Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where To Ski In June

"Fresh snowfalls adding as much of 40cm of new snow in 24 hours to ski slopes at still-open ski areas in the US as well as glaciers in Austria, Switzerland and Italy; and bases still as deep as seven metres (23 feet) at some resorts, plus the early opening of an Australian ski area has left expectations high for June skiing in 2011", says Patrick Thorne, from
After the number of open ski areas worldwide hit its annual low of around 25 resorts in May, that number will climb towards 100 as ski areas re-open in France and the southern hemisphere’s ski season gets underway in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Lesotho and South Africa.
Austria currently has the most glaciers open for snowsports in the Alps with the Dachstein, Kitzsteinhorn (above Kaprun), Kaunertal, Stubai and Tux due to stay open for all or most of the month. Most have more than two metre bases and Tux has the most terrain open – 45km.
In France all ski areas are currently closed but that changes on June 11th when the glacier above Val d’Isere due to open with those at Les 2 Alpes and Tignes following a week later on the 18th.
In Switzerland the end of the season at Engelberg and Diablerets last weekend means only year-round Zermatt is offering snow sports through June in the country, with Saas-Fee re-opening in July.
In Italy Val Senales and Passo Stelvio are joining the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale, where two red runs are currently open, in offering June snow sports in the country.
In Scandinavia all three glacier areas, Stryn (picture attached), Folgefonn, and Galdhøpiggen, in Norway are now open with bases of up to 6.5m (22 feet) and new snow reported. You can also ski or board twice a week under the midnight sun in Riksgransen in the Swedish Arctic until mid-June, a single ski run is also open at Ruka in Finland until then.
In North America record snowfalls mean that more ski areas are open in June than, probably, ever before. A dozen ski areas were open for the US Memorial Holiday weekend a few days ago and five have announced plans to stay open at least to Canada Day and/or US Independence Day at the start of July. They are Mammoth Mountain in California, Crystal Mountain in Washington State, Snowbird in Utah, Timberline in Oregon and Grouse Mountain above Vancouver in BC, Canada. Arapahoe Basin in Colorado is also planning to open until mid June and may stay open to July with Donner Summit in California a further option.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chamonix Glacier Goes Under Wraps

The Compagnie du Mont-Blanc has invested in new measures to protect the Argentière glacier in the Chamonix Valley. The final part of the glacier at Argentière has been given a protective summer coat in a bit of slow down its thawing as a result of climate change.
A 750m² tarpaulin has been stretched out over the glacier to protect it from melting under the summer sun. The cover should maintain a maximum volume of ice at the bergschrund as well as limiting the rays of sunlight that would otherwise be reflected around the icy surface. "This technique of ice covering has already proven itself on Swiss glacier and is required to keep a maximum volume of ice on the mountain while limiting the action of sunlight reflection", said a statement from the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc. The approximate cost is € 3,000.
The project is temporary and the tarpaulin will be taken down in mid-October, the first major snowfall on winter 2011-12 is forecast.
The lift company has advised those hiking or mountaineering in the area that it’s dangerous to walk on the tarpaulin and that they should use marked routes around it.
This technique of covering the ice (glacier wrapping) has already been used in the Gurschen glacier (Andermatt, Switzerland), the Mont Fort glacier (Verbier, Switzerland), the Vorab glacier (Laax, Switzerland), the Zugspitze glacier (Garmisch-Partenkitchen, Germany), and the Stubai and Pitztal Glaciers (Tirol, Austria) and is considered to be an effective method of slowing down glacial shrinkage. The protective foil is a combination of polyester and polypropylene material which when placed on the glacier prevents the top snow layer from melting, essentially keeping the cold in and the heat out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where To Ski This Week

Skiinfo reports new snow in four Western North American resorts - a relatively unheard of event anywhere in May - when Mammoth Mountain then Donner Summit in Colorado, Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and resorts in Oregon reported between 20 and 40cm of new snow in 24 hours towards the end of last week.
By contrast there has been no new snow reported at open ski areas in Europe in the past week, and indeed warm, weather has led to several centres reporting snow depths have declined by up to 30 cm, however most remain open with healthy base depths and two more are set to open this weekend - Stryn in Norway, the third and final of the country's three summer ski areas to open for 2011, and Passo Stelvio in Italy, which join the only other Italian skiing currently available, two red runs on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale.
Elsewhere in Europe the open ski areas in Switzerland are diminishing with the glacier at St Moritz now closed and the Engelberg and Diablerets/Gstaad glaciers due to close after this weekend - leaving only Zermatt open until Saas Fee re-opens.
Austria still has the most centres open with five to choose from, most with bases around two metres. Tux, with 45km of runs open, has the most terrain to enjoy.
There's no skiing in France until mid-June when its three remaining summer glacier ski areas at les 2 Alpes, Tignes and Val d'Isere begin re-opening for summer 2011.
In Scandinavia Ruka in Finland still has one run open and Riksgransen in Sweden likewise, now offering skiing and boarding under the midnight sun twice weekly in addition to usual day time operations.
Besides the US resorts mentioned you can still ski at Squaw Valley in California, Snowbird in Utah (picture attached), Crystal Mountain in Washington State and Mt Bachelor and Timberline in Oregon. North of the border in Canada only Whistler's Blackcomb Glacier will open this weekend - for the last time this season, as sunshine at Banff ended its winter 2010-11 last weekend with the Bikini Slalom breast cancer charity fundraiser. However sunshine thinks it probably will re-open for snowsports for Canada Day at the start of July and Grouse mountain above Vancouver will also re-open through June next week.
In the southern hemisphere it remains to be seen if Perisher, Australia's largest resort, will repeat it's early opening last weekend over this weekend. The resort reports it expects colder weather towards the end of the week.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Australia’s Top Ski Resorts Have Joined Forces to Promote Skiing

Today, Snow Australia, the official marketing site of Australia’s snow has launched a new user friendly website, and the Snow Australia ‘Discover Our Winter’ campaign. Snow Australia has been established as an identity to represent the interests of all stakeholders; ski resort operators, snowsports wholesalers, ski equipment retailers, tour operators, accommodation and transport owners and the broader communities of the Australian Alps.
Tourism Australia is supporting the Snow Australia initiative and national campaign, providing additional funding of $250,000, announced at the industry launch last week. Snow Australia’s purpose is to encourage visitation to the Australian snow fields by highlighting the many winter adventures, activities and services available as well as interfacing with the activities of other tourism bodies including Tourism Australia, Tourism NSW, and Tourism Victoria, Regional Tourism Organizations, National Parks and other, smaller tourism organizations.
On the Snow Australia website is five ‘expert guides’ to help you navigate around renting equipment, learning to ski or snowboard, accommodation options and the best après entertainment on offer at Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass, Selwyn Snowfields, Falls Creek, Mount Hotham, Mount Buller, Mount Baw Baw and Lake Mountain.
Colin Hackworth, Chief Executive Officer of Snow Australia, said: "All Australian snow resorts will be promoted jointly under the new campaign which brings together the snow resort operators, Tourism NSW, Tourism Victoria and Tourism Australia to persuade Australians to visit the NSW and Victorian snowfields for their first, or next, holiday in the snow rather than look to overseas".
"The Snow Australia campaign will target families and young people from all over Australia who have never been on a snow holiday before, encouraging them to ‘Discover Our Winter’ in the NSW and Victorian snow resorts and shifting the perception that New Zealand offers cheaper package deals".
"It’s great to see such a collaborative approach by Governments and industry to ensuring our snow destinations are first and foremost in the minds of Australians planning their winter holidays. It’s a strong recognition of the economic value of the ski industry to our economy", he said.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sochi 2014 Celebrates 1,000 Days To Go

