OCTOBER NEWS IN BRIEF
1st October 2017
Shiffrin wins again, Copenhagen Big Air cancelled, Ischgl goes gourmet, Ellis Brigham opens its 22nd store + Shaun White injured again. NEW & UPDATED
…… NEWS IN BRIEF STORIES FROM SEPTEMBER 2017
SATURDAY 28TH OCTOBER
MIKAELA SHIFFRIN WINS AGAIN
She has been voted Skier of the Year by the international association of ski journalists.
The overall World Cup champion has received the Skieur d’Or-Serge Lang Trophy, named after the founder of Alpine skiing’s World Cup in the 1960s.
She was for “her impressive past season,” and the Association added the she is “a pleasant interlocutor for ski reporters and doing a great job to promote our sport around the globe.”
Marcel Hirscher from Austria has won it for the past two years.
Previous US winners are Bode Miller in 2005 and Lindsey Vonn in 2009.
See below for our report as she won the overall title last season:
FRIDAY 27TH OCTOBER
BIG AIR CANCELLED DUE TO POOR TICKET SALES
The Big Air World Cup in Copenhagen next month has been called off after poor sales of tickets for the event.
It was due to be the opening World Cup event in freestyle skiing and snowboarding.
It had been scheduled to take place on November 3rd and 4th.
The first Big Air event will now take place in Milan the following weekend.
WEDNESDAY 25TH OCTOBER
ISCHGL GOES GOURMET
The Austrian resort is best known for its après ski and season opening/closing concerts.
But it is also gathering quite a reputation as a gourmet hotspot.
It has been recognised by the influential culinary guides Gault&Millau 2018 and A la Carte 2018 with 16 toques and 24 stars.
Gault&Millau 2018 lists three Ischgl restaurants in the highest ranking gourmet restaurants in Tirol – a proud achievement for a village with just 1,600 residents.
PlanetSKI visited the Tirol in the summer to sample the Culinary Jakobsweg hiking trail above Ischgl in which Michelin-starred UK chefs Simon Hulstone, Stephen Crane, Matthew Tomkinson and Russell Brown have taken part.
And we also partook in our second favourite mountain activity.
We will be back in Ischgl this winter and travelling on a lift with some musical superstars.
And hopefully sampling some of its gourmet food.
TUESDAY 24TH OCTOBER
ELLIS BRIGHAM COMES TO CHELMSFORD
The snowsports retailer has opened its 22nd store.
It has opened a 9,000sq ft store in Chelmsford’s Bond Street waterside retail development.
The ground floor has winter clothing and accessories while the upstairs houses winter sports clothing, equipment and packs
MONDAY 23RD OCTOBER
SHAUN WHITE INJURED AGAIN
The US snowboarder Shaun White has suffered another injury weeks after being forced to withdraw from a World Cup competition following a crash.
The double Olympic champion posted a photo on Instagram of his latest war wound.
“I’ve always lived my life by pushing the limits,” he said.
“Winning is great, but it’s the tough times that truly define you. I took a slam while training the other day, but don’t worry I’ll be back soon and better than ever!!”
I’ve always lived my life by pushing the limits. Winning is great, but it’s the tough times that truly define you. I took a slam while training the other day, but don’t worry I’ll be back soon and better than ever!! Thanks @beatsbydre for bringing me into the family. #NormalisBoring #1of1 #RockNRoll
The 31-year-old’s preparations for next February’s Winter Olympics were disrupted by a crash in training in New Zealand in early September.
He was taken to hospital and was forced to withdraw from the Winter Games NZ, travelling home to rest and recover.
White is focusing on the halfpipe and hoping to improve on his disappointing fourth place at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The US team for PyeongChang will be selected after four qualifying events.
The first takes place at Copper Mountain, Colorado in December.
SUNDAY 22ND OCTOBER
FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR LIGHTING OF OLYMPIC FLAME
The lighting ceremony for Pyeongchang 2018 takes place on Tuesday 24th October.
Rehearsals have been taking place at Olympia in Greece.
In attendance on Tuesday will be Prokopios Pavlopoulos, President of Greece, and South Korean Prime Minister Nak Yeong Lee.
The International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, will also be in Greece for the occasion.
So, what can we expect?
See here as the flame was lit four years ago for the Sochi 2014 Games.
Apostolos Angelis will be the first runner in the 2018 Relay.
He is a cross-country skier who will compete in his second Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
Sadly the forecast is for rain.
SATURDAY 21ST OCTOBER
WHERE IS THE NEW BLOOD?
