Friday, November 26, 2010

Alpine Ski World Cup continues in North America

This weekend Lake Louise and Aspen will host the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.
The Ladies FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in North America at Aspen, Colorado. The historical ski village hosts the Giant Slalom and Slalom Races. The Aspen Winternational is a town-wide celebration of the best women's racers in the world. "Aspen is one of America's premier venues for alpine ski racing, providing an outstanding spectacle for both fans on the slope and watching from home", said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Vice President Events Calum Clark. "Live European coverage in key times for our alpine World Cups is a critical element to the ongoing success of the events here in the U.S. and the World Cup tour as a whole". More than 60 years ago Aspen has emerged into international fame as a glitzy playground of the wealthy and famous. Aspen Mountain abundant precipitations of snow (average snowfall 762 cm) guarantees skiing from early November to mid April. The historical Colorado Ski Resort offers 76 trails (48% Beginner, 26% Intermediate, 26% Advanced) and a vertical drop of 996 metres surrounded by some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the country. Aspen-Snowmass four great mountains (Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk) is one of the largest ski areas in North America and one of the world's premier alpine destinations. Ski Resorts offers unparalleled nightlife and off-slope activities as well (over 100 bars and restaurants). Aspen Skiing Company operates the four mountains in the Aspen/Snowmass area.
Lake Louise hosts one of the most exciting events of the year, the 2010 Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup. The Race Events begins November 27th with the World’s Best Men competing in the World Cup Downhill, followed by the Men’s World Cup Super-G on November 28th. Located in Alberta, Canada, Lake Louise is one of the largest ski areas in North America. With abundant natural snow (average snowfall 454 cm), backed up by Canada's largest snowmaking system (40% of the marked runs), Louise guarantees skiing from early November to mid May. 139 runs (25% Beginner, 45% Intermediate, 30% Advanced) and a vertical drop of 991 metres, Lake Louise offer a wide opportunities for skiers from perfectly groomed beginner runs to double black diamonds rated "the best super steeps in the country" (Ski Canada Magazine). The Canadian Ski resort is one of the best options to enjoy magnificent scenery and stunning panoramas.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fresh Snow News

As the majority of the world’s ski areas open over the next two weeks, the start of the 2010-11 winter season is still looking good with resorts in the Alps, Rockies, Pyrenees, Scandinavia and Scotland, among others, all reporting good to excellent early season conditions. The biggest snowfall of the past week has come from California with Squaw Valley claiming more than 1.5 metres of new snow falling on its upper slopes over the weekend, but many other areas have reported at least 30cm of new snow too, resulting in superb conditions.
Austrian ski areas have reported some healthy snowfalls in the past 48 hours, with two of the already-open glacier ski areas, Sölden and the Stubai, issued powder alarms because of snowfalls. of 35cm (14 inches) each. Sölden got a further 10cm on Tuesday right down to village level and has a snow cover of 171cm (nearly six feet) on the glacier now with more than 75km of slopes open there. Many other areas have reported 20-30cm falls. This weekend Ischgl begins its five month season with this year’s "Top of the Mountain Opening Concert" featuring US indie band Gossip. Around 20,000 people are expected and they’ll get free entry to the show so long as they have a lift pass. Other areas opening include Lech and St Anton in the Arlberg.
A cold snap in France for the past week have brought a lot of snowfall through the past few days (up to 45cm in both the Pyrenees and Alps) and equally important they’ve enabled the country’s huge snowmaking arsenal to work at full tilt. Temperatures are ideal (almost always negative at any time of day) to ensure the grip of this sub-layer of snow that will preserve good snow conditions throughout the season. Currently only Tignes (open since September) and Val Thorens (which opened at the weekend) share the first skiers of the season with snow cover of 60 and 75cm respectively and nine trails open on each. It has snowed continuously at these two resorts over the past few days (15 cm during the past 72 hours and 20cm more expected over the next few days). This weekend the season really gets moving however with a dozen more French resorts planning to open in the Alps and Pyrenees including Val d'Isere, Les 2 Alpes, Cauterets, Barèges / La Mongie, Gourette, Luz Ardiden and Piau Engaly.
In Italy Alta Badia has had the most snow in the past week adding 1.2m (four feet) to its snow depth. Bormio and Cortina have had 75cm of new snow each in the past week. The Presena glacier claims the greatest snow depth in the world at present with four metres (13.3 feet).
In Switzerland conditions are good at most open ski areas. St Moritz in had fresh snowfall on Sunday and the snow depth there is reported to be 150cm (five feet) at the top station and 30cm (a foot) in the village. Saas Fee even has even more with 195cm (6.5 feet) of snow lying on its upper slopes and it has been snowing again in recent days.
Many resorts in the Pyrenees have had healthy snowfall in the past week. Snow has been falling since Friday in Formigal, Spain where 180 people are working to start the season this Saturday, November 27th. There are 15 trail groomers working two shifts, preparing the slopes which have 30cm of fresh snow at 1,500m. and nearly a metres at 2,000m. "We are hoping to open all four valleys. On Thursday evening we’ll know the exact number of kilometres and slopes that we will open", said Commercial Director Jose Luis del Valle.
In Norway the rate of snowfall has slowed in the past week with the maximum new accumulation only 8cm, but it is snowing in Geilo today. Voss has the deepest snow base with 60cm (two feet).
It’s a snowy start to winter in British Columbia, Canada. After Whistler opened six days early last weekend, after a week that brought it close to 70cm (27 inches) of fresh snow, along with Sun Peaks, and two BC areas have announced plans to open early thanks to the big pre-season snowfalls. Silver Star is set to open this Thursday, November 25th. Silver Star will open the Comet Express Six-Pack and The Silver Queen lifts starting at 8:30 a.m. With over 100cm of snow in the past week, Fernie Alpine Resort will open a week earlier than planned this weekend for skiing and snowboarding on Saturday November 27th and Sunday 28th. An estimated 44 runs will be open and 5 lifts: Elk Quad chair, Great Bear Express, Boomerang Triple, Mighty Moose and Haul Back T-bar. Most leading resorts in Alberta are open too and also reporting lots of fresh snow and resorts are opening on the East Coast too with Mont Ste Anne in Quebec on the list of resorts opening this weekend.
Dozens of resorts have opened right across the USA ahead of the coming weekend’s Thanksgiving holiday. Among the recent openings are Sugarloaf in Maine And Squaw Valley in California which has reported the biggest snowfall of the winter so far with five feet 1.5m) falling on its upper slopes over the weekend. Conditions are good in most areas with resorts in Utah already passing the 100 inches (2.5m) season-to-date snowfall figures and resorts from Alaska to Colorado reporting good conditions. Steamboat will be the next resort to open, this Wednesday, November 24th.

