July’s News in Brief…
1st July 2020
Last modified on July 30th, 2020
– 2026 days to go to 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympic
– Investigation after 4 die in Swiss Alps plane crash
– People Turned Away from Snowdon Mountain in Wales
– FIS Reports £15.5m Profit for 2019 ….UPDATED
Thursday 30th July
2026 days to go to 2026 Milan- Cortina Winter Olympic
The Organisers have met for a 2-day assessment of the Games.
“We are optimistic, positive and proactive,” said the President of the organising committee, Giovanni Malagò.
“There is great interest in this Olympiad because with the double candidacy of Milan and Cortina we have opened a new era: the project of a great innovative event takes off, full of energy on the sports floor and light from an economic and structural point of view.
“Building less, building better and leaving a legacy for the future, these are fixed points.
“A vision to which all the councillors, both the representatives of the territories and institutions and those of sport, in these two days have contributed with a positive spirit.”
Milan Cortina 2026 is the first winter Olympics that will operate according to the IOC’s Agenda 2020, the reform that aims to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games sustainable, flexible and efficient.
The first official site inspection for freestyle, freeski and snowboard took place on Monday and Tuesday in Livigno, which will host the events across all freestyle and snowboard discipline – moguls & aerials, snowboard alpine, snowboard and freeski park & pipe as well as ski and snowboard cross.
The next inspection is planned in the middle of November, where more details will be revealed, including the proper vision on venues and site developments.
Monday 27th July
Investigation After Swiss Alps Plane Crash Kills 4
Investigations are underway after four people were killed when their small plane crashed in the Swiss Alps at the weekend.
Two Swiss and two Austrian nationals died when the aircraft came down near the Gletscherspitze peak in the Valais region at an altitude of more than 3,000 metres.
The Valais police said a witness had first called to report seeing the plane falling from the sky at 12:25 pm on Saturday and called back a few minutes later to say smoke was coming from the crash site.
Firefighters and rescue workers were flown in by Air Zermatt helicopter and discovered that all four people onboard had died.
The Swiss citizens were said to be aged 50 and 66 and the two Austrians aged 46 and 50.
They had taken off from the Reichenbach/BE airfield that morning.
Saturday 25th July
People Turned Away from Mount Snowdon in Wales
North Wales police had stopped about 60 vehicles by 8am as people flooded into Snowdonia National Park.
People were warned that cars would be towed away if parked illegally.
Last weekend around 500 vehicles were parked illegally along the roadside.
“Drivers told us they thought we were just ‘bluffing’ when we said cars would be towed away if obstructing the road. A recovery vehicle is already parked up at Pen-y-Pass,” police said.
Wednesday 22nd July
FIS Reports £15.5m Profit for 2019
The better-than-expected performance was explained by favourable exchange rates, financial income and various savings on personnel and other business expenses.
It followed a loss of £5.8m in 2018 and 2020 will likely be damaged by the impact of covid-19, though it struck in March near the end of the snowsports season.
The surplus over the two-year period (£9.7m) is set to be divided between the National Ski Associations as a “special distribution for the promotion of skiing”.
This would be paid in 2020 and 2021.
The FIS President Gian-Franco Kasper recently released a mid-summer message lookin gahead to next winter and what it may look like:
Tuesday 21st July
Ski Thief Gets 30-days in Jail
Jason Kawaguchi, 40, pleaded guilty to stealing skis valued between $5,00-$20,000 from skiers at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado last year.
Kawaguchi also admitted to stealing numerous skis from Eldora Mountain ski area in Boulder County, Colorado.
During a search of his home the authorities located 74 pairs of skis and 42 pairs of ski poles with an estimated value of $51,378.
The defendant was viewed on video surveillance on multiple days stealing skis.
He would place skis in a ski bag and then take them to his vehicle in the car park
Multiple thefts had been reported to Arapahoe Basin in May and June 2019, including 4 thefts in one day.
Kawaguchi was also given three years probation and ordered to attend cognitive behavioral therapy.
Monday 20th July
Legendary Whistler T-bar Dismantled as Climate Change Takes its Toll
The iconic Horstman T-Bar on the resort’s glacier area has been taken down.
It was installed in 1987 and was one of the main lifts for summer skiing and snowboarding.
This year, due the coronavirus restrictions, the glacier has remained closed.
“Over time, the Horstman Glacier’s profile has changed to the point that the Horstman T-bar became inoperable and required us to remove it,” said a statement from Whistler-Blackcomb.
“The Showcase T-bar is in a better location and will continue to service the glacier for both summer and winter.
