Sunday, October 31, 2010

Warren Miller's Wintervention Film

Warren Miller Films attract a cult-like following and mark the official start of the winter season year in year out. Narrated by Olympic gold medalist and skiing icon Jonny Moseley, Warren Miller’s 61st annual ski film Wintervention is the definitive film for the snow-obsessed. Wintervention takes riders like Chris Davenport, Jonny Moseley and Lindsey Vonn on a global tour of Alaska, Norway, Canada, Antarctica and beyond… delivering a successful Wintervention for all of us in need.
Wintervention begins at one of the last frontiers — Antarctica; spectacular scenery, icebergs, penguins and snowriders leaving ski tracks instead of footprints while skiing some of the last first descents in the world. The photography is terrific: a downhill run over hard-packed glaciers, a line that requires crampons and pick axes to get there; and catch-your-breath and lose-it-again scenes from the ridge that then falls sharply toward the sea.
Stops include Girwood, Alaska, providing the most painful shot: a skier whose jump suddenly ends in a splat against an unforgiving tree; the Columbia Mountains, B.C., where Hans Gmoser had the vision of heli-skiing; Vail and Telluride, Colorado; Austria’s Arlberg Region; and Gudari, Georgia, in the former Soviet Union, with the sketchiest heli-skiing thanks to a Soviet-era helicopter. New Zealand might as well be called Adventure Zealand based on its section, a country filled with what the film called "misguided individuals" and outstanding skiing. The end piece is filmed in Svalbard, Norway, near the top of the world. The ski and survival gear is brought in by snowmobiles, including a rifle in case a polar bear proves unfriendly.
Exploring winter since 1949, Warren Miller Entertainment has inspired audiences to keep their snowriding dreams alive. Sixty-one years ago, an adventurous man with a pair of wooden boards strapped to his feet and an 8mm-movie camera in his hand changed the way people worldwide thought about snow. Even though he has retired, today Warren Miller remains one of the most recognized names in the ski industry. Warren Miller Entertainment (WME) reportedly hosts the largest action sports film tour on the planet. Warren Miller's voiceover is no longer part of the show. There is but one Miller quote, the most famous of his down-home and much-used sayings: "If you don't get out this season, you'll be one more year older when you do".

Official Wintervention Trailer from Warren Miller Entertainment on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Whistler Cuts IPO Price Target Range

Lack of interest from investors has led Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, a company formed by Intrawest and owned by Fortress Investment Group, to reduce the price of its IPO shares, according to several news reports. The reduction, from the planned range of C$14 to C$15 per share to the current range of C$12.50 to C$13, effectively raises the proposed dividend rate to between 7.5 and 7.8 percent, from a yield of 6.5to 7 percent in the original plan.
The company will sell a stake to repay debt owed to Intrawest ULC, the selling shareholder and a unit of New York-based buyout firm Fortress Investment Group LLC.Previously, Intrawest has sold its Mountain Creek Resort in Sussex County (New Jersey), Copper Mountain last December, Panorama resort, B.C., the Village at Squaw Valley and the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Last April Intrawest announced that it has successfully completed the refinancing of its corporate debt which was due in December 2009. The Company repaid its prior lenders in full and has completed a new loan, which is scheduled to mature in 2014.
Fortress still plans to sell roughly C$300 million worth of shares. While Fortress remains optimistic about successfully completing the IPO, some financial analysts have been cautioning investors to be wary. Activity has been described as light.
One group that may plunge ahead is Whistler Blackcomb employees. The local Pique newsmagazine reported that Whistler Blackcomb offered employees a chance to purchase shares. Minimum purchase was 100 shares (for the general public, minimum purchase is 1,000 shares). The deadline was Oct. 22; no word yet on how much of the company is now owned by employees

Friday, October 29, 2010

LG Snowboard FIS World Cup continues in London and Saas-Fee

After the outdoor start of the FIS World Cup in Sölden last weekend, the action moves on to London this weekend as the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup Big Air competition will be carried out at Battersea Power Station, followed by the half-pipe opening in Saas Fee in Switzerland.
On 30th October 2010, it will be the third time that London hosts a FIS World Cup Big Air competition which marks the highlight of a three day music and winter sport festival called "London Freeze". The two Snowboard freestyle competitions next week represent the first chances to collect points for the newly invented overall World Cup for Snowboard Freestyle: from this season on, the most complete freestyle rider will be crowned over the half-pipe, big air and slopestyle event series. Reason enough for many top athletes to strap on the boards at Halloween as well as in the Swiss glacier paradise just a few days later.
Like in previous years, the Battersea Power Station with its iconic towers will be transformed into a huge ski resort with a 32 m high and 100 m long real snow jump at the heart of the event venue. Top riders including Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov and Gian-Luca Cavigelli as well as Finnish Olympic Halfpipe runner-up Peetu Piiroinen, among others, are all hoping for the largest share of the event prize purse.
On 3 and 4 November the cream of the snowboarding world will gather for the 7th FIS Snowboard World Cup in Saas-Fee to show off their skill in the Freestyle Park Allalin’s half-pipe at 3,300 metres. Saas Fee's half-pipe season opening is expected to attract some 100 of the world's best boarders to the glacier village. The early-season competitions in Saas-Fee are among those that attract the highest number of participants. New for 2010 the competition pipe in the Freestyle Park Allalin has been extended to meet Olympic standards. The side walls have grown a good meter in comparison with last year and now stand at 6.5m. The length of the pipe has also been increased by 30 to 40m. The result is a 22 foot pipe that stretches 150 m down the slope, that has been widely used for great training giving boarders optimal conditions to prepare for the LG FIS Snowboard World Cup and FIS World Championships 2011 in La Molina in Spain.
The FIS Snowboard World Cup in Saas-Fee now has its own name. From this year on, the now well-established freestyle event in Saas-Fee will be known as Allalin 360. The organizers chose the name to help establish a recognizable profile for the World Cup event in the glacier village. "A short, punchy name sticks in people's minds", explains Daniel Andenmatten, President of the Saas Fee Organizing Oommittee.
The organisers look very much forward to their cooperation with Roxy/Quicksilver. During the FIS European Cup as well as during the FIS World Cup, Roxy/Quiksilver will provide a varied programme with movie nights, DJ rotations (with Fredy K), fashion shows and much more. Six to seven action-packed party nights will be held in the Livingroom or in the Popcorn bar altogether. You're sure to bump into at least one of the top riders competing at these events.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snow In the Alps Heavier Still And Big Falls in North America Too

