Downhills and Super G FIS races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Beaver Creek downhill course has transformed slightly this year, with more turns and without The Screech Owl jump. Miller has commented on the changes this week, saying the new turns make the feel of the course more like a Super G than a downhill, but after Thursday’s training, he said that while different, the course is in no way lacking in difficulty.
Located in Colorado, USA, Beaver Creek is owned and operated by Vail Resorts Management Company, one of the leading resort operators in North America. The Company owns and operates five ski resorts: Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone and Beaver Creek, located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and Heavenly, which is located on the Lake Tahoe area of California/Nevada. With abundant natural snow (average snowfall 790 cm), backed up by a modern snowmaking system (36 % of the marked runs), Beaver Creek guarantees skiing from early November to mid April. 148 trails (19% Beginner, 43% Intermediate, 38% Advanced) and a vertical drop of 1,233 metres. Reminiscent of a secluded European alpine village, Beaver Creek combines the luxury and refinement of a five-star resort with a relaxed, family atmosphere.
The Lake Louise Ski Area hosts, since last week, the 2009 Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup. Located in Alberta, Canada, Lake Louise is one of the largest ski areas in North America. With abundant natural snow (average snowfall 454 cm), backed up by Canada's largest snowmaking system (40% of the marked runs), Louise guarantees skiing from early November to mid May. 139 runs (25% Beginner, 45% Intermediate, 30% Advanced) and a vertical drop of 991 metres, Lake Louise offer a wide opportunities for skiers from perfectly groomed beginner runs to double black diamonds rated "the best super steeps in the country" (Ski Canada Magazine). The Canadian Ski resort is one of the best options to enjoy magnificent scenery and stunning panoramas.

Fresh Snow News - From ‘Snow’vember to ‘Deep’cember

About a quarter of the world’s leading ski resorts have now opened with the first big wave of openings last weekend, the numbers will now grow rapidly with about a third more following on each of the next two weekends, almost all of the remainder on December 18th.
The good news is that conditions are great in most of Europe and North America. There are huge snowfalls in the Alps today (Wednesday 1st December) alone. Skiinfo had issued more than 590 powder alarms by lunchtime, with the largest fall so far reported in the past 24 hours of 70cm.
The only area where a delayed opening has been reported is West Virginia in south eastern USA. In the Alps falls of up to a metre in seven days have been reported, with low temperatures bringing more snow and good snowmaking conditions. It’s a similar story in Western North America still with several resorts reporting a foot of new snow in 24 hours. In Scotland four out of five centres will be open this weekend – only Glencoe is yet to confirm it will open.
Most snow was reported on Monday in Austria. Bad Kleinkirchheim issued a powder alarm with 30 cm of fresh snow then. The Mölltal glacier reported 20 cm in one day. Many other resorts including Sölden and Schladming Dachstein got 10 cm of powder. Schladming, having a snow cover of half a metre now, will celebrate its winter opening on Saturday (Dec 4th), with a concert of pop star Ke$ha. Many other Austrian winter resorts have announced their ski openings for this weekend, too, including Bad Gastein (with a snow depth of up to 80 cm), Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (55cm) and Saalbach Hinterglemm (35 cm).

The cold snap has continued in France for the past week bringing fresh snow daily to most resorts. As a result more areas than expected opened last weekend and another 30 are set to follow this Saturday, bringing the total open in the country to around 50. There are more big snowfalls in the country today with Montgenèvre reporting 50cm, La Clusaz 40cm and Chatel 30cm among the big beneficiaries.
Three of the world’s deepest snow depths so far this winter are currently being claimed by Italy with the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale boasting the most with a four metre (13.3 feet) snow depth already. The year round ski area of Val Senales has 2.7m (nine feet) and Madesimo 2.1m (seven feet). The country also has the most snow reported in the past seven days for one resort – 115cm (just under four feet) for La Thuile in the Aosta Valley on the French border which is also reporting an incredible 70m (31 inches) of snow in the past 24 hours.
In Switzerland St. Moritz got 15 cm of powder on Monday and reported another 10 cm down to the village today. Arosa, Saas Fee and Davos also reported snowfall. The latter has a snow cover of 86 cm at the top station and 21 cm in the village now. Saas Fee even measured 178 cm of snow on the mountain. Several Swiss ski resorts (like the Aletsch Arena) want to open their slopes for the winter season this weekend.
It’s snowy too in the Pyrenees where Astun (picture attached) in Spain is reporting the deepest snow at 125cm (just over four feet) .
It remains very cold in Norway where temperatures are typically double digits below freezing. There has not been much new snow but the snow that has fallen isn’t going anywhere. Branas in Sweden has the most with 75cm.
It’s all white on both East and west coasts of Canada. In the East resorts like Mont Ste Anne reported falls of up to 30cm at the weekend, on the West, Whistler Blackcomb says it just had 37cm of new snow in the past 24 hours. "Conditions for skiing and riding are getting better and better every day. Whistler Blackcomb has a current snow base of 137cms with total of 266cm (8.7 feet) snow so far this season. The forecast is calling for more snow to hit Whistler Blackcomb tonight and into tomorrow followed by sunny skies", said a resort statement.
More resorts including Fernie and Revelstoke are due to open this weekend.
More resorts have opened on the east and west Coasts of the US and the snow has kept falling, particularly in the West. Jackson Hole opened at the weekend with the most snow, the most terrain open and the most visitors ever reported on opening day in its 45 year history. The deepest snow is in California where five resorts report snow depths of 2.44 – 2.54m (about eight feet) for the first day of December!