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May’s News in Brief

– Twelve year old boy followed by Brown Bear
– A ‘normal’ PlanetSKI summer?
– Threat to Lauberhorn World Cup ski racing lifted
– 2 men charged after Colorado avalanche … UPDATED

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It is mainly news as we concentrate on things away from coronavirus. But it also includes anything quirky that simply takes our fancy.

Read on for more…

Thursday 28th May

BOY ENCOUNTERS A BROWN  BEAR

Dramatic footage in Loris Calliari’s tweet below shows a boy walking calmly through thick shrubbery down a mountain, followed by a inquisitive brown bear.

Twelve year old Alessandro was hiking with his family in Trentino in northern Italy when they noticed the bear.

The bear can be seen rising on its hind legs.

According to the boy’s step father, the youngster was thrilled with the experience.

12 year old Alessandro followed by Brown bear.

12 year old Alessandro followed by a Brown bear

A ‘NORMAL’ PLANETSKI SUMMER?

Well, not quite.

But it is beginning to feel a bit more like the real thing now lockdown restrictions have eased.

Not only is the PlanetSKI editor James Cove back on the golf course but our chief reporter Jane Peel is back on the water.

She has even more reason to be happy than the rest of us at PlanetSKI.

Just one day before water ski clubs were given the OK by the government to re-open – with severe restrictions on their operation – Jane was given the OK by her physio to return to water skiing.

You may recall that she ruptured her ACL knee ligament on the first day of her snow ski season in December and she’s been working hard on the rehab ever since.

Water ski with a knee brace

Jane braced & ready to hit the water

Jane Peel water ski

Jane enjoying life back on the water

Water skiing May 2020

Jane enjoying life back on the water May 2020

Fingers crossed the weather continues to play ball.

Tuesday 26th May

THREAT TO THE LAUBERHORN SKI RACES LIFTED

A dispute that could have led to Wengen being prevented from hosting the famous Lauberhorn alpine World Cup in 2022 appears to have been resolved – at least for now.

A row over money between the Swiss Ski Federation and the Wengen organising committee led to the January races being withdrawn from the proposed 2021-2022 alpine calendar.

With a legal case pending at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Swiss-Ski said the races, including the men’s downhill, would be held at a yet to be determined location.

We reported on the row below (see under Friday 22nd May).

“Following a major donation and various positive signals, the Swiss Ski Federation has decided, until further notice, to withdraw its request to replace ‘Wengen’ in the 2021-2022 calendar with ‘SUI’ (Switzerland),” the Federation says on its website.

“Last weekend, Swiss-Ski learned that the entrepreneur and sponsor of Swiss-Ski Jörg Moser will give the Ski Federation a donation of CHF 300,000 in support of the Lauberhorn races in Wengen.

“The amount roughly corresponds to the structural deficit linked to the progress of the competition in Wengen. This donation saves time in order to complete negotiations and thus withdraw the request submitted last Wednesday by Swiss-Ski to the FIS committee for the World Cup – namely to replace Wengen in the long-term calendar of FIS by the provisional term “SUI” (Switzerland).”

The Federation is, however, issuing a warning for the future.

It says it cannot and will not be able to accede to the request for an additional CHF 1 million a year (€944,000/£839,000) submitted by Wengen to the Arbitration Tribunal for Sport (CAS).

“Swiss-Ski also supports spectacular races in the remarkable Lauberhorn landscape, but not at any cost,” said Urs Lehmann, president of Swiss-Ski.

Monday 25th May

TWO MEN CHARGED AFTER AVALANCHE IN COLORADO

Tyler DeWitt and Evan Hannibal have been charged with ‘reckless endangerment’ after the huge avalanche hit a road near the Eisenhower Tunnel last March.

They were snowboarding on the slope above at the time.

The men made their way up the slope from a parking area on the west side of the tunnels and rode down in a line above the tunnels.

The avalanche they allegedly triggered buried a road in 7m of snow & debris that was open to the public at the time.

No-one was injured in the incident.

There was nothing legally preventing the snowboarders from accessing the area, and they were within their rights to ride the area.

However given the circumstances and danger, some officials believe the two men were negligent and unnecessarily endangered people on the road below.

The pair said to be experienced backcountry riders.

They are due to appear before Summit County Court on August 5th.

