Monday, April 29, 2013

Sochi 2014 brings 2012-2013 Test Events season to a close

On April 28, 2013 the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee brought the series of 2012-2013 season Test Events to a close with the final matches of the Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. The organizers have now staged 20 international Test Events at the 10 venues that are going to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.
At a press-conference at the "Bolshoy" Ice Dome, the President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, gave his verdict on the Test Events.
The Test Events of the 2012-2013 season set a new record in terms of the number of people involved: with more than 3000 competitors, approximately 5000 volunteers, over 1500 media representatives and roughly 130,000 spectators visiting venues over the last six months.
During the Test Events, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee successfully tested out all of the functions and services at the different venues. The Ticketing Program was put into operation resulting in a total attendance that was almost double the original forecast.
Volunteers from across Russia worked alongside the competition organizers at the Test Events, and were able to feel part of the Sochi 2014 team. Thanks to these events the volunteers have had the opportunity to fully prepare for the 2014 Games and will be able to share their experience with their colleagues from the 26 Sochi 2014 Volunteer Centers throughout Russia.
During the season, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee completed Test Events in 15 Olympic sports disciplines: biathlon, bobsleigh, skeleton, curling, ice hockey, luge, figure skating, short track, speed skating, snowboard, freestyle skiing, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping.
Test Events were also held in four of the five Paralympic sports: biathlon, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing (including para-snowboarding) and wheelchair curling. The next Sochi 2014 Test Event will be the International "Four Nations" Ice Sledge Hockey Tournament, which will take place in Sochi between August 25 and September 2, 2013.
The Test Events were supported by the Sochi 2014 Partners: Coca-Cola, GE, Ingosstrakh and PwC.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, underlined: "The third season of the pre-Olympic test events program, the biggest in the history of the Winter Games, is coming to a close. It comprised over 70 international and national competitions in all of the Olympic and Paralympic sports. We are very pleased with results. The test competitions have passed successfully, which was proved by positive feedback from many athletes, coaches, international federations’ representatives, IOC, IPC and spectators. We have efficiently overcome all the trials and can now say with confidence that we are ready to host the Games even in the most challenging conditions. The test events were organized by a large team, and I would like to thank everyone who took part in hosting them: Organizing Committee, Olympstroy, Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, administrations of the Krasnodar region and the city of Sochi, contractors and of course our numerous volunteers who have become an integral part of our united team".
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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A new funicular for Zermatt

After 32 years the Sunnegga funicular in Zermatt is to undergo a complete refit. By early summer 2013, you will be able to glide up to Sunnegga on new tracks aboard an ultramodern railway. Carrying capacity is to be increased, but there is also a focus on greater comfort for passengers. Entirely new equipment will be installed in the existing tunnel. The necessary structural modifications will be made this summer as well as during the regular autumn break in operations. During an eight-week period in spring 2013, the electromechanical equipment, tracks and rolling stock will be completely replaced. A total investment of about 12 million Swiss francs is planned.
The refurbishment promises a tangible improvement in passenger comfort: the sprung undercarriage and sound-proofed interior will make for a quiet journey. LED lighting will create a pleasant ambience. Passengers will have more room, with the space available for each seat increasing from 0.17 to 0.21m2. The seating capacity of the trains will rise from 170 to 200, which equates to 2570 passengers an hour. To make this possible, the trains will be longer: 30 metres, with three coaches, each of four compartments. The greater length means the floor of the upper compartment will come to a stop level with the station exit. The speed of travel will increase from the present 10m/sec (36km/h) to 12m/sec (43.2km/h). The folding front door will give easier access for goods transport.
The end of the winter season on 22 April 2013 sees the start of eight weeks of intensive work (using a multiple shift system) on all fronts. The aim is to ensure the new funicular is ready for handover and can start operations when the summer season opens on 15 June 2013. Generally speaking, the work will be spread over three seasons, occupying the normal inspection and maintenance periods, in order not to interrupt operations on Sunnegga. Only the spring maintenance period will be extended, by two weeks.
If everything goes according to plan, the opening of the new funicular will take place on Saturday, 15 June 2013! Zermatt Bergbahnen AG is looking forward to the next 30 years and to carrying another 30 million or more passengers on a state-of-the-art funicular.
The Sunnegga area was opened up in 1942 with the installation of a ski and walking lift, which was replaced in 1946 by a chair lift. In the 1970s, with capacity bottlenecks an increasingly frequent problem, it was decided to build a funicular railway. After four years’ construction and a total investment of CHF 26.93 million, it was opened on 28 November 1980. The funicular was recognized far beyond the borders of Switzerland as a genuine innovation in tourist transport systems and soon became a popular attraction. On 3 March 1982, after only 15 months’ operation, the railway was able to celebrate carrying its millionth passenger. By the time of the merger in 2002, the number of passengers had surpassed 17 million. Since then, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG has carried a further 14,129,218 passengers on the Sunnegga funicular, so there is no doubt that it has earned an overhaul! Starting in the winter of 1985/86, the Swiss Federal Office of Transport allowed driverless operation at a reduced speed (5m/sec) and from May 1996 onwards, at the full speed of 10m/sec.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Salomon Freeski TV: The Last Frontier

