Skiing Snippets – See What Catches our Eye in the World of Snowsports…
28th March 2021
Last modified on April 16th, 2021
-Two Resorts in Utah to Remain
-Transceivers Withdrawn After Technical Problems
-Worth a watch
-Third Wave Fears in Chile
-Whistler Sees Large Outbreak of Variant Virus…UPDATED
PlanetSKI’s ‘Skiing Snippets’
Here we cover anything that takes our fancy.
Short news stories, eye catching videos, amusing cartoons, coronavirus updates and developments, things that make us smile/things that make us shout at the screen… in fact anything that catches our eye in the world of snowsports.
We’re gunna mix it up…
Two Resorts in Utah to Remain open Beyond this Weekend
Alta has a bonus weekend April 23rd – 25th and Snowbird is set to continue until May 31st though some of its slopes are closing earlier.
Brian Head, Solitude and Woodward Park close on April 18th.
Other resorts have already shut including Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain, Powder Mountain, Snowbasin and Sundance.
Avalanche Transceivers Withdrawn After Technical Problems
Black Diamon has recalled several models in North America:
- PIEPS DSP Pro
- DSP Pro Ice
- DSP Sport Avalanche Transceivers
The transceiver can æswitch modes unexpectedly when not locked or installed in the harness.”
66,100 transceivers were sold in the United States and 12,500 in Canada.
Black Diamond has received 65 reports of the transceiver modes switching unexpectedly while in use.
People are being advised to “immediately stop using the recalled avalanche transceivers and contact Black Diamond for a free replacement hardcase carrying system and user guide to be used with the recalled transceivers.”
Worth a Watch
The Audi Nines 2021 Ski Mixtape:
Third Wave Fears in Chile
A former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, Sir David King, has raised concerns about a third wave of infections in Chile.
Any skiing and snowboarding in the South American country looks unlikely for Europeans this summer.
“Chile is a country where the rate of vaccination amongst the population was third highest in the world – they were ahead of us in terms of the number of people who have had the vaccine – and they’re suddenly now into a third wave,” said Sir David.
“They now have 7,600 cases a day and the total number of people in Chile now who have Covid-19 is over a million.
“So what has happened in Chile is very, very surprising – a high percentage of people have been vaccinated, but here’s a variant of the disease coming through the country.”
Health authorities around the world are watching developments closely to see the impact of variants on current vaccines.
Whistler Sees Largest Outbreak of Variant Virus Outside Brazil
The Canadian province of British Columbia has seen an increase of the P1 variant and the worst location is the ski resort of Whistler.
Other ski resorts have closed with skiers and snowboarders asked to get tested and isolate.
Whistler closed on March 29th as we reported at the time on PlanetSKI, Whistler closes for the season due to Covid-19 spike
Now the full details are becoming known.
877 cases have been identified in British Columbia with 84 from Whistler.
It is unclear how the variant arrived.
We report lower down this article on the situation in Sun Peaks.
Revelstoke, Big White and other resorts have been affected.
Norwegian Ski Jumper Injured in Horrific Fall Has Successful Surgery
27-year-old Daniel Andre Tande crashed at the World Cup Final in Planica, Sloenia as a gust of wind hit him in mid-flight.
He was placed in a coma.
“Daniel had surgery due to his collarbone fracture,” said Norwegian team doctor, Guri Ranum Ekaas.
“The surgery was successful and he is doing well under the circumstances.
“Daniel now needs time to rest in order to recover from the injuries he sustained in his crash.”
Daniel Andre Tande is a four-time gold medallist in ski flying, winning three team titles and individual gold in 2018.
Air Canada Sets Target of Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050
The airline new targets by 2030 and has committed to investing $50 million in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and carbon reductions and removals.
“Despite the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain committed to long-term sustainability. Climate change is critical, and we believe we can and must do more to address this for the future of our environment,” said Michael Rousseau, Air Canada President and CEO.
The airline has identified several key areas:
Fleet and operations: Air Canada will continue deploying its energy efficient Airbus A220 and Boeing 737 Max narrow-body fleets that are expected to average approximately 20% less fuel consumption per seat.
Innovation: It will further evaluate the viability, safety and performance of new electric, hydrogen or hybrid operational technologies, and other innovations such as short-haul transportation opportunities and electric drones.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels and clean energy: To further its work on sustainable aviation fuels, Air Canada will invest $50 million in SAF and other low carbon aviation fuel (LCAF) development.
Carbon Reductions and Removals: Air Canada will explore carbon negative emission tech and other direct emission reduction and removal strategies.