Sochi 2014 has celebrated 1,000 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, which will take place on 7 February 2014. The celebrations took place right across the Russian Federation and saw Omega unveil its countdown clock in the host city. Sochi 2014 also officially opened 26 volunteer centres, spread throughout the entire country, which will no doubt help to spread Sochi’s Olympic message far and wide. The Omega countdown clock for Sochi 2014 was unveiled in the centre of the city this weekend, and its design is intended to capture and reflect the spirit of a dynamic and diverse region which is defined as much by its history and tradition as by its contemporary outlook. The clock's size, shape and colours communicate the contrasting landscape in Sochi, which features both majestic mountains and the Black Sea. One side of the clock countdowns to the Olympic Games opening, while the reverse side counts down to the opening of the Paralympic Games. A countdown clock was first introduced for the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games and since then, these clocks have become one of the most photographed Olympic images at the Games.
Events to mark this significant milestone in the Games preparations were held nationwide and were principally themed around the environment, healthy living, education, and culture. The events included 1,000 Olympic lessons, a 1,000-metre dash, an Olympic warm-up, a hot-pot banquet, tree plantings, litter clearing, and Olympic days for youngsters in children’s homes. Sochi 2014’s partners also got heavily involved in the day’s celebrations, running a number of events in cities across the territory.
Gala concerts in Moscow and Sochi provided a grand finale to the "1000 Days to the Games" festivities. The Moscow concert (presented by Rosneft) set a Russian record for the over-all number of people (1927) performing the composition the "Bogatyrskaya Sila" song. The culmination of this massive flash-mob was marked by volunteers unfurling a gigantic map of Russia on which Moscow and Sochi were shown bound together.
IOC Sochi 2014 Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy said: "It was great to see the whole of Russia getting involved in Sochi 2014’s 1,000-days-to-go celebrations. The excitement and engagement that we witnessed across the country were exceptional, and will no doubt continue to increase with the nationwide opening of Sochi’s volunteer centres. In addition, the unveiling of the stunning countdown clock serves to remind us all that this great country will soon be playing host to the world and its finest winter athletes. With 1,000 days to go, the clock is now really ticking and I’m confident that the Olympians of 2014 will receive a fantastic welcome when they arrive in Sochi in just a few years’ time".
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007. Sochi won the vote against the cities of Salzburg (Austria) and PyeongChang (Republic of Korea) in the second round of voting. The Russian city edged out PyeongChang 51 votes to 47, with Salzburg having been eliminated in round one. The Sochi 2014 Games will play host to the seven Olympic Winter sports (Skiing, Skating, Luge, Biathlon, Ice Hockey, Curling, and Bobsleigh) currently on the Olympic programme and will run from 7 to 23 February 2014.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where To Ski This Week

Skiinfo reports We may be in to the latter half of May but It's an exciting weekend coming up with the 2011 southern hemisphere ski season opening at Perisher in Australia, while skiing under the midnight sun takes places for the first time in 2011 at Riksgransen in the Swedish Arctic Circle and if that's not enough there's also fresh powder in the Alps and North America!
Snow depths are up on glaciers in Austria and Switzerland, by as much as 30cm (a foot) thanks to fresh snowfalls over the past seven days. Beneficiaries include the Kitzsteinhorn glacier at Kaprun in Austria and Engelberg in Switzerland. You could also opt for Austria's Dachstein, Kaunertal, Stubai or Tux (picture attached) glaciers this week for more fresh snow. Switzerland also has Glacier 3000 open at weekends, and St Moritz and Zermatt both offering glacier skiing.Saas Fee re-opens July 9, 2011.
There are no ski areas open in France until next month. Les 2 Alpes *, Tignes** and Val d’Isere*** will re-open for summer skiing and boarding in late June (* 18 June – 28 August, ** 18 June – 4 September, ***June 11th – July 17th).
In Italy just the Presena glacier, with two red runs, above Passo Tonale.
The greatest snow depths in Europe, at more than five metres, are however to be found at Norway's summer ski areas
If you go further north still you can ski in daylight at midnight twice weekly from this Friday May 20th at Riksgransen in the Swedish Arctic circle which is fully open. Ruka in Finland is still open but with only one run operational.
Across the Atlantic there's been fresh snow too at Banff (Sunshine) and Whistler (Blackcomb Glacier) which are both still open. For Sunshine this is the last weekend of its long winter, unless it decides to extend its season - it's already planning to re-open for Canada Day at the start of July.
In the US you can still ski at Donner, Squaw and Mammoth in California, Snowbird in Utah, Arapahoe basin in Colorado, Mt Bachelor and Timberline in Oregon and Crystal Mountain in Washington state. Some are only open at weekends.
In the southern hemisphere Perisher ski area, Australia's largest, has announced it will open this weekend, following heavy snow last week and low temperatures for snowmaking nearly a month ahead of schedule and donate all ticket sales to charity.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Annecy 2018 promises new vision for the 2018 Games

Triple Olympic Champion, Jean-Claude Killy today promised the IOC a "new vision" for the Winter Games "combining passion and tradition for Winter Sports with savoir-faire” to “benefit us all". Killy emphasized that Annecy’s bid is built on "excellence" and "harnesses all the great history of Winter Sports in France to look towards the future". With an eye on the future of sport he noted that: "we must constantly take into account the fast changing world in which we live and therefore never rest on our laurels".
Bid President, Charles Beigbeder, who led the presentation team which included a total of seven Olympic Gold Medals, explained further how Annecy 2018 would address the challenges facing sport in the 21st Century by using the authentic global platform of the world’s No.1 Winter Sports destination to "capture the imagination of the world" and promote the Games "not just in one city, one country, or one continent, but all over the world". In an impassioned speech Beigbeder said that Annecy wished to work in partnership with the IOC to "maintain the position of the Olympic Winter Games as one of the world’s greatest sports events".
Beigbeder and Killy were supported during the 45-minute technical presentation and 45-minute question and answer session, at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, by: Guy Drut, Olympic Champion and IOC Member; Pernilla Wiberg and Jean-Pierre Vidal, Olympic Gold Medalists and Vice-Presidents of Annecy 2018; Jean-Luc Rigaut, Mayor of Annecy; and Denis Masseglia, President of the French National Olympic Committee.
Speaking on behalf of the Government was French Sports Minister, Chantal Jouanno, who expanded on how Annecy 2018 would help promote the sustainable development of Winter Sports and the Olympic Movement by stating: "Annecy is the world's leading destination for winter sports. It offers an unrivalled global platform for the Games, with 10 million visitors from more than 100 countries coming to our region every year. The region thus offers 70 million visitors to whom we can promote Olympism over the next seven years.
She added: “Sustainable development is at the heart of Annecy’s vision. We want to use the Games to deliver a new blueprint for the long-term growth of winter sports
During her speech, Ms Jouanno also read out a message from President Sarkozy reaffirming the Government’s strong support for the bid. Guy Drut, Jean-Pierre Vidal, Pernilla Wiberg and Denis Masseglia all highlighted the benefits of having athletes centrally involved with Annecy’s plans.
Double Olympic Champion, Wiberg, observed that "thanks to the athletes’ involvement, Annecy will deliver an exceptional athlete experience" bringing the "snow and ice families together" to "give every athlete, official, spectator and sponsor a chance to enjoy a rich, all-around Winter Games experience".
While, Summer Olympic Gold Medalist, Guy Drut, focused on the long-term benefits created by "a hub of sporting excellence for all athletes…from all over the world". He also reassured his colleagues on the IOC that Annecy would be "responsible and enthusiastic guardians of the Olympic Flame and return it to the IOC stronger".
Mayor of Annecy, Jean-Luc Rigaut, spoke of the "incredible experience" that would be enjoyed by all visitors along with the "culture and celebration, in the heart of our communities and venues".
A range of technical detail and visual information was shared with the IOC members along with three films. The films included a specially created showcase of the extensive athlete support for the bid which featured former World footballer of the Year, Zinezine Zidane; Olympic Champion athlete Mary Jose Perec and World Cup winning football manager, Aime Jacquet.
Following the presentation, Charles Beigbeder thanked the IOC for inviting Annecy 2018 to present to them, stating: "We are enormously grateful to the IOC for giving us this opportunity to share our vision of Games that would benefit Winter Sports worldwide (...) In this final phase of the campaign it is vital we continue to meet with people from the Olympic Family, listen to their feedback, and learn from their experiences. With just under 50 days to go our team will be doing everything they can to convince the IOC that Annecy 2018 is the best bid for the entire Olympic Movement".
Annecy is bidding with Munich and PyeongChang, for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

