June’s News in Brief

– Woodsy gets lucky
– World’s oldest heliskier is almost 95
– Squaw Valley considers name change
– The $18m ski chalet ….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…

Monday, June 29th

Woodsy Strikes Lucky

In usual circumstances, suffering a serious knee injury and being out of action for most of the winter is not an advantage for any of us.

It’s even worse if you are one of the world’s best freestyle skiers.

For GB’s James ‘Woodsy’ Woods, there is, at least a silver lining.

Woodsy is a great fan of New Zealand and, while his team mates were in the northern hemisphere, he was in down south doing his rehab in the pleasant southern hemisphere summer.

Now Woodsy has recovered, he’s in exactly the right place at the right time.

It’s winter and the ski slopes are open.

The rest of the world – among them the British squad will no doubt be looking on with envy as he returns to action in Cardrona.

New Zealand’s borders remain closed to the outside world to keep Covid-19 out.

Lucky Woodsy and it’s great to see you back from injury!

It’s been while and that while has been pretty testing. But as of today I’m back and have never been more grateful 🙏🙌..📷: @hamishmcd // @cardronaparksnz @cardronanz #40years

Posted by James 'Woodsy' Woods on Friday, 26 June 2020

Thursday, June 25th

Heliskiing at 94

Imagine being able to go heliskiing and enjoy deep powder at the age of 94 years and 306 days….

Gordon Precious did just that and clocked up a World Record in the process.

Guinness World Records has confirmed the record was achieved on a run called Nectar in the Cariboo Mountains in British Columbia, Canada.

The avid skier continues to ski all over the globe, including heliskiing every five years.

So the next trip should be shortly before his 100th birthday.

The record was achieved in March 2019 when he was on a guided trip with CMH Heli-Skiing, based in Banff.

In a news release CMH said ‘Gordon wanted to show the world that age is no boundary to living life to the fullest. We can safely say he achieved that goal’.

After his record run, Gordon, wife Tracy and grandson Trevor continued to enjoy the powder for another three days.

Monday, June 22nd

Squaw Valley Considers Name Change due to Native American Connotations

The resort is working with community groups and local agencies as it considers whether its name is out of step with modern times.

“It is a word that has more or less become a slur used to identify Native American women. By disrespecting them, they also disrespect the tribe as a whole,” said Darrel Cruz, a member of the local Washoe Tribe.

“I think this is good that we are putting the word out to educate the public that this word is no longer acceptable,” Cruz added.

Some locals not in favour of the change of name and point to its historical roots not least as a Winter Olympics venue.

It held the Games in 1960.

More than 100 places across California have “squaw” in their official name, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The word ‘Squaw’ shows up on California maps attached to creeks, rocks, and gulches.



Sunday, June 21st

$18m for a Ski Chalet

It is a 12,500-square foot property in the Yellowstone Club in Montana USA and is on the market if you have a spare £14m in your back pocket.

It has six bedrooms and two bunk rooms and eleven bathrooms.

Apparently the two bunk rooms are connected by a secret passageway.

“The formal entry opens to reveal impeccable details: hand-stacked stone, rugged timbers, and thoughtful lighting frame the spaces and define the flow between rooms,” comes the description.

“Additional interesting architectural features include an observation tower with a wraparound deck that offers spectacular views.”

The main level of the home features formal gathering spaces including a living room and dining room, with doors that open to a covered outdoor dining and deck area.

Oh, the garage can take three cars too.

There’s is a home theatre, a recreation room, playroom/game room, home gym, study, and changing rooms adjacent to an outdoor hot tub.

The house also has a steam room.

Friday, June 19th

Win The Chance To Commentate On A Ski Race

Ever watched a ski race and fancied yourself as a commentator?

Well now you have your opportunity.

The International Ski Federation is giving you the chance to commentate on a full FIS Cross-Country race.

All you need to do is to record yourself commentating on an extract of the 2014 Lahti womens Sprint in Free technique, upload it on social media (Facebook or Instagram) and tag @fiscrosscountry and #takemetothefinishline.