Skiinfo reports that heavy snow in Western North America, The Alps, The dolomites, The Pyrenees and in Scandinavia is making the start of winter 2010-11 look very promising in most areas at present, with more resorts opening on both sides of the Atlantic and a dozen more due to open this weekend.
There have been heavy snowfalls in the Alps over the past few days with accumulations of up to 60cm (two feet) reported, with 90cm (three feet) in the dolomites – although ski areas there are yet to open. Kitzbuhel and Laax have announced they will open at the weekend, which along with resorts opening in Scandinavia means more than 30 places will be open in six countries in Europe on Saturday. Around 19 glacier ski areas are currently open to enjoy it all in the four main Alpine nations, although the extreme winter weathers has led to temporary closures of some areas so it is of course important to check ahead before you arrive.
In Italy Bormio – which isn’t open yet – reported the biggest falls with a 60cm accumulation over the past week. The Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale has opened however joining Val Senales and Passo Stelvio, which is currently reporting the world’s deepest snow base with 200cm lying, to give three choices in the country. But Stelvio is due to close on Monday, 1st November. But there’ll be a fourth option from Saturday when Cervinia opens for the season.
Austria continues to have the most skiing available at the moment with eight glacier ski areas open. Kitzbühel is going to open the first ski runs on Saturday, when they start into the winter season – the first non-glacier ski area in the Alps to open. A snow depth of 30cm (a foot) is reported. The Dachstein Glacier has finally re-opened after being unexpectedly closed due to lack of snow for two months. It has had 20cm of fresh snow and now has a 40cm base. "It’s a good feeling to stand up here at 1906 metres of altitude on October 23rd and the first guests are already skiing behind us", says Ernst Trummer of the local mountain railways. Solden, which hosted the opening outdoor World Cup events in the Northern Hemisphere last weekend also has lots of snow, but the Hintertux glacier currently has more slopes open than anywhere with 44km of runs, a 600m vertical and a 1.55m (five foot) base with 40cm of that fresh powder. The Mölltal glacier accumulated another 30 cm of snow on Sunday and Monday, bringing the resort’s snow depth to 140 cm. The skiing conditions are reported to be very good. Ischgl and Galtür (not yet open) also had 20 cm of new snow on Monday. You can also ski or board on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun, at Pitztal, on the Stubai near Innsbruck or at Kaunertal.
Switzerland will have six glaciers open this weekend at Diablerets, Diavolezza near St Moritz, Engelberg, Laax, Zermatt and Saas Fee – the next stop on the World Cup circuit. Gstaad – Glacier 3000 got fresh snow on Monday and reports it has up to 70 cm of snow on its slopes now. The Swiss winter resort wants to start its winter season on Saturday, opening at least the skilift “Dôme” and the snow park. Also on Monday, St Moritz got 30 cm of fresh powder. The resort has a snow cover of half a metre now, with two lifts running at the Diavolezza. In Engelberg that reported snowfall on Monday, too, the snow is about a metre deep at the moment. Saas Fee reported some new snow only yesterday. Five of their slopes are open, the maximum snow cover amounts to 141 cm. Zermatt says to have 173 cm of snow and good skiing conditions on 23 km of slopes. The Vorab glacier at Laax will be open earlier than expected thanks to the heavy snow - this Saturday, 30 October . Slopes have been groomed and the rails and boxes in the snowpark are ready for some jibbing!
In France, Les 2 Alpes is open this week only, joining Tignes, before it re-closes for three weeks then re-opens for the winter.
The number of ski areas open in Scandinavia will be in double figures by the weekend. So far Sauda in Norway, which opened last Saturday, Bjorli, also in Norway, which opened yesterday and Ruka in Finland are all open. They will be joined by Kvitfjell, Trysil, Uvdal, Gaustablikk, Rauland, Haukelifjell and Skeikampen all in Norway which all expect to open this weekend, with Beitostølen, Geilo, Hemsedal , Nesbyen, and Tyin-Filefjell following a week later. "Temperatures are below zero at the moment, and the snow production is in full swing, so right now, it looks like the weekend openings will go as planned", said Skiinfo Norway’s Tobias Flatin.
There’s been snow across the Pyrenees too although no resorts are open there yet. In Spain, Formigal reported receiving the first snowfall of the season at all the altitudes of the resort, even at the base, at 1,500m metres, and the snow is very abundant in higher valleys. "This early snowfall is very beneficent, as it cools and moistens the ground. As a result, the future layers of snow are going to be more solid and will last the whole winter season", Said spokesperson Conchita Fernandez.
In North America Sunday River in Maine was the first resort to open, last Friday, joining the year-round skiing at Mt Hood in Oregon. Subsequently Loveland opened on Sunday and Arapahoe Bain on Monday – so there are now four centres open in the US. Keystone and Copper Mountain, the latter already open for race training camps only, are scheduled to join them on November 5th. Most ski areas in Colorado, open or not, have had at least 30cm (a foot) of new snow this week. At Steamboat 14.5 inches (36cm, picture attached) of snow fell at Thunderhead, the resort’s mid-mountain location at 9,080 feet, which opens November 24th. "Mother Nature showed just how fast she can go from fall to full winter and reminded all of us that it’s never too early to make sure your equipment is waxed up, season passes are in hand and you’re getting into shape for a fantastic season", said Rob Perlman, senior vice president of marketing & sales for Steamboat. "Meteorologists are calling for a La Niña weather cycle this winter, which bodes very well for Steamboat", said Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations for Steamboat. "The last La Niña took place during the winter of 2007/08, when the Steamboat Ski Area recorded 489 inches of snow at mid-mountain before it was all said and done". Elsewhere in the state, snow continues to accumulate through Summit County and the Vail Valley. Monday’s storm dumped more than 18 inches of snow at Keystone Resort’s North Peak. Weather forecasts are predicting the snow to continue as temperatures dip into the low teens Fahrenheit. With Keystone Resort opening on November 5, 2010 this winter storm promises great conditions on opening day for all Colorado Resorts. Breckenridge Resort’s opening day follows on November 12, 2010. November 19, 2010 marks Vail and Heavenly opening day, with Beaver Creek opening on November 24, 2010. In California Squaw Valley USA received the first snowfall of the 2010-11 winter season with 2-4 inches of snow, the result of a low pressure system moving east across California and Nevada from the Pacific coast.
North of the border in Canada Whistler has reported a big pre-season snowfall. A heavy Pacific storm hit the resort at the start of the week, dropping between 25-30cm of snow at higher elevations. The freezing level is expected to remain steady with more periods of snow forecast for this week. Meteorologists are calling for a La Niña weather cycle for the Pacific Northwest, meaning cooler temperatures and more snow than Whistler Blackcomb’s annual average of 34 feet/10.25m. Nakiska, which had hoped to open early on October 30th, is now looking at a November 6th opening, however there have been no reports so far that Mt Norquay has any plans to delay its opening on October 30th – this Saturday.
All ski areas in the southern hemisphere are now closed except Turoa in New Zealand which plans to stay open another two weeks in to November. It has more than a 1.5m (five foot base) so looks good to make it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Heavy Snow In The Alps, Low Temperatures Across Northern Hemisphere, US and Scandinavian Ski Seasons Go, Even Belgium Gets Snow