Munich 2018 Bid Team Happy with Final IOC Presentation

Munich 2018 Winter Games bid leaders were delighted with their final presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 18, 2011. The other two bidding cities, France's Annecy and South Korea's Pyeongchang, will address the IOC later in the day.
Bidding to become the only venue to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics, the German city was the first of three candidates to present their concept to 88 IOC members on Wednesday. "I think it went very well and we pulled off a very good presentation", IOC member Thomas Bach, who is part of the Munich bid team, told Reuters.
"We strongly believe Munich 2018 offers a rare opportunity to elevate the brand of the Olympic Winter Games", said bid team member and BMW Head of Sales and Marketing Ian Robertson, whose Munich-based company is backing the city's proposal.
"We are very relieved", Munich bid chief and two-time Olympic figure skating champion Katarina Witt told Reuters. "It was a real school exam but I think we did well. Now we have to improve for Durban, though it is hard to think what we can improve until then".
The presentations are part of the IOC's efforts to inform voting members on the bids, given they are not allowed to travel to candidate cities following the 2002 Salt Lake City bribes-for-votes scandal. Teams are allocated 45 minutes to present their bids with a further 45 minutes of questioning, in which Munich was asked about the deadly attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Games in the city, medical facilities and environmental plans.
IOC members said the presentations could not really turn a city into a favourite for the vote but a bad show could damage a bid's chances. "Munich had a very good presentation and answered the questions pretty well", IOC Executive Board member Gerhard Heiberg of Norway told Reuters.
Munich, together with Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Sliding Centre at Lake Königssee, is applying to host the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Munich is bidding with Annecy and PyeongChang, for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vail Resorts Announces EpicMix Statistics for 2010-2011 Winter Season

Vail Resorts announced nearly 100,000 Vail Resorts guests activated EpicMix accounts this season, generating over 35 million social impressions and racking up over 55 billion vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly, in California/Nevada.
EpicMix is a digital application that Vail Resorts guests can access online, at their computer, or via a free mobile application that can be downloaded to iPhone and Android devices or accessed via other smart phones. EpicMix captures the activity of guests throughout each of its resorts, by leveraging Vail Resorts’ state-of-the-art radio frequency (RF) scanners that are installed at each of its 89 lifts across all five mountain resorts. An RF-enabled chip embedded in Vail Resorts’ season passes and PEAKS lift tickets automatically track guests’ lift rides, calculating vertical feet skied and days on the mountain and recognizes special achievements and accomplishments by granting guests commemorative, collectible digital pins.
Nearly 100,000 Vail Resorts guests activated EpicMix accounts this season which roughly accounts for an almost 15-percent adoption rate by eligible guests. Also, almost 40,000 guests downloaded the EpicMix application to their mobile phone.
Additionally 45 percent of EpicMix accounts are "public"; meaning that guests opted to share their ski day statistics with friends and family on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. EpicMix also generated 275,000 social posts on Facebook and Twitter and over 35 million social impressions (based on Facebook’s estimate of 130 friends per user). Also, EpicMix drove1.7 million web and mobile visits this ski and snowboard season.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the success and positive feedback of EpicMix from our guests. The 15 percent adoption rate of EpicMix compares very favorably with the typical first-year experience for new mobile applications", said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. "The concept of EpicMix naturally fits into the experience at our resorts. Skiing and riding have always been about sharing and re-living your epic ski day with friends and family. With Epic Mix guests can now share their accomplishments on the mountain online with their social networks on Facebook and Twitter. We are hard at work on EpicMix 2.0 for the 2011-2012 ski and snowboard season that will offer some new groundbreaking functionality and user engagement, and will be fully operational at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort".
"Skiing and snowboarding are inherently social activities that are better with friends", said Katie Mitic, director of platform marketing at Facebook. "Epic Mix brings the fun of the mountain to life online by giving people a way to share their runs and accomplishments with their friends in real time".

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Preliminary Report Indicates 2010/11 US Winter Season is Second Best on Record

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced that U.S. ski areas tallied 60.1 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2010/11 season, according to the preliminary 2010/11 Kottke End of Season Survey. This marks the second time that the ski industry has broken the 60 million visit threshold, and represents a 0.6 percent increase from last season’s 59.8 million visits, and is just shy of the 60.5 million visit record set in 2007/08.
Nationally, snowfall at resorts was up 27 percent this season, and was the highest recorded in 20 years of Kottke research. As a result, the average season operating length increased, and some resorts opened early and/or remained open beyond normal closing dates. Most regions experienced increased snowfall, with particularly large increases in the Pacific Southwest (up 43 percent), Northeast (up 37 percent), Rocky Mountains (up 31 percent), and Midwest (up 26 percent), and to a lesser extent the Pacific Northwest (up 9 percent). The Southeast was the only region with a decline in snowfall (down 42 percent).
Gains in visits occurred in most regions, including the Northeast (up 4.0 percent from last season), Rockies (1.7 percent), Midwest (1.0 percent), and Pacific Northwest (0.3 percent). Decreased visits were experienced by both the Pacific Southwest (-5.0 percent) and Southeast (-3.6 percent). In a further indication of widespread solid performance, the industry as a whole exceeded its 10-season average by 4.1 percent, a pattern echoed by all regions, including the Northeast (up 5.3 percent from its 10-season average), Southeast (up 4.8 percent), Midwest (up 2.2 percent), Rocky Mountains (up 4.0 percent), Pacific Southwest (up 2.0 percent), and Pacific Northwest (up 7.0 percent). A final report will be issued in July.
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), formed in 1962, is a trade association for ski area owners and operators located in Lakewood, Colorado.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SkiStar Plans Swiss Investment, First Outside the Nordic Market