Utah Launches "Snowflakes" Advertising Campaign

The Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of the state Governor's Office of Economic Development, launched its winter "Life Elevated" advertising campaign during a Capitol news conference last Wednesday November 17th to promote Utah's skiing and The Greatest Snow on Earth. The $1.1 million campaign includes three new 30-second commercial spots that will rotate on 13 national cable networks beginning in January.
"The ski industry is a major part of our vibrant tourism industry," said Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell, who joined industry officials to announce at the press conference. "Not only is skiing important for our state's overall economic health, but I know my family and I enjoy skiing because it's a wonderful way to get out and get active".
The spots, featuring human-like "snowflakes" have been created by the Utah Office of Tourism’s Salt Lake City-based advertising agency, Struck/Axiom.
"Our coordinated marketing efforts with Ski Utah and other partners have allowed us to leverage our marketing dollars", said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism (UOT). "The new television commercials emphasize Utah's accessibility and the close proximity of our resorts to Salt Lake City International Airport".
"Utah's ski and snowboard resorts are leading the country in resort improvements and additions for the 2010-11 winter season", remarked Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. "These upgrades, combined with early season snow, make Ski Utah very excited for the coming season".
At the unveiling of the TV spots at the State Capitol, UOT also announced a public month-long participation element to the ad campaign utilizing social media. In cooperation with Ski Utah, the office is asking for the public to go online and vote for their favorite ad. The ads are posted on both the Office of Tourism Web site and Ski Utah's site, where the public can not only vote on their favorite spot, but also enter to win free ski gear from Ski Utah. Winners will be announced December 17th.
Two of the ads will air on national cable television channels from Jan. 2-23, 2011. The networks include: A&E, Bravo, ESPN/ESPN2, Food Network, Fox News, History, MSNBC, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery, and Discovery Science.

Ski Season Underway in Utah

With six resorts already open and three more scheduled to open this week during the snowiest November in recent memory, Utah's 2010-11 ski and snowboard season is already in full swing.
Brighton Resort kicked off the winter season on Nov. 11, followed closely by its neighbor in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude Mountain Resort, on Nov. 12. Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort joined the open list on Nov. 13, as did Alta Ski Area this past Friday. Park City Mountain Resort and Brian Head Resort fired up their lifts for the first time this season last weekend.
Scheduled to join them this week are three resorts surrounding the Ogden Valley: Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Wolf Mountain. The remainder of Utah's 14 ski and snowboard resorts will follow in December.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Interview with Chris O’Connell Global Brand Director at Armada

Chris O’Connell, or OC, as he's known, became the Global Brand Director and pro team manager at Armada by default: he founded the company. As a commercial photographer for the ski and snowboard industries, he saw a hole for freeride-based ski companies. With a small team of employees and a vision for an athlete-driven brand, Armada was born.

Why were you so motivated to start your own company?
I came from working heavily in the snowboard world, and things were so much more advanced as far as the freeride scene was concerned. All the companies were getting behind athletes in films in comps. The big ski companies were sinking millions into racing and not much into freestyle. Salomon was the only company really supporting their team— and it takes more than one company to make a change. Skiing as we knew it was dying. Out of that frustration, we wanted to create a company that was freeride based and driven by the ultimate team of athletes. Bottom line, that kind of skiing was what we were into.

