Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Week Of Warm Weather In The Northern Alps, Snow In The Southern Ones

Skiinfo reports that it’s still warm in the Alps which is bad news for snow cover on the 11 glacier ski areas that are currently open in Austria, France, Italy, and Switzerland. That’s down one on last week with the scheduled end of the summer season at Val d’Isere.
In Austria the snow has been melting fast on the four glaciers that are still open, with the Dachstein down to 70cm with two lifts and three runs open. At the Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun there’s only 18cm on top of the ice and temperatures are expected to again hit 8C. The Molltal glacier still claims 1.9m (over six feet) of snow and 9.5km of slopes open, but the glacier snowpark is closed. Tux has 1.2m (four feet) of snow and temperature up to 10C with 20km of runs and nine lifts open.
In France, following the closure of Val d’Isere’s summer ski area last weekend, two choices remain open for another month they hope – les 2Alpes which has a metre of snow at Le Signal, and Tignes is still reporting temperatures rather warm at 5 or 6 degrees on the glacier with rain forecast on Friday.
It’s a little cooler in Italy where there’s 1.4m of snow on Plateau Rosa above Cervinia and top temperatures should only be 3C. Val Senales has slightly less with 1.3m snow depth but more trails open, although all are currently showing closed today. Passo Stelvio is also reported to be open for snow ports.
In Switzerland the choice remains Saas Fee or neighbouring Zermatt which even have between 1.7 and two metres of snow lying and the same issues with warm weather on the glacier.
Hot weather in Norway has led to the premature closure of the resort’s three summer ski areas, two of which normally stay open right through to the Autumn. At Galdhøpiggen a resort statement on Monday said, "Galdhøpiggen summer ski area is unfortunately closed because of the blue ice on the glacier. We hope to re-open the centre in the autumn. We regret this situation greatly". Folgefonn had already closed a week earlier, "... because of too little snow". The third ski area, Stryn, normally opens until late July or August depeding on conition, but this isn’t a good summer and the entre closed earlier than expected, at the start of July. "The little snowfall in winter 2010 resulted unfortunately in our early closure after a short but excellent summer ski season, on July 4th", said a resort statement.
Across the Atlantic it’s the last week of the summer ski and board season at Whistler, Canada’s only summer snow destination. The resort’s Blackcomb Horstman Glacier remains open until this Sunday July 25 – with the best skiing and riding conditions seen in years. For the first time ever Whistler Blackcomb has been offering snowshoeing and tubing in July thanks to the record-breaking winter snowfall that has ensured plenty of white stuff is sticking to the alpine. Alpine hiking has been on hold for a few more weeks while Whistler Blackcomb has offered snow shoe hire instead and a three-lane tube park at the top of the Whistler Village Gondola.
In the US only Timberline in Oregion remains open for snowsports.
In the Southern Hemisphere is is continuing cold with snow fluirries at mount Australian ski areas. Typical base depths are at around 40-80cm across the country’s leading resorts. Perisher, Australia’s largest resort, plans to celebrate ‘Christmas in July’ this weekend July 24th and 25th. Mt Hotham reports that so far this winter it has produced 155% more snow than this time last year. To illustrate this, the resort suggests you imagine 111 Olympic swimming pools filled with snow. Or if you're more of a footy fan, that's the surface of a football pitch covered in 13.6 metres (about 45 feet) deep in snow. Hotham uses recycled water for snowmaking and snowmelt returns to Swindlers Creek.
It’s looking good in New Zealand too where good snow, good snowmaking conditions and a fantastic run of fine weather has seen the seven days from Saturday July 10th to Friday July 17th being the busiest period in Ruapehu Alpine Lifts in New Zealand’s 57 year history. Whakapapa and Turoa recorded 56,000 skier visits during the period, eclipsing the previous best of 51,000 recorded in 2007. Mt Ruapehu (picture attached) marketing manager Mike Smith says it was a fantastic week. "It’s unusual on Ruapehu to have such a long stretch of great weather and for this to coincide with the busy school holidays was quite exceptional", says Mr Smith. Snow is now falling on the mountain and is forecast to continue for the next couple of days. Whakapapa has a snow base of 63cm and Turoa has just hit the one meter mark. It’s a similar picture across the country where resorts have up to a 1.6m base.
It’s cold too in South America where most areas have reasonably good conditions. Although no new snow measurements have been taken as we go to press, Portillo in Chile, which has had an unusually poor start to the season, postponing the season by a week and currently with limited cover still, is reporting low temperatures (-3 to 110C) and snow falling with access roads closed, and more of the same forecast for the coming days, so piste conditions look set to improve dramatically. It’s very cold as well in Valle Nevado (-9 to -11) which has two feet of snow on the pistes and almost all of its runs and lifts open in one of the most extensive ski areas in South America.
Over in Argentina Las Leñas has 40-95cm of snow and is reporting great conditions, the country’s other big resort, Catedral, some of the continent’s deepest snow with 1.5m on upper slopes, and 5cm fresh in the past 12hours leaving great powder conditions.
In Africa, Lesotho’s Afriski is still enjoying a good season despite the lak of natural snowfall all winter so far! Instead they’ve heroically clocked up 366 hours of snowmaking, creating a 600m long slope with snow depth up to 70cm and a 200m long beginners slope, plus a terrain park too. Temperatures as low as -13C have helped maintained the itegrity of the manufactured snow.
In South Africa itself, Tiffindell still appears to be operating with machine made snow too, but it’s official status remains uncertain.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Team Gravity Workshop (Russia): Nissan Outdoor Games 2010, Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Team Gravity Workshop. Extreme sports are very popular in Russia and the country produces many top athletes. It was the second time at the Nissan Outdoor Games for this young talented team, who produced a very qualitative film in 2009.
Story Line: An ordinary man is walking around Chamonix-Mont-Blanc witnessing extraordinary sports performances. He is not an athlete, yet the energy inspires him. The scenes he sees could be just a figment of his imagination that comprise a film he edits in his head or a real film.
Team Members: Bike- Pavel Alekhin (RUS), Kayak- Alexey Lukin (RUS), Climbing- Stas Poplavsky (RUS), BASE jump- Andrey Kar Boldyrev (RUS), BASE jump- Lika Borzova (RUS), BASE jump- Jokke Sommer (NOR), Paragliding- Pavel Bulyga (RUS), Paragliding- Dmitry Gusev (RUS), Cameraman- Sergey Firsov (RUS), Cameraman- Konstantin Churakov (RUS), Cameraman- Maxim Badulin (RUS), Cameraman- Alexander Fettsov (RUS), Edit- Roman Gegert (RUS), Photographer- Anatoly Strebelev RUS.