SkiStar the Nordic region’s biggest ski-resort operator, said it is in talks with Andermatt Swiss Alps AG on developing two Swiss ski resorts as it seeks to expand outside the Nordic market for the first time.
SkiStar and Andermatt Swiss Alps, owned by Orascom Development (listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange), have today signed a Letter of Intent regarding mutual negotiations regarding ownership and development of the ski areas in Andermatt and Sedrun in Switzerland. Investments amounting to approximately SEK 1 billion are planned to modernise and link the ski areas together.
The development is conditional on agreements being reached with existing shareholders, creditors and the respective cantons of Graubünden (Sedrun) and Uri (Andermatt), as well as the federal government, with regards to contributions supporting the planned investments.
Andermatt Swiss Alps owns and operates a development project comprised of 1.4 million square metres of land, for which 490 apartments, 25-30 villas and a further 6 hotels with 844 rooms, classified as 4 and 5 star, are planned.
"We hope to have reached an agreement after the summer, and if it happens earlier that’s even better", Magnus Sjoholm, SkiStar Chief Financial Officer said. "We’ve received a lot of proposals and when this one turned up it sounded very exciting. It’s the first time we’ve taken anything this far".
The village of Andermatt has approximately 1,300 permanent inhabitants and is situated at 1,440 metres above sea level, 120 kilometres south of Zurich and 180 kilometres north of Milan. The current number of ski days amounts to a total of 450,000, of which Andermatt contributes 180,000 and Sedrun 270,000.
SkiStar is listed on Nasdaq OMX Mid Cap Stockholm. The Group owns and operates alpine destinations in Sälen, Åre and Vemdalen in Sweden, and Hemsedal and Trysil in Norway. The Company’s market share of SkiPass sales in Scandinavia amounts to 39%.
The core business is alpine skiing, with a focus on the guest’s overall skiing experience. Operations are divided into two business areas: Destinations, which consists of skiing, accommodation services, ski school and ski rentals, as well as Property Development, which includes construction and development.

Where To Ski This Week

Approximately 40 ski areas are still open in 9 countries in Northern Hemisphere.
In the US it’s still winter at Tahoe resorts in California, which have had a few more inches of snow and boast the world’s deepest snow bases – up to 7 metres (24 feet). Boreal, Donner ski and Squaw Valley are currently open weekends through May. Alpine Meadows closes after this weekend but Mt Rose remains 100% open. Other still open areas include Mammoth, to the south, which has had 10cm of new snow; Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Snowbird in Utah (weekends); Mt Bachelor in Oregon and Crystal Mountain in Washington State . The biggest snowfall of the past week has been 25cm/10 inches of new snow at North America’s only year-round ski area at Timberline, Oregon.
In Canada the season is not over at Banff until next Monday and the centre is already expects to re-open July 1st for snow sports on Canada Day. Whizstler’s Bl;ackcomb glacier is ope to the end of may and had 6cm of new snow this week on top of its already record breaking tally.
In Europe the season is over in France until three glacier ski areas there reopen in June – more fresh snow and temperatures towards freezing. Les 2 Alpes *, Tignes** and Val d’Isere*** will re-open for summer skiing and boarding in late June (* 18 June – 28 August, ** 18 June – 4 September, ***June 11th – July 17th).
Italy’s Presena glacier has 300cm ol snow lying and two red runs open.
Seven glaciers are open in Austria, including the Dachstein with a 240cm base and 4 runs, Kaprun with a 210cm base, Kaunertal with a 141cm base and 6 lifts operating, Molltal with a 300cm base and 46.5km of runs, Stubai with 200cm of snow and 12 runs open and year-round Tux with a 255cm base and 73km of runs. 15cm of snow in Australia at Perisher, more expected until Friday. Kaunertal closes after this weekend on 15th May, Stubai a week later on 22nd May. Switzerland offers Engelberg (300cm base), Glacier 3000 at Gstaad/Diablerets with a 180cm base and three runs which is open to the end of the month; St Moritz with a 100cm base at the glacier and 6 runs open and Zermatt, open year round, with an 85cm base.
In Scandinavia Ruka in Finland still has 5 runs open and Norway’s Folgefonn, Galdhøpiggen and Stryn summer ski areas either are open or are about to. Sweden’s Riksgransen has a 155cm base, is 100% open and will soon offer skiing under the midnight sun.
There are no resorts yet open in Southern Hemisphere but there’s been 15cm of snow in Australia at Perisher with more expected until Friday.

Avoriaz continues resort relook for 50th season anniversary

Last spring Avoriaz started on the long upgrade to it's mountain top site with three new residencies and the exciting new Aquariaz aqua centre to be built. This summer the work continues so much so that the resort itself will be entirely closed. The lifts in the Portes du Soleil region will not be affected except for the area surrounding the new gondola linking Morzine and Avoriaz. The new developments are set to help celebrate the resorts' 50th anniversary for the winter 2011-2012 season.
The resort dates back to the 60's when French Olympic champion Jean Vuarnet dreamt of creating a new resort perched above Morzine and so teamed up with Robert Brémond to transform the area into a contemporary, traffic free ski resort.
Two new districts; Quartier des Crozats and Quartier de L’Amara will add several thousand new beds to the resort.
Quartier des Crozats will feature new residences by Pierre & Vacances and by Maeva. The Quartier de L’Amara will have 5 Pierre et Vacances Premium residences, underground parking, a spa with swimming pool, a childcare nursery and a number of bars, restaurants and shops.
A new state of the art indoor water park, the Aquariaz aqua centre will feature large tropical swimming pools, a lazy river, water slides and a climbing wall. It will cover 2000m² and will be inside a conservatory-style structure, allowing visitors to enjoy mountain views from inside a tropical paradise. The project is due to be completed by July 2012.
Other improvements include a new underground car-park and a new welcome centre to help maintain the car-free aspect of the resort.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