Suggestions on how to get started in the team-managing biz?
The best bet is to reach out to current team managers, ask them for intern positions, and see if you can shadow them at certain events. Pick up a camera. If you don't know how to write a web article and take video or shoot photos, then you are not much of an asset as a team manager. It's not a job for a wanna-be pro or overstoked bro-ho. There is so much more to being a team manager than most people perceive— it's a marketing job for someone who loves the ski industry.

Is this your dream job?
I just consider it my life. It's not really a job, because it doesn't feel like work. It's just something I do and have been doing for pretty much my entire adult life.

(Extracts taken from an article published in Skiing Magazine [date of consulted: 23/11/2010])

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gossip to launch Ischgl's winter season this Weekend

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 next Saturday 27th November 2010 at the legendary "Top of the Mountain Opening Concert". Karl Lagerfeld named Beth Ditto 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).
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. Winter athletes can take to the pistes in Ischgl the day before, since skiing starts up here on 26th November - with the best snow conditions, 238 kilometres of pistes, 41 lift facilities and many new features in the ski area.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stockholm Big Air

Yesterday the second Big Air of the 2011 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup took place in Stockholm. Once again and for the the fifth time in a row, the swedish capital hosted this major FIS event in the Stockholm Stadion which was built for the Olympic Summer Games in 1912. The Stadium Winter Jam is one of the biggest in freestyle big air and will be run in a head to head format.
Sebastien Toutant has won the second big Air of the season. Finland's Petja Piiroinen and Patrick Burgener from Switzerland took the second and third rank respectively. It was the first World Cup win for the 18-years-old talent from Montreal who also took over the lead in the Big Air World Cup and Freestyle Snowboard Overall World Cup standings. That he could bring home victory at his second World Cup competition was due to the double cork variations the French Canadian had nailed in the finals. After the best ranked rider of the qualifiers had stomped a huge frontside 1080 double cork he also threw in a backside 1260 double cork, which didn't count for his final score as well as a backside 1080 double cork in the decisive third run
In front of thousands of spectators who had line up in the 1912 Olympic Stadium of the Swedish capital, "Seb Toots" didn't seem to be fussed at all before dropping in as last rider of the contest although he was. "I'm always nervous although I have been to many competitions already. But the more I do the more confident I get. I'm stoked that I was able to win this as the event and the level of riding in the finals was super good". In addition, the young gun also made him a late birthday present: "I turned 18 a few days ago so this is nice!"
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup will continue in Lech. On December 7th and 8th, 2010, the season's first two snowboard cross races.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fresh Snow News

Many ski areas around the world are reporting great early season conditions with more big name resorts opened or opening in the next few days. Among them Breckenridge and Cortina have opened and Whistler in Canada will open six days early, on November 19. 60cm of snow is reported in the Pyrenees and in Niseko, Japan, they’re hiking up to enjoy the pre-season powder. In Scotland, Cairngorm mountain above Aviemore attracted more than 200 people to its opening day on Saturday.
More and more ski areas are opening in Austria which has received plenty of new snow in the past few days. The Kaunertal glacier reported 26 cm of new snow on Wednesday, bringing the overall snow depth on the glacier to 175cm with eight ski lifts are running. Sölden issued a powder alarm on Wednesday too with 25 cm of new snow of excellent quality.
After some unseasonably warm temperatures it’s been getting cooler and it’s currently snowing in the French Alps with falls of up to 45cm reported at Montgenevre in the past 24 hours. There’s been up to 40cm of fresh snow in the French Pyrenees (La Mongie, Barèges and Peyragudes) and up to 25cm in the Southern Alps (Orcières 1850). Tignes is still the only open area in France and received 15cm of fresh snow earlier this week increasing its base depth to 60cm with six pistes open totalling 14 km. This weekend will mark the opening of Val Thorens ski area which will host the first leg of Ski Force Winter Tour 2010 (a gathering of the biggest ski manufacturers where it will be possible to test for free new ski models .
Italy’s Presena Glacier reports the deepest snow depth in the world this week with 3.4 metres (more than 11 feet) of snow lying. Conditions are great at present at most of the open Italian resorts, including recently opened Cortina d’Ampezzo as well as Cervinia which have reported 50cm and 60cm of fresh snow in the past week respectively. However the biggest falls in the country have amounted to 80cm in the past week at Alagna and Val Senales.
It has been a snowy week in Switzerland which currently boasts four of the 10 deepest snow bases in the world for open ski areas. "It snowed constantly on Monday and Tuesday so slope conditions are outstanding now and currently the sun is shining", said Dieter Bogner of St. Moritz lift company.
There’s been more snow in the Pyrenees meaning resorts are expected to start opening in Andorra, France and Spain within the week. Formigal in Spain reported more snowfall on Tuesday night adding to base depths giving 20cm at 1,800m and 60cm at 2,200m. "We have started the snow cannons so we are further increasing the snow level at the slopes and with this great news we are ready to start the season on 27th November", said a resort statement.
Up to 30cm of new snow has fallen in Norway in the past week. Voss has the greatest snow depth in the country at the moment at 60cm, it received another 25cm this week.
More of Canada’s top resorts are opening with Whistler starting it first post-Olympic season on Friday, six days earlier than planned, ad Sun Peaks following on Saturday, reporting 40cm of new snow in the past week, 20cm in the past 24 hours. They join resorts including recently opened Mt Norquay at Banff, Lake Louise and Nakiska – which is currently claiming the biggest skiable vertical open in Alberta.
With Thanksgiving only a week away, more of the big name US resorts have begun opening, and the snow news is mostly good, with resorts in Colorado, California and Utah all reporting good conditions. New openings at the weekend for winter 2010-11 included Breckenridge, Mammoth and Snowbird and Vail is set to join them this weekend with nearly 90cm of new snow in the past week. "This opening scenario is probably better than we even dare to hope for and it doesn’t happen very often", said Chris Jarnot, chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. "We’ve been blessed with some of the best early-season snow we’ve ever had". All the new snow has meant conditions have been great at areas that are already open, like Copper Mountain, which declared yesterday a "powder day" (picture attached).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Speedflying in Wengen 2010