Team Oseven (France): Nissan Outdoor Games 2010, Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Team Oseven. After a public contest held by Julbo Eyewear, the young French team Maxime Moulin, Lois Simac, Gautier Grollemund and Gwennaël Brun, has been selected to manage the film production for the French team. The public competition was open for any amateur film producers and not less than 21 teams applied for the job! They took the job as film producers for the French team with an interesting scenario of their own creation. On the sportive side, this team consists of Julbo Eyewear’s pro athletes, with big names such as the paragliding champion Antoine Montant.
Story Line: A group of friends meet up at a chalet in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to recount their extreme sports experiences. In the end, a glass breaks. The loud noise awakens a child sleeping in the chalet. He is drawn to the place where these stories have been shared. The story is based on a theory of the infamous psychoanalyst Freud: "Happiness is a child’s dream fulfilled in maturity".
Team Members: Bike- Bruno Penone (FRA), Bike- Tristan Ambid (FRA), Kayak- David Pierron (FRA), Kayak- Yoann Amouriq (FRA), Climbing- Loïc Gaidioz (FRA), Climbing- Jérôme Meyer (FRA), BASE jump- Frédéric Fugain (FRA), BASE jump- Vincent Reffet (FRA), Paragliding- Antoine Montant (FRA ), Paragliding- Felix Rodriguez (ESP), Production- Maxim Moulin (FRA), Production- Gwennaël Brun (FRA), Production- Lois Simac (FRA), Producer- Gautier Grollemund (FRA), Photographer- Tristan Shu (FRA).

Team Goosebumps (International): Nissan Outdoor Games 2010, Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Team Goosebumps. Very experienced outdoor athletes and eager newcomers to the Nissan Outdoor Games created an interesting mix led by Swedish action sport photographer Patrik Lindqvist, with an entirely Swedish editing crew.
Story Line: A psychiatrist studies a subject prone to adrenaline sports and performs various tests on him. He believes he has discovered a mental illness that combines many symptoms. His research is recorded on a video cassette found in an avalanche in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. As it turns out, it is simply his own schizophrenia playing tricks.
Team Members: Bike- Thomas Tödtli (SUI), Kayak- Ron Fischer (SUI), Climbing- Judith Spanken (GER), Climbing- Erik Grandelius (SWE), BASE Jump- Rok Brajnik (SLO), BASE Jump- Petra Brajnik (SLO), Paragliding- Timothy Green (UK/USA), Paragliding- Anthony Green (UK/USA), Cinematographer- Erik Henriksson (SWE), Cinematographer- Niklas Nyberg (SWE), Editing- Magnus Örhlund (SWE), Cinematographer-Henrik Hasselbom (SWE), Prod team- Magnus Ericksson (SWE), Editing- Adam Bruzelius (SWE), Post Production- Daniel Lundström (SWE), Electrician- Petter Eneman (SWE), Photographer- Patrik Lindqvist (SWE).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Best Action Sequence Award. Nissan Outdoor Games 2010. Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Last year’s winners, the Finnish Team Golgoht, was awarded the Nissan Best Action Sequence Award at the Nissan Outdoor Games 2010 celebrated in Chamonix Mont-Blanc. A very creative team with an original style (Dudes, I love your Style) both image and sound wise. The members of Golgoht Team have passion for their work. They are part of a growing segment of young creatives turning their passions into careers.
The Nissan Best Action Sequence award was the most difficult decision for the jury, especially with amazing stunts for the aerial disciplines. Finally the prize was awarded to the Finnish Team Golgoht for the images of Finnish biker Juha-Matti Pouta for his massive jump off the ski jump ramp. "The bike segment began with a great transition with the cable camera though the forest. The integration of the natural sounds of the wood cracking and pushing through the brush added even more finesse to the sequence that was beautifully filmed and really well edited. The fact that Juha jumped 25 meters on his bike with a very difficult landing in an original environment makes it an interesting performance sports wise", said Jury member Dino Raffault.