Sundance Improvements Set to Go Ahead
The bespoke resort in Utah has announced that construction will begin in the coming months.
The work will be ready for the 2021-2022 ski season.
The new additions announced are:
• Two new ski lifts and the retirement of the Rays lift
• Upgrades to snowmaking
• More parking
• Renovations to the Creekside building
The iconic resort was sold by the legendary US actor Robert Redford last year as we reported at the time.
Robert Redford said that he selected the new owners because they shared his values and promised to maintain the resort’s “unique character.”
“We knew that at the right time, and with the right people, we could make the transition,” he said at the time.
Sundance is a particular favourite of ours.
See why as we passed through in January 2020:
UK Passport Office Urges People to Apply Early
If you are hoping to head to the mountains of Europe this summer then you are being urged to check your passport and if you need a new one then apply early.
Normally around 7 million people apply for a passport each year.
In 2020 it was 4 million and it is thought there is now a large backlog.
Abi Tierney, the director general of Her Majesty’s Passport Office, says people should allow up to 10 weeks for their documents to be issued or renewed.
“It is vital those who may need to apply for a new passport do so now,” she says.
“If you have delayed renewing your passport or are applying for the first time, please apply now so you can receive it in good time.”
The Passport Office says it will send text messages to those whose passports are coming close to expiring.
At the moment international travel for leisure is against the regulations, but that could change on 17th May.
Japanese Police Officer Goes Snowboarding While on Duty
According to Akita Prefectural Police 57-year old Tatsuya Komatsu went snowboarding at Mount Moriyoshi Ani Ski Resort last February.
He was with a female colleague during working hours and used a police-owned car to reach the slopes.
After further investigation it was found there were several other instances when he appeared to have neglected his duties.
One was a visit to a local hot spring another was a river boat trip.
He has been demoted from superintendent to chief inspector.
Canadian Resort of Sun Peaks Sees Covid-19 Spike
15 of 45 people who were tested for COVID-19 on Friday have been given positive results.
It is thought the virus spread at end of season parties and people coming t make their final turns of the season as other ski areas had shut.
“About a week ago, I noticed people were letting their guard down,” said the major of the municipality to local media.
“We also had Whistler and Revelstoke close; we had people coming from other resorts. There were more people here and it was almost kind of a festivity atmosphere at the end of the ski season. We are concerned about those who left this last week. Hopefully, they’re very cautious wherever they travel.”
We reported on the closure of Whistler and other resorts at the time.
Anyone who visited Sun Peaks recently is encouraged to isolate and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
Winter Park Extends Season After Recent Snow
The resort in Colorado, USA, is shutting two weeks later than planned and goes on until May 9th.
The Winter Park area saw 2m of snow in March, more than a quarter of the total during the whole season.
The extension will include the Mary Jane side of the resort, allowing access to its bumps, trees and groomer trails.
Pass holders no longer require reservations to access the mountain – a policy established to assure social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All other COVID-19 policies and procedures, including wearing mandatory face masks, no indoor dining and pre-booking all services, will remain in effect through the remainder of the season.
The Alps From Above
Our friends over at Intersport have just shared this image from the International Space station as it passed over the Alps.
That’s Lac Leman (or Lake Geneva as it is more commonly known) and the Rhone Valley down below.
The Swiss resorts of Verbier, Saas-Fee, Zermatt and Val d’Anniviers are below the Rhone Valley.
Villars, Gstaad, Crans-Montana, Adelboden, Wengen, Murren and Grindewald are above it.
Some of the northern French Alps are there too with the Portes du Soleil clearly visible beneath Lac Leman – Morzine, Avoriaz, Les Gets and others.
Chamonix is there too.
And it’s good to see there’s still a dusting of snow on the Jura mountains to the north.
Sit Back and Enjoy…
New 2022 Summer Flights to Innsbruck
Jet2 will fly from Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol to the capital of the Tirol in Austria.
The services will run from May to September 2022 with two flights a week from Manchester and once from Birmingham and Bristol.
“We’re continuing to see confidence and strong demand from British holidaymakers looking to get away. As ever, we’ve listened to what customers are telling us and responded to that demand,” said the CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, Steve Heapy.
“Innsbruck is a fantastic city in the summer and acts as a gateway to the Alps, offering lots to see and do.”
Norway Set to Ease Covid-19 Restrictions
The Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, says Covid restrictions will be relaxed in four stages that are each three weeks apart.
Norway has managed to limit infections to about 100,000 cases in the second wave sweeping many parts of Europe.
The government is now deciding which measures it can start loosening.
New measures were introduced on 25th March.