Avalanche at Eisenhower tunnel

Image c/o Colorado Avalanche Information Centre

Sunday 24th May

TEAM GB’S CHEF de MISSION ANNOUNCED FOR BEIJING 2022

She is Georgina Harland is a former modern pentathlete and is the first woman to be selected for the role.

She won a bronze medal the Summer Games in Athens in 2004.

“Being named as Chef de Mission is a privilege, and I will give everything I can to the role on behalf of all of our winter athletes and sports,” she said.

“I have a deep passion for the Olympic Movement and all it encompasses, and so outside of representing your country as an athlete, which I have been fortunate enough to do, this is the next best thing.

“The growth and development of Team GB as a winter nation is incredibly exciting, and Team GB’s record-breaking performances in Sochi and Pyeongchang are testament to this.

“I am very much looking forward to the journey to Beijing in 2022 and making it a memorable and successful experience for our athletes and the broader team.”

The Chef de Mission is responsible for planning, preparation and execution of the team at the Games.

Georgina Harland

Georgina Harland

Saturday 23rd May

CAIRNGORM REPAIRS APPROVED

The Cairngorms National Park Authority has given approval to repairs to the Cairngorm funicular railway.

The line has been closed since September 2018 and we have been reporting on the timescale for repairs.

The Scottish government must approve the repairs including the cost, which could run to an estimated £10m.

The park authority’s planning committee gave approval at a  live-streamed public meeting.

It was held online due to lockdown restrictions.

“We do need to be clear, however, that the final decision on whether to proceed with these works will depend on the outcomes of a detailed options appraisal and business case for Cairngorm Mountain,” said Highlands and Islands Enterprise in a statement.

“Progress with these aspects has been affected by Covid-19, but we hope to be ready to put recommendations to the board of HIE and the Scottish government in the summer.”

Cairngorm Mountain

Cairngorm Mountain

Friday 22nd May

MONEY ROW THREATENS THE FAMOUS LAUBERHORN SKI RACES

The funding dispute is between the organising committee of the Wengen races and the Swiss Ski Federation.

Unless it’s settled it could mean that the classic men’s downhill on the Lauberhorn does not take place in the 2021-22 season.

The calendar for the scheduled races in January 2022 currently confirms that it will be held in Switzerland but with no confirmed location.

A legal case between the two parties is at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“There have been differences of opinion for some time between Swiss-Ski and the international Lauberhorn races Wengen,” says a statement by the Swiss Federation on its website.

“Swiss-Ski cannot and does not want to meet the financial demands made by the organising committee in Wengen.”

Swiss-Ski says Wengen is demanding an additional payment of around 1 million Swiss Francs.

“Since Swiss-Ski is currently undergoing proceedings, the association is forced to minimise the associated risks from 2022,” the statement adds.

“By taking Wengen off the FIS long-term calendar, Swiss-Ski takes on its responsibility.

“For the association, the aim is to ensure that attractive World Cup races can continue to take place in Switzerland in good economic conditions – including on the Lauberhorn.”

Wengen, Switzerland

Wengen, Switzerland

The races in Wengen have been a fixture on the calendar since the World Cup began in 1967.

The men’s downhill held on the Saturday attracts around 30,000 spectators.

According to media reports the dispute centres on the Wengen organising committee’s share of television rights.

The organisers claim that Swiss-Ski has behaved in an unsportsmanlike fashion by withdrawing the races from the 2021-22 calendar.

Thursday 21st May

2026 WINTER OLYMPICS ATHLETES’ VILLAGE APPROVED

One of three villages for athletes at the Milan-Cortina Olympics and Paralympics has been given the go-ahead.

The village in Milan is part of a regeneration project of a railway yard.

It is expected to house around 1,400 people during the Games.

“The dream is becoming reality,” said Antonio Rossia, under-secretary to the Lombardy Presidency, according to the Italian news website Affaritaliani.

“The Olympic Village that will rise in the shadow of the Madonnina is the most important work to be carried out among those contained in the Olympic dossier.

“The approval of this agreement represents, in light of the tragedies related to the spread of the coronavirus, a reason for hope for a happier and prosperous tomorrow.”

2026 athletes' village, Milan - photo Milan Cortina 2026

Athletes’ Village, Milan – photo Milan Cortina 2026

Inside The Games reports that construction is expected to begin in June 2022, with work due to be concluded by May 2025.

