Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Internet

Over 42 million television viewers and a large online audience reflects the enhanced broadcast offer The UCI’s official media partner Red Bull Media House (RBMH) covered the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano for the fourth year running. In total, 19 live programmes (7 DHI, 6 XCO Men and 6 XCO Women) were broadcast on TV in 19 countries in Europe and North America, as well as in 24 countries in the Middle East and all over Africa. Furthermore, there were worldwide digital broadcasts on Red Bull TV and selected partner platforms.
About 1 million live views were registered on Red Bull TV throughout the season and there were around 1.9 million views by VOD in the first four days after each race. This result means that Red Bull Media House has once more raised the bar by increasing the viewership by 45% compared to 2014. Nearly two million viewers followed the races live on TV and a worldwide cumulative television audience of over 42 million tuned in to watch either the live coverage, highlights or news broadcasts of the 2015 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Social Media:

Instagram uci_cycling: 179,000 followers

Twitter UCI_MTB: 58,600 followers

YouTube: 203,298 followers

Red Bull multi-platform media brings the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to a global audience via RedBull TV. Red Bull Media House is the exclusive broadcaster and distribution partner of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano, producing live broadcasts, highlights shows and various clips and has been in partnership with the UCI since 2012. 

Red Bull UCI World Cup, Vallnord. Live broadcast

GoPro has been the exclusive camera sponsor of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and Championship as well as the UCI BMX World Championships since 2013. Adding an exciting dimension to the series coverage with unique viewpoint of the world’s best mountain bike athletes, GoPro is excited to meet two wheel fans around the globe at the UCI events.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Vallnord, Andorra

After the successful organisation of the MTB and Trial World Championships in 2015, a new edition of the MTB World Cup, the fourth to take place at this venue, comes to Vallnord, Andorra, in the heart of the Pyrenees. The programme will feature the Descent (DHI) and Olympic Cross Country (XCO) competitions, as Andorra hosts the ninth and final event on the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season. Riders will square off in this final showdown on the terrain that saw the world’s best battle it out for the rainbow jersey last September at the 2015 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships.
Some 1,148 riders from 55 countries are expected to take part, with television coverage attracting more than 42 million viewers.
The Mountain Bike UCI World Cup will take place from 1 to 4 September in Vallnord Bike Park La Massana.

The Disciplines:

Cross-country Olympic (XCO) format races are held over undulating circuits (with technical descents, forest roads, rocky paths and obstacles) of 4 to 6 km, which riders must complete several times. The Elite racing times, for men and women, vary from 1h 30 minutes to 1h 45 minutes. An attractive course design that shows the discipline well on television and also spectator friendly is a necessity!

Downhill (DHI) is a race against the clock in which the rider negotiates a succession of fast and technical passages. The participant must demonstrate courage as well as sharp technical and piloting skills in order to battle tree roots, rocks, banked sections, bumps, jumps and other natural obstacles along the way.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup has a long history. 
Over the years, the UCI has modified the format and introduced new initiatives in order to keep up with evolving trends and meet the expectations of athletes and fans.
It was 24 years ago that two American riders, John Tomac and Sara Ballantyne, became the first winners of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. The year was 1991, and the World Cup series comprised nine rounds in seven countries, catering for Cross-country Olympic (XCO) specialists only.
Two years later, in 1993, the downhill (DHI) format joined the programme.
1998 was the year that the dual slalom – the forerunner of four-cross – made its debut in the World Cup. Dual slalom involved knock-out heats with two riders racing on parallel courses, and it featured in the World Cup for four years.
After four years on the programme, in 2001, the dual slalom was replaced by fourcross (4X) in which four riders race against each other on a single course.
Cross-country Eliminator was the latest mountain bike format to join the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from 2012 to 2014. This spectacular format for XCO specialists sees four competitors race head-to-head over a lap of around a kilometre. Introduced to the World Cup with three events in 2012, six Eliminator rounds appeared in 2013 and 2014.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The UTMB 2016 Is Over!

The 2016 UTMB® offered 7500 registered runners over the four scheduled races a suffocating edition in every sense of the word. The heat weave that started on Monday gave way to fierce thunderstorms Saturday evening, creating a complicated situation for the large field of runners still out in the mountains.
"I am certain that everyone will take away great memories from this edition: a fantastic natural mountain setting, a shared passion, commitment, pleasure and pain, laughter and tears, celebration, as well as a unique spirit and shared values between the organizing team, all participating townships, the volunteers, the extraordinary athletes, our partners, the media, and of course the spectators" said Antti Karava, Marketing and Communications director for Columbia Sporstwear International.

The Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB)

The UTMB® offered a both incredible and uncertain outcome, both for the men and women. The 41- year-old Ludovic Pommeret ran an epic race to achieve one of his most resounding wins. The Northern French Alpine native went from near disaster –at midnight on Saturday, he was forced to walk from Les Contamines to Les Chapieux due to head and stomach aches, teetering somewhere around 50th place – to incredible success when several hours later, he ran his now "resuscitated" body past 49 people to take the lead. Contrary to deep field of favorites, such as Alberto Hernando (ESP), Miguel Heras (ESP), Ryan Sandes (RSA), Jason Schlarb (USA), Thomas Lorblanchet (FRA), Tofol Castanyer (ESP), Diego Pazos (SUI), and Didrik Hermansen (NOR), all who dropped out (as with 42% of all participants by 09:00 this morning), Ludovic Pommeret was able to recover his strength kilometer after kilometer. He joined, just 30km from the finish, American Zach Miller, who had been in the lead since the start, as well as Gediminas Grinius (LIT), before "leaving them in the dust" on the climb to Catogne. He expanded his lead on the climb to the Tête aux Vents (km 158), in temperatures rising to over 30°C, before running to victory in 22 hours in front of Gediminas and American Tim Tollofson, who finished the race strong. The Americans placed three runners in the top 6, making the United States the standout country for this edition.

The women's race was equally astounding and uncertain to the very end. Caroline Chaverot (FRA) and Andrea Huser (SUI) battled for first for more than 25 hours. The two favorites were never more than 20 minutes apart during the 170km race, with Caroline in the lead from start to finish. Her lead dropped to 7 minutes at La Forclaz (km 147), and then to 4 minutes soon thereafter. Everyone feared a repeat of 2015 for Caroline Chaverot (she dropped out in Vallorcine after having led the entire race). However, on the climbs to Catogne (km 147) and to the Tête aux Vents, Caroline built a more comfortable 10 to 12 minute lead to finish victorious in 25hrs and 15min, 7 minutes head of the 45-year-old Swiss nurse. "Just like last year, I had cramps, but this time around I was able to go all the way," explains Caroline Chaverot. "This victory is especially sweet, since it was a constant battle with Andrea. It's not like I had a two-hour lead. At one moment I almost gave up on winning when she was on the verge of catching up, thinking that 2nd place wouldn't be so bad. I had to really dig deeper than ever before to ensure the win," concludes the woman who succeeds Nathalie Mauclair and Karine Herry among the victorious French women of the UTMB®. While a downpour ravaged the course at the beginning of the evening, a similar battle played out for 3rd place between Spaniard Uxue Fraile and Frenchwoman Juliette Blanchet. The latter could not keep up during the last twenty kilometers, ceding the third spot on the podium to the Spaniard (27hrs 10min).