New Monte Rosa Hut awarded 2010 Solar Prize

The Monte Rosa Hut at 2810 metres above sea level is a special mountain hut, which has been planned for the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) by the Department of Architecture of the Swiss Federal Technical University in Zurich (ETH). The Concept and Design of the building was made by Prof. Andrea Deplazes.
After a planning period of around six years and a construction time of two summers, the new Monte Rosa Hut above Zermatt was opened on 25 September 2009. Standing at 2883 metres above sea level, this is possibly the most complex timber construction currently found in Switzerland. Despite the huge challenges, the planners and those responsible constructed the SAC Monte Rosa Hut with five storeys. Architectural, aesthetic and nature conservation requirements, as well as requirements on environmental and water pollution control, were met in optimal fashion and energy-related objectives almost totally achieved. The architecture, timber construction, internal fittings and finishes with sleeping accommodation for 120 persons, the design of the restaurant with its unique views of the Gorner Glacier and the many 4000-metre peaks of the Valais mountain world are beyond compare.
The Monte Rosa Hut looks like a glass crystal and is relatively easy for hikers to reach (2.5 hours on foot from Rotenboden-Gornergratbahn station). The Hut is located about 80 m to the north of the old hut on the granite ledge "Untere Plattje", nestling between Gorner glacier, Grenz glacier and Monte Rosa glacier in Zermatt. From the Monte-Rosa-Hut you can enjoy a magnificent view and wonderful sunsets and it is a popular starting point for mountain tours and hikes.
The SAC hut achieves an energy self-sufficiency level of 64% combined with an unprecedented level of comfort. Despite the difficult environmental conditions, this SAC building has toilets and even showers. The Monte Rosa Hut sets new standards in the field of comfort and amenities in the high mountains.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010 Solar Prize for Klein Matterhorn Restaurant

The 2010 Solar Prize "confirms our belief that we are on the right track", said Christen Baumann, CEO of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG. With its groundbreaking projects, the company is continuing with the series of pioneering achievements that began in Zermatt more than 200 years ago: as early as 1767, the Geneva naturalist and first person to climb the Klein Matterhorn, Horace Benedict De Saussure, conducted the first experiments on the utilisation of solar energy here. With more than 2,500 hours of sunshine a year the Matterhorn glacier paradise (Klein Matterhorn) in Zermatt with its viewing platform at an altitude of 3,883 metres above sea level is the sunniest place in Switzerland. The solar Restaurant opened by Zermatt Bergbahnen AG on the south flank of the mountain for the 2008/09 winter season produces all the electricity for heating and ventilation using the photovoltaic system built into the facade. Thanks to the optimised design, the building fulfils the requirements of the Minergie-P standard.
When developing its infrastructure, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG focuses on three pillars. The first of these is efficiency. Renewable energies make up the second pillar and the third is the use of CO2-free electricity in buildings and to operate the facilities.
The design chosen and the energy concept fulfil the stringent requirements of the Minergie-P standard. The entire electricity consumption for heating and ventilation is produced by the photovoltaic system incorporated in the facade. The ventilation at the rear of the facade is a real innovation. It prevents overheating of the solar panels while enabling the outside air used for the ventilation system to be prewarmed. At the same time, 52 centimetres of heat insulation and triple-glazed windows ensure low energy loss. With the goal of retaining all material cycles within the building to the maximum possible extent, appropriate solutions were found for dealing with the scarce resource water. The building is equipped with its own membrane reactor water treatment plant. This allows purified waste water from the kitchens and washrooms to be recycled for flushing toilets.
The Swiss Solar Agency was founded in 1990 as the Solar91 Working Group and, together with the former energy minister Federal Councilor Adolf Ogi, launched the Swiss Solar Prize. The Prize has been awarded every year since 1991. The European Solar Prize adopted the Swiss model and has been awarded since 1994. The aim of the Swiss Solar Prize is the reduction of Switzerland’s international energy dependency of 82% (2006) by the intensified use of solar power through the use of efficient and economical technologies. The Swiss Solar Prize is awarded annually in the following categories: Persons (persons and legal entities, companies, enterprises etc.), Institutions (municipalities, public institutions, cantons), Buildings (new buildings, refurbishment of buildings), and Plants (Solar thermal collectors, photovoltaic plants, biomass plants).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fresh Snow News

Winter is here, well if we forget it’s autumn it is, there’s been more heavy snow across the Alps, North America, Scotland and Scandinavia – most places in fact. Coverage is a bit more general and Skiinfo’s "Powder alarm" switchboard has been lighting up like a Christmas Tree.
There’s been plenty of fresh snow in Austria with the Molltal glacier reporting the most new snow of the dozen or so open Austrian ski areas with a 46cm accumulation. It has one of the deepest snow depths in the country at around 1.5m along with the Kaunertal, Pitztal and Tux glaciers, Solden has 1.2m.