“We are looking forward to welcoming skiers and riders for the winter season, several months away, and our intent is to be back to summer glacier skiing in 2021.”
Sunday 19th July
Ski Heritage of Princess Beatrice’s New Husband
She married the property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at a small ceremony at The Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor on Friday.
And we have learnt that her new father-in-law, 68-year old Count Alessandro Mapellu Mozzi, was an Olympic ski racer.
He has dual Italian and British nationality and chose to represent GB at the 1972 Winter Olympics at Sapporo in Japan.
He competed in three disciplines but was unable to reach the podium.
Saturday 18th July
Novak Djokovic has ski slope named after him
The World No 1 tennis player has inaugurated the ski slope in the resort of Jahorina, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner is huge fan of skiing and his father was a professional ski racer.
Djokovic has said that skiing has improved his tennis skills.
Last winter, before coronavirus, he took his family skiing in the Italian Alps.
Skiing, it kind of runs in my veins. I come from a professional skier’s family,” he said.
“My dad used to compete. My uncle, my aunts. For us, it’s kind of normal to be on the slopes. I grew up on the mountain. I think skiing has affected the flexibility I feel of my ankles, my joints.”
Thursday 16th July
‘Watermelon’ Snow Bad News for Alpine Glacier
A pink or red layer covering the snow on the Presena Glacier in northern Italy is caused by algae that speeds up melting according to scientists.
The layer – which is being dubbed ‘watermelon’ snow – is said to be brighter than usual this year.
“There is relatively little scientific literature on this phenomenon, which has the direct effect of accelerating the melting of snow and ice,” the Institute of Polar Sciences (L’Istituto di Scienze Polari) says on its website.
“This year, the red colour has been ‘spotted’ in various areas of the European Alps. In particular, the snow at the Presena glacier (Trentino-Alto Adige) has taken on a strong red colour that has attracted the attention of hikers and ski lift operators.
“The presence of these algae on the snow causes a decrease in albedo (or reflectivity) of the snow itself, and induces a greater absorption of radiation and an accelerated melting.”
It adds: “Low snowfall during the winter and high spring/summer temperatures create the perfect environment for the development of these algae,” it says.
However, one of the scientists, Biago di Mauro, said in a tweet that any relationship to climate change was not proven:
1- The alga was probably Chlamydomonas nivalis (a snow alga), not Ancylonema nordenskioeldi (a glacier alga)
2- the phenomen is quite common in the Alps
3- the relationship with climate change has yet to be proven@guardian @afpfr https://t.co/mG6RARexTD
— Biagio Di Mauro (@DiMauro_b) July 6, 2020
Sunday 12th July
11-year old From Scotland Becomes Youngest to Climb The Matterhorn
Jules Molyneaux from Perthshire reached the 14,692ft summit in the Alps in about four hours.
He spent much of the lockdown building up his fitness to be allowed to attempt the challenge.
He made the ascent with his father, Chris.
The full details can be read on the BBC.
“The sunrise is worth it when you go up. Halfway up the mountain you can see all the orange behind the Alps, it’s amazing.”
Jules’s climb was inspired by the climbing he had done with his school.
He had to prove his ability to local mountain guides before being allowed to climb.
His father, Chris, said “He kept training and training and then a year ago started to take it seriously, and then six months ago we thought we would give it a shot.
“Where we are based in the highlands of Scotland, we are surrounded by Ben Nevis and all the climbing meccas there, but it’s more of a serious game in the Alps.”
Although there are no official records it’s believed Jules is the youngest person to ever climb the Matterhorn.
This was confirmed to Chris at the Matterhorn museum in Zermatt.
Over 500 people have died while climbing the Matterhorn.
Thursday 9th July
Rockfall Warnings in Scotland
A warning has been issued about large loose boulders, some 1m wide, on melting snow.
Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team issued the warning about the “significantly-sized boulders” at the top of Black Spout, in Deeside.
“Clearly these will dislodge as the snow melts further. Be aware they may travel well beyond the base of Black Spout when they move,” said a statement from the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue.
“Please take this into consideration if you are in the area, even if you are not within Black Spout itself,” it added.
Tuesday 7th July
Decent conditions in ski resorts in the Alps
One of our regular readers, Nick Williams from the UK operator Mountain Heaven, is currently in Tignes.
“It was great to escape the miserable UK and be somewhere that was almost normal, in fact the new normal is almost the same as the old normal!” said Nick.
Thursday 2nd July
Aspen Joins Facebook Advertising Boycott
Aspen Skiing Co. has joined hundreds of companies that stopped advertising on Facebook for at least the month of July to protest how the social media giant handles hate speech.
Skico has posted an announcement of its position on its Facebook page as the boycott started.
“Aspen-Snowmass has long believed that fact-based, civil discourse is critical to finding solutions to the challenges facing our country and the world,” Skico’s statement said.
“We need to engage in dialogue with each other, but there’s a right way to do it, respectful and dignified. That’s why we joined #StopHateForProfit by pulling our advertising on Facebook through July.”
Around 400 companies have vowed to participate in the boycott including The North Face and Patagonia.
Wednesday 1st July
Ellie Soutter Foundation To Hold Online Auction
The charity is holding a Grand Online Auction this Saturday 4th July.
It will be streamed live from three locations in France: Les Gets, Morzine and St Jean d’Aulps.
It takes place from 4.30pm to 7.30pm CET (3.30pm to 6.30pm BST).
All the money raised will go towards The Ellie Soutter Foundation’s commitment to supporting promising ski and snowboard athletes, both financially and mentally to help them fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams.
Ellie Soutter was a talented young British snowboarder who had excelled in freeride and snowboard cross.
She took her own life on her 18th birthday.
The Foundation was set up by Ellie Soutter’s family in her memory to help and assist other young winter athletes.
Up for grabs in the auction are a holiday in Thailand, game fishing in Portugal, a pair of limited-edition skis, a 3-night B&B stay in Morzine and many other lots.
Bidding is already open via this link: https://app.galabid.com/ellie
There is also a raffle with prizes including ski lessons with LGS Snowsports tuition, a pair of Summit goggles and a day trip to Annecy.
Follow the Foundation on Facebook or Instagram to join in with the raffle.
- Ellie Soutter Foundation Awards Its 4th Athlete Grant
- Ellie Soutter Foundation Supports 12-year-old Snowboarder
- Two More Ellie Soutter Foundation Grants Announced At The Ski Festival
- Ellie Soutter Foundation Awards First Grant
For more information, visit The Ellie Soutter Foundation website.
Russia To Host Special Winter Olympics
Kazan in south west Russia has been chosen to replace Sweden as host of the next Special Olympics World Winter Games.
“Hosting the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 adds Kazan to an elite group of international cities leading the inclusion charge for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics.
“The global Special Olympics movement has confidence in Kazan’s ability to host a world-class Games that deliver a lasting impact. Congratulations to Kazan!”
The Special Olympics take place every two years and alternate between a Summer and a Winter Games.
The next event was due to be held in Sweden in 2021 but the event’s organising committee pulled out after failing to secure sufficient funds.
The 2022 Games in Kazan will include alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, floorball, cross-country skiing, figure skating, and short track speedskating.
Special Olympics Russia has been active for more than two decades and has 128,000 athletes taking part in sport and competition across the country.
However, this represents only 4 percent of the estimated three million people with intellectual disabilities in Russia.
One of the key aims of the World Winter Games will be to grow athlete numbers to 200,000 and expand into all 85 regions of Russia by 2025.
“We are thrilled to host the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022,” said Olga Slutsker, President of Special Olympics Russia.
“Hosting this prestigious and deeply significant event gives us the opportunity to show Russia and the world that people with intellectual disabilities are capable of competing at the highest levels of sport.
“It will demonstrate the power of our movement not only as a sports organization but also as a leader in the drive towards a truly inclusive world.”
Give Them a Break
Travel Companies in the UK are getting together to provide 10,000 ‘holidays for heroes’.
Give Them A Break (GTAB) is a new nationwide, not-for-profit campaign to thank key workers across the UK for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has launched with a call for donations to its charity fund, which will be used to make thousands of holidays and days out available for key workers to enjoy when lockdown restrictions ease.
● The Give Them A Break Fund – Members of the public and businesses are invited to donate, and funds will then be used to buy holidays and experiences for low income key workers and their families
● The Give Them A Break Directory – A range of exclusive deals and discounted offers from a selection of travel brands which specialise in UK and overseas holidays and experiences.
Travel PR Louise Newton said, “Along with many others, I am so pleased to volunteer for Give Them A Break. To spread the word for such a great new non-profit initiative is a huge pleasure.”
“Everyone is more grateful than ever for all key workers, and now is the perfect time to thank them by donating to this fund. It will be heart-warming to see key workers take up free and discounted trips in the coming months.”
Give Them A Break is a not-for-profit campaign founded by Rachel McCaffery, Director of GreenCase Ltd, with the voluntary assistance of a number of travel industry professionals and supporters.
All donations go directly to Give Them A Breaks’s charity partner, the Family Holiday Association (registered charity number 800262).