1st: Ludovic POMMERET- FR – 22:00:02 
2nd: Gediminas GRINIUS- LTU - 22:26:05 
3rd: Tim TOLLEFSON- USA - 22:30:28 


1st: Caroline CHAVEROT- FRA - 25:15:40 
2nd: Andrea HUSER- SUI - 25:22:56 
3rd: Uxue FRAILE AZPEITIA- ESP - 27:10:22 

Number at the start: 2555 including 258 women (10.10% of participants) 
Number of finishers: 786 (30.76% of participants) including 59 women (7.51% of all finishers) (22.87% finishing rate for the women) 
Total number of abandons: 1079 (42.23% of participants)

On the CCC®, 1386 finishers succeeded in crossing the finish line (65% of all participants). Michel Lanne was the fastest among them, winning this year's edition in 12hrs and 10min. For his first participation in a UTMB® event, the mountain rescue professional from Annecy's PGHM fulfilled one of his longtime dreams. Once again, the top spot was up in the air until the very end, with a group of three runners hot on the Frenchman's tails: the 22-year-old Ruy Ueda from Japan, Italian veteran Giuliano Cavallo, and Frenchman Clément Molliet. The three men finished in that order at Triangle de l'Amitié square in Chamonix; only 15 minutes separated first from fourth place. For the women, Scandinavia showcased a new sensation and proved the incredible strength of the Nordic trail-running field by placing Mimmi Kotka on the podium's highest step. Brit Jo Meek and Spaniard Teresa Nimes Perez fought hard for the last two spots on the podium.

1st: Pau CAPELL - ESP - 14:45:44 
2nd: Yeray DURAN LOPEZ - ESP - 15:14:07 
3rd: Franco COLLE - ITA - 15:32:45 

1st: Delphine AVENIER - FRA - 18:46:24 
2nd: Meredith EDWARDS - USA - 18:59:26 
3rd: Christelle BARD - FRA - 19:29:06
Number at the start: 1794 including 174 women (9.70% of participants) 
Number of finishers: 1060 (59.09% of participants) including 111 women (10.47% of all finishers) (63.79% finishing rate for the women) 
Total number of abandons: 734 (40.91% of participants)

An overheated TDS® Under sunny blue skies and extremely warm temps, Spaniard Pau Capell, the current leader on the l’Ultra-Trail® World Tour, won the race in 14:45, almost a half an hour in front of fellow Iberian Yeray Duran and Italian Franco Colle. The first Frenchman, Ugo Ferrari, finished just off the podium in 4th place. For the women, local runner Delphine Avenier took first place in front of American Meredith Edwards and Christelle Bard (FRA). 


1st: Michel LANNE - FRA - 12:10:04 
2nd: Ruy UEDA - JPN - 12:15:20 
3rd: Giuliano CAVALLO - ITA - 12:19:21 


1st: Mimmi KOTKA - SWE- 13:42:46 
2nd: Jo MEEK - GBR - 14:09:34
3rd: Teresa NIMES PEREZ - FRA - 14:14:01 

Number of participants: 2129 including 319 women (14.98% of participants) 
Number of finishers: 1386 (65.10% of finishers) including 215 women (15.51% of all finishers) (67.40% finishing rate for the women) 
Total number of abandons: 741 (34.81% of all participants)

And number four for Xavier Xavier Thévenard (FR) decided to enter the only race missing from his list of wins in Chamonix. The OCC is now his after finishing first in 05:28:37 on the 55km course. He won with a fifteen minute lead over Moroccan Rachid El Morabity, four-time Marathon des Sables, and Thibaut Baronian (FR).


1st: Xavier THEVENARD - FRA - 05:28:37 
2nd: Rachid EL MORABITY - MAR - 05:43:23 
3rd: Thibaut BARONIAN - FRA - 05:43:48 


1st: Mercedes ARCOS ZAFRA - ESP - 06:54:13 
2nd: Lara CRIVELLI - ITA - 07:34:06 
3rd: Sonia LOCATELLI - ITA - 07:34:19 

Number at the start: 1414 including 356 women (25.18% of participants)
Number of finishers: 1232 (87.13% of participants) including 317 women (25.73% of all finishers) (89.04% finishing rate for the women) 
Total number of abandons: 182 (12.87% of all participants)

Friday, August 26, 2016

UTMB 2016 Race Kicks Off Today

Today, Friday 26th at 18:00 in the Place du Triangle de l'Amitié of Chamonix a new edition of the UTMB will start.
The Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) is one of the greatest European Mountain Trail Races. The international race takes place in one of the most incredible landscapes on the world. A breathtaking scenery of seven valleys, 71 glaciers and 400 summits like the Mont Blanc, the Dent du Géant and the rock face of the Grandes Jorasses. The athletes cover a distance of 168 km and 9,600 of positive altitude change along the famous GR TMB, within 46 hours, at an altitude ranging between 1012 m and 2537 m., crossing six passes over 2000 metres high. They will pass through 3 countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. The sporting and human achievement is remarkable: 168 km is the distance between Paris and Auxerre by the motorway; it is also the distance of four marathons back to back. The positive height gain is equivalent to twice the ascension of Everest from base camp.
  • 3 countries: France, Italy and Switzerland
  • 3 alpine regions: The 2 Savoie, The Aosta Valley andValais
  • 19 communes: Chamonix Mont-Blanc (FR), Les Houches (FR), Saint-Gervais (FR), Les Contamines-Montjoie (FR), Servoz (FR), Hauteluce (FR), Beaufort (FR), Bourg-Saint-Maurice (FR), Séez (FR), La Thuile (IT), Pré-Saint-Didier (IT), Morgex (IT), Courmayeur Mont-Blanc (IT), Orsières (CH), La Fouly et Champex-Lac, Trient (CH), Vallorcine (FR), Finhaut (CH), Salvan (CH), Martigny-Combe (CH)
  • 2300 runners (86 countries)
  • Maximum race time: 46 hours
  • Estimated time for the first finishers is 20 hours
  • Limited to runners who have a minimum of 9 qualification points
You can Follow all the runners live on the UTMB website

UTMB 2016 route preview por UltraTrailMontBlanc

Looking for Inspiration: The Business of Creating Memories III

We are in the Business of Creating Memories...