The Village will be within a 30 minute distance of each of the venues which will be used in Milan for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It will become social and student housing after the Games.

A temporary Athletes’ Village will also be established in Cortina d’Ampezzo for competitors in skiing and ice sports.

A third temporary village will be built in Livigno for athletes competing in snowboard, freestyle events as well as biathlon and cross-country events in the Paralympic Games.

A-BASIN IN COLORADO SELLING OFF CHAIRS FROM LIFT

It is auctioning four chairs from its Pallavicini chairlift.

The money raised from three will benefit local nonprofits The Summit Foundation, the Family & Intercultural Resource Center and the Summit Community Care Clinic.

Proceeds from the fourth chair will go to A-Basin employees who have medical needs.

The current highest bid is $5,200.

Here’s the chief operating officer of A-Basin, Alan Henceroth:

Henceroth added that A-Basin would sell another 100 chairs.

People can buy $50 tickets for a raffle-type drawing for the 100 chairs.

Proceeds will go to the Summit County Cares Emergency Fund.

The drawing will be open from June 1-22 and will take place June 24.

Those drawn in the raffle can buy a chair for $2,500.

Tuesday 19th May

LONG RUNNING GB INSTRUCTOR COURT CASE ENDS WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR OTHERS

A French court has ruled that the British ski instructor, 57-year old Simon Butler, is able to teach in France.

It is the end of a long running legal battle that we have reported on PlanetSKI over the years.

Simon Butler: French court case ruling in full

Simon Butler found guilty

GB ski instructor wins historic case in France

Mr Butler’s lawyer, Philippe Planes, said Brexit would not affect his client or other British instructors in France in a similar position.

“It won’t change anything for Britons already settled here, their rights are secured,” the lawyers claimed.

“For others in the future, that will depend on the negotiations under way” on Britain’s future relation with the EU, he said.

Simon Butler

Simon Butler in court

Simon Butler

Simon Butler on the slopes

Sunday 17th May

SKIER SURVIVES 500m COULOIR FALL AS AIGUILLE DU MIDI LIFT OPENS IN CHAMONIX

The Frenchman, in his 40s, fell on Sunday morning as he was attempting to ski the Cosmiques couloir.

Reports say he fell at the top where it is 40 degrees.

It is a popular steep ski down the West face of the Aiguille Du Midi for extreme skiers only.

Cosmiques couloir, Chamonix

Cosmiques couloir, Chamonix

The Aiguille du Midi cable car opened this weekend after being closed due to coronavirus restrictions.

He was rescued by the Chamonix PGHM and taken by helicopter to hospital in nearby Sallanches.

According to the rescue authorities his injuries are not “too severe” and they describe his survival as a “little miracle”.

PGHM, Chamonix

PGHM, Chamonix

 

Monday 11th May

OUCH!

Saturday 9th May

YOUNG AUSTRIAN SKI RACER TAKES HER OWN LIFE

18-year old, Johanna Bassani, was a Nordic skier and a silver medallist at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne last winter.

She reportedly left behind letters stating that she “could not bear the pressure anymore” and “I do not want to do this, I can’t do this anymore. ”

“We learn with great dismay and immense sadness from the death of this young athlete who represented the future,” said the Austrian Ski Federation.

GB’s The Ellie Soutter Foundation has sent Johanna’s family and friends it’s “heart -felt condolences.

“This is such tragic news that has shocked me to the core. It makes me even more determined than ever before, to make sure the Ellie Soutter foundation reaches out and supports more young athletes,” said the Foundation’s president, Tony Soutter.

His daughter, Ellie, took her own life on her 18th birthday.

The Foundation was set up to aid young ski and snowboard athletes.

Ellis Soutter Foundation awards its 4th athlete grant.

Johanna Bassani

Johanna Bassani

SNOW LEOPARD CAPTURED IN INDIA AND HEADING TO A ZOO

The animal became trapped inside a pen with sheep and goats in Giu village near the Tibetan border in India’s Himachal Pradesh state.

“The big cat was unable to escape from the enclosure after killing a few livestock,” said wildlife official Hardev Negi,.

The state’s chief wildlife official Savita Sharma told the AFP news agency that the snow leopard was not being released since the incident involved “wild animal-human conflict,” adding it would be transferred to a zoo in the foothills outside the state capital Shimla.