- Norway Announces New Covid-19 Measures as Case Rise
- Where to ski Next Winter: Norway
- Skiing in Norway – A Covid-19 Success Story
- Norway PM Admits Breaking Covid-19 Rules for Her Birthday Celebrations
Swiss Schoolchildren Falsify Positive Covid-19 Tests to Avoid Classes
Three students at Kirschgarten High School in the Swiss city of Basel forged positive tests to avoid school.
Their entire class and some teachers then also had to go into isolation.
They falsified text messages from the Swiss contact tracing app, which meant 25 classmates and some teachers had to self-isolate.
“This is not just a childish prank, this is a serious incident,” Simon Thiriet, a spokesperson for Basel’s education department, told the Blick newspaper.
The school intends to press criminal charges for falsifying “health-relevant documents” though it does not plan to expel them.
Thiriet said that students are in a “difficult situation” due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t excuse their actions.
Message from Andorra
From Gordon Standeven who runs the ski school in Soldeu in the Grandvalira area of Andorra.
Gordon is a good friend of ours at PlanetSKI and it was a shame not to swing through Andorra this winter.
“Well, the season is over, the snow has been and gone,” says Gordon on this difficult winter just passed.
“Thank you to Grandvalira for making what they could of an impossible situation, to the team here for giving their best in challenging times.
“Despite the pictures of snow covered pistes that have driven some a little crazy, the place isn’t Soldeu without you, to the clients that couldn’t make it, the 10 o’clock club, the instructors full and part time that missed the season.
“Just can’t wait to see you all back here, to enjoy the friendship and commaradery that make this place so special.
“Have a great summer, until next season!”
And Skiing Snippets stays in the Pyrenees…..
Brown Bears Back in Pyrenees But Worries from Farmers
Bear numbers rose to from 52 to 64 last year with the birth of 16 cubs.
In 1995 there were less than a dozen bears and fears they would become extinct in the region.
The figures were compiled by GSTOP, a transborder brown bear monitoring group that involves the French, Andorran and Spanish authorities.
The French government began relocating brown bears from Slovenia in the mid-1990s.
Farmers were enraged when the government stepped up its repopulation efforts with a 10-year “bear plan” in 2018.
“It’s getting to the point it’s out of control,” sheep farmer Joel Seguela told RFI at the time, complaining that flocks were being attacked almost every day.
Read more here.
Big Mountain Snowboarding Meets Big Wave Surfing
The four-time Freeride World Tour Snowboard Champion, Marion Haerty, meets the legendary surfer, Justine Dupont.
See what a morning of snowboarding is like in Verbier before heading to Alaia Bay artificial wave in Switzerland to catch some waves in the afternoon.
The bsports have much in common; an unpredictable environment, forecasts to analyze, the risks to assess, the mental pressure and physical preparation.
And finally, the necessary commitment.
15-year-old Beats 11 Year Record Set By Shaun White
Valentino Guseli from Australia has jumped 7.3 meters from the superpipe in LAAX in Switzerland.
See here for our full story:
GB’s Sarah Lewis Goes for Top Job at FIS
Well, well, well…. and not entirely unexpected.
She was unceremoniously booted out of her role as Secretary General of FIS in October 2020 as we reported at the time:
When she was fired FIS said the decision was “based on a complete loss of confidence” – the phrase was later withdrawn.
Now she has thrown her hat in the ring.
She is up against two Swedes and a Swiss.
Swedish Olympic Committee President, Mats Årjes and his fellow Swede, the billionaire Johan Eliasch.
Mr Eliasch was nominated by GB Snowsport last year as it chose not to support its own.
Sarah Lewis has been nominated by the Royal Belgian Ski Federation.
The Swiss Ski President, Urs Lehmann, is also in the contest.
Sarah Lewis certainly has the most relevant experience for the role and being the only female in the race may well help her.
The FIS council comprises of 18 men and one woman.
It is all about to get much more political in the organisation that runs elite snowsports, with the online vote on June 4th.
There is a bitter contest now underway for the reigns of power, and it is going to intensify.
“We stand out among international federations currently with an all-male Council, excepting one of the Athletes Commission representatives being female,” Sarah Lewis said in her manifesto.
“Advancing diversity proactive measures within the FIS leadership structures is vital for our future.”
The next president will be only the fifth in the 97 year history of the federation.
Sarah Lewis said it was time “to assess the appropriateness for term limits of the FIS President and FIS Council Members with a view to introducing a limit of three election terms.”
The current President, Gian-Franco Kasper, has been in the post for 23 years.