In France temperatures have been cooler and snow has replaced earlier rain since the weekend. There has been up to 20cm of snow in the Alps and Pyrenees in the past few days and larger falls are expected in the next three days. Tignes is still the only ski resorts open in France with 35cm of snow on the Grande Motte glacier (16km of runs and 8 lifts open).
Conditions are looking great at Italy’s open resorts. The Presena Glacier reported 50cm of fresh snow on Sunday (7 Nov) and currently claims the deepest snow in the world with a three metre base on its glacier slopes. Cervinia is also open at weekends.
Half a dozen ski areas are open in Switzerland including Engelberg, Les Diablerets, Laax, Saas-Fee and Zermatt. Saas fee has the deepest snow depth with 1.8.
There’s been snow in the Pyrenees but no ski areas are open there at present. In Spain, Formigal (picture attached 11th November) received 15cm of snow on Monday 8th November and another 60cm in the past 24 hours with plans to open on the 27th November.
There has been up to 60cm of snow fall on Norway’s ski slopes in the past week. Voss has the most snow at the moment accumulated, a total of 60cm, having received 30cm fresh in the past seven days. About 12 ski areas are open there at present, although two thirds of these are currently only open at weekends.
Lake Louise in Alberta was the first resort skiable this season in Canada when it opened at the weekend (November 5th). Nakiska hopes to open next weekend (12th), and others including Marmot Basin and Sun Peaks will open soon after. Whistler has reported plenty of fresh snow this week.
More ski areas have opened across the US and though the situation is changing daily there are probably now more ski areas open here at present than in any other country. Keystone in Colorado and Killington in Vermont are among the latest, with Breckenridge due to follow at the weekend. The ski season starts in Utah on Friday at Brighton and Solitude. In California, Squaw Valley reports a foot (30cm) of fresh snow.

Levi hosts the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Slalom

The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup 2010-2011 season continues with the Slalom opening at Levi (FIN) this coming weekend. Levi is ready to stage its 11th and 12th World Cup races since the first (Ladies') race was held on 28th February 2004.
Last year, the Slalom openers were won by Reinfried Herbst from Austria and Maria Riesch from Germany, who also became the first two-time World Cup winner at Levi.
According to Hans Pieren, FIS Race Director for the Men's technical events, the conditions at Levi are excellent. "It has been very cold at Levi with temperatures below -15C in the last several days and the course is in a great shape. The forecast for the weekend calls for a bit warmer weather relatively speaking, above -10C, and possibly even some snowfall".
After the Levi weekend, both the Ladies' and Men's tours will head to North America. The Ladies will first head to Aspen (USA) for a technical weekend while the Men will launch the speed season as is traditional in Lake Louise (CAN) with a Downhill and a Super-G.
Levi, located about 150 km north of the Polar Circle (Levi World Cup is the northmost Alpine World Cup), is one of the largest ski resorts in Finnish Lapland. Levi Fell village is actually a small holiday town, which offers a wide range of first-rate services to its guests.There are 44 slopes (longest slope 2500 m), 15 of which are lit, and 28 lifts including the only gondola lift in Finland. The Vertical drop is 325 m and the lift capacity is 27,600 skiers/hour.
More than 20,000 spectators are expected at the two races on the weekend, when the Ladies compete on Saturday November 13th and the Men on Sunday November 14th and the organizers have put great emphasis on involving local schools and youngsters to bring them to the events.
The Levi Black competition course vertical drop is 180 meters and the steepest part of the race course has the steepness of 52 %.
Levi is Father Christmas's official fell and ski centre. Since last year a new attraction for audience is a Christmas market. The market is organized by a local tourism project. Near ZeroPoint in the center of Levi about 20 small cottages with different colors have been built. They will be lit and decorated in the Christmas style. Local companies will be selling their products, with traditional Lapland and Finnish Christmas themes. German style Glühwein and warm cider as well tasting samples of the products are offered.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Ski Properties to be built in French Alps