Salomon Freeski TV 6th season. Episode 6:
Marking America's only unguarded border, the Portland Canal is the 4th longest fjord in the world. At the head of it, lay the towns of Stewart, BC and Hyder, Alaska - and the base for Last Frontier Heliskiing. Cody Townsend & Chris Rubens use a helicopter and their skis to explore one of the last great wilderness areas left on earth.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Salomon Freeski TV: Vuelo

Salomon Freeski TV 6th season. Episode 5:
Alexi Godbout, Vincent Gagnier, and Leo Ahrens travel halfway around the world to feed their hunger for flight on skis. When they arrive, they find the same passion in the eyes of the kids living at the foot of the Chilean Andes.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Salomon Freeski TV: Glasnost Ski

Salomon Freeski TV 6th season. Episode 4:
The Arkhyz Gosdacha sits in a remote river valley on the north side of Russia's Caucasus Mountains. Built as a mountain retreat for the leaders of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, this lavish estate has played significant role in shaping the history of our modern world. Kaj Zackrisson, Mark Abma, and Mike Douglas discover it also serves as a fine stepping-off point to some of the best, undiscovered heliskiing on the planet.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Salomon Freeski TV: The Storm

Salomon Freeski TV 6th season. Episode 3:
We skiers are a strange breed. When most of society is running for cover, we find ourselves rejoicing at the sight of a cold low pressure system circling on the Satellite loop. We yearn for the feeling of cold powder snow blowing in our faces. Inside a swirling maelstrom of snowflakes, we feel most free.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Salomon Freeski TV: Quarter Past Midnight

Salomon Freeski TV 6th season. Episode 2:
Under twinkle of stars and light of moon
spirits roam the world at night
emerging cold and frozen
from shadows left and right
more richly colored than the day
they'll play 'til dawn's first light
set your clocks, the fun begins at quarter past midnight

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Salomon Freeski TV: Tabibito (The Traveller)

Salomon Freeski TV 6th season. Episode 1:
As editor of Bravoski Magazine, Tatsuya Tayagaki's job is to keep his finger on the pulse of Freeskiing in Japan. He travels the country in his home-on-wheels in search of passionate skiers and hope after the nation was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Salomon Freeski TV: Season 6 Teaser

Salomon Freeski TV 6th season. Twelve short films released online bi-weekly. This season the Salomon team chased powder and stories through Russia, Japan, Chile, Austria, France, Sicily, Canada, USA and more in what promises to be the best season yet.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hannibal (Sölden, April 12th)

Next Friday April 12th, the historical spectacle of HANNIBAL will be performed again on the giant open-air stage at Sölden's Rettenbach Glacier. The performance of "HANNIBAL – The Crossing of the Alps" is all about the historical facts of the Second Punic War and its protagonist Hannibal, who is described in a biographical way with all modern theater settings on a really incomparable Nature Arena.
The artistic network directed by lawine torrèn in collaboration with Sölden and Red Bull, has put on stage Hannibal's historical crossing of the Alps. 500 actors will take part in the new production of Carthage's epic attack on Rome by crossing the Alps. Snow cats as elephants. Instead of elephants the spectators will see snow-grooming machines. Skiers, climbers, parachutist act as modern-day warriors. Giant horsemen cross the endless glacier fields on their skidoos while flying acrobats try to hinder the attack. The ultimate showdown features plenty of music, light effects, video films and pyrotechnic shows.
"We are happy to see that the Hannibal project is setting an international benchmark when it comes to connecting culture and tourism", says Jack Falkner from Mountain Railways Sölden. In 2001, together with Dietrich Mateschitz, he had the idea to connect skiing and aviation with classic mythology in contemporary fashion.
The art group Lawine Torrèn stages Hannibal’s life story in the form of a breath-taking glacier spectacle and as a modern parable about leadership, intrigues, world politics, and the striving for power.