IOC Highlights Munich 2018 Strong and Innovative Sustainability Strategy

Munich 2018's vision for making Olympic history by staging Winter Games events in Summer Games venues for the first time clearly made a powerful impact on the IOC's Commission members. The report highlights that through 'revitalising and transforming' the 1972 venues with "extensive use of existing and temporary facilities", a "Munich 2018 Games would be low-impact with a high degree of sustainability". The Evaluation Commission praised Munich 2018's "strong and innovative sustainability strategy for a carbon-neutral Games", typified by the ambitious Flagship 18 ecology projects.
Chair of the Munich 2018 Bid Committee, Katarina Witt, was confident that the team would be buoyed by such positive feedback: "We are delighted with the Evaluation Commission's positive report and we would like to thank its members for taking the time to give such a thorough analysis of our strengths, and of our challenges. It is very pleasing to know that we were able to communicate just what Munich 2018 could bring to the Olympic Movement so effectively. And as a former athlete myself, I was delighted to read the Commission's comments on our compact athlete-friendly concept. The report notes that 80% of athletes would have a travel time of less than 10 minutes from their Olympic Village to their competition venues. Munich 2018 truly is a bid by athletes, for athletes".
The report did point to some inconsistent public support as a possible weakness, but the Munich 2018 Bid Committee today took the opportunity to emphasise the increasingly enthusiastic mood surrounding the bid. With Sunday's overwhelming vote of confidence from the people of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, they were keen to underline the shift in momentum. The report's annexe revealed that nationally, just 9% of people are actually against the Winter Games.
Munich 2018 CEO, Bernhard Schwank, reiterated his belief that Munich 2018 can count on the full support of the people of Germany: "The IOC's poll was taken right at the start of the winter sports season. Since then, Germany has hosted 3 World Championships and 12 World Cups in sports on the Winter Games programme, in front of over a million live spectators and a television audience of a billion (...) The latest independent public polls are showing a nationwide approval rating of around 75%. That is considerably higher than the ratings for the 2006 FIFA World Cup at the same stage, and we all know what an incredible celebration that turned out to be. But figures only tell part of the story. For us, the best measure is the electrifying atmosphere that ha s been lighting up our sold-out stadia all season long. We have connected Munich 2018 with the passion and the enthusiasm this country, and this region especially, have for winter sports".
Germany's rich heritage of staging world-class winter sports events was another key strength acknowledged by the Evaluation Commission. The report cited this year's FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, the FIBT Bob and Skeleton World Championships and the Single Distance speed skating World Championships as particularly strong examples, along with the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 2009 IAAF World Championships and, later this year, the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Bernhard Schwank went on to comment on the Evaluation Commission's appraisal of the bid's low-risk financial concept: "This is one aspect of our bid that really sets us apart, so we are delighted that we have managed to convey it to the Evaluation Commission. The report references the German market's 'strong tradition of support for winter sports events'; the sports sponsorship market in Germany is in fact set to be worth an estimated €22 billion between 2013 and 2020. This represents enormous potential for attracting new, invigorating investment to winter sports all over the world. Munich 2018 can be an excellent platform for ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of the winter sports movement".
Bernhard Schwank has issued the following initial reaction to the IOC Evaluation Commission's highly positive appraisal of the Bavarian capital's bid: "On very first reading, we are absolutely thrilled with the IOC Evaluation Commission's report on Munich 2018. Of course we will be reading and digesting the report more closely, but right now we want to offer our sincere thanks to the Commission members for their full and frank assessment of our bid's strengths.
It was particularly pleasing to see that the core pillars of our Winter Games concept clearly resonated with the Commission during its visit, particularly Munich 2018's compact, athlete-friendly plan and our unique story of Olympic sustainability. The report cites our 'strong and innovative sustainability strategy with the extensive use of existing and tempor ary facilities'; we are delighted that our vision of staging a Winter Games in existing Summer Games venues for the first time in Olympic history struck a chord with the Commission
The Evaluation Commission, chaired by the IOC member in Sweden Gunilla Lindberg, spent four days in each Candidate City earlier this year to conduct on-site inspections and carry out an assessment of the cities’ 2018 Olympic Winter Games projects.
The Report is a technical analysis which is being provided to IOC members prior to the "2018 Briefing for IOC Members" which will be held on 18 and 19 May in Lausanne. During this meeting the Candidate Cities will have the opportunity to present the technical aspects of their candidatures to the IOC members and answer questions.
Munich is bidding with Annecy and PyeongChang, for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

IOC Boosts Annecy 2018 Bid

Today’s report released by the IOC Evaluation Commission is a real boost for the bid as it highlights the technical strengths of Annecy 2018’s vision of authentic Games in the heart of the mountains, with the athletes and for the future.
"We believe this strong report will help us to convince the Olympic Family that Annecy offers the best possible and most nurturing home for the 2018 Winter and Paralympic Games", said Annecy Press Release.
"Games in the shadow of the Mont Blanc, using the profile of the world’s number one Winter Sports destination, would provide a global platform for the Winter Olympics that would capture the imagination and benefit a generation of Winter Sports enthusiasts around the world (...) Reuniting the Olympic movement with the Winter Sports heritage of the French Alps would inspire new innovations to be shared with the world. Importantly, the central involvement of athletes in our bid would lead to the best possible sporting competition and ensure that the experience of fans, athletes and the watching global public is a top priority for Annecy 2018".
"In our presentation in Lausanne and the final weeks of the campaign we will be doing all we can to show the IOC we would be their best possible partners and that together we could create an unforgettable experience with long-lasting benefits in every continent", the press release said.
The Evaluation Commission, chaired by the IOC member in Sweden Gunilla Lindberg, spent four days in each Candidate City earlier this year to conduct on-site inspections and carry out an assessment of the cities’ 2018 Olympic Winter Games projects.
The Report is a technical analysis which is being provided to IOC members prior to the "2018 Briefing for IOC Members" which will be held on 18 and 19 May in Lausanne. During this meeting the Candidate Cities will have the opportunity to present the technical aspects of their candidatures to the IOC members and answer questions.
The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

IOC Praises Pyeongchang 2018

Pyeongchang, bidding for a third straight time, received a generally glowing assessment from the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission, bolstering the South Korean city’s status as front-runner. The 119-page report, which does not rank the cities or make direct comparisons, confirms Pyeongchang’s strong position.
Pyeongchang, bidding again after narrow defeats in votes for the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, has been considered the favorite from the start as it seeks to take the Winter Games to Korea for the first time. "Overall, the commission believes the legacy from a 2018 Pyeongchang Games, building on existing legacies from previous Olympic Winter Games bids, would be significant to further develop winter sport in Asia", the IOC report said in perhaps the strongest endorsement of the three bids.
As expected, Pyeongchang came out far ahead in the IOC’s survey of public support for the bids. The report cited 92 percent backing in Pyeongchang, 87 percent in Gangwong Province and 87 percent across South Korea. Munich had 60 percent support in the city, 53 percent in Bavaria and 56 percent nationally. Annecy had only 51 percent support in the town, with 63 percent in the Rhones-Alpes region and 62 percent nationally.
"We are confident that Pyeongchang would deliver an unforgettable Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games that have the power to inspire a new generation of winter sports athletes and provide a platform for winter sports to grow and thrive in new areas of the world", bid leader Cho Yang-ho said in a statement.
The report praised Pyeongchang’s "very compact" venue plans and said all the land required for the games had been secured, offering "minimum risk" for the games.
The IOC said it had raised the issue of tensions between North and South Korea, but was told by Pyeongchang officials that "the tensions have existed on the Korean peninsula for 60 years" and South Korea had hosted numerous international sports events, including the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 2002 World Cup with Japan.
The Evaluation Commission, chaired by the IOC member in Sweden Gunilla Lindberg, spent four days in each Candidate City earlier this year (see dates below) to conduct on-site inspections and carry out an assessment of the cities’ 2018 Olympic Winter Games projects.
The Report is a technical analysis which is being provided to IOC members prior to the "2018 Briefing for IOC Members" which will be held on 18 and 19 May in Lausanne. During this meeting the Candidate Cities will have the opportunity to present the technical aspects of their candidatures to the IOC members and answer questions.
The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