More than a thousand new ski resort properties are to be built the French Alps in a bid to keep pace with growing demand. The record number of new developments will be state of the art in terms of sustainability and fuel economy, according to the developer, MGM Group.
Richard Deans of MGM’s UK sales office in London’s Regent Street says that, for the company, this will be the biggest ever number of new developments to get underway in a single year. "Several factors have combined to achieve this. Planning applications which have taken some time to reach the approval stage now have the go-ahead and, with market growth across the French Alps gaining momentum, we decided to draw a higher than usual number of sites from our land bank so that we can start creating new apartments for occupation in less than two years from now", he explained.
All of the new developments will be residences de tourisme with the properties available being sold on a leaseback basis. This enables purchasers to receive a guaranteed annual rental income during the first 11 years of their ownership while also enjoying several weeks of personal use of their property each year.
Plans for the 11 new residences have been welcomed by the MGM Group’s specialist hotel management company, La Compagnie de Gestion Hoteliere (CGH), which was established five years ago to provide a letting and management service for owners. CGH, which quickly gained recognition as one of the leading companies engaged in mountain tourism, offers accommodation packages which have attracted business from more than 115 European tour operators and others in North America, Russia and the Middle East seeking accommodation for their clients.
Some of the new residences will be built in resorts and villages where MGM already has a strong track record of successful development. They include Tignes, Samoens, Cohennoz, Les Carroz and St Martin de Belleville. Others, which are new locations for the company, include Combloux, Chatel and Valmorel.
In all cases, the developments will be at the forefront in terms of sustainability and fuel economy, said MGM which has signed up to the principles of Haute Qualité Environmental, the international construction industry’s high environmental quality standard which aims to integrate the principles of sustainable development defined at the 1992 Earth Summit. The company also is a founder member of Sustain Worldwide, set up earlier this year to promote sustainable development in the international property industry.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Invincibles a Laurent Jamet Film

Invincibles is a documentary based on how skiing helps people to get back on tracks when life gets rough.
There is a minority of people out there who considers skiing way more than just a passion. Skiing can give them the courage to keep going, to recover, to look forward to a new day when things started to get tough. It is all about this common passion for skiing that makes them love so much their life…
Starring Thibaud Duchosal, Hervé Gouy, Aurélien Ducroz, Thiabult Jurie Des Camiers, Elyse Saugstad, Jérôme Baud, Vivien thiery, Jules Bonnaires, Anatole Camelin, Julien Eustache, Nathan Gaidet, Oriane Bérard and Jean Laurent Ratchel.

Produced by Garchois Films, MOG production

Making Off. Invincibles (Les Arcs, Paradiski)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fresh Snow News

Winter is almost here, and finally the Alps and Scandinavia starts getting really cold temperatures and even some snow.
In Austria eight glacier areas along with Kitzbuhel, Schladming and Turracher Hohe are now open. "The 28th of October is the third earliest season opening we ever had on the Turracher Hohe" Fritz Gambs, manager of the Turrach mountain railways told Skiinfo’s Pascal Bovee. The resort has a snow cover of 30-40 cm.

In France only Tignes is currently open.
Last weekend Germany’s only glacier skiing area, the Zugspitze, started into the winter season. 2000 skiers and snowboarders went down the slopes that had a snow cover of up to 90 cm. "We’re very happy to have so much snow again that early", said Eva-Maria Greimal of Bayerischen Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG.
In Italy Cervinia is currently open at weekends along with Passo Tonale. The other glacier centres of Passo Stelvio and Val Senales are also open. Here you can see an overview of all snow depths in Italy.
Six glacier ski areas are currently open in Switzerland, Laax opened earlier than expected at the weekend. Verbier plans to open next Thursday, November 11th, initially for weekends only.
There’s been snow in the Pyrenees but no ski areas are open in Spain and Andorra at present. Norway has more non-glacier ski areas open than any other country in Europe this week, and a total of 14 ski resorts will open. Geilo and Hemsedal (picture attached) are two of the big resorts opening here for winter 2010-11.
Ski areas have opened from California to Maine right across the USA, using mostly snow making to open their slopes, although most areas have had natural snowfall too. Killington opened on Tuesday, November 2nd joining Sunday River as open areas on the East of the country. Two ski areas have opened in the Mid-West and one in California, joining already open areas in Colorado and Oregon. Copper Mountain and Keystone in Colorado are due to open tomorrow.
In Canada temperatures have been warmer than hoped in the west leading to some delayed openings but the season begins there today, November 5th. Lake Louise will open this weekend (November 5th) to start Canada’s ski season. Nakiska now hopes to open next weekend (12th), Mt Norquay which had planned to open on October 30th has not yet advised its opening date.
See overview of all snow depths in the USA.

100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games New Website Launched