There are worries across the snowsports industry about a lack of young people taking up skiing and snowboarding.
Expense and alternative sports/holidays are the main reasons.
But with no new blood the future looks bleak as people age and give up snowsports.
One resort in the USA, Winter Park, is aiming to do something about it according to this report in The Summit Daily
FRIDAY 20TH OCTOBER
SERRE CHEVALIER FREE BUS AXED
It has been going for 20 years but now people will have to pay a €2 fee.
Last winter the service was threatened but was saved by a loan from the Department.
Politicians from the 4 municipalities concerned have just voted for the charge.
Locals are not pleased and predict a rise in traffic as people opt to drive among the various villages that make up Serre Chevalier.
THURSDAY 19TH OCTOBER
ELECTRIC PLANES A REALITY FOR EASYJET WITHIN 10 YEARS
The electric revolution is taking to the skies, and it is seen to be as revolutionary as when the Wright brothers flew their first plane in 1903.
EasyJet is collaborating with Wright Electric to operate all-electric planes for short haul flights to Europe.
Battery technology is improving enough to enable the production of small electric aircraft and it promises a commercial possibiity within a decade.
Wright Electric has set itself the challenge to build an all electric commercial passenger jet capable of flying passengers across Europe, but the challenge is to achieve this within 10 years.
Initially the all-electric planes would fly easyJet’s short-haul routes – only those flights under three hours.
The new battery operated aircraft would cut fuel emissions and noise, saving 10% on fuel and CO2 emissions, and would be 50% quieter on take-off and landing.
Watch the video below for additional information:
HARNESSING SOLAR ENERGY IN FLIGHT
Using alternative energy in aviation also includes an on-going Swiss project to harness solar energy.
Back in 2010 we wrote about Solar Inpulse, the plane that is run entirely on solar energy.
We reported on the success of its inaugural flight its subsequent test flights.
The plane was flown by Swiss aviator and the project co-founder, Bertrand Piccard – read more below.
The Solar Impulse project continues – the latest flight landed in Abu Dhabi on 11 October.
View the video below for additional information:
— Clarion Energy (@ClarionEnergylk) October 11, 2017
WEDNESDAY 18TH OCTOBER
CRYSTAL SKI TO REMAIN CRYSTAL SKI
The UK’s largest ski tour operator is owned by the German travel giant, TUI.
In a multi-million pound rebranding exercise many of the operators with the TUI empire are being re-named with the TUI brandname prominent.
Market research revealed that Crystal may have lost many of their customers if it had adopted the TUI brand.
“Crystal is a strong brand on its own and TUI Ski couldn’t offer what Crystal offers,” said Marketing director, Jeremy Ellis.
It will certainly save a few bob as it was only a while back that Crystal Ski had a major rebrand at significant expense.
It comes after months of intensive marketing with the strapline ‘We cross the T’s, dot the I’s and put ‘U’ in the middle’, based on the TUI smile.
“For the safety and convenience of travellers, we have temporarily closed the southern tourist zone of Changbai Mountain,” authorities said. “Officials are thoroughly investigating the safety of the tourist area.”
MONDAY 16TH OCTOBER
CAIRNGORM SKI SLOPE PLANS ON HOLD
Plans to build an artificial ski slope at the foot of Cairngorm mountain have been delayed.
The original idea had been to have the slope ready for this winter as we reported in August but the operators, Natural Retreats, have confirmed that it won’t now be possible.
The planning application for the development has been put on hold “as we finalise a few further details with our partners,” Adam Gough the head of technical services told PlanetSKI today.
“It has not been withdrawn and we expect it to carry on with the application in the coming weeks.
“This delay has meant it will now not be possible to have the slope in place before winter so we are programming to begin work in spring subject to achieving planning consent,” he added.
The centre, to be built close to the base station, is part of an ambitious plan to turn Cairngorm into a world-class year-round resort and provide guaranteed skiing after some poor winters.
PYEONGCHANG TICKET SALES REMAIN POOR
The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea take place next February but only 30% of tickets have been sold.
For the Paralympics it is less than 5%. The figures are reported in the Korean Herald.
Yoo Eun-hae of the ruling Democratic Party admitted his fears at this stage, telling the Korean Herald that “all indicators relating to the Olympic Games are sluggish”.
“We all need to take this situation seriously,” he added.
SUNDAY 15TH OCTOBER
AIRBNB SEES SHARP GROWTH IN SWISS MOUNTAINS
The online room renting service shows sharper growth in ski resorts and their surrounding areas than in the cities in Switzerland.
The cantons of Valais, Graubünden, and Bern between them account for over half of all rental offers in Switzerland.
The Valais canton that has many of the major resorts including Verbier, Saas-Fee, Zermatt, Crans-Montana and others, has more than one-quarter of all Swiss Airbnb rentals.
SATURDAY 14TH OCTOBER
SWISS GOVERNMENT POSTPONES SION OLYMPIC DECISION
The country’s Federal Council has put of making a decision on whether to support the city’s 2026 Olympic bid.
If it doesn’t support the bid then it is dead in the water.
A decision was to have been made this week but it has been delayed.
A spokesman for the Council, André Simonazzi, indicated that nothing should be read into the postponement.
“Do not draw hasty conclusions,” said Simonazzi he said, according to Swiss newspaper Le Temps. “This is a complex matter with significant sums involved.
“The Federal Council always takes time to decide on this type of file.”
Several venues would be in the city of Sion in the Valais canton, a total of five cantons in Switzerland would be involved in The Games.
FRIDAY 13TH OCTOBER
SON TELLS INQUEST OF FATHER’S DEATH ON SKI SLOPE
An inquest in Stockport has heard how 55-year old David Richardson had a suspected heart attack while skiing in Les Angles.
He then skied into a tree and died.
His 16-year old son, Robbie, was with him at the time and has been giving evidence to the inquest.
“The accident happened on the very last run. The conditions were fine. The weather was perfect.
“In my peripheral vision I could see that he had come out of his boots and come fully out of his skis. He fell on to the floor on his backside and he slid straight into the trees at the side. I found him slumped against a tree. He didn’t make a sound when he fell, he would usually shout out but he didn’t.
“When I ran back up he was lifeless. He was resting against the tree trunk. I’m assuming he impacted on that tree. I couldn’t see any obvious injuries. No head injuries, anything like that. “I called over a couple of other skiers to help him, but nothing could be done.
They tried to do CPR and then some paramedics arrived. I was taken away from the scene and walked down to the bottom of the run. The police arrived and I gave them a statement, only very brief. It’s all a bit of a blur. The doctor told us it was a heart attack.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP IS BAD FOR SNOWSPORTS
So says an blog article in Outside Online.
“Trump is a clear and present danger to skiing as an industry. His bombastic speeches and immigration policies are worse than January rain when it comes to the dollars and cents and powder days that support the sport,” claims the article.
Here on PlanetSKI we have already reported on sections of the US ski industry’s opposition to President Trump.
We report on it here on October 1st.
Many ski resorts are united on opposition to his environmental views
And Aspen seems to disagree with thin on pretty much everything:
But his family have skied in Aspen – at some cost to the US tax payer for the necessary security measures.
And then there is the small matter that the deteriorating relations between North Korea and the USA might affect next winter’s Olympic Games at Pyeongchang in South Korea.
Hard to reach the conclusion he is doing much for snowsports![/caption]
LLOYD WALLACE BACK ON SKIS AFTER THAT HORROR CRASH
We reported on Wednesday he was heading out to the Alps (see below).
And we are delighted to report he has been on his skis.
“Getting back on skis over the last few days might be the best feeling ever,” he said on Twitter.
THURSDAY 12TH OCTOBER
DEER VALLEY SALE COMPLETE
It was named SKI Magazine’s top resort in North America this month.
And this week saw it sold.
In August it was announced that Deer Valley would join a conglomeration of resorts that include big names such as California’s Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain, and Colorado’s Steamboat and Winter Park.
This ‘entity’ or resort company comprises of various affiliates:
Under one sits Aspen Skico which, among other things, owns the four Aspen resorts.
The buying and selling resorts in the US and Canada for mega bucks is essentially the battle of Vail Resorts and Aspen, put simply.
PlanetSKI has covered the the various steps, phases and purchases:
The entity, comprising affiliates of KSL Capital Partners, LLC and Henry Crown and Company, first announced the acquisition in August.
“Joining this impressive portfolio of resorts is a big step forward in the future of Deer Valley Resort,” said Deer Valley’s long-term president, Bob Wheaton.
“It will enable the resort to build upon its time-honored traditions while further enhancing the overall experience.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the new company and are excited to begin welcoming guests to Utah this winter,” Wheaton finished.
President and CEO of the entity, David Perry, announces that it is an important addition that adds value to the entire company:
“We are committed to maintaining the first-class experience and level of guest service for which the resort is known, and we look forward to what should be a fantastic 2017-18 ski season across our portfolio.”
WEDNESDAY 11TH OCTOBER
MARCEL HIRSCHER BOUNCES BACK
The six-time World Champion is back on skis and looking good less than two months after breaking his left ankle.
He’s been training on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier.
The 28-year-old Austrian posted a video on Instagram with the hashtag #weareskiing.
LLOYD WALLACE BACK ON SNOW
The GB aerials skier is heading back to the Alps after an accident over the summer resulted in him being placed in an artificial coma.
“Off to Switzerland tomorrow! So excited to get back on snow!” he tweeted on Tuesday.
The 22-year old suffered a severe head injury back in August.
He was training with the Swiss team at the time.
He was treated at hospital in Zurich before being flown back to the UK for further treatment.
He has made a good recovery and doctors have pronounced him fit to ski again.
On Wednesday, he gave us an update from Heathrow airport:
“Excited doesn’t quite cover how I’m feeling to get back on skis. Huge thanks to everyone who has helped me get back to fitness. #grateful – at Heathrow Airport”
COULD BREXIT NO-DEAL GROUND PLANES?
The British pilots’ union BALPA has given a warning that flights could be grounded if there’s no deal with the European Union over Brexit.
TravelMole, an online newsletter for the industry, reports that BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said it would be devastating for the entire UK aviation sector if Britain left the EU without a deal.
The Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested that might be necessary.
“Unlike most other sectors there are no World Trade Organisation or any other rules to fall back on for aviation if there is no deal,” he said.
“UK airlines could find they have to stop flying – it’s that serious. And this would impact passengers long before March 2019 because airlines couldn’t sell advance tickets and, frankly, would passengers risk buying them?”
TUESDAY 10TH OCTOBER
NEW FLIGHTS TO GRENOBLE THIS WINTER
There are three new ski routes from the UK to Grenoble Alpes Isere airport this winter:
London Heathrow with BA; London Stansted and Birmingham with Jet2.
The resorts of Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes are less than 90 minutes from Grenoble.
Other areas easily accessible are:
Return flights from Birmingham to Grenoble cost from £53pp.
Return flights from London Stansted to Grenoble cost from £48pp.
Return flights from London Heathrow to Grenoble cost from £84pp.
MONDAY 9th OCTOBER
VARYING SECURITY STANCES ON PYEONGCHANG
The latest nations to make comments are Germany & Austria.
The security situation between the USA & North Korea is causing some concern.
The Germans have said they understand if athletes don’t want to head to South Korea next February.
The Austrians say all will be safe.
They are the latest views on security on the Korea Peninsular.
The President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Alfons Hörmann, has said he would understand if his did not want to attend amid the security concerns.
“Nobody is forced or contractually obliged to start in Pyeongchang,” Hörmann said in an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung
“People think and feel very different. If athletes decide not to arrive because they do not feel safe or comfortable enough, then I would have understood of course.
“We will, with all the joy of the Winter Games, put safety first.”
The President of the Austrian Ski Federation, Peter Schröcksnade, said his country is completely relaxed about security.
The question is how the situation will be on the ground,” he told Sky Sport Austria.
“This can not be foreseen today. I think, however, that it will be far less critical than is generally publicised today. These are Olympic games and not political games and we are completely relaxed when it comes to the Games.”
>The French have already raised their concerns but the USA and GB have said they will be going to the Games in South Korea next February.
See below for earlier PlanetSKI stories on the security concerns:
THE IRISH ARE COMING
Much of the focus of our coverage in the run up to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next February has been on Team GB (obviously!).[/caption]
But lets not forget our Irish friends.
They have a pretty decent cross-country team and the BBC has been looking at their prospects.
SATURDAY 7TH OCTOBER
BODY OF MISSING SWISS HUNTER FOUND
The 56-year old went missing in the mountains near Brienz on Monday October 2nd.
He was found the following day by a search team.
It is believed he slipped and fell into a ravine.
FRIDAY 6TH OCTOBER
VONN BID TO RACE AGAINST MEN PUT ON HOLD
The International Ski Federation, FIS, has said it will look at the proposal next May.
It kicks it into the long grass for a while.
We have reported in the past on her desire to race against the men and it had been thought it might happen at Lake Louise in Canada at the start of the season.
Our latest report was on September 29th:[/caption]
That has now been ruled out but the idea has not been ruled out. [/caption]
The issue was discussed at the FIS Alpine Executive Board meeting in Zurich Switzerland, where it was decided to look at it again their next meeting in Greece in May.[/caption]
Last year she famously said she wants to “beat some boys and call it a day.” [/caption]
THURSDAY 5TH OCTOBER
LIGHTING OF THE OLYMPIC TORCH
As the Pyeongchang Games approach, it’s time for the flame to be lit.
‘Let everyone shine’ is the message.
Ancient Olympia in Greece on 24th October, 2017 is the place and time.
The torch relay will cover 2,018km by plane, ship, train, sailboat, robot, zip wire, cable car and bike.
It will travel across Korea over 101 days with 7,500 torch bearers, reaching the Olympic stadium on 9th February, 2018.
Meanwhile the stadium that will host the Opening and Closing ceremonies for the Games has been completed.
It is seven stories high with a total floor area of 58,790 square metres and a capacity of 35,000 spectators.
It is a pentagon in shape symbolising the five goals of Pyeongchang 2018 – the economy, the environment, IT, the arts and peace.
After the Olympic Games come to an end, the 35,000 seats in the stadium and permanent buildings will be demolished and it will be used as a venue for performances, exhibition art and sports.”
WEDNESDAY 4TH OCTOBER
GB PARA SKIER UP FOR AWARD
The British para skier Millie Knight has made the shortlist for The Sunday Times Young Sportswoman Of The Year.
The visually impaired 18-year-old is a multi medal winner.
She became the first British world para skiing champion when she took gold in the downhill at the 2017 championships in Tarvisio, Italy.
She also picked up three silvers at the championships.
Knight is one of four athletes on the shortlist.
The others are Freya Anderson (swimming), Ellie Downie (artistic gymnastics) and Sammi Kinghorn (para-athletics).
The shortlist for main award – The Sunday Times Sportswoman Of The Year – also includes a winter sports star.
Short track speed skater, Elise Christie faces competition from Elinor Barker (track cycling), Tammy Beaumont (cricket) Johanna Konta (tennis), Jodie Taylor (football) and Bianca Walkde (taekwondo).
The awards ceremony takes place on the evening of Thursday 26th October. It will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action and Sky Sport Mix.
MONDAY 2ND OCTOBER
UNIVERSAL AIRLINE WIFI ON THE WAY
The number of airlines offering WiFi is set to soar.
Norwegian has been offering it for several years on its ski flights to Oslo and other routes.
Our editor, James Cove, enjoyed it back in 2013 on his way to the ski fields of Norway.
He also questioned by more resorts didn’t offer free WiFi in as many locations as possible.
Now they do.
Many airlines offer WiFi on transatlantic routes.
It has been claimed that airlines could ‘make billions’.
An average cost of $4 could generate £30b by 2035 according to one industry forecast.
“We will see innovative deals struck, partnerships formed and business models fundamentally changed,” said the author of the report, Alexander Grous from the London School of Economics.
So the prospect of checking snow conditions, what is going on in the ski resorts and much else besides as we fly to them seems like it is on the way soon.
And while we are on the subject…
INFLIGHT CHIT CHAT NOW AVAILABLE ON DELTA
Love it or hate it, an airline is now offering free wi-fi up in the skies for that essential on-going-social-media-chit-chat we find so mesmerising.
Messaging on Facebook, Twitter and i-Messaging is available on Delta as soon as in-flight wi-fi is enabled, and the best bit it’s free – Check it out here.
— Delta (@Delta) September 27, 2017
SUNDAY 1ST OCTOBER
WELSH ARMY RESERVIST SPEAKS OF HORROR SKI CRASH
Paul Harrison was skiing at 50mph when he crashed and suffered a traumatic head injury.
He was given CPR at the scene and had months of treatment.
He says 6-months of his memory have been lost.
SHORTAGE OF SEASONAL SKI WORKERS IN USA
Ski resorts are worried by President Trump’s immigration policies that could see 1,000s of unfilled jobs.
Some resorts are concerned that the White House could scale back or even eliminate J-1 visas as part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.
The J-1 visa allows foreign workers to be employed in resorts usually on the lifts, in bars/restaurants and working as ski instructors.
Most come from the southern hemisphere with a smaller number from Europe.
The US winter ski season aligns with the summer break of college students in the Southern Hemisphere.
The ski season does not align with American student breaks, so J-1 visa students from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina account for around 8,000 of the 130,000 seasonal snowsports workers.
“It would be worse than the drought,” said Andy Wirth, whose Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadow ski areas in California endured three consecutive seasons of meagre snow in a crippling dro