UTMB 2016: The Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix Race Kicks Off This Morning

Today at 09:00 the fourth wave of ultra trail runners will depart from Courmayer on the CCC race,
The UTMB® is a trail-running event for trail-runners from all over the world. Each year, the elite of the trail-running world find themselves in Chamonix to participate in one of the event's 5 races.
You can Follow all the runners live on the UTMB website

Created in 2006, it has become as popular as its big sister. The CCC is considered by many runners to be "the little one" nevertheless it too, constitutes one of the most difficult challenges in ultra - trail.
A semi-tour of Mont-Blanc, starting from Courmayeur with 101km, 6,100 metres of positive height gain and in semi-autonomy.
Starting in the centre of Courmayeur Friday August 26th at 9:00.
  • 1900 runners
  • Maximun race time: 26:30 hours
  • Estimated time for the first finishers is12 hours
  • Limited to runners who have a minimum 3 qualification points.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Looking for Inspiration: The Business of Creating Memories II

We are in the Business of Creating Memories...

An amazing video sharing a families experience heli-skiing together at CMH Heli-Skiing.

UTMB 2016: The Orsières-Champex-Chamonix Race Kicks Off This Morning

Today at 08:15 the third wave of ultra trail runners will depart from Orsières Place Centrale,
The UTMB® is a trail-running event for trail-runners from all over the world. Each year, the elite of the trail-running world find themselves in Chamonix to participate in one of the event's 5 races.
You can Follow all the runners live on the UTMB website

The Orsières-Champex-Chamonix (OCC)

The new race was launched in 2014. Tthis race will be perfect for fans of medium distances (in the category Trail Ultra Medium between 42km and 69km). Therefore, for the less "ultra" runners wishing to get into the event of the UTMB® will find a race suitable for them to start the adventure. Orsières will finally experiment the rhythm of a start of a race desired for several years.
The race will start from Orsières located southwest of the canton in the Val d’Entremont. This valley offers unique landscapes: ultimate peaks on the eastern flanks of the Mont Blanc drawing the franco-swiss frontier, hanging glaciers on polished rocks, fiery torrents… The layout of the OCC goes through that nature, in a charming atmosphere before reaching Champex and the last part just as magical at the UTMB® or the CCC®.
Starting from Orsières Place Centrale on Thursday August 25th  at 8:15.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Looking for Inspiration: The Business of Creating Memories

We are in the Business of Creating Memories...

A memorable trip is greater than the sum of its parts – it’s a feeling you’re left with when you go home; a residual awe, a lingering smile. A trip into these mountains though, that feeling lasts. It’s easy to know about our number one rankings, our legendary terrain, our reliably deep snow and our world record-breaking gondola but those take a back seat to how it actually feels to be here. Which is, truthfully, a bit hard to grasp from a YouTube video. What we can tell you, is that it’s a mountain town with an undisputed vibe and an Olympic legacy. It’s a pedestrian village with ski-in/ski-out lodging. It’s world-famous après. Five star dining. Spas. Shopping. Nightlife. And it is, of course, the 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers that make the two largest, #1 ranked, side-by-side ski mountains in North America. But the big picture isn’t just about those things. It’s about the feeling you have when you’re here, and when you leave.

UTMB 2016: Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie Race Kicks Off This Morning

Today at 06:00 the second wave of ultra trail runners will depart from Courmayer on the TDS race,
The UTMB® is a trail-running event for trail-runners from all over the world. Each year, the elite of the trail-running world find themselves in Chamonix to participate in one of the event's 5 races.
You can Follow all the runners live on the UTMB website

Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS)

Wilder and more technical than the UTMB and the CCC, in the heart of the Aosta valley and the two Savoie, this demanding race offers a new vision of the tour of Mont Blanc and the Beaufortain country. The route will allow the discovery of the col de la Youlaz (2,661m) above Courmayeur, the "passage du Curé" or the sublime view of the massif of Mont Blanc from the col de la Gitte in the heart of Beaufortain.
A semi-tour of Mont-Blanc starting from Courmayeur with 119km, 7,250 metres of positive height gain and in semi-autonomy.
Starting from the centre of Courmayeur on Wednesday August 24th at 06:00.
  • 1600 runners
  • Maximum race time : 33 hours
  • Estimated time for the first finishers is 14 hours
  • Limited to runners who have a minimum of 3 qualification points

Monday, August 22, 2016

Léo Taillefer's Winning Line of the 2016 GoPro Line of the Winter Contest

Léo Taillefer wins GoPro's Line of the Winter contest for an unprecedented second year in a row and takes home $20,000!
Watch as GoPro shows up unexpected in Léo's hometown to surprise him with the big news.
After over 300 entries, Léo won 3 out of the 4 months of the contest and this years king of Line of the Winter. His unique creativity and ability to push the limits each month separated himself from the rest and secured another unprecedented win.
Shot 100% on the HERO4 camera from



The UTMB First Race Kicks Off This Morning

UTMB week in Chamonix kicks off today. This morning at 09:00 the first wave of ultra trail runners will depart from Chamonix on the PTL race, an epic multi-day race of 290km - the longest in the UTMB event.
The UTMB® is a trail-running event for trail-runners from all over the world. Each year, the elite of the trail-running world find themselves in Chamonix to participate in one of the event's 5 races.
You can Follow all the runners live on the UTMB website

A hallucinatory and non competitive event! A "grand" tour of Mont Blanc adding high passes, often higher than 2,500 metres and with some delicate passages. If you like solitude, solidarity and total adventure, that is the reason for trying it once.
This ultra-endurance pedestrian event leads participants on a large tour of Mont-Blanc,taking high routes, without way-markers on the ground, which necessitates the sense of orientation on and off paths.
Its conception is original and its unusual specificities distinguish it from other races. The spirit of the  PTL® depends upon mental engagement, an adventurous team spirit as well as sporting values and also those of the mountains.
  • An event without final positions and in complete autonomy, to be realised by teams of 3 (or 2) inseparable runners. The total number of runners will be limited to 300.
  • The route is different each year, not way marked but simply mapped (GPS waypoints are provided). So as to progress in security competitors must be able to master navigation with a GPS and also have sufficient knowledge in map reading, the use of a compass and of an altimeter.
  • Around 300km and 28,000 metres of positive height gain
  • Maximum authorized time: 141 hours
  • Start from Chamonix Monday August 22nd at 9:00

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Fourth Phase. Official Trailer

From the creators of The Art of FLIGHT, Red Bull Media House presents The Fourth Phase, a snowboarding epic starring iconic athlete Travis Rice.
While exploring the untapped backcountry of his native Wyoming, Rice plots a 16,000 mile course to follow the hydrological cycle around the north Pacific, where snow and ice create dreamlike landscapes on the towering mountains above.
"The mechanics of how our winters work have always been intriguing to me”, said Rice. “Creating ‘The Fourth Phase’ brought an incredible group of snowboarders together with the hardest working, most committed production crew in the game, to witness first-hand the many moods of the North Pacific storm engine. The journey was created under the premise that to know something and to truly understand something - you have to become it".
We are taking the audience on a real journey with all its ups and downs", said Jon „JK“ Klaczkiewicz , the film’s director. "At the film’s core, we are documenting incredible snowboard action in remote corners of the earth, but we are also telling an emotional human story".
From the Japanese Alps to the volcanoes of Russia, and a spectacularly remote area of Alaska, Rice is joined by several of snowboarding’s most innovative riders including Mark Landvik, Eric Jackson, Bryan Iguchi, Pat Moore, Mikkel Bang, Jeremy Jones, Victor de Le Rue, Ben Ferguson, and more.
Scored by Kishi Bashi, The Fourth Phase carves a fresh path by using an artistic blend of action, story and cinematography to bring this stunning 4K feature to life. This film is for anyone fascinated by the possibilities of adventure, of the natural world – of life.
The highly anticipated film premieres globally on October 2 on Red Bull TV.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Looking for Inspiration: Lessons To Be Learned From an Elvis Song