IOC releases 2018 Evaluation Commission Report

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today released the Report by the Evaluation Commission for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in 2018. This report follows the Commission’s visits to the three Candidate Cities bidding to host the Games: Munich (Germany), Annecy (France) and PyeongChang (Republic of Korea).
The three cities biding for the 2018 Winter Olympics found reason for celebration Tuesday after the IOC issued a report evaluating their bid plans less than two months before the vote.
Pyeongchang, bidding for a third straight time, received a generally glowing assessment from the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission, bolstering the South Korean city’s status as front-runner.
But the IOC also praised the bids from Munich and Annecy, France, and said "all three candidate cities could successfully host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, with each city offering its own distinct vision and concept".
The 119-page report, which does not rank the cities or make direct comparisons, offers no major revelations or game-changing criticism. It confirms Pyeongchang’s strong position, but also gives Munich and Annecy solid marks and hope to believe the contest is a three-horse race until the end. "Each city’s concept offers a viable option to the IOC though the very nature of each project presents different risks", the report said.
The Evaluation Commission, chaired by the IOC member in Sweden Gunilla Lindberg, spent four days in each Candidate City earlier this year to conduct on-site inspections and carry out an assessment of the cities’ 2018 Olympic Winter Games projects.
The report is a technical analysis which is being provided to IOC members prior to the "2018 Briefing for IOC Members" which will be held on 18 and 19 May in Lausanne. During this meeting the Candidate Cities will have the opportunity to present the technical aspects of their candidatures to the IOC members and answer questions.
The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Garmisch-Partenkirchen votes to back Munich 2018 Winter Olympic bid

Munich took a step forward to host the Winter Olympics in 2018 after locals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen voted to support the bid in a referendum on Sunday. About 21,000 people were eligible to vote. A total of 12,476 people, or 59.6% of the electorate, voted. The count in 14 districts gave the supporters of the bid a majority of 58.1% percent of the vote. "Now there is clarity in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. A clear majority of Germans would like to host the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Königssee", said Thomas Bach, president of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DSB).
After the votes were counted, Christian Ude, the mayor of Munich, called on Olympic opponents in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to restore peace in the town. "Good Democrats must also be good losers", he said. In the buildup to the referendum, Ude had revealed that a no vote would be a "really bad setback" for Munich's Olympic bid.
"The Olympic bid has received momentum", said Marcel Huber, head of the Bavarian State Chancellery. Huber said that the Garmisch vote has brought clarity and that three quarters of the Bavarian population want the Games. Huber expressed his hope that the rift in Garmisch can be overcome after the referendums and also reiterated that he aims for a settlement with the landowners in further talks. "We must try and take into account all concerns and worries", said Huber.
"The result, from our point of view, shows that the majority of the population is really in favor of bringing the Olympics to Garmisch", said Bernhard Schwank, the chief executive of the Munich bid committee. "It was a very important step tonight to get this clear vote in Garmisch".
Peter Fischer, who led the Olympic supporters in Garmisch, named the victory "a clear sign for 2018" while Axel Doering from the losing Olympic opponents said they could no longer stop the bid.
The opposition in Garmisch includes a group of landowners resisting handing over their property for the Games. Others say that the resort at the foot of Germany's highest peak, the 2,926-metres Zugspitze, is simply too small with a population of 30,000 to stage an event of this magnitude. There is also concern over the financial risk. Supporters argue with badly needed infrastructure improvements in the region, saying Olympics will have a general positive effect.
Katarina Witt, a former Olympic champion and Munich's chief Olympic representative, also admitted that any discord in the German camp would have seriously threatened Munich's bid. The International Olympic Committee will only send the athletes where they "will be welcomed with open arms", said the two-time figure skating Olympic gold medalist.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a 90-minute train ride from Munich and is one of the cornerstones of the bid. Munich pledges to hold the ski events of the Games in Garmisch and an athletes' village is planned there as well. Both have seen Olympics before as the 1936 Winter Games were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the 1972 summer edition in Munich.
Munich is bidding with Annecy and PyeongChang, for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ski Area Eco-Efforts Hailed with Annual Golden Eagle Awards

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) honored three ski areas, including Wyoming’s Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole, and Park City, Utah, with the 2011 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence. Established in 1993, the Golden Eagle Awards are the ski industry’s most prestigious award for recognizing resort environmental programs and projects. This year’s Golden Eagle Awards were awarded to ski areas of three size categories: Up to 200,000 skier and snowboarder visits; 200,000 to 500,000 visits; and 500,000 or more visits.
As part of its efforts, Grand Targhee, the winner in the small ski area category, not only met, but exceeded its goal set in 2010 to of reduce its energy use by 10 percent below the previous five year average. By season’s end, Targhee achieved an 18 percent reduction in electricity use, which marked the lowest electricity use at the resort in a decade. The ski area accomplished this reduction through equipment upgrades and retrofits, building weatherization, improved operating procedures and policies and most importantly, behavioral change.
Jackson Hole took the top environmental honors in the medium sized ski area category for implementation of its ISO 14001 registered Environmental Management System (EMS) over the past five years. The EMS provides for integration of all departments to reach overall resort sustainability goals; promotes continuous annual improvement; and involves monitoring, reporting and external verification to international standards.
Finally, Park City won the Golden Eagle Award in the large resort category for its efforts in reducing the ski area’s carbon footprint. In the 2010/11 season, Park City reduced its carbon footprint by a whopping 54.8 percent, equivalent to taking 7,112 cars off the road for one year or the electricity used by 4,514 homes in one year.
Judges for this year’s Golden Eagle Awards include: Rod Judd, International Mountain Bicycling Association; Judy Dorsey, Brendle Group; Elysa Hammond, CLIF Bar & Company; Geraldine Link, NSAA; Loren Kroenke, USDA Forest Service; Greg Owsley, New Belgium Brewing Company; and Kirk Mills, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).

Winners of the 2010/11 NSAA Marketing Awards Announced

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) named eight ski areas as the winners of its annual Marketing Awards. The awards, sponsored this year by strategic marketing and database technology firm Ryan Solutions based in Ohio, are presented annually to ski resorts nationwide, both large and small, for their successful marketing programs that ultimately help grow the sports of skiing and snowboarding. New this year, NSAA added a special category to this year’s awards, Best Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month Campaign. This season, more than 75,000 kids and families took ski and snowboard lessons in January, and this year’s marketing awards recognize four ski areas that did a particularly effective job of incorporating the grass roots initiative into their operations. Also new this year, NSAA announced this year’s winner live May 5 at its National Convention and at La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, Calif. The 2011 NSAA Marketing Award winners include:

Best Overall Marketing Program:

Best Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month Campaign:

Judges for this year's awards were Michael Bisner, national sales manager for SnowDAG RFID Ticketing Solutions; Mike Carey, owner of ski accessory supplier Seirus Innovation and NFL Referee; and Andy Hawk, Marketing Director, PSIA/AASI. An in-depth review of this year’s NSAA Marketing Award winners will be highlighted in the August/September 2011 issue of the NSAA Journal.
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), formed in 1962, is a trade association for ski area owners and operators located in Lakewood, Colorado.