100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games has a brand new look and feel for 2011, and this is highlighted in the new web site launched this week. Designed to be a one-stop portal for athletes and spectators, the site will keep visitors up to date with the latest news and developments in the lead-up to the largest winter sports event in the Southern Hemisphere.
Winter Games NZ CEO, Arthur Klap, said the site echoed the evolution of the event since the hugely successful inaugural Games in 2009. "The first Winter Games NZ changed the face of competitive snow sports, for the first time providing elite athletes with a world class multi discipline event in the lead-up to the Winter Olympics,” he said. “This was proven by the number of medals (10) won by Winter Games competitors which included the entire snowboard halfpipe podium".
Expanding on the successful inaugural event in 2009, 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games, will feature 16 days (13-28 August 2011) of snow and ice sports and is expected to attract over 1,000 elite athletes from throughout the world to the Southern Alps.
In 2009, Winter Games made global snow sports history by producing the first winter sports event of its kind outside of the Winter Olympics and by combining adaptive and able-bodied athletes in an elite event. Its importance on the elite snow sports calendar was confirmed, not only by the significant field it attracted, but by the number of competitors who went on to win medals at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver. Seven Paralympic and 10 Olympic medallists had competed at Winter Games, including the entire men’s snowboard halfpipe podium.
Building on that success, the 2011 provisional programme has expanded with the inclusion of two new sports and a new location outside of the Otago region. Mt Hutt near Christchurch, Canterbury will now host the Super G and Adaptive Super G alpine skiing events while the remaining alpine skiing events will stay at Coronet Peak in Queenstown.
Dunedin will again be the ice sports centre and will see an increase in events with the inclusion of speed skating in the ice programme. In addition, the ice hockey tournament will feature four international teams in a round robin play-off while figure skating will open the Games on 13 August 2011. The ice programme is rounded out by the curling programme in Naseby, Maniototo which has been extended to include mixed pairs.
Another new addition is Winter Triathlon at Snow Farm, near Wanaka which was a demonstration event at the 2009 Winter Games. Snow Farm will also host the adaptive and able-bodied cross-country.
Cardrona Alpine Resort near Lake Wanaka will host the free ski and snowboard halfpipe and big air events together with the snowboard cross and ski cross racing. Freeski and snowboard slopestyle will take place cross the valley at Snow Park NZ.
Central and local government supporters of 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games are New Zealand Major Events, SPARC, Tourism New Zealand, Dunedin City Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Christchurch City Council, Lake Wanaka Tourism, Destination Queenstown, Tourism Dunedin, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism and Ashburton District Tourism.
As well as including information on these new developments, photo galleries and travel information, during Winter Games NZ the web site will feature live webcasts and real time scoring, keeping followers around the world up to date with the competition.

Whistler Blackcomb raises C$300 Million in IPO

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, an entity created by Intrawest for the purpose of selling public shares in Whistler Blackcomb, raised C$300 million (US$298 million) after it priced its IPO shares at C$12, a significant cut from the C$15 it hoped for initially. The offering is expected to close Nov. 9. The deal will reduce Intrawest’s stake to 34 percent and, if the underwriting banks exercise their option to sell an additional 15 percent of shares, to as little as 24 percent.
At $12 a share, and with nearly 37.8 million shares outstanding, Whistler Blackcomb has a market value of C$453 million. The new company will pay shareholders a dividend of about 8.1 percent, well above the initial offer at 6.5 to 7 percent. A total of about 25 million shares were sold in the IPO. Once the offering closes, the underwriting banks have 30 days in which they can sell an additional 15 percent (3.75million) of the total shares, for which Intrawest would receive none of the proceeds.
The stock is expected to begin trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Nov. 9 under the symbol WB.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

30 Freeride World Qualifier Events 2011 and Three Junior Competitions Announced

The Freeride World Qualifier Events (FWQ) is a series of qualifying competitions in which highly-skilled skiers and snowboarders compete with the ultimate goal of grabbing a spot on the Freeride World Tour (FWT). With the high interest and much at stake, the FWQ 2011 will feature some of the most exciting competitive freeriding going, in 30 ski resorts around the world.
In addition, the Freeride World Tour in partnership with Dakine, is launching its first ever Junior Competitions to further promote grassroots freeriding and fuel young talent. They will be held parallel to the FWT events in Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Fieberbrunn, and Verbier. If bad weather or time restrictions interfere, the Junior competition will be replaced by freeride and safety clinics taught by mountain guides and professional freeride skiers and snowboarders. The same judging criteria used for the FWT will be used for the Junior Competitions. Each event will be a distinct, unconnected event with no overall champion in 2011. The Junior events will emphasise security and accident prevention. Venues for these competitions are carefully chosen to be challenging but not dangerous.
The Freeride World Qualifier events are open-entry and have both Men’s and Women’s disciplines where riders build points towards qualifying for the Freeride World Tour. Events are classified as 1*, 2*, 3* and 4*, with the number of points awarded based on the star value of the event. Star values are based on a number of criteria including the quality of the competition face, field of riders and prize-money. Riders with the most points at the end of the season will earn a spot on the prestigious Freeride World Tour.

Freeride World Qualifier Events 2010/2011

4* events:

January 15th to 20th, 2011: La Clusaz Radikal Mountain in La Clusaz France - Ski + Snowboard
February 3rd to 7th, 2011: Bigmountain Hochfügen in Hochfügen Austria - Ski + Snowboard
February 25th to March 1st, 2011: North Am Freeskiing Championships by Swatch in Kirkwood, California, USA - Ski Only
March 3rd to 6th, 2011: Salomon Extreme Freeride Championship in Taos, New Mexico, USA - Ski
March 5th to 9th, 2011: The North face Masters of Snowboarding by Swatch in Kirkwood, California, USA - Snowboard only
March 11th to 15th, 2011: Nendaz Freeride in Nendaz, Switzerland - Ski + Snowboard
April 25th to May 1st, 2011: Röldal Freeride in Röldal Norway - Ski + Snowboard

3* events:

April 14th to 18th, 2010: Röldal Freeride Challenge in Röldal Norway - Ski + Snowboard
May 17th to 19th, 2010: Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships in Riksgränsen, Sweden - Ski + Snowboard
August 10th to 15th, 2010: The Northface Bigmountain New Zealand Freeski Open in The Remarkables and Treblecone, New Zealand - Ski + Snowboard
September 07th to 12th, 2010: Export 33 Xtreme Whakapapa at Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand - Ski + Snowboard
January 20th to 23rd, 2011: CGC JASNA Adrenalin in Jasna, Slovakia - Ski + Snowboard
January 27th to 31st, 2011: Stimorol Engadinsnow in Engadin St. Moritz, Switzerland - Ski + Snowboard (TBC)
February 17th to 21st, 2011: Nissan Mystic Experience at Monte Rosa, Italia - Ski + Snowboard
February 23rd to 27th, 2011: El Dorado Freeride in Arcalis at Vallnord Andorra/Spain - Ski + Snowboard
March 3rd to 6th, 2011: Salomon Extreme Freeride Championship in Taos, New Mexico, USA - Snowboard

2* events:

March 23rd to 27th, 2010: Czech Open in Lenzerheide, Switzerland - Ski + Snowboard
August 25th to 29th, 2010: K2 Bigmountain Chill Series Craigieburn & Mt Olympus New Zealand - Ski + Snowboard
January 22nd to 25th, 2011: The North Face Masters of Snowboarding in Snowbird, Utah, USA (Snowboard only)
February 9th to 12th, 2011: The North Face Masters of Snowboarding at Crystal Mt, Washigton, USA (Snowboard only)
February 10th to 16th, 2011: Alpindustria Cup Dombai 2011 in Dombai, Russia - Ski + Snowboard
February 19th to 21st, 2011: T-Bar Free-Session powered by DaKine in Morgins, Switzerland - Ski + Snowboard
February 24th to 27th, 2011: Freeride Battle in Kanin, Slovenia - Ski + Snowboard
March 10th to 16th, 2011: Snowweek 2011 in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia - Ski + Snowboard
March 20th to 27th, 2011: Alpindustria Cup - Elbrus 2011 in Elbrus, Russia - Ski + Snowboard
March 26th to 30th, 2011: Ride the Rock in La Tania, France - Ski + Snowboard
March 26th to 28th, 2011: First track freeride St-Luc Chandolin in Chandolin, Switzerland - Ski + Snowboard
March 31st to April 3rd, 2011: Czech Ride in Lenzerheide, Switzerland - Ski + Snowboard (TBC)

1* events:

February 17th to 20th, 2011: Sogndal Freeride in Sogndal, Norway - Ski + Snowboard
March 10th to 13th, 2011: Voss Freeride in Voss, Norway - Ski + Snowboard (TBC)
March 17th to 20th, 2011: Kick the Vik eco freeride contest in Oberalppass, Switzerland - Ski + Snowboard
March 23rd to 27th, 2011: Hemsedal Freeride in Hemsedal, Norway - Ski + Snowboard

Junior Events (Categories: ski / snowboard / boys / girls / 12-14 years or 15 -17 years):

January 23rd, 2011 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc FWT Juniors by Dakine
March 13th, 2011 Big Mountain Fieberbrunn FWT Juniors by Dakine
March 20th, 2011 Xtreme Verbier FWT Juniors by Dakine

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Freeride World Tour Presents New Teton Gravity Research Movie Nights

For 2011 the Freeride World Tour has teamed up with Teton Gravity Research (TGR) to sponsor movie nights at European tour stops featuring their two latest flicks: Light the Wick and Deeper. These vids feature off-the-hook riding in some of the world’s most exotic locations captured by some of the finest ski filmers ever.

Light The Wick Trailer

Light The Wick Trailer from Teton Gravity Research on Vimeo.

The award winning producers at Teton Gravity Research (TGR) present their newest ski film, Light The Wick. Shot using film, HD and 3D technology,the TGR crew of athletes and cinematographers were on a mission to capture the most jaw dropping footage to date and give the viewer an experience like no other. This pursuit led the team around the world to uncharted destinations, as well as some of their favorite stomping grounds. Follow the crew as they discover the completely unskiied big mountain mecca of Petersburg, AK, find the best snow Croatia has seen in fifty years, ski deep pillows in Italy, hit full throttle riding in British Columbia, and epic free-riding at Ripley Creek, Last Frontier Heliskiing and North Cascades Heli.

Jeremy Jones' Deeper Trailer

Jeremy Jones' Deeper Trailer - A Snowboard Film from Teton Gravity Research on Vimeo.

Teton Gravity Research presents a new big mountain snowboard film featuring Jeremy Jones with a handpicked group of elite riders including Jonaven Moore, Travis Rice and Xavier De Le Rue, who set out to conquer the best lines without the limited assistance of snowmobiles, helicopters or lifts. "I wanted to get back to solitude, adventure, and new descents", Jeremy Jones said. "By hiking past boundaries set in place by helis and snowmobiles we were able to get into bigger mountains, away from people and back to first descents".