She added she would also renounce a presidential salary “to enable extra resources to be redirected into supporting other areas of the organisation.”
She is a former alpine ski racer and competed for GB at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
See here for our full story:
Covid-19 Hardship Payment For US Ski & Snowboard Team
Every snowsport athlete in the US national team in the 2020-21 season is to get a one-off Covid-19 hardship payment from the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund.
The fund was set up in memory of the father of the US ski racer, Mikaela Shiffrin, who died suddenly in February 2020.
The fund has so far raised $3.75 million.
Each skier and snowboarder will receive $1,300.
“Many of our athletes have faced a personal loss of income and an impeded earning power due to a reduction in events and other opportunities this season,” Tiger Shaw, President of US Ski & Snowboard, said.
“We know this payment may not make up for every missed opportunity, but we hope it can alleviate some of the financial hardship.”
The team says this season was one of the most successful in its history, with 103 podiums, including 27 victories, across all sports.
Longines Remains the Timekeeper for Snowsports Races
The International Ski Federation, FIS, has signed a long-term extension to its partnership with Swiss watch brand, Longines.
The partnership will now run to the 2025-26 season.
Longines provides advanced timing and data handling technology for the entire Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 2023 and 2025.
Longines has been the Official Timekeeper since 2006.
Annually, around 80 competitions are staged world-wide on the men and women’s World Cup tours.
Longines has a history of technical expertise within the field dating back to 1924, when the brand timed a military race in Saint-Imier, Switzerland.
As posted by one of our readers who lives and works in Park City, Utah.
It’s enough to put you off your Easter eggs.
Off Piste Skiing and Photography in Zermatt
Every now and again we post videos from our readers and our friends out in the mountains.
Check out this video as Paul Hammett and friends hike along a ridge in Zermatt from Hohtalli then ski tour up to the Stockhorn peak before skiing down the Findeln Glacier.
Taking a few photographs on the way.
See here for more as PlanetSKI dreams of Zermatt…
GB Para-Snowboarder Wins World Cup Title
James Barnes-Miller has taken the overall Para-snowboard World Cup title in his category after finishing second in Friday’s Snowboard Cross race in Colere, Italy.
The silver medal followed gold in Thursday’s opening race.
The 31-year-old from Kent made his Paralympic debut in Pyeongchang in 2018.
“I’m overall World Cup winner for the season. Crystal Globe baby – wahoo. Great racing by everyone and a big thanks to the team,” he said on Twitter.
Barnes-Miller was born without a right hand.
He is aiming to be selected for his second Winter Paralympics in Beijing next year.
See this full round up of how the GB athletes have done this season:
France to Go On UK’s Red List?
The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has said putting France on its ‘Red List’ is “something that we will have to look at”.
At a meeting this week of the Commons Liaison Committee, Labour’s Yvette Cooper asked the prime minister why France was not now on the red list.
She said France had up to 3,000 cases of the South African and Brazilian Covid variants.
It also has large numbers of the UK variant.
In France an opinion poll suggests seven out of 10 people back the decision to go into a new national lockdown.
The country is facing a peak of over 5,000 people in intensive care.
The new restrictions and surge in cases is grim new for ski resorts hoping for some Spring respite.
Many are now questioning what summer in the French Alps may look like.
Read more here:
Roger Federer Teams Up With Switzerland Tourism
The Swiss tennis star has become an official brand ambassador for Switzerland Tourism to help highlight the country.
“I have always felt, whenever I step on the court, I am representing Switzerland. Whenever it says my name, there is a Swiss flag next to it,” Federer says in a YouTube video.
“I have been very proud to do that for the first 22 years I have been on tour, and it will always be like that. To join forces with ST now is a logical step for me.”
Emblems Chosen For Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics & Paralympics
They were chosen by public vote and here they are.
“It will be the Olympics of the future, and for this very reason I’m especially happy that the FUTURE emblem was voted and chosen that reminds us of everyone’s commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability,” said Deborah Compagnoni, a Milan-Cortina 2026 Ambassador.
What do you think?
You can see what the alternative was in our earlier story.
First Bear Spotted in Banff National Park
The bears are back in Canada as they begin to wake up from their winter hibernation.
“That’s right, the first bear of 2021 has been spotted in Banff National Park,” said the authorities.
“When out in nature, play it safe and be ‘Bear Aware’.”
Shrinking Ski Season In the Alps
Between 1971 and 2019, the winter snow season shrunk by an average of 22 to 34 days in Alpine areas below 2,000 metres.
That’s the claim of a study published in the journal The Cryosphere.