Story Line: The moral of this film is "you get what you deserve": In the beginning of the film, a guy is mugged at the train station, then you witness his day in reverse to see the cause and effect. Sometimes victims are not so innocent.
Team Members: Bike- Juha-Matti Pouta (FIN), Kayak- Matt Cooke (UK), Climbing- Liv Sansoz (FRA), BASE Jump- Jean Noël Itzstein (FRA), Paragliding- Alexandre Aimard (FRA), 3D Artist- Markus Tamminen (FIN), Producer- Jyri Paajamaa (FIN), Film-maker- Jukka "Jugi" Metsäaho (FIN), Camera- Juho Konstig (FIN), Camera- Kim "Kimi" Koponen (FIN), Photographer- Tero Repo (FIN).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heavy Snow in Southern Hemisphere As Temps Hit Double Figures on Glaciers in the Alps

Skiinfo reports that it’s hot in the Alps and the Dachstein glacier’s report of snow conditions as ‘wet’ is one of the more accurate. It’s one of the dozen glacier ski areas currently open in the Alps, although most are battling to keep their slopes skiable with the snow cover becoming slushy earlier in the morning than usual because of the heat, it’s important to get out there early.

Austria has the most summer skiing open. Along with the Dachstein that has two slopes and three lifts open and a 90cm (three foot) base, the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun, the Tux glacier in the Ziller Valley and the Molltal glacier are all open. At the Kitzsteinhorn runs are open to open to top station of Gratbahn and snow cover is down to 39cm (13 inches) as glacier temperatures touch double figures. The Mölltaler glaciers reports deeper snow of 1.9m (more than six feet) and 9km of runs open although temperatures are equally high. Tux reports similar snow depths, similar temperatures and 20km of runs open.
In Switzerland the choice is Saas Fee or Zermatt. Saas Fee again reports high temperatures (+7 at 3500m) but has a 2.1m (7 foot) base and is managing to keep its terrain park and half pipe operational. In Zermatt six blue and red runs are being served by five glacier drag lifts, including Europe’s highest reaching 3899m, which are usually only open in the summer, the lift connection to Cervinia is also now open. It’s currently reporting 1.4m (just under five feet) of snow lying on its summer slopes at Plateau Rosa and despite no fresh falls for weeks and temperatures of +8C on the glacier it describes conditions as "powder snow" – surely some technical error on the snow report there?
It’s very hot elsewhere in Italy too. At Val Senales its20C at 2000m and 10C at the top of the glacier at 3200m, but there is still a 2.4m (8 foot) snow base which should survive the current thaw. Passo Stelvio is also still open.
Over in France the choice of glacier ski areas open for summer snow sports remains Les 2 Alpes, Tignes and Val d’Isere.
It’s been rather warm on Norway’s three glaciers ski areas too. Strynn decided to finish its season last week after a ‘short but spectacular’ season. Folgefonn reports temperatures up to 14 degrees and rain and its looking distinctly soggy at Galdhøpiggen as well.
Across the Atlantic in the US only Timberline on Mt Hood in Oregon remains open as Mammoth Mountain in California finally stopped operating their ski lifts after the Independence Day holiday weekend, ending an opening period in nine consecutive months. Another Californian resort, Boreal, did open for last weekend only, on the 10th/11th July. Lifts were open from 10am - 2pm so locals and visitors could enjoy the abundance of snow left from the snowy spring. A full terrain park was built, accessed via the Castle Peak Quad.
North of the border, in Canada, Whistler's summer skiing and boarding area on the Blackcomb glacier remains open and the resort is also offering summer snowshoeing and tubing.
In the southern hemisphere resorts across Australia have been reporting heavy snowfall over the past few days. In New South Wales the biggest resort, Perisher, has had more than fourteen inches (35cm) of fresh snow so far, with more falling. "It's really chucking it down in Perisher right now! We've had 35cm of fresh snowfalls today, with heavy falls this afternoon and it is still coming down!", said a resort spokesperson. The resort has a natural snow depth of 44cm (18 inches) but deeper snow in areas covered by snowmaking, temperatures are around -2C.
24 lifts are planned for operation tomorrow, with Club Penguin Tube Town, the PlayStation Slopestyle Park, a mini park at Blue Cow and a Rider X course at Yabby Flat all open. Other ski resorts in the region are also reporting good snow falls, Mt Buller had had 25cm (10 inches) of new snow over the past 36 hours and much more (as yet unmeasured – everyone was out skiing) during the day.
In New Zealand conditions continue to be relatively good at most resorts with base depths typically between 60cm and 1.8m (2-6 feet) on upper slopes acrosthe country and good cover down to resort bases in most cases. Many areas had some snowfall last weekend and in most cases more is forecast in the next 72 hours, with temperatures hovering down around zero or just below. Of the larger centres Turoa on Mt Ruapehu has a 98cm (3.3 feet) base, Mt hutt 125cm (4.2 feet).
In South America, several resorts in Chile are reporting the deepest snow in the southern hemisphere at the moment with up to 2.7m (nine feet) of snow lying in the Three Valleys area of Valle Nevado (picture attached) and la Parva and further south in Termas de Chillan. Most of this is due to heavy falls earlier this month with have eased now leaving great powder conditions on the slopes. The figures are less impressive further north hoever where Chapa Verde as well as the top resort of Portillo have much less snow than usual – only 30 – 80cm (1-2.6 feet), they’e expecting heavy falls imminently however and temperatures are low – down to -16C! Portillo is limiting ticket sales to hotel guests only at present to minimise use of what snow there is.
Conditions are relatively good in Argentina too, the continent’s best lift-served resort of Catedral has 1.5m (five feet) of snow on higher slopes and another top resort, Las Lenas to the south, has 90cm (three feet) on upper runs. Chapelco also has 90cm (three feet) deep snow on upper runs and all three centres describe snow conditions as ‘powder.’
Finally, Africa, Lesotho’s Afriski ski area is still lacking natural snowfall but consistently low temperatures have allowed for lots of snowmaking and it curretly has a 500m slope open, plus a beginners run and its terrain park with 60cm (two foot) deep snow. In South Africa Tifindell’ official operational status is uncertain but the slopes are still snow covered.