Skiinfo reports that there are still – marginally – more indoor ski areas open than outdoor worldwide, but the situation looks set to change in the near future as heavy snowfall in the Alps this week, as well as in the Canadian Rockies and in New England has suddenly got everyone in the mood for winter. Snowfall has been reported in many other areas too including Belgium, Iceland and Scotland and low temperatures mean that snowmaking is currently under way at high altitude resorts in the US with Loveland, Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain (picture attached), all among the world’s 10 highest ski areas, currently pumping snow on to the slopes and expecting to open in the next 48 hours.
In the Alps heavy snow has been reported down to low levels across the region with falls of more than 60cm (two feet) at some locations down to as low as 500m above sea level, obviously good news whether these are already open or about to.
Austria continues to have more ski areas open outdoors than any other at present with seven glacier ski areas open at Pitztal, Solden, the Stubai, Kaunertal, Kitzsteinhorn, Mollrtal and Tux to choose from. Solden is holding the first world cup races outdoor of the northern hemisphere’s 2010-11 season this weekend, it’s neighbour Obergurgl reported another 20 cm of fresh snow this morning, issuing a powder alarm on Skiinfo. The ski resort has up to 70 cm of snow on its slopes now and is one of the first to open each winter. The Stubai glacier just had 10 cm of fresh snow. At the top station (3000m) the resort has a snow layer of 60cm and 39km of the ski slopes are open. The tux glacier currently has the largest ski area open in the world with more than 40km of runs to enjoy and a near 600m skiable vertical.
In Switzerland Engelberg, Saas fee, Zermatt and the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz are all open and there’s a fifth option of the Diablerets Glacier partially available although the full opening is not planned for another week. "The glacier ski area Glacier 3000 opens its ski season on Saturday, October 30th. Currently, the Dôme ski lift and parts of the Snow Park are available to skiers and snowboarders", said a resort statement. Daniela Burkhard of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG commented, "The snow situation is excellent, the slopes are well-prepared and it’s cold enough for the snow to stay. At the moment our lift facilities are being revised and only one of the smaller ski lifts is in operation but next weekend all of them will be running". In Zermatt there is 173cm of snow lying on the glacier above 2900m. In Saas-Fee there is 125 cm of snow on the glacier.