Yesterday marks the 39th anniversary of the death of legendary musician Elvis Presley at the young age of just 42.
"A Little Less Conversation" is a song written by Mac Davis and Billy Strange originally performed by Elvis Presley for the 1968 film Live a Little, Love a Little. The song became a minor hit in the United States when released as a single with "Almost in Love".
But in 2002 a remix by Dutch musician Tom Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL, of a later re-recording of the song by Presley became a worldwide hit, topping the singles charts in nine countries and was awarded certifications in ten countries by 2003. In the United States, the song peaked at 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart, the first Hot 100 hit for Presley since 1981, and extending his list of charted singles into the 21st century. 

We are in the eye of the storm of massive change and Tourism Destinations are facing big changes in their business environment, and they often fail to respond effectively.
How to evolve a strategy for coping with unanticipated events, changes, challenges and crisis? 
To survive, organisations have to embrace change. But the fundamental problem with that is that people want things to stay exactly as they were. Confronted with a disruption in business conditions, many destinations are desperate to find the key to adapt theirselves to the new playground. Frequently, the problem for them is not an inability to take action but an inability to take appropriate action.
One of the most common problems is a condition that professor Donald Sull called active inertia. "Inertia is usually associated with inaction—picture a billiard ball at rest on a table—but physicists also use the term to describe a moving object’s tendency to persist in its current trajectory. Active inertia is an organization’s tendency to follow established patterns of behaviour—even in response to dramatic environmental shifts. Stuck in the modes of thinking and working that brought success in the past, market leaders simply accelerate all their tried-and-true activities".
We are in a time of extreme turbulence accompanied by rapid evolutionary change. You must adjust and adapt your Marketing Plan to keep up with a changing marketplace. Look for ways to adapt your destination, keeping your values and maintaining your differences with the competitors. To do that you must avoid the tendency to follow the current because it is what others do. 
Update, and change your destination. Determine how your destination will appeal more to your target customer. But remember, "When change makes us better, it’s because we have learned how to turn a challenging situation to our own advantage, not merely because change happens", said Stan Goldberg.
Keep the good, change the bad, and rejuvenate your destination to be the one customers are looking for.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

GoPro Ski: Chasing El Niño with Chris Benchetler. Ep. 4: "The Sierra Trifecta"

X Games Gold Medalist, Jossi Wells, steps out of the park and into the Mammoth backcountry with Chris Benchetler for the "The Sierra Trifecta," skiing, climbing and biking - all in one day.
In this final episode of Chasing El Niño, Chris and his ski crew hike 6,000 vertical feet through rock fields to find the last of this season's snow in the Sierras.
From deep powder in January to spring slush in May, Chris documented a skier's dream winter by chasing the best storms around North America.

Monday, August 15, 2016

GoPro Ski: Chasing El Niño with Chris Benchetler. Ep. 3: "The Meltdown"

A wave of warm weather disrupts Chris Benchetler's plans for a heli-skiing trip in British Columbia for Episode 3. Taking advantage of the world class warm-weather skiing offered in the Sierra Nevada, Chris invites long-time friends, Bryan Fox and Scotty Smith, to a backcountry camping adventure.
Benchetler's crew and their love for the mountains shines through in this episode as they get creative building jumps over their campsite - making the most of the conditions. Skiing is all about having fun with your friends and exploring the world, as perfectly captured in this episode.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

GoPro Ski: Chasing El Niño with Chris Benchetler. Ep. 2: "It's Always Cloudy in British Columbia"

In the second episode of Chasing El Niño with Chris Benchetler, Chris heads north to British Columbia in search for powder on Canada's steeper, larger terrain. Joined by Canadian professional skier, Nick McNutt, the crew experiences a long spell of ultra wet snow and zero visibility. After weeks and weeks searching for the right conditions, it seems like the idea of riding champagne powder underneath a beaming sun is nothing but a dream.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

GoPro Ski: Chasing El Niño with Chris Benchetler. Ep. 1: "California’s Comeback"

Follow Chris Benchetler in his new GoPro Series - Chasing El Niño - as he searches for the best snow conditions up and down the West Coast of USA and Canada during the 2015-2016 snow season.
In Episode 1 "California's Comeback" - Chris skis his home mountain, Mammoth Mountain, and the surrounding backcountry. Together with his filmer, Matt Cook, they aim to show backcountry skiing in a way that hasn’t been seen before, exploring areas of the Sierra Nevada that have been inaccessible for years due to the severe drought.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Vancouver 2010 Made Whistler a "Better Place"

The Resort Municipality of Whistler is located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia.
For the 2010 Winter Games, Whistler hosted Olympic and Paralympic Alpine skiing, Cross-country skiing and Biathlon, as well as Olympic Nordic combined, Ski jumping, Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton.
Whistler Blackcomb, the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, is North America’s premier four season mountain resort, Whistler and Blackcomb are two side-by-side mountains which combined offer over 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, three glaciers, receives on average over 1,174 centimetres (462 inches) of snow annually, and one of the longest ski seasons in North America.
The Canadian resort used the Winter Games as a catalyst to achieve its long-term development goals in the local community, according to former Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed.
Melamed, who was Mayor of Whistler from 2005 to 2011, played a key role during preparations for the Games and says that the legacies that could be gained from the event were always at the forefront of organisers’ minds.
"We started with a clear sense of what the community wanted and we used the Games as a catalyst to take us there", he explains. "It’s about doing your homework before the Games and having a long-term view. What is your vision and what is it you want to get out of the Games, beyond just hosting the events?".
Those community goals included creating a new social space in the centre of the village as a legacy of the Live Site that was built to host concerts and medal ceremonies during the Games.
"The celebration site that was built in Whistler was always intended to become a special place in the village, which in the past had been an unused site", explains Melamed. "That’s now been converted into the Olympic Plaza, and it’s become a fantastic place, not just to celebrate 2010, but also to bring Whistler into the present with a new cultural hub that provides a family and play area".
According to Melamed, the plaza has also provided economic benefits by hosting concerts during the summer and helping to attract other major events to the area, such as Ironman Triathlon Series.
Whistler also used the Games to provide low-cost housing to local residents by converting the Athletes Village, which housed approximately 2,400 athletes and officials during Vancouver 2010, into a new neighbourhood, called Cheakamus Crossing.
"It was intentionally designed so that it would provide about 85% local resident housing at below market prices", explains Melamed. "It’s become a fantastic new neighbourhood for Whistler and a place where local residents can buy a property and actually call Whistler ‘home’".
Melamed also praises the transport legacies of the Games, which include increased use of public transit systems and the new Sea-to-Sky highway, linking Whistler to Vancouver. The $600 million investment to improve the safety, reliability and capacity of the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler will be publicised for providing visitors with a faster, easier and more enjoyable journey to and from the resort than previously.
"Some people would say that has been the most important legacy and there’s no question it has made the trip easier and even more breath-taking – it’s a beautiful drive", says Melamed. "The safety of the highway has also vastly improved, which has been a big plus, and it’s made the drive shorter".
Four years on from hosting the Games, Melamed says that Whistler’s tourism is also now witnessing a post-Olympic boost.
"We’re now experiencing the lift from the global recognition that the Games brought Whistler", he explains. "We anticipated that there might be a little bit of a delay, but visitor numbers are now up. People got to see Whistler – and the beautiful scenery and visuals that were beamed around the world – and it may have taken them a couple of years to put it on their travel plan, but now they’re starting to come in increased numbers".
A study made after the celebration of the 2010 Winter Games in Whistler show that the resort's role as Host Mountain Resort has led to significant gains in international awareness according to the Canadian resort, "...a critical element in growing visitation over the coming years".
Whistler calculates that approximately 3.5 billion people around the world watching the Games on their televisions and online.
Based on a study conducted by Tourism Whistler in partnership with Tourism British Columbia, awareness of Whistler increased significantly in the key overseas markets of United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. The study measured awareness of Whistler before and after the 2010 Winter Games (November 2009, January 2010 and March 2010).
Increases by market: United Kingdom awareness of Whistler increased from 32 per cent to 45 percent, in Germany awareness increased from 19 per cent to 42 per cent and in Australia, already the most aware with 48 per cent of Australians knowing about Whistler before the Games, 62 per cent were aware afterwards.