You’ve only got until noon CET (11am BST) on Sunday, 21st June to get it done.

The winner will get access to the full race in advance to record.

FIS Cross-Country will stream the FULL Sprint womens and mens competition on Monday, 29th June.

Here’s the extract for your commentary:

Thursday, 18th June

Beijing 2022 Olympic Ski Venue Makes Plans For Rubbish

Chongli in Hebei province in northern China has built 10 waste transfer stations to fully cover rubbish collection and transportation for the Winter Olympics.

According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, it will be able to deal with 320 tonnes each day.

A local official says the transfer station will reduce environmental pollution.

Chongli is 200km north west of Beijing and will host many of the skiing events at the Games.

Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022

See this related story as we look at the wider preparations for 2022 and the rising political concerns;  Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on track despite coronavirus

Wednesday, 17th June

Hunt for Person Who Left 3kg of Gold on Swiss Train

The authorities are trying to find the owner of the gold that was left in a carriage on a train between St Gallen and Lucerne in the Swiss Alps in October 2019.

It is worth more than £150,000.

Under Swiss law the owner has five years to claim it back at the prosecutor’s office in Lucerne.

The discovery is being made known to the public after efforts to track down the owner or owners have been fruitless.

Tuesday, 16th June

Skiers Suspended For Alleged Racial Slurs

US Ski & Snowboard have suspended indefinitely the identical twin brothers Deven and Kiernan Fagan following allegations that they made racial slurs on social media.

Several of the 18-year-old freestyle skiers’ sponsors have also withdrawn their support.

A statement on the governing body’s website says it recently became aware of the Fagans acting in contravention of the athletes’ code of conduct.

Their return to sanctioned activities is dependent on them completing ‘diversity and sensitivity training’.

US Ski & Snowboard

US Ski & Snowboard

Here’s the full US Ski & Snowboard statement:

U.S. Ski & Snowboard does not condone acts of violence, underage drinking, or discriminatory language or actions that criticize, ridicule or otherwise disparage another individual’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, or age.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard recently became aware of content that portrays Deven and Kiernan Fagan behaving in a way that is in violation of U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Athlete Agreement and Code of Conduct. Effective immediately, Deven and Kiernan will be subject to a formal, indefinite suspension.

Kiernan and Deven’s return to U.S. Ski & Snowboard sanctioned activities is reliant upon completing diversity and sensitivity education. U.S. Ski & Snowboard will work closely with Kiernan and Deven in the coming months to evaluate their progress and team status.

The twins have posted an apology on Instagram:


Monday, 15th June

San Siro Stadium to be Redeveloped for 2026 Winter Olympics

Planning authorities have ruled that the famous Milan stadium does not “cultural heritage”.

It means the stadium, which is due to host the Opening Ceremonies of the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, can be demolished instead of just restructured.

Some believe major parts of the historic stadium needed to be preserved.

The authorities ruled work in the second half of the 20th century meant that there was no heritage to protect and the stadium was too “modern”.

Friday 12th June

Lenzerheide in Switzerland Aims to be Biathlon Hot-Spot

The resort is bidding for the 2025 World Championships.

The country is bidding against Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic and Minsk-Raubichi in Belarus.

It also wants to hold World Cup events.

“We want to position Lenzerheide as a biathlon hot-spot,” said Swiss-Ski chief executive Bernhard Aregger.

“With the World Championships and World Cup application, Swiss-Ski underlines its strategic decision to put a strong focus on biathlon.”

Wednesday 10th June

Australian Paralympic Snowboarder Recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Simon Patmore has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) which is the first award in Australia’s five-tier honours system.

He was born with Erb’s palsy affecting his left arm

He won gold at Pyeongchang 2018 in the Men’s Snowboard Cross and a bronze medal in the Men’s Banked Slalom.

He became the  first Australian to win a Paralympic Winter Games gold medal since 2002.

It also meant he was the first Australian man to win a medal at the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games.

Plus the first Australian to win a gold medal in Para-snowboard at the Paralympic Games and the first Paralympic champion in snowboard cross in his classification.

He won a bronze medal in the Men’s 200m at the London Paralympic Summer Games in 2012.

Tuesday 9th June

GB Snowsport Seeking Safeguarding Officer

The UK’s governing body for skiing and snowboarding is looking to appoint a part-time Safeguarding and Welfare Officer to look after the interests of its athletes.

The successful candidate will work one day a week at the London offices or from home and be the main point of contact on safeguarding for GB Snowsport team members, staff, athletes and parents.

He or she will also develop and implement the organisation’s safeguarding policies, working with the Olympic Team Manager, the Head of Paralympic culture and the Chief Executive, Vicky Gosling.

GB Snowsport says it is committed to making its sport safe for all athletes and ensure they feel supported.

Anyone with experience as a designated safeguarding officer (Level 3 qualified), ideally in sport, is asked to apply by this Friday, 12th June.

More details are on the GB Snowsport website.


GB Snowsport Announces ‘Be Brave’ Mental Health Campaign

Ellie Soutter Foundation Awards Its 4th Athlete Grant

Monday 8th June

Ted Ligety Confirms He Is Aiming for Beijing 2022

The 35-year old US skier is a double Olympic Alpine skiing gold medalist.

“Two final years and finish it off at the Olympics,” he told NBC Sports.

Ligety won the Alpine combined gold medal at Turin 2006 and took the Olympic giant slalom crown in Sochi in 2014.

“At this point, I guess I’m shooting for the Olympics,” he said.

“If I was going to go this year, I was going to go the next year. It kind of seems silly to stop the year before the Olympics.

“So, go through then and then definitely be done. So, 37, I’d definitely be an old guy at the Olympics.

“Actually, my body’s been feeling better this year than it has in probably the five years prior to this.”

Bode Miller is current the oldest US skier to compete at the Olympics.

Miller tied for super-G bronze in his fifth and final Olympics in Sochi in 2014 at the age of 36.

Saturday 6th June

Work Continues on Direct Link from Cervinia to Klein Matterhorn

It is the highest construction site in Europe at 3,800m.

Work stopped during coronavirus restrictions, but is now underway again.

The three-cable system with 10 28-seat cabins, built by Leitner ropeways, will be ready for the winter season 2021-22.

The final sections has a 1.7 km span without intermediate support over the Plateau Rosà glacier.

A video animation created with drone footage and 3D simulations shows what the final outcome will look like.

Thursday 4th June

FIS Gives Details Of Fluorinated Ski Wax Ban

The International Ski Federation has introduced a ban on the use of damaging fluorine waxes across all disciplines from the start of the 2020-21 season.

We reported the world governing body’s decision back in December.

It has been explaining how the ban will be enforced.

Roman Kumpost, chair of the working group on the subject, said it had been shown that the waxes had a negative impact on both the health of people working with the wax and a harmful impact on the environment.

Regulations are already in force in the USA and are due to be implemented in the EU from July.

Hand-held detectors will be tested over the summer and from the start of next winter skis will be checked before and after competitions.

Roman Kumpost said for the upcoming season the measurement limit – or tolerance – “would be defined in order to discriminate between the use of banned fluorinated waxes and a potential contamination or an incomplete cleaning of the pre-existing material”.

He said the goal of FIS was to be at “zero” level at the latest by the season 2022-23.

Athletes face disqualification if flourine is detected in their wax.

More environmentally-friendly waxes have recently come onto the market:

Wednesday 3rd June

Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado Supports Black Lives Matter

As protests continue across the USA and beyond Steamboat Resort has lit up the mountain.

“Our lights were on at 8:46 tonight in solidarity with our black team members, skiers, snowboarders and all those fighting for a brighter future. Our voices matter.”

Tuesday 2nd June

Tributes To FWQ Skier

Tributes have been paid to a young Freeride World Tour Qualifier who has died in an accident on the Mont Blanc massif.

Hugo Hoff was just 21.

The skier trained in Serre Chevalier but had been living in Les Arcs.

According to French news reports he was with a friend in the Gervasutti corridor on the east face of Mont  Blanc when both fell several hundred metres.

Hugo Hoff’s companion was slightly injured and flown to hospital by helicopter.

The Freeride World Tour posted the sad news on its Facebook page.

“It is with a heavy heart that we report the death of FWQ rider Hugo Hoff. Hugo was an incredibly talented skier and kind young man. He passed away yesterday after an accident in Mont Blanc massif. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

His former ski club also reacted on social media:

La vie est injuste. Nous pensons très fort à toi à Véronique,Tom et Jean Christophe.Ton club de ski

Posted by Club de Ski de Serre Chevalier (C.S.S.C.) on Sunday, 31 May 2020

Skateyakking – is this a new winter sport?

It requires a pair of cross country skis, long ski poles a kayak plus a paddle… et voila you’re ready to go Skateyakking.

So what exactly is Skateyakking?

In a eureka moment, the idea came to Eugene Buchanan as he was cross country skiing and came across a narrow, meandering channel of water – that was inviting a kayak.

Watch the video below as Eugene packs away his skis, ski poles and ski boots.

He then re rigs his sled into a kayak, setting off into the channel wearing appropriate waterproof kayaking kit.

Eugene Buchanan is the magazine editor for the Steamboat Pilot & Today newspaper in Steamboat Springs.

Read Eugene’s full article in the Aspen Times here.

Monday 1st June

Italy Wins FIS Snowboard World Cup Nations Cup

The trophy is awarded to the country which collects the most points through the FIS Snowboard World Cup season.

It is the first time Italy has taken the award.

Italy ended the 2019-2020 season with 35,121 points – almost 3,500 points clear of runner-up Germany.

Seven Italian athletes delivered 12 victories and 19 podiums across the various FIS Snowboard World Cup this past season.

The advance of Norway’s Glaciers Appears to Have Ended

An overview of Norwegian glaciers since the 1960s shows there was some advance through the end of the last century.

That period of advance has now finished according the scientific date just released.

The region’s glaciers are now in uniform retreat, though with some variation.

Frontal advances were recorded in all regions except the northernmost glaciers in Troms and Finnmark (Storsteinsfjellbreen, Lyngen and Langfjordjøkelen).

More than half of the observed glaciers, 27 of 49, had marked advances in the 1990s.

For the full scientific details see Cambridge Core

Japan Considers Subsidising Holidays

Japan is reported by Travel Mole to be considering funding up to half the cost of visitors’ trips to try to reboot the country’s tourism industry.

Like many others its tourist industry has been badly hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Visitors from the UK and a number of other countries with a high number of coronavirus cases are currently banned from entering Japan.

The Japan Tourism Agency is planning to spend $12.5 billion funding the cost of future trips to the country.

The subsidies could be in place as early as July when travel restrictions are expected to be lifted.

It is unclear how the scheme will work, or who is eligible for the payments or whether these will cover the cost of international flights.

PlanetSKI was in Japan last year – for the Rugby World Cup, plus to check out the country and its ski areas ahead of winter:

Soaking in hot springs

PlanetSKI in Japan. Image © PlanetSKI.

Australian Mountains in Victoria May be Younger Than First Thought

A study at the University of Melbourne has revealed that parts of the Eastern Highlands of Victoria may be as young as five million years old, not 90 million years as widely thought.

The area includes the ski resorts of Mt Baw Baw and Mt Buller.

A team has been carrying out research in the Buchan Caves in the area.

“At least 250 meters of additional height in the East Victorian Highlands appears to have been gained in the last few million years,” said John Engel who is one of four scientists from the Isotope Geochemistry Group in the School of Earth Sciences.

“Our research showcases a new — and rather unique — method for measuring the uplift of mountains.

“This technique of using speleothem is likely to also work in other caves across the world for regions with ‘recent’ tectonic activity, offering geologists great opportunities to share more stories about these impressive and unchanging features of our landscape.”

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