July’s Skiing Snippets – See What Catches our Eye in the World of Snowsports…
1st July 2021
Last modified on July 27th, 2021
-France Extends Health Pass Requirements
-Australian Family Fined After Breaking Lockdown to go Skiing
-Reduced Winter Games NZ Confirmed
-GB Snowsport Supports Fundraising efforts of BSSNF..UPDATED
PlanetSKI’s ‘Skiing Snippets’
Here we cover anything that takes our fancy.
Short news stories, eye catching videos, amusing cartoons, coronavirus updates, 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.
Check out all the ‘snippets’ from last month:
We’re mixing it up…
France Extends Health Pass Requirement
A printed or digital pass is set to be required to enter bars, gyms, cafes and restaurants and is to come into force next month.
A law has also been passed so those taking long distance domestic travel on public transport will need the digital pass and there are to be compulsory vaccinations for all healthcare and other essential workers.
To obtain the pass, people must provide proof of completed vaccination, a recent negative test or proof of immunity through infection.
More than 18,000 new Covid-19 cases per day were reported in France in the last week.
An increase of almost 400% on the average 14 days ago.
It is hoped the measures will limit the spread and put the country in a better position later in the summer with its implications for the winter.
Around 60% of the population have now been vaccinated and the early widespread scepticism of vaccinations is fading.
Australian Family Fined After Breaking Lockdown to go Skiing
New South Wales police were alerted to the fact that a family from Sydney, a 39-year-old man, a 31-year-old woman and two children, were travelling to the ski resort of Thredbo.
The police questioned the family and the man led police to believe they had come from the western part of the city.
The couple were ordered to return to Sydney and were fined $1000 each, police said to local media.
Large parts of Australia, including Sydney, remain in lockdown as the Delta variant of Covid-19 spreads.
We have reported on the restrictions in Australia lower down this rolling blog.
Only 10% of the population in Australia has been vaccinated.
The former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said the vaccine rollout has been ‘a colossal failure’
He told the BBC that his nation’s vaccine rollout is “the biggest failure of public administration I can recall”.
Reduced Winter Games NZ Confirmed
It will be slimmed down due to the restrictions of Covid-19.
Three events will take place at the Remarkables Ski Area and Cardrona Alpine Resort near Queenstown from August 29th to September 4th.
Winter Games NZ is the southern hemisphere’s biggest snow sports event.
It usually welcomes the world’s best skiers and snowboarders and PlanetSKI was pleased to be watching back in 2018.
Only domestic athletes will be taking part this year due to the pandemic and associated travel restrictions.
There will be three events including a Big Air Showcase.
A modified event also took place in 2020 too as we reported:
GB Snowsport Supports Fundraising efforts of the British Ski & Snowboard National Foundation, BSSNF
A crowdfunding campaign aims to aid the development of young and disabled British skiers and snowboarders.
BSSNF works in collaboration with GB Snowsport and Snowsport England, Snowsport Scotland and Snowsport Wales.
Supporters of the fundraiser can enter draws for the chance to win various prizes:
- Tickets to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic or Paralympic Games,
- The chance to be a guest of honour at the British Alpine Ski Championships in Tignes next year
- A coaching session with a GB Snowsport coach.
“The reality is we do know that many of our young athletes need support and assistance, especially compared to some of their global counterparts,” said GB Snowsport chief executive, Vicky Gosling.
“As a nation with a limited number of domestic training and competition settings, we are always overcoming more obstacles than our competitors.
“Those pressures can be fiercest for our youngest athletes.”
BSSNF had supported dozens of athletes over the last decade.
Italy Considers Vaccination Certificate
France has already introduced some measures, see further details below, and now Italy is considering doing the same.
It may become compulsory to show a ‘certificazione verde’ (green certificate) to show proof of vaccination, a negative test, or recent recovery from Covid.
The certificate would be needed for domestic flights, night clubs, gyms and sports stadiums.
An announcement is expected tomorrow (Thursday 21st July).
It comes after cases began to rise in Italy.
Covid-19 cases in Rome have gone up nearly five times since 11 July, with recorded cases 557 on Tuesday.
The Delta variant now accounts for more than 60% of all cases.
The sale of the old Olympe bubbles was so popular that all 115 were sold in just 10 minutes! https://t.co/bjA2ZJlQpS via @LaRadioPlus @Meribel3vallees #Meribel #Les3Vallees #MyPlayground pic.twitter.com/X7jcy0QtyY
— Les 3 Vallées (@3Vallees_france) July 21, 2021
France Introduces Covid Health Pass Amid Protests and Surge in Cases
Only those with proof of vaccination, recent recovery, or a negative test are being allowed to visit most museums, cinemas and theme parks.
The restrictions apply in the mountain regions of the Alps and the Pyrenees.