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s media and public relations activities around the Games also generated about CAD 1 billion in ‘Advertising Value Equivalency’ in 2010, while global audiences were reached 12 billion times in 2010 by Olympic coverage with Canadian tourism messages.
Indeed, FutureBrand ranked Canada as the number one country brand in 2010, crediting the positive effects of hosting the Games, and noting CTC’s Olympic Games tourism strategy and its strong tourism brand as a key influence.

Despite the many visible benefits that Vancouver 2010 has brought to Whistler, Melamed believes that the most significant legacy is an intangible one.
"Before the Games, I didn’t really understand what the Games could bring or what they could mean to a town such as Whistler or even a country like Canada", he says. "But the magic we felt in Whistler, and the national pride and the sense of achievement we drew from everything was one of the most important things to come out of the Games (...) You can talk about the bricks and mortar legacies, or the economic benefits, but for me this national pride that erupted as a result of the Games is something that you can’t really put a price on".

Vancouver 2010 Legacy Lives On

More than four years after it hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver is still benefitting from being an Olympic city thanks to the legacy plans that were put in place by the Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee (VANOC), local stakeholders, and with the support of the IOC.

Vancouver 2010
12th February - 28th February
NOCs: 82.

Athletes: 2566 (1522 men, 1044 women)
Sports: 7
Events: 86. Alpine skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding, Nordic combined, Cross-country skiing, Ski jumping, Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Skeleton, Luge, Ice hockey, Curling, Figure skating, Short Track Speed Skating and Speed Skating.

The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games, were a major international multi-sport event held from February 12 to February 28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the suburbs of Richmond, West Vancouver and the University Endowment Lands, and in the resort town of Whistler.The city of Vancouver
When Vancouverites returned from the Squaw Valley Olympic Winter Games in 1960 they only had one thought in mind: Why not host the Winter Games in Vancouver?. All they needed was a mountain and they chose Whistler Mountain – a mining claim at Mile 40 on the Pacific Great Eastern Railway. Based on the potential they saw, the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association (GODA) was formed and in 1961 an audacious bid was put forward for Whistler to be the Canadian nominee for the 1968 Olympic Winter Games. A long journey to host the Winter Olympic Games just started. After six attempts Vancouver was elected host city of the XXI Olympic Winter Games in 2010 at the 115th IOC Session in Prague on 2 July 2003.
The 2010 Winter Olympics were the third Olympics hosted by Canada and the first by the province of British Columbia. Previously, Canada hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.

Venues (source: 2010 Winter Olympics official report):

The venues for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games stretched over a 120-kilometre zone from Richmond, through downtown Vancouver and north to the mountain resort of Whistler.
The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games events in Vancouver included curling, figure skating, ice hockey, sledge hockey, short-track speed skating and wheelchair curling.
Speed skating took place in Richmond, while the snowboard and freestyle skiing events were hosted at Cypress Mountain in the District of West Vancouver. The Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, were staged indoors at BC Place in Vancouver city centre.
For the 2010 Winter Games, Whistler hosted Olympic and Paralympic Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and biathlon, as well as Olympic Nordic combined, ski jumping, bobsleigh, luge and skeleton. Olympic and Paralympic Villages and media facilities were located in Vancouver and Whistler.
In its 2002 evaluation of Vancouver's bid during the bidding process for the 2010 Games, the Evaluation Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) highlighted the number and quality of existing competition and training facilities as one of the bid's strengths. Of the competition venues that the bid proposed for use during the Games, six required new construction, with the remainder already built in Vancouver and Whistler.

  • Canada Hockey Place (Vancouver). Ice hockey.
  • Cypress Mountain (West Vancouver). Freestyle skiing, Snowboarding.
  • Pacific Coliseum (Vancouver). Figure skating, short track speed skating.
  • Richmond Olympic Oval (Richmond). Speed skating.
  • UBC Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre (University Endowment Lands, UBC). Ice hockey.
  • Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre (Vancouver). Curling.
  • Whistler Creekside (Whistler). Alpine skiing.
  • Whistler Olympic Park (Whistler). Biathlon, Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, Ski jumping.
  • Whistler Sliding Centre (Whistler). Bobsleigh, Luge, Skeleton.
  • BC Place Stadium (Vancouver). Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
  • Main Media Centre (Vancouver). Media centre.
  • Vancouver Olympic Village. Athlete accommodation.
  • Whistler Media Centre (Whistler). Media centre.
  • Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Village. Athlete accommodation.
  • Whistler Olympic Celebration Plaza. Ceremonies and Presentations.