The Story

218 BC Hannibal of Carthage crossed the Alps in only 10 days with 60,000 men and 37 elephants. He overcame steep mountain sides, quickly changing weather and avalanches to then defeat the Roman army in today’s Italy. Although Hannibal’s army was superior, they did not conquer the city of Rome.
This hesitation had historic consequences: the Roman Empire struck back and defeated Hannibal in the battle of Zama under the leadership of Scipio. Rome became the leading power in the Mediterranean while Carthage, which was located near today’s Tunis, lost all of its status.
The initiator of the HANNIBAL project Ernst Lorenzi describes the atmosphere up on 3000 m altitude just before the end of the show as follows: "The battle of Zama roars at the tongue of the glacier. Directly in front of the spectators Hannibal is defeated by his Roman counterpart Scipio. While humans and machines head towards culmination in frantic chaos, Hannibal flees the scenery quietly, dangling from a helicopter upside down".
Harald Krassnitzer narrates the story accompanied by an intoxicating soundtrack. From dusk until total darkness cutting edge light design and special effects reinforce the enormous size of the stage. The TV channel Carthage TV reports breaking news from the studio next to the snow pyramid, which alternately represents Carthage and Rome.
"Ten thousands of visitors act as multiplicators of a spectacular show which is designed as a direct experience for all senses and is staged in a landscape which we want to show as untouched as possible. During the day thousands of skiers on the slopes hardly look further than the tips of their skis. During the evening of the show, however, when the mountains’ endless silence streams down from the slopes and floods the place, their excited eyes will look up to the bizarre forms of ice and snow. In today’s media-centred world this natural spectacle is forward-thinking and acts against the loss of nature. A well thought-through adventure, which is staged analogously and in real time", says
director Hubert Lepka.

The Stage
The ultimate Rettenbach Glacier and its bizarre ice formations make a really incomparable Nature Arena. From Sölden you reach the glacier stage along the scenic Glacier Road, embedded in breathtaking 3000m-high mountain peaks. A semicircle with a high-towered palace forms the center of the stage.
Right in front of the spectators' area you find an antique site made of snow and ice. On the right you see Dido's Palace similar to a Maya Pyramid - the Castillo from Chichen Itza was its model.
At a few meters from the audience there is the Campus, an elevated platform with embankments. It serves as playground for the snow-grooming machines, as stage for the dancers and as terrain for motocross bikes. The Karthago.TV broadcasting studio is situated next to the Pyramid. Cameras, spotlights and a seating corner are positioned in front of a luminous, 42m² video wall. 
In the background, close to the giant blue sky brochure, a mountain chain with three summits. One of them is the Venus Hill where the Goddess herself resides - if she does not take action against Carthage by helicopter. 
On the right side, behind Carthage, you see the rock formations of Gibraltar, more exactly Karleskogel peak which is connected to Carthage by a chair lift. This area hosts the Spanish Colony famous for its gold and silver treasures - which are blown up like avalanches.
And in the center of Rettenbach Glacier you can find the floodlit glacier fields displayed as tent city or elephant skin - depending on the position of the numerous Bengal fires and Xenon spotlights.
The audience is standing on the car park next to the mountain restaurant at no less than 2700 meters above sea level. Exactly from here the open-air stage rises another 1300 meters, reaching the ideal height for parachutists and a diameter of 3 km.
This truly outstanding scene is light-flooded by the sun and the moon and the stars, in cooperation with countless floodlights and spotlights boasting some 200,000 watt. A state-of-the-art sound system adds to a memorable theater experience at high altitude: The images of the play are in perfect harmony with imaginative scenes - both in excellent stereo sound!

The Team

Staging: Lawine Torrèn
Text: Joey Wimplinger
Speaker: Harald Krassnitzer
Music composition: Peter Valentin
Choreography: Donna Jewell
Light design: Frank Lischka
Video: Stefan Aglassinger
Head of production: Klaudia Gründl de Keijzer
Idea and director: Hubert Lepka
Construction: Mountain Railways Sölden
Initiator: Ernst Lorenzi

Click here for more information.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rob Katz, Chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts - Voices of Experience

The Voices of Experience speaker series at the Daniels College of Business  brings CEOs and significant leaders into our community to share the lessons learned from their triumphs, mistakes and decisions as they navigated through their leadership careers. Founded in 1908, The Daniels College of Business is the top-ranked business college at the University of Denver, one of the country’s premier private universities and the oldest university in the Rocky Mountain West.

Robert A. Katz was named Chairman of the Board of Directors for Vail Resorts in March 2009, in addition to his position of Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts. Mr. Katz had originally been appointed a Director of the Company in June 1996 and was designated by the Board as Lead Director of the Company in June 2003. In February 2006, Mr. Katz was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts. Prior to joining Vail Resorts, Mr. Katz had been associated with Apollo Management L.P., a private securities and investment management firm, since 1990. Mr. Katz serves on the Board of Directors of the Vail Valley Foundation.

Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. Vail Resorts operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resorthotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Monday, April 1, 2013

FWT ProTips: Jumping with John Rodosky

Learn what is so important about jumping, spinning, flipping, grabbing and basically everything that happens in air time. Sure Freeride World Tour, but freestyle maneuvers are more than allowed.