In Italy it’s still Passo Stelvio and Val Senales that are open but the Presena Glacier which stays open the longest in the country in the spring is set to re-open tomorrow and Cervinia soon after.
In Germany the Zugspitz glacier by 2011 Alpine World Championships hosts Garmisch has received heavy snowfall in the past week and they have 70 cm of snow lying now according to meteorologist Christina Speicher of DWD. There’s no word yet on an opening date however. Other German ski resorts Oberstdorf-Nebelhorn and Oberstdorf-Fellhorn/Kanzelwand reported 30 cm (a foot) of fresh snow each. The Feldberg in the Black Forest had 15 cm (six inches).
Tignes in France will be joined tomorrow, 23rd October, for one week only by Les 2 Alpes, which opens for English and French school holiday periods and throws big ski and snowboarding new season gear test and party festivals. Les 2 Alpes will then close again at the end of the month and Tignes will be operating alone for the first few weeks of November before other resorts begin to open en masse.
In Scandinavia Ruka in Finland was the first ski area to open last weekend but with it currently very old across the continent and snowing, several more top resorts expect to open in the next few days. Uvdal , Bjorli, Gaustablikk, Haukelifjell, Kvitfjell and Trysil all expect to open next weekend or before, with Beitostølen, Geilo, Hemsedal , Nesbyen, Tyin-Filefjell and Skeikampen following a week later. "The ones opening from the 29thto November 6th are all seriously going for it. If they postpone, it will be because of the temperature rising", said a expert in Oslo.
In North America, Canadian resorts in Alberta have been reporting heavy snowfall over the past week and are expected to begin opening at the end of next week. Mount Norquay near Banff has announced it will aim to open for its 85th season on Saturday, October 30th and it seems it may now be joined by Nakiska, between Banff and Calgary, which has announced it will try to open earlier than expected on the same date. Cold weather for snowmaking plus natural snowfall have helped. Marmot Basin ski area got hit with a whopping 25cm (10 inches) of snow overnight at the weekend. While work crews are busy making final preparations for Marmot’s November 11 opening, local skiers and snowboarders woke up to a big surprise, snow covered peaks in all directions. "There’s nothing like a huge snowstorm in mid October to get our local skiers and boarders fired up”, exclaimed Brian Rode, Marmot’s Vice President of Marketing and Sales. This is shaping up to be a repeat performance of last season when we had record snowfall in October and November", added Rode. Marmot ski patrol and lift maintenance crews are getting the mountain ready for opening day and, while the snow that blankets the mountain will force them to make some changes to their work schedule, it will not slow them down. It just means that some of their work will now be done on skis and snowmobiles rather than on foot or by truck, something no one here is complaining about!. In Banff-Lake Louise there was heavy snow too and the snow guns have started at Lake Louise. It, and the third Banff resort of Sunshine will open in early November – just a few weeks away. There’s been snow in British Columbia too, Sun Peaks Village was covered in white with the first snowfall of the season at the resort. 12.23 centimetres (five inches) of fresh snow fell at mid-mountain over the weekend.
With cooler temperatures in the forecast, mountain operations crews hope to begin making snow over the next couple of days in preparation for the arrival of the Austrian Women’s Ski Team in mid-November. Opening day for the public at Sun Peaks Resort is scheduled for Saturday, November 20.
South of the border in Colorado (US) the opening date situation is changing hourly, with Loveland reported to be grooming its slopes on Monday, but Copper Mountain has confirmed it plans to open this Saturday, October 23rd. "We are pumped and ready at Copper to begin Fall Race Camps, while the competition continues to scramble for promising weather reports", says JP Chevalier, Copper’s Director of Skier Services. He also adds that "race camps will begin on Saturday, October 23 with plenty of snow, due to our advantageous elevation, exposures, and our advanced snowmaking systems. Our Mountain ops team is putting the finishing touches on the training venues, so as to deliver the highest quality snow surface and needed depth to cover the trail from top to bottom and side to side". However Copper’s slopes will initially be open to those participating in team training camps only, not yet the general skiing and boarding public. "We’re thrilled to once again host the U.S. Ski Team, including many of the elite members, for Super G and Downhill training", said Jeff White, Race Department Manager at Copper. Jeff continues, "The PSIA [Professional Ski Instructors of America] National Ski and Snowboard Educational Teams continue to elect Copper Mountain as their early season training venue". Last season alone Copper hosted more than 100 different and separate teams, including the Australian Disabled Ski Team, the Finnih Ski Team, the Polish Snowboard Team, The Canadian National Snowboard Team, The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Ski Team and America’s Snowboard Team. Colorado’s resorts are running about two weeks behind last year’s opening date and are building their bases with snowmaking in most cases. They currently have bases of up to 18 inches (45cm) made up mostly of machine made snow. There has already been some skiing in Colorado, with staff at the small Silverton Mountain area reportedly getting first tracks a few weeks ago on natural snow, and elsewhere in the US, Timberline, the all year ski area in Oregon, is currently open at weekends with a 28 inch (70cm) base. Things are looking good on the East Coast too. Whiteface in New York State has reported 30cm (a foot) of fresh snow on its summit following reports that Sunday River in Maine has begun snowmaking.
Only Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand with its two ski areas is still open in the southern hemisphere with all ski areas closed in Africa, Australia and South America. Both areas have around 1.8m (six foot) bases with Whakapapa reporting 5cm of new snow (it closes after this weekend) and Turoa a 10cm fall – it’s due to stay open to November 8th to be the last area in the southern hemisphere open in the 2010 season.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Alpine Ski World Cup starts next Weekend in Sölden

From 22th to 24th October 2010 Sölden (Tirol, Austria) again hosts the ultimate FIS Ski World Cup Races. As every year, the Women's Giant Slalom opens the new World Cup season.
On Saturday the FIS World Cup opens with the Women’s Giant Slalom on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden. The FIS Women's and Men's Alpine Ski World Cup is held for the 13th time in the Tyrolean ski resort.

23.10.2010 Women's Giant Slalom
24.10.2010 Men's Giant Slalom

Starting times:
10:00 am: 1st run
13:00 pm: 2nd run

Tomorrow the FIS Forum Alpinum – the Information Session for Ski Journalists – will take place in the Freizeit Arena in Sölden. At 6:30 pm, the Krone World Cup Party will be held in the Postplatz square in Sölden village center. At 9:30 pm, a side-event will take place in the Alibi Bar/Central hotel*****: World Cup Opening Party live on stage: Gregor Glaz.
Sölden offers the marvelous BIG 3, Austria's only ski area with 3 mountains higher than 3,000 meters which are accessible by lifts or gondolas. From November trough May thanks to the ski area's high-Alpine location (1,350 - 3,250 m) and the modern snowmaking system (covering all slopes lower than 2,200 m) snow is guaranteed in Sölden.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Booking Trend Edges Up Again at US Western Destinations

SAM (Ski Area Management magazine) reports despite ongoing economic fluctuations and decreased consumer confidence, western mountain destinations posted a 15.8 percent increase in occupancy in September 2010 compared to September 2009, according to the latest data released by Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP). This represents the biggest monthly increase in more than two years, as well as the fourth consecutive month of higher occupancy and better rates in mountain destinations.The data also revealed that the rise occurred without major discounting; the average daily rate (ADR) was down just 0.8 percent compared to last year.The data reflect conditions at more than 200 destination properties in 15 resorts across Colorado, Utah, California, and Oregon.
MTRiP also reported that on-the-books reservations at participating resorts for the next six months is currently up 3.3 percent. The booking pace during September was brisk, too,with a 14.9 percent increase for arrivals in September through February. Advance bookings are up in five of the next six months, with the strongest gains in November and March. "The overall economy remains precarious, which has forced mountain resorts to really earn the business they are getting. Fortunately, they seem to be doing just that", observed Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP. "Consumers appear willing to commit discretionary spending toward travel and recreation in the mountain travel industry", said Tom Foley, research analyst for MTRiP, "but with shaky consumer confidence, there is no guarantee that the travel industry will continue to outpace other segments".
In a sign that the travel recovery remains patchy, the Travel Price Index declined one percent, its first drop since December 2009. It was nonetheless up 3.2 percent from August of 2009. "Overall gains remain modest so far. If customer demand remains relatively tepid, competition among resorts is likely to remain strong, and individual results may vary widely", Garrison cautioned.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Whistler to Raise $300 Million in IPO

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc., owner of the Canadian ski resort that hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, will seek to raise at least $300 million in an initial public offering, according to two people familiar with the sale.
The company will sell a stake as early as this month to repay debt owed to Intrawest ULC, the selling shareholder and a unit of New York-based buyout firm Fortress Investment Group LLC, according to the people, who declined to be named because the details aren’t public. Whistler Blackcomb will list shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange and pay a quarterly dividend, according to an Oct. 8 filing with Canadian regulators.
The sale is led by CIBC World Markets, RBC Dominion Securities, Scotia Capital, BMO Nesbitt Burns, TD Securities, Goldman Sachs Canada, Canaccord Genuity Corp, Desjardings Securities, HSBC Securities (Canada) and Raymond James Ltd., which have the option to sell another 15 percent of the offering after the deal closes, raising proceeds to about C$345 million. Terms of the sale weren’t disclosed in the filing.
Fortress Investment, run by Daniel Mudd, agreed to buy Intrawest Corp. in August 2006 for about $2.8 billion including $950 million in debt.
Previously, Intrawest has sold its Mountain Creek Resort in Sussex County (New Jersey), Copper Mountain last December, Panorama resort, B.C., the Village at Squaw Valley and the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Last April Intrawest announced that it has successfully completed the refinancing of its corporate debt which was due in December 2009. The Company repaid its prior lenders in full and has completed a new loan, which is scheduled to mature in 2014.
Intrawest is a leader in the development and management of experiential destination resorts. The Company has a network of resorts at North America’s most popular mountain destinations including Whistler Blackcomb, the host venue of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The World’s Top Riders Confirmed for the Freeride World Tour 2011

The best freeriders on the planet are already gearing up for their shot at the prestigious Freeride World Tour 2011 title and more than $250,000 USD in prize money on the new six-stop international tour.
Reigning World Champions Candide Thovex, FRA (men’s ski), Ane Enderud, NOR (women’s ski), Xavier de Le Rue, FRA (men’s snowboard), and Aline Bock GER (women’s snowboard) will be back on the 2011 tour to defend their title against an international field of skiers and snowboarders that are all hungry for the world’s ultimate freeride title.
Men's Ski Freeride World Tour 2010 was one of the most exciting editions of FWT history with the final crown being won in a close competition by French skiing icon Candide Thovex in his rookie year on the tour. The 2011 Tour will be even more competitive with 2008 World Champion and 2010 third-place finisher Henrik Windstedt (SWE), more committed than ever, and 2009 winner Aurélien Ducroz, from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, in France, hungry to regain his title, starting off the season in his home town.
The Women’s events have been expanded to include three Freeride World Tour events; Chamonix, Kirkwood and Verbier, and three 4-star Freeride World Qualifier events. This new format will open the competition to many more of the growing number of outstanding women freeriders and will result in increased media focus, spotlighting what is sure to be a very exciting women’s tour.

The 2011 Freeride World Tour six stages:

1. Nissan Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc 2011 by Swatch (FRA) Date: 22 January 2011

2. Nissan Engadin Freeride St. Moritz 2011 by Swatch (SUI)Date: 29 January 2011

3. North American Championships Kirkwood 2011 by Swatch (USA)Date: 26 February (Ski only) 2011
North Face Masters Kirkwood 2011 by Swatch (USA) Dates: 5 March (Snowboard only)

4. Nissan Russian Adventure Sochi 2011 (RUS)Date: 19 February 2011

5. Big Mountain Fieberbrunn 2011 by Nissan (AUT) Date: 12 March 2011

6. Nissan Xtreme Verbier 2011 by Swatch (SUI) Date: 19 March 2011 (Finals)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Snowmaking Starts In North America, First Resort Opens in Scandinavia