From new sporting venues and infrastructure improvements to environmental and economic benefits, the city used the Winter Games as a catalyst to create a number of lasting legacies.
Perhaps the most evident is the sporting legacy that the Games provided. As well as the construction of new facilities – such as the Richmond Olympic Oval – Vancouver 2010 also helped get more young people involved in sport, thanks, in part, to the successful performance of the Canadian Olympic team.
"After the Games, kids were on their way to skating rinks the next day and signing up for curling and skiing and ski jumping, and this is what the Olympics can do", said John Furlong, VANOC CEO, in an interview in February 2011. "Ultimately you hope that, as a result of the Games, every child will get a chance to experience sports".
Thanks to the Games, numerous recreational and high performance sports programmes were created for young people through the not-for-profit organisation 2010 Legacies Now, which has worked with more than 2,000 organisations in the host region to ensure this legacy lives on. An Aboriginal Youth Sports Legacy Fund was also created, supporting high school students, elite athletes and community groups.
The Richmond Olympic Oval skating track, meanwhile, has since been transformed into a community facility that includes an indoor track, two ice rinks, badminton courts, volleyball courts and a 2,300-square-foot fitness centre.
Other venues have also been adapted to further benefit the local community following the Games. These include the Vancouver Olympic Centre – used for curling during the Games – which is part of a complex that includes a community centre, an ice rink, a curling club, a pre-school, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
Vancouver’s transport infrastructure also enjoyed a boost as a result of the Games, with the city’s transit agency launching an ambitious expansion plan before the Games that included 48 new SkyTrain cars, a new SeaBus and 180 diesel-electric hybrid buses. The new Canada Line, built in time for the Games, now speeds travellers between Vancouver’s airport and downtown areas, while improvements to the Sea-to-Sky highway have also made travel from Vancouver to Whistler safer and faster.
Thanks to the city’s Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Programme, Vancouver’s cultural scene has also enjoyed a post-Games boost, thanks to the commissioning of a collection of light-based artworks and sculptural installations at locations around the city.
Visitors to the city can also still visit the Olympic cauldron next to the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is lit on special occasions to provide yet another reminder of the city’s Olympic experience.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How Big is Vail Resorts?

Yesterday we posted about how Vail Resorts, Inc. and Whistler Blackcomb Holdings have entered into a strategic business combination joining Whistler Blackcomb with Vail Resorts. Under the transaction, Vail Resorts would acquire 100 percent of the stock of Whistler Blackcomb.
The acquisition shocked the ski industry and raised a lot of questions. In this post we try to answer one of them: How Big is Vail Resorts?

Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN) located in Broomfield, Colorado.
Vail Resorts was founded as Vail Associates Ltd. by Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton in the early 1960s. Vail’s opening day was set for December 15, 1962.
In 1971, the company spent $4.4 million to purchase 2,200 acres of land ten miles down the road, which would later become the site of its Beaver Creek resort.In late 1976, Harry Bass was able to gain controlling interest in Vail Associates for $13 million.
In the summer of 1985, Vail Associates was purchased for $115 million by George Gillett, head of Gillett Holdings Inc. The holding company filed for bankruptcy on June 25, 1991, and its eventual reorganization transferred the ownership of Vail Associates to Apollo Advisors, L.P. of New York, a company headed by Leon Black.
In 1996, Vail Associates signed a deal with Ralcorp Holdings, Inc., purchasing nearby Breckenridge and Keystone resorts and establishing Vail Resorts, Inc.
In February 1997, Vail Resorts became the first North American ski company to go public. The initial public offering raised $213 million. Investor Ronald Baron, Ralcorp Holdings, and Apollo Advisors together controlled about 75 percent of the company's stock.
In 2004, as a result of the distribution of shares from Apollo Ski Partners, the Shareholder Agreement between Apollo Ski Partners, Ralcorp Holdings and the Company is being terminated.
Vail Resorts, Inc. is now the leading global mountain resort operator. The Company’s subsidiaries operate nine world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc.
Vail Resorts own and operate more than 200 retail outlets, such as Helly Hansen, Patagonia, SmartWool, The North Face and our first very own branded retail store, Epic Mountain Gear, in Frisco, 
Colorado.Colorado Mountain Express (CME) is the transportation subsidiary of Vail Resorts. The Company owns and manage a fleet of 71 Mercedes Sprinter vehicles.In 2015-2016.
Vail Resorts connected Park City Mountain Resort with the former Canyons Resort to unveil the largest ski resort in the United States (Park City) with 7,300 acres of skiing and riding.

Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, recently went on CNBC. When asked what's next after the acquisition of Perisher in Australia, Rob Katz stated, "We're absolutely looking at Japan, looking at other parts of Asia. We're also looking at other parts of North America and Europe. We really see the opportunity to create a global footprint for our company".

Vail Resorts Owned Mountain Resorts:

Vail Mountain, Colorado
Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado
Keystone Resort, Colorado
Park City Ski Area, Utah
Heavenly Mountain Resort, California/Nevada
Kirkwood Mountain Resort, California
Northstar-at-Tahoe, California. Resort is operated under long-term agreement by Vail Resorts, Inc. Resort is owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties.

Afton Alps, Minnesota
Mount Brighton, Michigan
Wilmot Mountain, Wisconsin

Perisher Ski Resort, Australia

The Epic Pass is probably the best value and most popular lift product in the industry offering guests access to 13 resorts in two countries and a savings of up to 35 percent as compared to single-day lift ticket pricing. The Epic Pass provides skiers and riders with unlimited, unrestricted access to VailBeaver Creek, BreckenridgeKeystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; HeavenlyNorthstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe, Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan, Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. and Perisher in Australia.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Vail Resorts Acquires Whistler Blackcomb

Vail Resorts, Inc. and Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, announced on Monday that they have entered into a strategic business combination joining Whistler Blackcomb with Vail Resorts. Under the transaction, Vail Resorts would acquire 100 percent of the stock of Whistler Blackcomb, whose shareholders would receive C$17.50 per share in cash and 0.0975 shares of Vail Resorts common stock, for consideration having a total value of C$36.00 per share. The share exchange ratio is based upon closing stock prices and currency exchange rates as of August 5, 2016 and is subject to a currency exchange rate adjustment, as described below.
"Combining Whistler Blackcomb with Vail Resorts’ portfolio of outstanding resorts provides Whistler Blackcomb with increased financial strength, marketing exposure, guest relationships and broadens the geographic diversity of our company with resorts across the United States, as well as in Australia and Canada. This relationship will bring greater resources to support our current operations and our ambitious growth plans, including the Renaissance project, the most exciting and transformative investment in Whistler Blackcomb’s history", said Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s chief executive officer.
"Whistler Blackcomb is one of the most iconic mountain resorts in the world with an incredible history, passionate employees and a strong community. With our combined experience and expertise, together we will build upon the guest experience at Whistler Blackcomb while preserving the unique brand and character of the resort as an iconic Canadian destination for guests around the world. We are delighted to add such a renowned resort to Vail Resorts and look forward to expanding our relationships in the Sea-to-Sky community, British Columbia and Canada", said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
"As the number one ranked and most visited resort in North America, Whistler Blackcomb has enjoyed tremendous success by delivering an exceptional mountain experience for our passionate and loyal guests — both locally and from around the world. That’s going to continue as we work with our new colleagues at Vail Resorts as well as our employees, local businesses, community and government stakeholders to make Whistler Blackcomb better than ever. We will also continue our discussions with the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations, on whose traditional lands we operate, regarding a business partnership that will benefit our communities, our province and our company for decades to come. Our board of directors has also been monitoring the unique challenges facing the broader ski industry due to the unpredictability of year-to-year regional weather patterns. Whistler Blackcomb, with its unprecedented acreage of high alpine terrain and Glacier bowls, is well positioned, but by no means immune to these challenges. Partnering with the geographically diversified Vail Resorts and extending its successful Epic Pass products to Whistler Blackcomb are customer-focused ways of securing the long-term future of our resort, our industry and our community", added Brownlie
Whistler Blackcomb will nominate one member of its board to the Vail Resorts board of directors, and Dave Brownlie will continue leading Whistler Blackcomb as the resort’s chief operating officer and will become a member of the senior leadership team of Vail Resorts’ mountain division.

Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons in Park City, Utah; 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 resort hotel 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 (NYSE: MTN).

Lillehammer 1994 Set The Standard For Sustainable Winter Games (3)

When Lillehammer was awarded the right to host the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, its Organising Committee aimed to make the Games a showcase for sustainability and environmental policies.These Games were baptised the "White-Green Games" by President Samaranch.

The long-term legacies of hosting the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Winter Games played a crucial role in bringing the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to the Norwegian city.
"We would never be able to host the YOG were it not for the 1994 Winter Games being held in Lillehammer", explains Lillehammer 2016 CEO Tomas Holmestad. "There are many legacies from 1994 - the existing Olympic venues, for instance, were critical to our bid".
The venues used during Lillehammer 1994, which is widely regarded as the first ‘green Games’, have since been used by both the general public and elite athletes and have staged several other major sporting events, as well as concerts and other cultural and commercial meetings.
"You could say that the 2016 Winter YOG are built on the legacy of 1994", says Holmestad. "The main reason that we are also going to be a ‘green Games’ is that we have almost no environmental impact from building or constructing venues – they are all still standing there from 1994".
The Lillehammer 1994 Organising Committee initiated more than 20 sustainability projects to ensure the Games were as environmentally friendly as possible, and Holmestad is keen to see the 2016 Winter YOG follow a similar model.
"All of the venues in the Lillehammer Olympic Park are now being certified with a Norwegian standard, called the Eco-Lighthouse, which shows that they are still at the forefront of sustainability efforts by operating in an environmentally friendly way", he explains. "We have also been able to talk to local companies who were involved in 1994 about issues such as waste management, and they are leaders in these fields because of what was initiated as a part of the 1994 Winter Games. So in 2016, we will be able to benefit from what was done on sustainability during the 1994 Games".
Holmestad, who grew up just 15 minutes from Lillehammer, can remember the 1994 Winter Games having a profound impact on the city.
"I was young at the time", he explains. "I was only 13 years old but knew it was a massive event. I can remember the amazing atmosphere, the fantastic weather and the crazy amount of people that gathered in our small city. I also remember the environmental programmes, such as not being able to drive in the city during the Games and using edible plates at the food stalls in the venues".
Holmestad is now working to ensure that Lillehammer 2016 has a similar impact on the young athletes’ attitudes towards the environment.
"The 1994 Games definitely set new standards in the technical aspects of sustainability and we would certainly like to build on that legacy", he explains. "One of the ways we hope to do that is through a living legacy in the minds of the 1,100 young athletes who will come to Lillehammer in 2016 (...) Through the Culture and Education Programme, we aim to give them good knowledge and attitudes towards sustainability and environmentally-friendly solutions. I think that could be one of the great legacies of Lillehammer 2016".
Holmestad also hopes that the 2016 Winter YOG will help support the development of youth sport in Norway, while also inspiring local young people in the same way that he was inspired by the events of 1994.
"Of course, 1994 led to a massive change in Lillehammer", he says. "The town was never the same after the Games, and we hope to relight that Olympic spirit".

The Youth Olympic Games are a sporting event for young people, balancing sport, culture and education.
Young athletes will participate in high-level competitions and alongside the sports element of the event, will participate in a Culture and Education Programme (CEP) focused on five themes: Olympism and Olympic values, skills development, well-being and healthy lifestyle, social responsibility and expression through digital media.
Non-athletes (young ambassadors, young reporters etc.) will also participate with young athletes in CEP activities, as well as local youth.
It was during its Session in Guatemala City in July 2007 that the IOC decided to create a new sporting event to educate, engage and influence young athletes inspiring them to play an active role in their communities, founded on the idea of the President Jacques Rogge of the IOC.Steeped in sporting history, Lillehammer is no stranger to the Olympic Movement, having hosted, in 1994, an unforgettable Olympic Winter Games.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, took place between February 26th and March 6th 2016. The event brought together more than one thousand athletes between 14 and 18 years of age from approximately 80 National Olympic Committees to compete in Bobsleigh, Luge, Ski jumping, Alpine skiing, Nordic Combined, Cross Country, Biathlon, Curling, Figure Skating, Ice hockey, Speed Skating, Shorttrack skating, Snowboard, and Freestyle (Skicross / Halfpipe).

Lillehammer 1994 Set The Standard For Sustainable Winter Games (2)

When Lillehammer was awarded the right to host the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, its Organising Committee aimed to make the Games a showcase for sustainability and environmental policies.These Games were baptised the "White-Green Games" by President Samaranch.
Sustainable development, an environmental challenge described in the United Nations environmental committee’s report "Our Common Future" (1987), is a challenge to everyone. And so it was for the organizers of the XVII Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer.
The main goal for The Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee (LOOC) was to give the Olympic Movement a third dimension, Environment – in addition to Sport and Culture.
Lillehammer 1994 provided numerous legacies, not only for the host region itself but also the Olympic Movement as a whole.
The Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee (LOOC) was the first Olympic Organizing Committee to
formulate environmental goals. In the summer 1990, the following goals were specified for Lillehammer ’94:
  • To create environmental awareness
  • To take regional considerations into account
  • To create sustainable development and business growth
  • To take environmental considerations into account in the construction of arenas
  • To uphold environmental standards at all stages of the event. An important prerequisite for this work was that environmental issues would be given priority within the given economic framework of the Olympic Winter Games. 
In order to achieve these objectives, more than 20 sustainability projects were initiated during Games preparations, including the relocation of the speed skating arena in Hamar in order to protect a sanctuary for rare birds and the construction of an underground ice hockey venue, the Gjovik Olympic Cavern Hall, in order to preserve energy.
Organisers also used stone that had been reclaimed from the construction of the ski jumping venue to create the Olympic medals, while recycling and public transport use were also heavily promoted.
Emphasis was also placed on the post-Games use of the venues, which had been constructed using predominately local materials and with strict energy-conserving measures.
The sports arenas, for example, were made available for public use as well as for elite athletes and have since been used for several other major sporting events, as well as concerts and other cultural and commercial meetings. In 2016, the venues will also be used for the second edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Speaking about this dedication to legacy and the environment, Gerhard Heiberg, IOC member and head of the Lillehammer Olympic Organising Committee, said: "The legacy of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games is alive, not only in Lillehammer and the areas around Lillehammer, but also in the Olympic Movement".
Indeed, the programmes initiated by Lillehammer in 1994 set new environmental standards for major sporting events, ensuring that future organisers would be required to include sustainability measures into their plans.
Following the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, for example, the Lillehammer Organising Committee received the UNEP Global 500 Award for setting new environmental standards at the Games, while the environment was also made the third “pillar” of the Olympic Movement, alongside sport and culture.
In addition, the IOC created a Sport and Environment Commission to advise it on environment-related policy and developed an Agenda 21 for sport and the environment to encourage its members to play an active part in sustainable development.