Friday, May 6, 2011

'Bubble Wrap' Could Boost' Skiing Says UHI Professor

BBC reports Prof John McClatchey has carried out experiments in the Cairngorms (Scotland) using a bubble plastic used to cover outdoor swimming pools. He said it would slow down the melting of snow by protecting it against rain and sunshine. McClatchey said weak points on a piste - where the snow melts quicker than on the rest of the slope - could be protected to prolong its use. "I experimented with a series of covers for the snow using bubble plastic used to over outdoor swimming pools (...)I used single coverings, double coverings and ones painted silver to increase the reflectivity". He said on areas covered in just clear plastic it had the effect of reducing melting caused by rain, wind and warmer temperatures.
Similar methods have been tested in the Alps and North America. However, Prof McClatchey said it could work better in Scotland because of a lack of sunshine to warm up the plastic.
The climatologist at the new University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has been investigating a decline in ski days in Scotland over the past 30 years as part of wider research into climate change. Previously, he was a director at Shetland College and a professor of climatology at Northampton University.
CairnGorm Mountain is one best places to ski in the UK, as well as boasting Scotland's only funicular railway. It's also Scotland's most popular resort and is located just a short distance from the main A9 arterial route which runs between Perth and Inverness. CairnGorm offers 400 vertical metres from the top station to the base station with the longest run running 3.3 kms. In total, 12 lifts including the funicular train service the resort, which includes 7 green runs, 6 blue, 8 red and 1 black piste.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where To Ski and Board in May 2011

As May gets underway – traditionally one of the quietest months in the ski calendar, the US looks likely to be the only country in the world with at least the number of ski areas open still in double figures according to research from snow reporting company "Most people in the northern hemisphere have given up on snow sports for this year", said UK Skiinfo's manager Patrick Thorne, "But for those of us still obsessed with the white stuff year round, Skiinfo continues to provide weekly updates on what’s open around the world". May is usually the quietest month of the year for snow sports as most ski areas in the Alps, even those with summer ski glacier operations, take a break at the end of the winter, while in the southern hemisphere the ski season doesn’t usually get started until June. However while winter 2010-11 was fairly lacklustre in the Alps, massive snowfalls in Western North America – in some cases the biggest ever reported has left a dozen or so resorts still open there, with several boasting a snow pack of more than five metres (17 feet) and plans to stay open until July.
Only about a dozen glacier ski areas are expected to be open next week in the Alps, more than half of them in Austria and with all areas closed in France until summer skiing starts there on three glaciers in late June. Half a dozen areas are open in Italy and Switzerland including Glacier 3000 between Gstaad and Les Diablerets open weekends, Engelberg and Zermatt (picture attached) – the latter one of only two worldwide that opens every day of the year, or tries to (weather permitting), and operates Europe’s highest lifts at nearly 3,900m. The other is Austria’s Hintertux glacier.
Elsewhere in Europe there’ll be no reappear of Midsummer skiing in Scotland, where the last ski area closed on Easter Monday this year after temperatures headed towards +20C, but after the second successful year in a row for snowsports there for more than a decade.
In Scandinavia the season of 24 hour daylight and skiing or boarding under the midnight sun is nearly upon us at Riksgransen in the Swedish Arctic, while three Norwegian summer ski areas have either opened, or are about to, with spectacular snow accumulations of up to seven metres (23 feet) waiting.
Across the Atlantic, in Canada, Sunshine ski area near Banff is open in to the latter half of May and will soon be staging its annual Slush Cup. Glacier skiing and boarding is also possible at Whistler Blackcomb.
South of the border in the US half-a dozen ski areas, all sporting the world’s deepest snow bases, are open in California including Alpine Meadows, Boreal, Donner, Squaw Valley and Mammoth. Squaw Valley has announced a new superpipe will open there this weekend while Donner says it will be open to June at least, Mammoth to July. Other still open US resorts include Snowbird in Utah and Timberline in Oregon which is open almost year round and, even though it is now May, has reported more than 70cm (2.3 feet) of fresh snow in the past seven days.
Overall estimates that there are an average of 50 ski areas open worldwide in a dozen countries during May. A similar number of year-round indoor snow halls are now also open for those desperate for a summer snow fix in largely suburban locations in more than 20 countries worldwide.

NSAA Announces 2011 Sustainable Slopes Grant Winners

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) today named six member ski areas as the recipients of its annual Sustainable Slopes Grant program. Grant recipients include Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, Beaver Valley Ski Club in Ontario, Canada, Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon, Oak Mountain, New York, Stevens Pass Resort, Washington and Stratton Mountain Resort, Vermont. Of the six grants awarded, four are cash grants for innovative sustainability projects. With funding from the grant program, Arapahoe Basin will implement a lighting retrofit of all of its base area buildings, resulting in an estimated reduction of 53,042 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually and a utility savings of $4,509. Mt. Hood Meadows will purchase and install water bottle refilling stations in the ski area’s highest traffic areas to encourage guests to reduce the use of plastic, disposable water bottles. Stratton will purchase and install four solar compactors to reduce the number of trips necessary to perform waste removal at the resort by 80 percent, in turn reducing the resort’s GHG emissions. Stevens Pass will expand on its existing and cutting edge electrical vehicle program by incorporating charging for additional vehicle types including utility runabouts (UTVs) and snowmobiles. These four cash grants were made possible by donations from program sponsors CLIF Bar & Co., a California-based energy bar maker, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
"These grants are a great vehicle for not only implementing new green projects at U.S. ski areas, but also for sharing best practices as they relate to environmental programs both within and outside our industry", says NSAA President Michael Berry.
This year, two in-kind high-efficiency snowmaking system grants provided by Massachusetts-based snowmaking equipment manufacturer Snow Economics/HKD Snowmakers were awarded to Oak Mountain and Beaver Valley. Each ski area will receive five high-efficiency snowmaking guns from Snow Economics/HKD Snowmakers, a total value of $40,000.
"HKD is committed to sustainability and we are thrilled to be a part of the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program again this year. We look forward to working with Oak Mountain and Beaver Valley to support their sustainability goals of greater snowmaking efficiency", says Snow Economics President Charles Santry.
Past winners of the Sustainable Slopes grants included Alta, Utah, Crested Butte, Colo., Grand Targhee, Wyo., Mt. Abram, Maine, and Stevens Pass, Wash. in 2010. Winners in 2009 included Copper Mountain, Colo., Grand Targhee, Wyo., and Vermont’s Sugarbush Resort.
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. It represents 329 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has over 400 supplier members who provide equipment, goods and services to the mountain resort industry.