Skiinfo reports that it’s one of the quietest weeks of the year on the world’s ski slopes with less than 20 areas open worldwide. The southern hemisphere’s ski season is virtually over with just a few areas open in New Zealand, and although the snow guns have been firing up in North America, only one area is open so far. In Europe there are 13 areas to choose from on the glaciers where temperatures are hovering between -2 and +2C and the weather pretty settled, but more centres will open this weekend, including the first outside the Alps. As last week there are currently more indoor snow centres (around 55) open worldwide than normal outdoor slopes.
More northern hemisphere ski areas open than southern hemisphere for the first time in four months and with most of New Zealand’s areas closing at the weekend, Austria now offers more open ski areas than any other country on the planet, with seven glaciers to choose from. Upper slopes at the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun remains open with a 57cm (two foot) base. 9km of runs are open on the Molltal glacier which has a 90cm (three foot) base. Solden has more terrain – 22.1km of runs – open, but the snow depth is 45cm (18 inches) , with another centimetre overnight. The Pitztal glacier has six lifts operating, Kaunertal three but the Tux glacier, open virtually year round, continues to have one of the biggest areas available, with 42km of runs and a near 600m vertical. The Stubai glacier near Innsbruck has a 60cm (two foot) base and nine runs open.
Switzerland will have four ski areas open this weekend with the Diavolezza glacier joins Engelberg, Saas Fee and Zermatt. Engelberg’s lifts on Mt Titlis are open from 8.30am every morning, currently there’s a 40cm base. Nine lifts, including the six-seater Ice Flyer chairlift and three runs are open. Saas Fee and Zermatt are open as usual with between 1.2 and 1.8m (4-6 feet) of snow lying on the piste. It’s just over three weeks before the World Cup arrives in Saas fee for the first outdoor snowboarding competition of the season. The resort will be building twin half pipes in its Allalin glacier snowpark. A fifth area, Glacier 3000 near Diablets and Gstaad, will open on the 30th.
Italy’s Passo Stelvio is reporting the deepest snow at an open ski area anywhere in the world at present with a two metre (6.6 foot) accumulation. Val Senales is the other Italian centre currently open with a 1.5m (five foot) base. Cervinia is due to re-open at the end of the month.
In France only Tignes is open and with the exception of a brief appearance by Les 2 Alpes at the end of the month, will remain so until late November. It currently has a 30cm (one foot) base.
Europe’s first non-glacier ski area is scheduled to open at Ruka in Finland this Friday, 15th October. A 2km long cross country run has opened already on Sunday, one of several in the country, in fact Finnish media is reporting more cross country tracks open in the country at this time of year than ever before. Most have maintained the snow.
In the US Timberline in Oregon is the only area open, although only at weekends, with a 75cm (2.5 foot) base. However temperatures have dipped on both sides of the continent and Arapahoe Basin and Loveland in Colorado have begun making snow, as has Sunday River in Maine. However resorts had begun opening by this time last year, so it seems they’re a few days behind this ‘winter’ 2010-11. There’s been fresh natural snowfall too, Breckenridge, one of the world’s highest resorts and ski areas and steamboat both reported a white coat this week, while ski instructors at Silverton Mountain have made first tracks in Colorado on their mountain.
In Canada, Mt Norquay by Banff looks likely to be the first area to open in Canada, for its 85th season, on 30th October.
There are few ski areas open in the southern hemisphere now with all ski areas closed in Africa, Australia and South America. However three centres are open still in New Zealand. Mt Hutt still has a 155cm (five feet) base and received another 10cm (four inches) of snow on Sunday 10th. On Mt Ruapehu both ski areas were closed today by strong winds and fresh snow bringing blizzard conditions, but Whakapapa has a 176cm (six foot) base and Turoa a little more. It will be the last area in the southern hemisphere open through to November.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A-Basin and Loveland Ski Area shoot their snow guns

A challenge to be the first ski area to open has been issued between Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (A-Basin). Their race will only benefit our need to feel the snow underneath our skis, snowboards or teles.
A-Basin (picture attached) and Loveland Ski Area have started snow-making operations for the 2010-2011 season. A recent series of weather disturbances with colder temperatures and natural snowfall -nearly 2 inches of snow fell on Loveland Pass overnight Thursday, and some elevations above 10,000 feet in northern Colorado saw some morning snow Friday-, provided the right conditions for making snow. "This really is the main, first snow over the pass (this season)", said Jim Kalina, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder.
Both areas plan to keep generating snow as weather dictates. The long-range forecast looks pretty good, with lows forecast to be below freezing through the weekend and a stronger storm with natural snowfall is possible on Tuesday.
A-Basin and Loveland are situated on the Continental Divide in north-central Colorado (about 30 miles from Breckenridge). A-Basin has a base-area elevation of 10,780' and Loveland has a base-area elevation of 10,800'. Given their high elevations, temperatures should remain cold enough for snow-making to continue. Both areas expect to open sometime in the next three weeks with limited terrain available. With a little help from Mother Nature they could open sooner.
A-Basin and Loveland are typically among the first ski areas to open in the U.S. Last season Loveland opened Oct. 7, its second-earliest opening date ever, and A-Basin opened on Oct. 9, its earliest opening date ever.
Loveland initially started making snow on Sept. 24, 2010 after a cold front passed through Colorado but had to halt after temperatures rose.

Deer Valley Resort Topped SKI Magazine's Annual "Top Resort Guide"

For a fourth straight year SKI Magazine annual "Top Resort Guide", the definitive ranking of North American ski resorts, names Deer Valley, Utah as the No. 1 ski resort in its September issue. Deer Valley's ratings has never dropped lower than third overall in the past ten years. It also ranked No. 1 in 2006.
More than 20,000 SKI Magazine readers responded to the "Top Resort Guide" survey, which was conducted by an independent research firm. It is the most comprehensive and longest-running ski resort survey in the winter sports industry. Resorts are ranked in 18 categories: Overall Satisfaction, Access, Après Ski, Dining, Family Programs, Grooming, Lifts, Lodging, Off-Hill Activities, On-Mountain Food, Scenery, Service, Snow, Terrain/Challenge, Terrain/Variety, Terrain Parks, Value, Weather and Livestyle by SKI subscribers who have skied the resorts for the past two seasons, skiing an average of 23 days a year.
Despite losing out on the number one spot, Colorado was strongly represented in the Top 20. Vail, which has claimed SKI Magazine's top spot more than any other resort in the 23-year history of the survey, was rated the second-best for 2011 after slipping to number three in 2010. 4 Beaver Creek, 6 Snowmass, 7 Aspen Mountain, 8 Breckenridge, 10 Aspen Highlands, 11 Telluride and 13 Steamboat rounded out the Colorado representation in the Top 20.
Along with incredible representation in the overall rankings, Utah resorts dominated the "Snow" category. As Utah is famous for having The Greatest Snow on Earth, it was no surprise that eight of the top ten listings for were Utah resorts (1 Alta, 2 Snowbird, 3 Powder Mountain, 4 Brighton, 5 Solitude, 7 Deer Valley, 8 Snowbasin).
New this season, SKI magazine added a section of Lifestyle awards where Alta was awarded best "Skier’s Mountain" followed by Snowbird in second place. Snowbird also received the title of best "Weekend Escape" followed by Deer Valley in second place. Brighton Resort was awarded as the number one "Value Trip" with Alta and Snowbird listed as second and third.
SKI Magazine is published by Mountain Sports Media, a Boulder-based division the Bonnier Corporation. The Bonnier Corporation is one of the largest consumer-publishing groups in America and the leading media company serving passionate, highly engaged audiences through more than 40 special-interest magazines and related multimedia projects and events.

The top 10 resorts according to SKI Magazine's readers:

1. Deer Valley, Utah
2. Vail, Colorado
3. Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia
4. Beaver Creek, Colorado
5. Park City, Utah
6. Snowmass, Colorado
7. Aspen, Colorado
8. Breckenridge, Colorado
9. Sun Valley, Idaho
10. Aspen Highlands, Colorado

Ski Utah Names Two Ultimate Powderhounds

In the search to find the Ultimate Powderhound, Ski Utah discovered that numerous powderhounds abound. After much deliberation by the judges, the Ski Utah Yeti and loud public outcry on his Facebook fan page, it has been decided that both Matthew Baydala and Catherine Killfoil will join the Ski Utah blogging team as the Ultimate Powderhounds. "This was an incredibly fierce competition", said Ski Utah Communications Director Jessica Kunzer. "Resort personnel, Ski Utah and the public put a lot of careful thought and energy into selecting the Ultimate Powderhounds. We are thrilled to have Matt and Catherine join the team".
Baydala, originally from Rockville Centre, New York, sniffed his way to Park City, Utah in 2006. Since then, he has built a career as a Park City restaurant manager to accommodate his skiing lifestyle. His passion and appreciation for the diversity of Utah’s wintersports product make him the perfect Powderhound. "For me skiing The Greatest Snow on Earth is not just a hobby, it’s an obsession", exclaimed Baydala. "Now I have the opportunity to share this awesome life we live out here with the entire skiing community".
Killfoil’s parody of the Old Spice man commercial quickly generated a positive reaction from Facebook fans. Killfoil was born in Connecticut but has lived in many western states including Texas, Washington and California. Killfoil currently resides in Park City, Utah.
The Ultimate Powderhound winners will join Thomas Cooke, Jodi Saeland and the Ski Utah Yeti on the blogging team. The Ski Utah Blog will kick off its editorial season October 15, 2010 providing fresh and poignant content to readers across the Web.
As new members of the blogging team, The Ultimate Powderhounds will be awarded a Ski Utah Silver Pass which enables them to ski 30 days at all 13 Utah ski resorts, a $2,400 value!.
The western edge of the Rocky Mountains, the Wasatch Range towers over Utah's Great Salt Lake and the vast desert basin beyond, create an ultimate playground for powder addicts. Utah's self-proclaimed "Greatest Snow on Earth" is not only a slogan. The claim is back up with an average of 500 inches (12,7 metres) of the planet's lightest and driest powder annually. Home to 13 world-class alpine ski resorts, Utah can't be beat for its terrain and consistency of the lightest, deepest powder around. From the rugged powder choked steeps of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon, home to Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude, to the immaculately manicured slopes of Park City, where you can find Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, and The Canyons, Utah has it all.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Win a ski trip thanks to Innsbruck 2012!

Check out Innsbruck 2012’s Facebook page, and one lucky winner and three friends could be off to the YOG host city for the ski trip of a lifetime.
The Innsbruck Organising Committee (IYOGOC) has launched an awesome competition to win a trip to either Innsbruck, the host city, or Seefeld, the Official Host Mountain Resort for up to five days. The prize also includes your lift passes and lessons. All you have to do is to "like" Innsbruck 2012 on Facebook and invite your friends.
The first Winter Youth Olympic Games will take place between 13 and 22 January 2012 in Innsbruck, Austria.
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 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).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October 2010: More Indoor Snow Centres Currently Open Than Outdoor Slopes!

Skiinfo reports that with most of the ski areas in the southern hemisphere now closed (except in New Zealand), we have entered one of the quietest periods of the year with less than 30 ski centres currently open worldwide – less than .5% of the world total!
In fact there are currently fewer outdoor ski areas open than indoor snow centres – there are now more than 50 of these operational worldwide including SnowWorld Landgraaf in the Netherlands which is about to stage the first events of the northern hemisphere’s FIS World Cup. Although more ski areas are expected to open in the Alps, North America and Scandinavia through October, it seems likely that open indoor centres will continue to outnumber these in to November, especially as more New Zealand areas end their 2010 season.
This week New Zealand has the most ski areas open, with nine centres to choose from, but Austria is not far behind with seven glacier ski centres to choose from. Elsewhere in Europe there are still several areas open in Italy and Switzerland with Tignes the lone ski area open in France.
You can also ski or board in South America – where just the Catedral ski area in Chile is open, although this is the last week of the season and in North America – where the timberline ski area in Oregon has reopened (Fridays to Sundays) last weekend.
13 ski areas are currently open in the Alps.
In Austria the recently re-opened Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun has some of the country’s best conditions with a 70cm base and upper slopes open. The Molltal glacier has 4 lifts running serving 9.5km of runs and a 90cm base. The Pitztal glacier has entered the second month of the season from 28-35cm and six lifts operational, Kaunertal 40-60cm of snow and three lifts running. Solden has one of the largest areas in the alps open at present with 21km of runs served by 6 lifts while the Stubai has 7 runs open and a 60cm base. But the Tux glacier has the largest ski are open in the northern hemisphere are present with 42km of piste over a 565m vertical served by 13 lifts with a 1.2m (four foot) base. The Dachstein glacier has 10cm of snow crust on the glacier and remains closed.
Switzerland now has three centres to choose from with Engelberg having joined Saas Fee and Zermatt, a fourth choice the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz is due to open the weekend after next. Saas Fee reported 5cm (two inches) of fresh snow yesterday and it now has a 1.2m (four feet) base.
Two ski centres are currently open in Italy, Passo Stevio and Val Senales. The latter has a metre 10 150cm of snow lying, the last fall 10cm a week ago on September 28th.
In France Tignes is the only area open, with a 30cm (one foot) base.
In the southern hemisphere New Zealand is the only country with a sizable number of ski areas still open although even here it’s the last week or so of the season at most areas. However Ruapehu has said its Turoa area will stay open to November, both Whakapapa and Turoa currently have a near 1.8m (six foot base). Some areas have already closed however including Lake Wanaka’s ski areas. Treble Cone (picture attached) closed on a high note on Sunday afternoon with a record number of final-day visitors and the fancy dress Slush Cup, bringing to an end a successful 2010 season. They closed with an end of season record base of 232cm in the Saddle Basin and 108cm in the Home Basin. Treble Cone marketing manager Nigel Kerr said he was delighted with the way the season had gone and the overall visitor numbers. "We are really pleased with this year’s season and gaining greater local support. Mother Nature certainly served up some interesting weather patterns with a bountiful supply of snow throughout spring, we are already looking forward to opening day next year!", he said. Although now closed, there is a final opportunity to get the last turns of the season at Treble Cone, next Saturday 9th October (weather day 10th October) for the local charity fundraising day with the proceeds going to the Aspiring Avalanche Dogs.
Australia’s ski areas are now closed but most are reflecting on a highly successful season.
Typical was Mt Hitham where a spokesman summed up the winter, "With a solid snowmaking base on the ground at the end of July, we were blessed with huge natural snowfalls in August. An epic 47cm of fresh snowflakes fell overnight on the 26 August - the biggest single snow dump we have seen at Hotham since 2003. The huge August snowfalls brought a total of 227cm of natural snow falling over the month. This was not only the snowiest August, but the snowiest single month we have seen since 1992! Great natural snowfalls set us up for a fabulous spring with Blue Ribbon running through until September 14 and Gotcha, Keogh's and Orchard until September 24 - a fantastic result for areas which rely solely on natural snow coverage". Hotham's snowmaking team had 22 brand new Techno Alpin snowguns to play with in 2010 bringing our total to 77, and they worked hard throughout the season to produce a huge 424,417 cubic metres of snow (the equivalent of 42,442 truckloads of snow). The new guns created 40% greater snowmaking capacity and allowed our snowmakers to produce a massive 114% more snow than in 2009.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gossip to launch Ischgl's winter season

Ischgl is providing again a brilliant start to the coming winter season: Post-Punk Indie rock band Gossip headed by the 100 kilo leading lady Beth Ditto will provide a high-volume opener to the winter season on 27th November 2010 at the legendary "Top of the Mountain Opening Concert".
Mega concert in the Alps: 20,000 people, an amount of people usually only found in a city stadium, rock every year when Ischgl kicks off the ski season with its legendary event. Fourteen years ago, Ischgl decided to put its entire advertising and marketing budget into staging two massive concerts a year to open and close the winter season. Elton John was the first star to feature in the Tirolean resort's now famous season closing concerts, back in 1995. Since then the resort has hosted Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Atomic Kitten, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie, Pink, the Scissor Sisters, the Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Elton John again, Gabriella Cilmi, Leona Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry and Alicia Keys. Guesting this year in Ischgl is none other than Gossip, who will quite literally get the open-air stage in the middle of the town centre rocking on 27th November 2010 - leading the way is Beth Ditto, the brash 100 kilo front lady of the US band, who Karl Lagerfeld named as a style icon on account of her highly individual, self-assured manner. Musical support for Ditto is provided by band members Nathan Howdeshell (bass/guitar) and Hannah Blilie (drums), who get fans going with hits like ‘Heavy Cross' and ‘Love Long Distance'. The concert starts at 6 p.m. Anyone who wants to be there doesn't have to buy any expensive tickets - entry is free with a valid ski pass. Two winter adventures are on the agenda - on the piste during the day and at the concert in the evening.
The Ischgl-Samnaun skiing area, the Silvretta Arena, is regularly voted one of the top European skiing areas. With the presence of renowned international artists the tirolean resort wants to place themself in the list of essential winter resorts. In Ischgl you can find ultramodern lift and cable-car system (3 cable cars, 2 aerial cableways, 24 chairlifts and 12 draglifts) with a transport capacity of 83,065 persons per hour ensure skiing without queues (€140 million have been invested over the last years). The new lifts managed by the Silvretta Seilbahn AG Company offer a high level of comfort and countless extras, such as heated seats in the Fimbabahn cable car. The 238 kilometres and 506 hectares of slopes are all located on north-facing slopes assuring a reliable snow cover. The ski lifts are set to open on 26 November 2010.
This winter athletes can avail of a downloadable GPS positioning system and can get themselves to the peaks with this world first. Meanwhile "black skiing" gets a whole new meaning in Ischgl this season. The new ‘Lange Wand Bahn', a detachable 6-seater chair lift with a modern Ischgl look - and one-of-a-kind in the world chair in a black design - transports piste fans in just 5.6 minutes up 2850 metres altitude, to the highest elevation in the Silvretta Arena - and this is more comfortable than ever before, since the ‘Lange Wand Bahn' now provides the utmost in comfort with its heated seats. There has also been a lot of investment in Samnaun - the old Muller-Bahn has been replaced by a detachable 6-seater chairlift which has a weather-protection hood. With these lifts Ischgl has more than 41 lift facilities on 238 kilometres of pistes which take you right into the Swiss Samnaun region. Ski fun and snow-assuredness awaits skiers and snow-boarders here at an altitude of between 1377 and 2872 metres, from the end of November until the start of May. The ‘Lange Wand Bahn', as with all the other facilities and Alpine huts in the Silvrettaarena can be located with ease by mobile phone from this winter. ‘iSki Ischgl' is available as an APP for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android GPS positioning and there is a piste plan for the winter season 2010/11 available to download.