More than 30 scientists from Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria and Slovenia participated in the project, which was commissioned by the Italian-based Eurac Research institute.
The researchers gathered observation data from 2,000 weather stations in the six countries.
Snow cover decline varied among different parts of the Alps, ranging from a drop of 2.8cm per decade in the Northern Alps to a drop of 4.1cm in the Southern Alps.
Generally the 1970s and 1980s were snowy periods, which were followed by phases of low snowfall in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
It has been reported on the web site SwissInfo
Good Point, Well Made
Anyone else like bumps?
Para Snowboard Legend Passes Away
“What Bibian Mentel-Spee did for Para sport in general, let alone Para Snowboard, is immeasurable and words simply cannot do her or her achievements justice” said the International Paralympic Committee President, Andrew Parsons.
The Dutch snowboarder helped to create the sport, set new benchmarks as an athlete and mentor a new generation of champions.
Mentel-Spee was a six-time Dutch champion in half-pipe and snowboard-cross events.
On her way to qualifying for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games she lost her lower right leg to cancer.
Four months after her operation, she was back riding and within the year she was again a Dutch national champion.
She won gold at Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018.
See here for the full details of her remarkable life on the World Para Snow Sports Facebook page.
“Today is a very sad day for the whole Paralympic Movement and my thoughts and deepest condolences are with Bibian’s family at this difficult time. I would also like to extend my condolences to Bibian’s friends, the Para snowboard community and to the Dutch National Paralympic Committee,” added Andrew Parsons.
She died of a brain tumour after her 20-year battle with cancer.
Very sobering stuff.
The brothers Lake, 22, and Forrest Schorderet, 25, were caught in an avalanche as they were skiing with friends off piste in Val d’Anniviers in Switzerland.
Lake was buried in the avalanche with the incident and rescue caught on head cameras.
Avalanche and rescue posted by Le Dahu Futé BSM Les Arcs.
The brothers were interviewed by the local broadcaster, RTS.
“We misjudged the risks. We shouldn’t have been allowed to go to danger zone three. That was a mistake,” said Forrest.
“I got a second life, a second chance. I really appreciate that,” added Lake.
Outdoor Ski Centres in England Re-Open
With outdoor sporting activities permitted in England from 29th March, it’s good to see the nation’s outdoor ski and snowboard centres up and running again.
In Norfolk, they’ve had sunshine to welcome them back.
Ski Rossendale in the north west is planning a busy schedule…
The Indoor snow centres in England are planning to open on 12th April, when the next round of restrictions are eased.
In Wales, the rules change later this week.
The Llandudno Snowsports Centre (outdoor) has announced that it will be reopening on Friday 2nd April, following the new government guidelines.
None of the Scottish ski centres can open, however.
Even the mountain resorts and outdoor slopes have to wait until 26th April at the earliest.
Skiing and Snowboarding on the last Weekend in March
One of our regular readers, Holger Gasler, lives in Innsbruck, Austria and that means the lucky fellow can ski at his local resorts.
At the weekend he was in Kappl in the Tirol.
Norwegian Ski Jumper Out of Coma After Horror Fall
27-year-old Daniel-André Tande lost his balance in mid-air in a World Cup training jump in Planica in Slovenia.
He was treated for nearly 30 minutes and given oxygen before being taken by helicopter to hospital.
Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate for Switzerland by the Summer
The Swiss health authorities say they plan to roll out a certificate for people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus.
Austria is planning one for next month and other alpine nations are looking at the issue.
The Federal Office for Public Health, said it would coordinate its certificate with the European Union and that it would be standardised, safe and compatible with other countries.
“We aim for summer and it is a challenging task but realistic aim,” said the director of the Federal Office for Public Health, Anne Lévy.
See here for more:
Closing Dates for Utah Ski Resorts
Today, Sunday 28th, Nordic Valley will be the first to close.
The rest have announced closure dates in April.
Beaver Mountain, Sundance, and Eagle Pointe are ending their season on April 4th.
Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, and Powder Mountain on the April 11th.
Alta, Brian Head, Brighton, and Solitude close on April 18th.
Snowbird might remain open into May and stay open for weekends only.
Ibex Research in the Swiss National Park
The Alpine ibex has become the subject of a young biologist’s research in the park that was established in 1914 in the canton of Graubünden.
An ibex is one of several species of wild mountain goat.
The biologist, Seraina Campell Andri, is on a mission to learn how many of the once-endangered animal the alpine wilderness can support.
For all the latest news on Covid-19 then check out our Special Coronavirus Section on PlanetSKI
And if, like us, you want to move on but are still thinking of Covid-19…