Eight Ski Areas Take On the 2011 Climate Challenge

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced that eight member ski areas have stepped up to take on the 2011 Climate Challenge. Those ski areas include Utah’s Alta, Canyons and Park City, Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin and Telluride Ski and Golf Resort, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Jiminy Peak, Massachusetts, and Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon. NSAA has added the Climate Challenge component to the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program this year. This newly created competition is designed to give recognition to ski areas that are developing carbon inventories, setting goals for carbon reduction, and measuring success in reducing their overall carbon footprint. With guidance, resorts will set quantitative greenhouse gas reduction targets and timelines, and develop plans for reaching these targets.
"The Climate Challenge is intended to provide a venue for a friendly competition among ski areas that will inspire action and elevate the visibility of the entire industry in its efforts to fight climate change", says NSAA President Michael Berry. "The efforts will fetch robust and measurable results and ultimately take the industry and Sustainable Slopes to the next level in sustainability performance".
The Challenge provides an opportunity for resorts looking to complete a carbon inventory to leverage the technical expertise of the program partners as well as offset the costs associated with such efforts through the modest grants funded by the program sponsors. The program’s partners and sponsors include Brendle Group, Renewable Choice Energy, LeitWind, CLIF Bar and NRDC. As part of the Climate Challenge, resorts will also commit to implementing at least one meaningful and measureable action each year toward their end targets. Results of the Climate Challenge will be highlighted in the NSAA Journal as well as the Sustainable Slopes Annual Report.
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. It represents 329 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has over 400 supplier members who provide equipment, goods and services to the mountain resort industry.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Annecy 2018 To Preserve Beautiful Mountain Environment

Annecy 2018 President Charles Beigbeder has claimed that the French city would offer a best-practice model for staging sustainable major events if they won the right to stage the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Beigbeder is currently leading an Annecy bid delegation at the 9th World Conference on Sports and the Environment here, where he is outlining Annecy's plans for the most sustainable Winter Games in history.
"In France we share the IOC's commitment to the sustainable development of sport and have put this at the heart of our plans for Annecy 2018", said Beigbeder, who took over the Annecy bid early this year following the resignation of chief executive Edgar Grospiron.
"It is our duty to preserve our beautiful mountain environment (...) A Games in Annecy would be harmoniously integrated with the beautiful local landscapes, economy and the stunning mountains we love so dearly, including the world-renowned Mont Blanc", said Beigbeder.
"We aim to implement plans for Annecy 2018 that can be used to benefit Winter Sports and mountain life all over the world. We will offer a best-practice model for staging sustainable major events that can be replicated around the world: a blueprint for the future of our planet's mountains. Annecy 2018 will also create environmental champions and ambassadors inspiring and enabling local government, businesses, residents and visitors to our region to act in more environmentally-responsible ways. To do this we have adopted two key principles: first, a broad view of sustainability embracing social, environmental, economic, cultural, sports and governance themes. Second, a fully joined-up approach involving all key partners including: the city, region, national government, farmers, research agencies, citizen associations the private sector and international bodies.
In addition the Games will serve as a catalyst for the development of important projects that are already underway including an Eco Resort Model, strategic public transport investment and new approaches to sustainable resource management.
Our desire to stage a Games that would benefit the sustainable development of the mountains worldwide is one of main reasons we are working so hard to make this bid a success
" said Annecy 2018 President.
Annecy bid vice-president Jean-Pierre Vidal and French National Olympic Committee President Denis Masseglia are also part of the French delegation in Doha aiming to get Annecy's message across. Preparations are also well underway for the all-important technical presentation to the IOC in Lausanne on 18th May. Annecy is bidding with Munich and PyeongChang, for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

Munich 2018 Shares Vision of Sustainable Games

Munich 2018 Chair, Katarina Witt, the CEO, Bernhard Schwank, and General Director of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), Michael Vesper, are heading a Bid Committee delegation promoting the Bavarian capital's groundbreaking environmental concept at the 9th World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Doha. The conference represents an ideal opportunity for Munich 2018 to share its vision for staging the first ever carbon-neutral Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which will include the unprecedented step of offsetting all international travel of guests.
"We are delighted to be attending this prestigious event. Sustainability has been the cornerstone of our bid concept since the very earliest planning phase. We have dedicated an enormous amount of time and resources to it and we are proud of the ecological roadmap we have created. In many ways, Germany is already a world-leader in environmental management across a range of fields. A Winter Games in Munich would connect the IOC with proven expertise and commitment: Munich 2018 can be a platform for setting new global standards in green mega-event staging across the Olympic Movement", said Katarina Witt.
The delegation's primary focus will be on raising awareness of Munich 2018's 'Flagship 18' initiative - a series of 18 pioneering projects addressing the protection of natural resources; climate protection; sustainable sport and regional development; and education and sustaina ble development. 'Flagship 18' is outlined in Munich 2018's exhaustive 186-page Environmental Concept dossier.
Bernhard Schwank, highlighted some more of the bid's outstanding green attributes: "Our concept is based on the sustainable use of existing world-class venues and infrastructure. 99% of the area for sports venues is already used for sport or will be temporarily converted, meaning minimal construction impact. The renaturisation of the land used temporarily has been legally guaranteed by the Free State of Bavaria; and all existing venues will be renovated to make them at least 30% more energy efficient. Just 1% of the total sports facility space will be converted into new permanent sports venues - that equates to less than the size of a football pitch".
Michael Vesper, who is also Chairman of the Munich 2018 Supervisory Board, commented: "It is very important to the bid that every one of Munich 2018's stakehold ers shares our commitment to protecting and enhancing the natural environment. For example, the DOSB received the IOC Award for Sport and the Environment at the 2009 edition of this event in Vancouver. And BMW Group was this year named the class-leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 6th consecutive year. Together, we are determined to build a greener future for Bavaria, Germany and the entire Olympic Movement".
Crucially, Munich's environmental concept is also allied perfectly with the local, regional and Federal governments'. The city of Munich is committed to producing 100% of its household electricity through renewable sources by 2015 - far outstripping EU targets. The three levels of government have also pledged $145 million towards the non-OCOG budget specifically for launching, implementing and sustaining Munich 2018's ambitious ecological projects. This includes a $36.7 million fund from the Free State of Bavaria tha t will go towards converting the Mountain Media Centre in Garmisch-Partenkirchen into a state-of-the-art Centre for Sustainability.
The trip to Qatar is the first engagement in a critical month for Munich 2018. Preparations are also well underway for the all-important technical presentation to the IOC in Lausanne on 18th May. Munich is bidding with Annecy and PyeongChang, for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.

The Killers Hit Ischgl

The Killers hit the heights with a spectacular Top of the Mountain Concert to mark the end of the ski season at the leading Austrian resort of Ischgl. The American band sang in front of 15,000 fans, many of them skiers and snowboarders enjoying the last of the winter's snow. The band rolled out all their hits in a 90-minute show, kicking off with Human. "We know you could be skiing so we really appreciate you staying here to watch us", frontman Brandon Flowers told the enthusiastic audience.
The members of the band didn't go skiing but they did spend the day before the concert enjoying the mountains. Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning went for a hike with a local guide after saying they wanted to make the most of the fabulous surroundings while they were in the area. The drummer, Ronnie Vannucci Jr and Mark Stoermer took the gondola lift up for a look round.
Before the concert the band joked about the altitude and worried they might be a bit short of breath due to the thin air. At 2,320m this was the highest gig The Killers have played. They have performed in Mexico City but that is a mere 2,240m above sea level. "It's the first time we have played up a mountain which is great", said Ronnie Vannucci Jr. The band though described the setting and scenery at Ischgl as "awesome".
One of the best-selling bands of this century so far – their Day and Age album was in the Top 10 of best albums – The Killers have stacked up a huge list of awards since forming in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2001. In the UK, their single Mr Brightside has been voted the second-best song of the decade and the album Hot Fuss spent a record 173 weeks in the UK Albums Chart. The band have sold more than 5 million albums in the UK and 15 million albums worldwide.
The Killers followed the footsteps of a galaxy of superstars who have entertained skiers and boarders in the Austrian resort's traditional Top of the Mountain gig. 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, Alicia Keys and Gossip.