The 1994 Games likely were the greatest Winter Olympics ever. "The whole experience (...) the whole Winter Games themselves in that specific city, were as good as they can be", American speedskater Dan Jansen says. "Just because the people were so proud to host the Games. Winter sports are a way of life there, and it really showed in the way they put the Games on and the attitudes of the people (...) It was a pretty magical time. For everything".

Lillehammer 1994 Set The Standard For Sustainable Winter Games (1)

When Lillehammer was awarded the right to host the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, its Organising Committee aimed to make the Games a showcase for sustainability and environmental policies.These Games were baptised the "White-Green Games" by President Samaranch.

Lillehammer 1994
12th February - 27th February
NOCs: 67.

Athletes: 1215 (840 men, 522 women)
Sports: 6
Events: 61. Alpine skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Nordic combined, Cross-country skiing, Ski jumping, Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Luge, Ice hockey, Figure skating, Short Track Speed Skating and Speed Skating.

The 1994 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 12 to 27 February 1994 in and around Lillehammer, Norway. Lillehammer failed to win the bid for the 1992 event. Lillehammer was awarded the 1994 Winter Olympics in 1988, after beating Anchorage, United States; Östersund, Sweden; and Sofia, Bulgaria.
In 1986 the IOC voted to change the schedule of the Olympic Games so that the Summer and Winter Games would be held in different years. To adjust to this new schedule, the Lillehammer Games were held in 1994.The Games were the first to be held in a different year from the Summer Olympics, the first and only one to be held two years after the previous winter games, and the most recent to be held in a small town. The Games were the second winter event hosted in Norway, after the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, and the fourth Olympics in the Nordic Countries, after the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm (Stockholm also hosted the equestrian events of the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, but was not the official host), Oslo, and the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.
The Games saw the introduction of stricter qualifying rules, reducing the number of under-performing participants from warm-weather countries. New events were two new distances in short track speed skating and aerials, while speed skating was moved indoors. Nearly two million people spectated the games, which were the first to have the Olympic truce in effect. The games were succeeded by the 1994 Paralympics from 10 to 19 March.

Venues (source: 1994 Winter Olympics official report):

The 1994 Winter Olympics were held in and around Lillehammer, Norway, from 12 to 27 February 1994. Ten competition and fourteen non-competition venues were used, most of which were subsequently used for the 1994 Winter Paralympics. The Games were spread out over ten venues in five municipalities in two counties, Oppland and Hedmark.
Lillehammer, with approximately 25,000 inhabitants, and Hamar and Gjøvik, both with approximately 27,000 inhabitants, are all situated on the lake Mjøsa. Gjøvik and Hamar are 45 and 54 kilometers south of Lillehammer, respectively. Hunderfossen is 15 kilometers  north of Lillehammer, but located within the municipality. Øyer and Ringebu, each with just under 5,000 inhabitants, are 18 and 50 kilometers north of Lillehammer, respectively, in the valley Gudbrandsdalen. Lillehammer had four competition venues, Hamar had two competition venues, while Hunderfossen, Gjøvik, Øyer and Ringebu had one competition venue each.
Venue construction ran from spring 1990 to December 1993. All the competition and most of the non-competition venues were purpose-built for the Games. For the first time in Olympic history, environmental and sustainability issues were considered in venue construction. This resulted in five venues being modified during their design and construction phase to lessen their impact upon the environment. Among the issues considered were the venues blending into surrounding landscape, treatment of terrain with as minimal damage to natural surroundings as possible, use of environmentally-friendly materials, and environmental auditing. Gjøvik Olympic Cavern Hall was constructed inside a mountain that maintained a year-round temperature of −8 °C (18 °F), with the excavated rock used to build a beach promenade. Transport was dominated by the use of buses and trains for spectators. Downtown Lillehammer and the axis between Lillehammer and Oslo were the most congested areas, and the Norwegian State Railways ran up to 22 trains per day between Oslo and Lillehammer. All venues could be reached within walking distance from train stations.

  • Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena. Nordic combined, Ski jumping, Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
  • Birkebeineren Ski Stadium. Biathlon, Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined (Cross-country skiing).
  • Gjøvik Olympic Cavern Hall. Ice hockey.
  • Håkon Hall. Ice hockey.
  • Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre. Figure skating, Short track speed skating.
  • Hamar Olympic Hall. Speed skating.
  • Kanthaugen Freestyle Arena. Freestyle skiing.
  • Lillehammer Olympic Alpine Centre Hafjell. Alpine skiing (Slalom, Giant slalom, Combined).
  • Lillehammer Olympic Alpine Centre Kvitfjell. Alpine skiing (Downhill, Super-G, Combined).
  • Lillehammer Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track. Bobsleigh and Luge.
  • Stampesletta. Medal ceremonies.
  • International Broadcasting Center. Media center.
  • Main Press Center. Media center.
  • Lillehammer Olympic Village. Athlete accommodation.
  • Hamar Olympic Subsite Village. Athlete accommodation.

After the Olympics the sports venues were taken over by the respective municipalities. The Lillehammer venues are owned by the municipal Lillehammer Olympiapark, while similar companies were created for Hamar and Gjøvik. The International Broadcasting Center was built as a future campus for Lillehammer University College. The Main Press Center was converted to a business park. Only part of the athlete accommodation was built for permanent use, and was sold as regular housing after the Games. The rest was built as mobile units and sold to other parts of the country. Similarly, the media accommodation was built as a mix of permanent and temporary housing, with the latter being sold as cottages after the Games were completed.
After the Winter Games Hamar Olympic Hall hosted the World Allround Speed Skating Championships for Men and the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 1993. Following the Games, it has hosted the World Allround Speed Skating World Championships in 1999, 2004 and 2009. The venue also hosted the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in 1997, 2002 and 2007, and the World Single Distance Championships in 1996.
Lillehammer Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track hosted the skeleton part of the FIBT World Championships in 1995, as well as the FIL World Luge Championships in 1995. Birkebeineren hosted its last Biathlon World Cup event in 1997, and its last cross-country skiing World Cup event was in March 2002. The FIS Nordic Combined World Cup has been hosted in Lillehammer on various occasions, most recently in December 2010. Lysgårdsbakken has served as part of the Nordic Tournament from 2004 through 2006 and from 2008 through 2009. Håkon Hall and Gjøvik played host to the World Women's Handball Championship in 1999, while the 1999 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships used Håkon Hall and Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre.