December’s News in Brief

– Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund Approaches $3m Target
– Avalanche Danger in USA as 3 die in Colorado
– Sanctions on Russians Competing at Beijing 2022
– Val Thorens Ski Cross World Cup Called off Due to Strong Winds …UPDATED

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Sunday 27th December

Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund Approaches $3m Target

The father of the US skier Mikaela Shiffrin died suddenly last February and the funds is being run by US Ski and Snowboard.

The money raised will be used to help US Ski and Snowboard athletes through the uncertainty caused by the global health crisis.

It will also be used to help athletes prepare for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

It has currently raised $2.942m.

Mikaela Shiffrin & father Jeff - photo Mikaela Shiffrin Facebook

Wednesday 23rd December

Significant Avalanche Danger in USA as 3 die in Colorado

Three skiers have died in two avalanches in recent days.

With backcountry skiing on the rise due to Covid-19 restrictions in ski resorts, people are urged to be cautious.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Centre is urging people always carry emergency equipment, like a beacon, shovel and probe.

“Mother Nature is in charge when you live, work and play in the mountains,” said DeAnne Gallegos, a spokeswoman for the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management.

“Be hyper aware of the mountainous terrain around you.”

Two local men in their 50s died in the San Juan County area.

Last week a solo skier died after he was buried in an avalanche near Crested Butte.

Six people were killed in avalanches in Colorado during the whole of the 2019-20 season.

In Wyoming a 41-year old snowmobiler died on Tuesday.

Colorado Avalanche Information Centre

Colorado Avalanche Information Centre

Monday 21st December

Sanctions on Russians Competing at Beijing 2022

Russia’s flag and national anthem will be banned at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics though some of its athletes will be able to compete as neutrals.

Their uniforms can include the colours of the national flag and the word ‘Russia’ but must also clearly state they are neutral athletes.

The decision came as the Court of Arbitration for Sport halved the four-year period of sanctions imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency following tampering and manipulation of drug testing data by Moscow.

The doping scandal led to disqualifications with medals stripped from Russians who had competed at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The British four-man bob team –  originally placed 5th – were belatedly awarded the bronze medal after the two Russian teams who finished above them were disqualified.

Bronze medals for GB 6 years after they earned them – photo Team GB

It will be up to the international sporting federations and the International Olympic Committee to implement the decision of CAS.

The same restrictions will also be imposed on the delayed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar, if the team qualifies.

Russia has been banned from hosting major sporting events for two years until 16th December 2022 and will be stripped of any World Championships it’s already been awarded unless it’s legally or practically impossible.

CAS said its decision to reduce from four years to two the period of sanctions imposed on Russia took into account “the need to effect cultural change and encourage the next generation of Russian athletes to participate in clean international sport”.

Sunday 20th December

Val Thorens Ski Cross World Cup Called off Due to Strong Winds

The first of two legs of the Ski Cross World Cup in the French resort were called off on Saturday.

It is hoped competition can take place today.

“It is really unfortunate that we couldn’t have a safe race today because the OC put so much effort and work into the preparations and to even make this event possible, they had to really fight hard,” said the race director, Klaus Waldner.

Men’s and women’s races remain scheduled for Sunday.

Next Ski Cross World Cup is scheduled to resume on January 15th.

Ski Cross in Val Thorens

Ski Cross in Val Thorens

Friday 18th December

Fresh Warnings of Glacier Loss in the Alps

They come from Aberystwyth University in Wales.

Up to 92% of glaciers in the Alps could be lost by the end of the century due to climate change, say researchers.

The Alps has around 4,000 glaciers – all are melting.

The university’s research covers the entire European Alps region and is based on 200 years of climate records and forecasts covering 1901 to 2100.

The research found the glaciers that could go on popular ski resorts include the Klein Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, the Hintertux Glacier in Austria and the Grand Motte Glacier in Tignes, France.

They also predicted that by 2050 almost all the glaciers below 3,500 metres in the Alps are likely to have melted.

See more here on the BBC.

It is a subject PlanetSKI has covered extensively over the years:

Swiss glaciers melt by 10% in last 5 years

Mont Fort glacier, Switzerland

Mont Fort glacier, Switzerland

One area it has had an impact on is summer skiing that could become a thing of the past in a decade or so as the glaciers melt.

Summer skiing under threat

Summer skiing under threat

Les2Alpes ends summer skiing as glacier melts

And our advice here at PlanetSKI if you haven’t been summer skiing?

Glacier skiing – go while you still can

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Wednesday 16th December

FIS Appoints New Director

Philippe Gueisbuhler has been appointed Director of the International Ski Federation.

“I can think of no better person to help lead FIS into its next era than Philippe,” said FIS President, Gian Franco Kasper.

“He will bring a new energy and enthusiasm to the organization and it is clear his strong background in the international sports scene will be an absolute asset for FIS in our activities.”

Philippe Gueisbuhler

Philippe Gueisbuhler

The British Secretary General, Sarah Lewis OBE, was unceremoniously removed last October as we reported at the time:

FIS changes wording as it boots out GB’s Sarah Lewis from top job

It stated as a reason a “complete loss of confidence” in Sarah Lewis but then withdrew the remark.

For the last four years Mr Gueisbuhler, a Swiss national, has been the Director of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).

He is a qualified ski and snowboard instructor.

“Skiing and the mountains have been key parts of my life for as long as I can remember,” he said.

“I am humbled by the confidence shown to me by the FIS Council and deeply grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the future success of skiing and snowboarding, at every level.”

He will begin his new role in January.

International Ski Federation

Saturday 12th December

Almost 1m People Apply to be Volunteers at Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

960,000 applicants to be precise and they come from 168 countries and regions.

96% are under-35, with 85% university students.

More than 2,000 people with disabilities have applied.

The volunteer application web site has been viewed more than 33 million times with 1.22 million users registered.

The Winter Olympics are scheduled for February 4 to 20  and the Paralympics from March 4 to 13.

27,000 volunteers will be needed for the Olympics, and 12,000 for the Paralympics.

Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022

Tuesday 8th December

First Avalanche Death in Switzerland

There has been the first avalanche death in Switzerland in the heavy snowfall.

A skier has died near Engelberg in central Switzerland after being caught in an avalanche.

The person was in a group of five skiing off piste.

Two managed to free themselves and called the rescue services.

The 23-year-old victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

There are avalanche warnings of Level 3 across parts of Switzerland.

This means there is “considerable” risk.

There are also warnings of avalanches in Austria and Italy that have seen higher levels of snow.

Ski lifts remain operating in Swiss ski resorts and people are urged to follow all the rules and be correctly equipped.

Avalanche risk in Switzerland

Avalanche risk in Switzerland

Xmas Present Ideas for Skiers and Snowboarders

We’ve dived into Santa’s sack to find the best on offer.

We all want nothing more than to to ski this Xmas, but for most of us that’s just not gonna happen, so here are some pressie ideas from ski jackets to ski books to keep you going until the lifts open again.

Finding it hard to get a present for a ski loving friend or family member?

Or you may just want to treat yourself.

Look no further.

From goggles, gear and gadgets through to books, bags and boot insoles….

Our Gear and Equipment editor, Alf Alderson, offers his advice:

Xmas Present Ideas

Saturday 5th December

First Venue For Beijing 2022 is Fully Ready

The National Aquatics Center is now the “Ice Cube” and will be the venue for curling at the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

It the first venue to be fully ready for the Beijing 2022 Games.

The renovation covers an area of around 50,000 square metres including waterproofing, athlete facilities, lighting and ventilation.

The Ice Cube was formerly used for aquatics at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics – where it was known as the “Water Cube” – before being fitted with an ice rink for curling.

The Ice Cube is expected to open to the public by the end of the year.

The Ice Cube, Beijing

The Ice Cube, Beijing

The Ice Cube, Beijing

The Ice Cube, Beijing

Tuesday 1st December

GB Skier Pam Thorburn Retires

The British Ski Cross racer has been forced by injury to retire.

She made the announcement in a Facebook post.

She has had 14 operations during her career and injuries thwarted her Olympic ambitions.

Pam Thorburn

A bad shoulder injury from which she has been unable to recover has put her out of World Cup action since January 2018.

The athlete, who is also a former World Cup alpine racer, said she had hoped that one more operation would have allowed her to continue.

“It wasn’t ok. I had that surgery, after battling for 4 years with a shoulder that is so damaged it simply doesn’t work, there was no going back.

“I could hardly pull out the start gate, I had no power in a sport where getting out in front is vital. Every crash had big consequences and I just couldn’t be competitive against the best women in the world.

“It wasn’t only my shoulder. It’s the 14 surgeries from all the different injuries. I’ve been left a mere shell of my former self, I always have pain, I have so many migraines from previous head injuries that my day to day life has been totally affected.”

Pam Thorburn

Good luck with whatever you choose to do in the future, Pam, from all at PlanetSKI.

You can read Pam’s full post below:


I’ve been wanting to say this for so long.I’m announcing my retirement from ski racing.This might sound strange, as…

Posted by Pam Thorburn on Saturday, 28 November 2020

Sunshine Village in Canada Wins Award

It has been voted the best resort in Alberta by readers of the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun.

“This is the most important award in our opinion. We’re very grateful to be the recipient of the Gold Readers’ Choice Award once again,’ says Kendra Scurfield, Banff Sunshine Village’s brand and communications director.

Who are we to disagree here at PlanetSKI?

We LOVE the place for so many reasons.

Sunshine Sparkles

Sunshine Village, Canada

Sunshine Village, Canada

Alberta Award

Alberta Award

Ice rinks for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Go Green

The first ice rink was completed earlier this month.

The Capital Gymnasium is set to be the competition venue for the short track speed skating and figure skating events.

According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the technology used to make the ice and keep it can improve energy efficiency by 30%.

According to Xinhua, Capital Gymnasium can save more than one million kilowatts of electricity every year by using the heat source generated by carbon dioxide ice making.

15 ice rinks will be used at the Games and seven will have the carbon dioxide cooling technology.

  • One will be at the National Speed Skating Oval for speed skating.
  • Two will be used at the National Indoor Stadium, set to be used for ice hockey
  • Two will be at the National Aquatics Centre for curling.
  • Three will be at the Wukesong Sports Centre for ice hockey
  • Five will be at the Capital Gymnasium

Two will be at the National Disabled Ice Sports Training Centre, which will be used by athletes in preparation for the Paralympics.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics take place February 4 to 20 in 2022, with the Paralympics, set for March 4 to 13.

The Capital Gymnasium

The Capital Gymnasium

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