There are estimated to be just 44 snow leopards living in the area and animal rights activists  are said to be against the move.

As few as 4,000 of the animals could be left in the high mountains of central Asia, their sole habitat, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Snow leopard

Snow leopard

Thursday 7th May

KATIE ORMEROD FINALLY GETS HER CRYSTAL GLOBE

The abrupt end to the snowsports season meant the GB snowboarder could not be officially presented with her Crystal Globe.

These huge trophies are awarded to the athlete who takes the title in each ski and snowboard discipline at the end of the season.

Katie Ormerod's Crystal Globe 2020

The Crystal Globe – photo Katie Ormerod

Ormerod finished top of the World Cup Snowboard Slopestyle standings to take the title and the Globe.She also finished second overall in the Freestyle standings.

She is only the second Briton and the first British snowboarder to win a Crystal Globe.

Katie Ormerod's overall medals for 2019-20 season

Katie Ormerod’s crystal medals – gold for slopestyle & silver for overall freestyle – photo Katie Ormerod

The 22-year-old missed out on a great chance of medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics when she suffered a horrific foot injury in training there.This was her first season back competing at the top level and her Facebook post makes it clear just how delighted to have her hands on her prize….

“?MY CRYSTAL GLOBE!!? Words cannot describe how ecstatic I am to finally be holding this!! I’ve never felt such determination to win something, like I had with this crystal globe, so to be standing here now with the overall Slopestyle title is the best feeling I’ve ever had – especially after going through so much with my broken heel. Thanks again to everyone who supported me along the way and believed that I could come back stronger and be the overall champion ❤️ Keep staying safe everyone! ??”

Katie Ormerod's overall medals for 2019-20 season

Hands on the prize, at last

ITALIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES OLYMPIC LAW FOR 2026 WINTER OLYMPICS

It outlines the legal and administrative details for the preparation of the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Winter Olympics 2026 are scheduled to take place from February 6th to 22nd with the Winter Paralympics 2026 following from March 6th to 15th.

As part of the Olympic Law, a joint Olympic Council will be set up with responsibility for overseeing the programme of planning and delivery for Milan Cortina 2026.

The Olympic Council will be separate to the Organising Committee and will be responsible for reporting annually to the Italian Parliament on progress.

2026 Winter Olympics

2026 Winter Olympics

Wednesday 6th May

27 ATHLETES NOMINATED FOR GB ALPINE FIS SQUAD

The World Cup and Europa Cup squads were announced last month.

The 27 will be aiming to be selected for the two senior squads.

GB Alpine Director Paul Trayner said that there is no better time to be fighting for a place in the World or Europa Cup squads:

“The depth we’re now showing in GB Alpine is great to see and the standards we expect from our athletes gets higher year after year.”

“There is a huge amount of talent in the FIS squad that will be pushing their way into the top two squads this season.”

“We’ve had some great results in Alpine over the last few seasons and we are striving to make those standout results come along even more consistently and with the quality we have coming through it is sure to make competition even stronger.”

GB Snowsport

GB Snowsport

The twenty-seven athletes are:

Male: Ted Slade, Tom Butterworth, Toby Case, Rob Holmes, Diaco Abrishami, Charles Rankin, Oli Weeks, Ed Guigonnet, Will Beney, Thomas Rampton, Sebastien Avent, Max Vaughton, Calum Langmuir, Jack Cunningham, Jake Doyle, Tom Hudson, Kaylan Huisman Muro

Female: Julia Wordley, Alexa Eliff, Daisi Daniels, Lois Jackson, Olivia Foster, Darcie Mead, Victoria Palla, Sophie Foster, Abi Bruce, Sarah Woodward

GB Snowsport

GB Snowsport

Monday 4th May

COMPETITION  LAUNCHED TO DESIGN MEDALS AND TORCH FOR BEIJING 2022

Organisers of the next Winter Olympics want the medals to conform to the core values and goals of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Designs must achieve a “beautiful appearance and artistic standard”.

Attention needs to be paid to the materials required.

Beijing 2022 have said that designs should reflect the Organising Committee’s focus on sustainability.

The fusion between Chinese culture and technology should be included in the medal designs, organisers said.

It is hoped that recyclable materials and eco-friendly Torch designs can be produced by applicants to the competition.

Last year the organisers unveiled a panda and Chinese lantern child as mascots for the Winter and Paralympic Games.

The panda was named Bing Dwen Dwen and will be the Olympic mascot.

The Chinese lantern child will be the Paralympic mascot and has been named Shuey Rhon Rhon.

Beijing 2022 Winter Mascots

Beijing 2022 Winter Mascots

Saturday 2nd May

MERIBEL RAISES €22, 500 IN SALE OF GONDOLAS

The Plattières 3 lift, that is a connecting lift to Les Menuires is being replaced so the resort decided to auction off the gondolas.

40,000 visits to the web site site page were recorded in five days.

The sale began at 9:00AM and all 45 cabins were gone by 9:03AM.

“We were overwhelmed and still can’t believe it,” said the resort.

The lift was installed 36 years ago and in 39 of the 45 cabins were repainted.

Plattières 3 lift

Plattières 3 lift

Each weighs 320 kilos and is almost 2 meters high.

One of the successful bidders was a woman who met her husband in one of the cabins.

Each was sold for €500 euros.

The money raised will go to three charities:

– Petits Princes, which fulfills the dreams of sick children.

– Moutain Wilderness, the mountain protection association.

– Ma Chance Moi Also which supports vulnerable children in priority neighborhoods.

The lift is replaced by a six-seat chairlift, that the resort describes as more “comfortable and fast”.

Friday May 1st

HEAVY SNOW FALLING IN AUSTRALIA

It’s always good to see some snow falling and it is currently coming down in some of the ski resorts in Australia.

The resorts near to Melbourne are receiving around 50cm with more in the forecast.

Mt Hotham, Australia

Mt Hotham, Australia

Mt Buller, Australia

Mt Buller, Australia

But will there be a ski season in Australia amid the pandemic?

Resorts are due to open at the beginning of next month.

See this earlier article as we assessed the situation:

Australia ski season under threat

Things are looking good for the resorts in New Zealand:

New Zealand ski areas plan to open with some restrictions

INQUEST HEARS HOW BRITISH SOLDIER FELL TO HIS DEATH ON THE MATTERHORN

24-yeat old Lance Corporal Hayden Prince, 24 was a climbing trip with two friends last June when he fell.

A rock holding his abseiling rope toppled over as he descended the  mountain and he plunged to his death, an inquest has heard.

The assistant Cambridgeshire coroner, Nicholas Moss, heard they had failed to reach the summit and were descending in the dark when the accident happened.

The group was correctly equipped and had head torches.

“Sadly and tragically, as Hayden attempted to abseil down, suddenly and without warning the large rock to which the abseil rope was attached by slings gave way,” said Mr Moss.

“The rock started to fall down the mountain and sadly Hayden fell down too.

“Tragically, this fall was Hayden falling to his death.

“I find it wasn’t a survivable fall.

“Matters clearly happened very quickly.”

No blame was placed on his two climbing partners.

They called the rescue services and they were taken off the mountain by helicopter.

Hayden Prince’s body was recovered the following day.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

The Matterhorn, Switzerlandmatterhorn

The Matterhorn, Switzerland

DIGITAL CURRENCY TO BE USED AT BEIJING 2022

The Bank of China (BOC), the China Construction Bank (CCB), the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will distribute the currency.

Tests are being carried out ahead of the Winter Games in the cities of Xiong’an New Area, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Suzhou.

The Agricultural Bank of China is released an app in April.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are due to run from February 4th to 20th 2022 in the Beijing and Hubei Provinces.

Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022

MOUNTAIN GUIDE CARRIES INJURED SKIER TO SAFETY

Scottish skier, Angie Brown, suffered a serious knee injury while skiing a couloir in a remote part of the French Alps.

Her guide, Stef Mours, helped get her to safety by carrying her on his back then dragging her across the snow.

Angie Brown

See the full story here on the BBC.

It was on BBC1 last night and can be viewed on the i-player.

Angie Brown

Angie Brown

SKIER DIES IN AVALANCHE IN COLORADO

Four people where skiing Mount Emmons, a very steep slope northwest of Crested Butte.

The avalanche caught one person and injured another.

Search crews have so far been unable to locate a body as conditions remain dangerous and the person is presumed dead.

 

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