Austrian Team Argon wins the Golden Peak Award for Best Film

On Thursday afternoon, July 15, the Nissan Outdoor Games films were judged by a seven-member jury -Stefano De Benedetti (ITA), Philippe Lebeau (FRA), Glen Plake (USA), Geraldine Fasnacht (SUI), Dino Raffault (FRA), David Ravanel (FRA), Christophe Margot (SUI)- made up of specialists from the sports and audiovisual worlds. After viewing the films several times with a few heated discussions they finally came together with a decision of which of the films would take home the Golden Peak Trophy for best film, the best action sequence and best set of 10 still photos. A tough decision as the athletic performances and film production was of highest quality for all the five teams. "The effect was really strong when we saw the films for the first time. The overall images were of highest standard, technically the films have truly evolved, and there was a minimum of errors on the artistic point of view. With all the equipment we have today it is not the beautiful images that is the biggest challenge but to link all the scenes together and make a good story in such short time", commented the President of the jury, Stefano De Benedetti, from Italy. De Benedetti has extensive experience in sports as one of the big names of extreme skiing in the eighties as well as a long career as cinema and TV producer.

Team Argon, who also won the winter edition of the Nissan Outdoor Games 2009, were well prepared for this 6th edition, having worked on their storyboard since December. The main character in the film, Johannes Haberl (AUT), is also the team’s composer and singer, who created the impressive music during the week on site here in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. "This is for sure the hardest production I ever made in my career as a filmmaker. It is so intense with many issues to coordinate, including 3-D animations, composing our own music and getting in all the action shots. It has been a huge challenge", said the elated team manager and producer Seppi Dabringer from Austria.
Story Line: The main character is a supernatural being who has powers upon the earth. He uses these powers for evil causes to try to control forces of nature and their effect on humans. He wants to leave his mark on humanity before leaving this world though in the end humans prevail.
Team Members: Bike-Alix Bruel (FRA) & Emilien Busson (FRA), Kayak/Climbing- Dougal Tavener (UK), BASE jump- Hubert 'Hubsi' Schober (AUT) & Mirko Schmidt (GER), Acro paragliding- Bernd Hornboeck (AUT) & Sebastian Kahn (AUT), Team manager/Producer- Seppi Dabringer (AUT), Director- Bernhard Dengg (AUT), 3D Animation- Andreas Alesik (AUT), Post prod- Martin Leitgeb (AUT), Sound design- Johannes Haberl (AUT), Cameramen- Mario Enzler (AUT), Hennes Sandhofer(AUT), Walter Fanninger (AUT), Maurinao Castellani (AUT), Photographer- Stuart Knowles (UK)

Nissan Outdoor Games 2010: Chamonix Mont-Blanc

For the 6th edition of the Nissan Outdoor Games the teams have truly stepped up their game and delivered five breathtaking films of highest quality. Just before the prize giving ceremony the films were shown to an astounded public of several thousands of spectators on a giant screen in the centre of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. It was a big moment for the Austrian Team Argon when they were given the Golden Peak Trophy for the best film, with an especially captivating film. Last year’s winners, the Finnish Team Golgoht, was awarded the Nissan Best Action Sequence Award for their extraordinary mountain bike sequence and photographer Tristan Shu from the French Team Oseven took the prize for Best Still Photographer for the consistent high quality in his images.
The magic of the big screen allowed the enchanted public to truly experience the thrills of outdoor sports enhanced by powerful music and well thought storyboards. These truly professional five-minute short films were created in a week of frenzy. Bringing together outdoor sports athletes, performing at the top level in their respective fields, with world class filmmakers, requires an important and complex collaboration.
"As every year the best athletes in the world meet up for the Nissan Outdoor Games. They really appreciate the concept of the event therefore we can attract the "crême de la crême" in each sport represented. Once again we witnessed a huge progression in the sports that are all still young and evolving rapidly. The event is a good testing ground for the athletes and a benchmark for what level the sport is at today. The high concentration of top athletes creates a great synergy pushing the sports forward, which is also the case for the audiovisual productions. The film crews have been challenging each other with ingenious solutions including far pushed technologies for extreme outdoor conditions. The onboard cameras are more and more powerful and now each team integrates cinematographic techniques as moving camera shots, cranes, and 3D animations to their films. A very positive result for this 6th edition, living up to all its expectations of high qualitative films and a breathtaking spectacle", said David Carlier (SUI), co-founder and organiser of the Nissan Outdoor Games 2010.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Saas Fee Ride 2010

Next Saturday July 17th will see a new edition of the Saas-Fee Ride. The competition will be held in the stunning glacial terrain park of Saas Fee, the famous car-free glacier village at the foot of the Mischabel chain. The event took place for the first time in 2003 when Warren Smith, the event Director, established it to breach the gap between the winter seasons.
The Saas-Fee Ride 10 is laying on a freesports festival packed with on-slope action from some of Europe top New School freestyle skiers from various international teams. Athletes will gather in Saas-Fee on the 17th July 2010 to compete in a world class Big Air competition and a Rail Jam expression session.
The Saas-Fee Ride is going to be a unique summer freeski event with the Saas-Fee terrain park at 3300 meters providing the venue. You can enjoy latest international new school freeski tricks & action on the ‘Fee Glacier’ above the beautiful and ancient Saas-Fee, where you may want to lay back and relax in the calm of the noise free mountain village, surrounded by a unique scenery of 13 summits of 4000 meters
Big Air might well be considered the most spectacular discipline in new school freestyle. Competitors jump off an enormous kicker (jump) and demonstrate their wildest tricks in the air: horizontal and vertical twists are not a rare sight. The best competitors achieve jumps of up to 25 metres.
This year edition also introduces a Rail Jam into the competition. Rails is one of the fastest growing aspects of skiing today and the Saas-Fee snowpark will be hosting one of the highest levels of performance.
The Saas Fee Ride is going to be a unique summer freeski event with the Saas Fee terrain park at 3300 meters providing the venue. The Saas-Fee park is renowned for its perfectly shaped kickers, world cup half pipe and innovative rails. The park team will work throughout the months of May and June to ensure a world class standard for the summer event.

B.C. Safety Authority Issues new regulations after Blackcomb's Gondola Collapse

In response to the failure of a lift tower of Blackcomb's Excalibur Gondola in December 2008 due to ice jacking, the B.C. Safety Authority (BCSA) has issued new regulations intended to avoid a repeat incident. The accident, which happened on Dec. 16, caused injuries to 12 of 43 passengers riding the lift at the time of the collapse, based on information received during the investigation. Six of 33 cabins were also damaged when the top section of a tower separated from the lower section and fell to the ground.
The new regulations are:

1. All operators of passenger ropeway installations must assure towers are fitted with drain holes or have equivalent strategies in place to prevent the accumulation of water as required in the CAN/CSA Z98 standard.
2. Manufacturers must ensure the required inspection procedures, as described in the safety bulletins, clearly and effectively communicate all requirements to undertake an effective inspection.
3. Passenger ropeway contractors must verify the effectiveness of their internal communication processes to ensure that manufacturer’s safety bulletins are followed correctly by staff, and that the results of any inspections or tests are properly recorded and documented.
4. Manufacturers must ensure "as built conditions" are properly documented and transferred to the owner/operator as an integral part of the installation process.

BCSA will submit the findings of its report to the CAN/CSA Z98 Technical Committee for review and discussion of possible code changes. In addition, the B.C. Safety Authority will improve its internal communication processes to ensure safety officers are aware of and understand the safety bulletins issued by manufacturers, as well as improve the rigor of documenting this process.
Jason Gill, BCSA safety manager for passenger ropeways, has issued a safety order that mandates all lift towers in B.C. must have drain holes or other drainage systems in place by November 2010.
BCSA’s investigation into the Blackcomb tower failure showed that "ice jacking," which occurs when water in a lift tower freezes and expands, caused a tower to buckle. Water may have entered via a flame-cut bolt hole and/or a rectangular opening on the connecting plate, the BCSA report said

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nissan Outdoor Games Day 7 Video

Check out the last day of shooting before the mad dash in editing. With paragliding/BASE jump action as well as kayak waterfall jumps...

The 'GoldenPeak' Trophy will be awarded to the best film, tomorrow evening, on the big stage in the centre of Chamonix, after the public has seen the films and photos live on a giant screen. Two other awards will be given: The Nissan Prove It Award for the best action sequence, and Best Still Photographer, with a total prize purse of 32 000 €.

Nissan Outdoor Games Day 6 Video

Check out the Green brothers from the Goosebumps Team, renowned accrobatic paragliders, who launch their BASE jumpers mid-air!

Team International (Team Goosebumps). Very experienced outdoor athletes and eager newcomers to the event will create an interesting mix led by Swedish action sport photographer Patrik Lindqvist, with an entirely Swedish editing crew.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nissan Outdoor Games Day 5 Video

Check out the kayak action with Matt Cooke from the Golgoht team where they get some underwater shots as well as a 100ft slide at 45° stomping a kicker in the end!

Team Finland (Team Golgoht). The Finnish team won the GoldenPeak, the award that given to the best film of the Nissan Outdoor Games 2009 summer edition. A very creative team with an original style both image and sound wise.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Nissan Outdoor Games Day 4 Video

Check out the amazing paragliding/BASE jump action that took place in Chamonix!

Team France (Team Oseven). After a public contest held by Julbo Eyewear, the young French team Maxime Moulin, Lois Simac, Gautier Grollemund and Gwennaël Brun, has been selected to manage the film production for the French team. The public competition was open for any amateur film producers and not less than 21 teams applied for the job! They will undertake the job as film producers for the French team with an interesting scenario of their own creation. On the sportive side, this team consists of Julbo Eyewear’s pro athletes, with big names such as the
paragliding aces Antoine Montant and Felix Rodriguez.
Antoine Montant (FRA) – Vice World Champion of acrobatic paragliding and former Infinity tumbling world record holder (full rotations using the wing as an axis), Antoine Montant is one of the best pilots in the world. He is also one of the world’s most recognized speed flyers (a combination of skiing and paragliding)
Felix Rodriguez (SPA) – Felix Rodriguez is a true legend in acrobatic paragliding, a sport which he has been involved in for years as a team with his brother Raul, winning multiple world titles.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nissan Outdoor Games Day 3 Video

Check out the bouldering action from the Russian team, Gravity Workshop, in the 2010 Nissan Outdoor Games in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.
The Russian team Gravity Workshop is an all Russian team for both athletes and filmmakers, with two exceptions: one of the world’s top acrobatic paragliders Hernan Pitocco from Argentina and the renowned Norwegian BASE-jumper Jokke Sommer. The Russian BASE-jumping duo Lika Borzova and Andrey Kar Boldyrev are admired extreme sport celebrities in Russia and in the international BASE-jumping community, having participated in the world record of "Big Way BASE-jumping" (49 athletes jumping simultaneously in Norway). It is the second time at the event for this young talented team, who produced a very qualitative film in 2009.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chamonix International Climbing Festival

From July 11 Chamonix will host the International Climbing Festival. Every year, at the beginning of July, the best international climbers meet in Chamonix at the foot of Mont-Blanc for this prestigious event. Festival includes the French Championships and the World Cup events.
The place for the event will be located on the Anneau de vitesse close to the Lac de la Plage. With different demonstrations, stands and an introduction to climbing for the youngsters, Chamonix is transformed once more, into the true capital of climbing!.
The Chamonix Mont-Blanc's Climbing World Cup (Difficulty and Speed Climbing Men & Women) will take place on Monday and Tuesday. The event reunites the best climbers in the world.
In the Difficulty Event climbers confront each other in pairs, each taking a turn lead climbing on an unkown route. The first one to go the farthest on the first try is the winner. In case of a tie the climber who went the farthest in the the previous qualifying round is the winner.
In the Speed Event climbers confront one another side by side climbing 'second'. The first one to finish the route and reach the top is the winner.

Nissan Outdoor Games Day 2 Video

Check out the second day of action where the newcomers from the French team (OSeven) get a taste of the long hours of preparation, incuding walking to breathtaking spots!. The athletes team include local French talents from the Chamonix valley, provided by the organisation, as well as Julbo’s pro team athletes.
The five international teams selected for the 2010 Nissan Outdoor Games in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France are:
  • Team Finland (Team Golgoht)
  • Team Austria/Germany (Team Argon)
  • Team International (Team Goosebumps)
  • Team Russia (Team Gravity Workshop)
  • Team France (Team OSeven)

Nissan Outdoor Games Day 1 Video

The Nissan Outdoor Games in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is back for the 6th consecutive year. The concept is to create a 5-minute film and a photo report uniting 5 outdoor sports with the world’s best sportsmen in each discipline: mountain biking, mountaineering, kayaking, paragliding & hang gliding, BASE-jumping & wingsuit flying. Five teams are selected and invited by the organisers in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. Their challenge is to create a high quality short film and still photo production in only one week. The productions are shown to the public on a giant screen in the heart of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in the evening of July 15th . The athletes and film crews will be competing for 32 000 € prize money to win the “Golden Peak Award” for the best film, the "Nissan Prove It Award" for the best action sequence and the “Best Still Photo Award”, announced by an appointed professional jury.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nissan Outdoor Games has begun!

The Nissan Outdoor Games is back for its 6th consecutive summer edition. The race to produce a 5-minute film and a series of still photos in just one week has begun! Athletes from Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, UK, US, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, and France will take on the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc valley and mountain range to create their 5-minute short films and photo reports in this unique terrain. Forty of the world’s top outdoor sports specialists will do everything they can to provide the filmmakers in their respective teams with breathtaking images.
After an initial briefing at lunchtime on Wednesday 8 July, where the organisers outlined the rules for the competition, the five teams set off immediately to start their action. The clock is already ticking for the teams, as they only have one week to produce their film.
Due to the extraordinary backdrop of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, the Mecca of action sports, the film festival has found the perfect venue for its sixth edition.Chamonix-Mont-Blanc has already twice hosted the winter version of the Nissan Outdoor Games in 2009 and 2008.
The event is part of the Nissan Sports Adventure programme.
The 'GoldenPeak' Trophy will be awarded to the best film, Thursday evening 15 July, on the big stage in the centre of Chamonix, after the public has seen the films and photos live on a giant screen. Two other awards will be given: The Nissan Prove It Award for the best action sequence, and Best Still Photographer, with a total prize purse of 32 000 €.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gran Trail of Peñalara

Last weekend Spain's Sierra de Guadarrama hosted the first edition of the Gran Trail of Peñalara. The event was born with the aim to commemorate the 100 years of the Royal Spanish Society of Mountaineering Peñalara, with particular emphasis on the wishes of the founders of the Society for the knowledge and transmission of the values of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
It was a race of semi self-sufficiency where participants had to carry a minimum material and ensure its security along the 110 km route at an altitude ranging between 1033 m and 2429 m (Peñalara), 5,000 metres of positive altitude change, with a maximum of 30 hours to complete the course.
Kiko Galera took victory after 13 hours and 27 minutes of effort. In the women's category María Luisa García Rafael was the winner with a total time of 20 hours. 260 of the 481 participants reached the finish line.
In line with the new sports trends in the mountain, and following the benchmark example of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the Gran Trail is a sport event linking different villages of Guadarrama, passing through the most emblematic sites of these mountains of Madrid and Castilla-León, escaping from the tarmac roads and motorways by those paths and tracks used historically by the mountain people and in more modern times by hikers and mountaineers, and having as its main axis the GR10 footpath. In the route of the Gran Trail, the runners are able to test their athletic skills and techniques in a high-mountain environment, with altitudes above two thousand meters, and terrains that alternate between bare soils, meadows and rocks. A perfect place to live the spirit of the mountain, and to measure your endurance in clean competition.
The race shows the values of Guadarrama to visitors coming from all over Spain and from abroad, putting the participants in contact with the pure heart of the mountains, and at the same time maintaining a careful respect for this environment protected to preserve its natural and cultural values.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

1st Winter Youth Olympic Games: Innsbruck 2012 on track

The Coordination Commission of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games concluded last Wednesday its second visit to the city of Innsbruck. The Commission, led by its Chairman, Gian-Franco Kasper, received updates from the Organising Committee (IYOGOC) on the status of preparations for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012 and met with local partners and government authorities. The two-day session allowed IYOGOC to present the outcome of its strategic planning phase, including an initial Culture and Education Programme (CEP) concept and an updated Youth Olympic Village (YOV) project. Organisers will from now on begin to focus on the operational delivery of the Games.
The Commission validated Innsbruck’s competition venue master plan, including the slopestyle and ski cross venues in Kühtai. The Commission was happy to note that some of the already existing and high quality venues are being further developed and will leave a lasting legacy in the Tyrol region. Seefeld, for example, is constructing a new ski jump platform and biathlon facilities which will strengthen its position as a Nordic sports centre. Included in the programme of the Commission’s meetings was a site visit to the Alpine skiing area of Patscherkofel, where the Commission could witness the recent groundwork that has been carried out. The Commission was also impressed by the construction project for the YOV, which is progressing on schedule and will provide accommodation for approximately 1,660 athletes and officials from 13 to 22 January 2012.
Commenting after the meeting, Gian-Franco Kasper said, "We have had very productive meetings with our partners at Innsbruck 2012. Much progress has been made since our first visit to the host city last October, and the team at IYOGOC has grown significantly to cope with the increasing workload and detailed planning. The Commission was particularly impressed by the dynamic and innovative qualities of the young team in place and is confident that Innsbruck will host great Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012".
Tyrolean Vice-Governor Hannes Gschwentner said: "The preparations for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games are proceeding well. The young team under the leadership of Peter Bayer is working hard and doing an excellent job".
Innsbruck 2012 will be able to draw on the experience and the lessons learned by the Singapore 2010 Organising Committee through its participation in the IOC Observer Programme organised during the Games in Singapore this summer and the official debrief that will be held a few months after the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games as part of the IOC’s knowledge management programme.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, to be held between 13 and 22 January 2012, will bring together 1,048 athletes between 14 and 18 years of age from approximately 80 National Olympic Committees to compete in the seven sports on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games programme.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Saas-Fee International Alpine Music Festival

From 8 to 11 July 2010, the popular International Alpine Music Festival will take place in Saas-Fee. Yodellers, Alpine horn players and folk music groups from all over Switzerland and Austria, including the successful Münztaler folk band, will be performing. This will be the sixth year that the International Alpine Music Festival has celebrated all things folk. Surrounded by a magnificent mountain panorama featuring thirteen 4,000 metre peaks, the beautiful glacier village of Saas-Fee will provide an authentic backdrop for genuine Alpine landler music and
popular German folk songs, also known as schlager.
This year the emphasis of this festival is on folk music true to the motto: "Folk music for and by folk musicians". The 2010 festival will be a colourful mix of folk, landler and schlager music, yodelling and local folklore. Visitors can also look forward to soaking up the fantastic atmosphere and warm hospitality in the friendly glacier village. During the festival, musicians, singers and musical societies will perform in the village festival hall and various restaurants, and on the streets and the village square. From Thursday to Sunday, the whole village will become a stage, and its awe-inspiring mountain backdrop is sure to provide the musicians, as well as the audience, with plenty of inspiration.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It’s Warming Up On Alpine Glaciers But Saas Fee Re-Opens As Mammoth’s Long Season Ends

Skiinfo reports that more ski areas opened in Europe last weekend and more are scheduled to next weekend but temperatures are warming up and are in double figures over 3000m, making conditions 'sticky'.
In France Les 2 Alpes is planning a big event this weekend. The Kumi Yama contest is a Japanese themed slopestyle and superpipe contest from July 2nd to 4th which will feature X Games and Winter Olympic champions. The glacier ski areas at Tignes and Val d’Isere remain open too.
In Switzerland Saas Fee is due to open this Saturday, joining its neighbour Zermatt which is open year round. Saas Fee has a three metre (ten foot) base waiting for those hitting its slopes this weekend.
In Italy Cervinia has opened for summer skiing with a two metre (near seven foot) base, but the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale has closed, keeping the total number of Italian ski areas open at three. The other two being Passo Stelvio and Val Senales.
Austria has four ski areas open again, more than any other northern hemisphere country, following the Molltal glacier re-opening at the weekend and has 9km of runs open, served by three lifts with 250cm (eight feet) of snow. On the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun the snow is a metre thick at the top of the glacier but only 5cm is left at the Alpincentre which you can currently ski down to, but perhaps not for much longer. The Dachstein Glacier has 180cm of snow on the glacier and two lifts, two runs and a terrain park open. Their ice palace under the glacier has also seen the arrivals of giant frozen ice sculptures of The Simpsons. The Tux glacier, which is open virtually year round, has one of the biggest ski areas open at present with 20km of runs served by nine lifts and a 550m vertical.
It’s colder and the snow is in better shape in Norway where three glacier areas remain open. Folgefonn has a two metre base, Galdhøpiggen four metres lying and Stryn 4.5 metres – the deepest any open ski area is currently reporting anywhere.
In the USA Mammoth Mountain’s long season appears to be nearing its end this weekend, with the last day of their nine month season on Monday July 5th following Independence Day weekend. The Californian resort is currently offering its guests the chance to ski or board, play a round on the local nine hole golf course and do some mountain biking all in one day for $99. At Timberline in Oregon lifts and runs are open, including the Otto Lang terrain park, but the resort’s half pipe is currently closed for construction.
North of the border in Canada Whistler’s Blackcomb glacier remains open with its many summercamps. Whistler's Momentum Ski Camps will stage "Momentum Splashdown", an event for professional skiers and campers, on Tuesday, July 6 from 4-6pm. Olympic gold medallist Alex Bilodeau will judge the aerial offerings of some of the North America's best skiers at the water ramps located adjacent to Blackcomb Mountain's Base II area.
In the southern hemisphere there has been some fresh snow in Australia and low temperatures have allowed the resorts to do a lot of snowmaking. More snow is forecast throughout the rest of the week. Mt Buller is typical of all the leading Australian ski areas in that temperatures there reached a low of -6.3 last night and heading to a top of -2 today, these are spot on conditions to blast some quality man made snow around the clock across the whole resort. Four lifts are operating there with a coverage of 46cm in all open areas. But with forecast snow showers throughout this week and heavy snowmaking underway since Saturday morning, they are anticipating more intermediate terrain will be open later this week.
In New Zealand almost all ski areas are now open and there’s been mlore fresh snow. Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu reports 22cm of new snow and an average base depth of 60cm. Most other ski areas have a similar amount of snow with Mt Hutt having some of the deepest snow with 125cm. The 2010 winter season is officially underway in Lake Wanaka with all four fields now open for business and reporting excellent snow conditions. Good snowfalls in May and optimum snow making conditions throughout June have provided the mountains across the region with a good base and quality snow coverage for the start of the season. Snow Farm, New Zealand’s only Nordic ski area was the first to open in early June then at Treble Cone’s opening last week, skiers and boarders enjoyed outstanding conditions with all lifts operating. Skiers in The Saddle were treated to great powder with fresh tracks well into the morning. The ideal weather conditions and excellent snow base produced plenty of smiles at Cardrona Alpine Resort’s opening. A new 40 metre tunnel, providing a unique access route across the ski area proved popular with skiers and boarders. Cardrona now boasts the largest number of chair lifts in the South Island with the installation of the Valley View Quad, opening up even more terrain. The roll-out of Lake Wanaka’s ski areas continued as the freestyle action got undweray at Snow Park NZ on Saturday. New for the terrain park is a learner tow rope and designated area for beginners as well as a new transport service to take passengers to and from the mountain every day with extra frequency for night riding sessions Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. This season Snow Park NZ will launch its 22ft halpipe and quarter pipe as well as many new rails and boxes. Lake Wanaka’s resorts will again take centre stage for many national and international events this winter. The FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Junior World Championships (19-31 August), Burton New Zealand Open (10-14 August) and The World Heli Challenge (30 July-9 August) will attract world class athletes and provide stunning action for spectators.
There’s been no new natural snowfall on Southern Africa’s ski slopes but Afriski in lesotho has been able to keep snowmaking as temperatures fluctuastes between highs of +4C in the daytime and a low of -5C at night. It has about 65cm of snow lying on its 400m long main raun, and the beginner run is also open.
Over in South America there has been quite a lot of fresh snow in both Chile and Argentina enabling more resorts to open. In Chile Portillo opened at the weekend, a week later than planned, and has about two feet of snow. Valle Nevado reports it has had more than 2 metres of snow so far this season and currently has 50cm lying on the slopes. The connection to La Parva is open, but not the one to El Colorado. Argentina’s largest ski resort Catedral is also now partially open although reports only 50cm of snow on upper slopes and nothing at the base, with only limited terrain open as a result. Las Lenas is looking a little better with 40cm at the base and 85cm on upper slopes, but temperatures have been peaking at a too-warm 12C.