The National Assembly is considering whether to extend those rules to cafes, restaurants and shopping centres next month.
On Tuesday there were 18,000 new infections in the previous 24 hours as the Delta variant spreads.
That a rise of 150% on last week.
55% of the country’s adult population have received at least one vaccine, with 42% fully jabbed.
The government and health officials believe vaccines will lessen the impact of the fourth wave of infections.
Millions of people are reported to have booked vaccination appointments after President Macron announced new health pass rules for public spaces.
The have been some protests again the new pass.
“Health dictatorship” is what some protesters are calling it.
According to the BBC a majority of French people appear to support the plan, claiming it’s the only way to avoid another lockdown.
Spain Set to Bid for 2030 Winter Olympics
It is to be a joint bid from Barcelona and the Pyrenees region.
The proposed plan would see the ice events and ceremonies in Barcelona, with the on snow events in the mountain regions of Catalonia and Aragon.
Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco said the bid has the backing of the national government and the regions of Catalonia and Aragon.
“Apart from sending the letters to the IOC headquarters in Switzerland, I will also take a copy of the four letters with me to Tokyo – mine and that of the three presidents – which I will hand over to President Thomas Bach at the IOC Olympic session that takes place in the course of the Tokyo Olympics,” Blanco said in an interview with the ‘El Mundo Deportivo’ newspaper.
Other cities in possible contention for the 2030 Games include Salt Lake City in the USA and Vancouver in Canada that hosted the winter Game on 2002 and 2010 respectively.
Sapporo in Japan has also expressed an interest.
Barcelona hosted the 1992 Summer Games.
The 2022 Games are due to be held in Beijing with the 2026 Games in Milan/Cortina in Italy.
Ex US Vice President Urges Beijing Boycott
Mike Pence wants the Chinese capital stripped of the 2022 Winter Olympics unless the country changes its policy on human rights and the coronavirus pandemic.
“President Biden should make a clear and unequivocal demand that the 2022 Winter Olympics be moved from Beijing unless China comes clean on the origins of COVID-19 and immediately ends persecution of the Uyghur people,” Pence said when giving the Heritage Foundation’s BC Lee Lecture.
Mike Pence was VP under the Trump presidency.
“The Olympics should only take place in countries that respect fundamental human rights and the wellbeing of mankind.”
The Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said in May she was in favour of a diplomatic boycott.:
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 4th to 20th, with the Winter Paralympics held from March 4th to 13th.
Fancy owning a Swiss Mountain?
The Zirkelstein is for sale on eBay for, $235,000.
In 2006 it was offered for $1.2 million so it may be a bit of a bargain.
It is around 20 acres and the advert states “despite its small size and scope, its characteristic shape makes it one of the most striking rock formations in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.”
“Due to age-related reasons, the owners can no longer manage the forest and are therefore selling the property. For me, it is the first time to see a mountain being sold,” said sales manager Andre Marschner to told CBS.
The mountain is crisscrossed pathways that can be used by the public.
See here for more in the New York Post.
The eBay offer is online under the title: “Unique/ Your own mountain in Saxon Switzerland.”
President Elected for the Courchevel-Méribel 2023 Alpine World Ski Championships
Bernard Font was voted in unanimously as President of the Organising Committee.
He is a five-time winner of the French national ski instructors’ challenge and is originally from Meribel.
“I am very honoured to have been chosen to be President of the association,” he said.
“I am honoured to participate in this adventure and to be able to carry high along with the Federation Française de Ski the colours of our two resorts.”
Australian State of Victoria Goes into Lockdown with Impact on Ski Areas
It follows restrictions in Sydney and other parts of Australia.
40% of the population are now required to stay at home as the Delta variant spreads.
Australia’s second largest city Melbourne is in Victoria and it will affect the ski resorts of Mount Buller and Mount Hotham.
Melbourne has seen two more local cases of the virus.
It brings the total number of virus cases in the city to 18.
This is the fifth lockdown Victoria has experienced since the pandemic began and will last until Tuesday.
FIS Pays Video Tribute to Kasper
The International Ski Federation has released a video looking back at the life and times of its former President, Gian Franco Kasper.
He has died at the age of 77.
The FIS Flags have been lowered to halfmast and will remain so 23 days – one day for each year Gian Franco served as the FIS President.
Staff at the organisation’s headquarters in Oberhofen have held a traditional Swiss Znüni, a mid-morning snack, in his honour.
“The entire FIS staff will always remember former FIS President Gian Franco Kasper fondly and sends its deepest condolences to his family, while he with his understated nature and his quick wit will be deeply missed within FIS and the international sports world,” the organisation said in a statement.
See here for our earlier report and tribute on PlanetSKI:
Sydney Lockdown Extended Again with Further Impact on Ski Areas
The authorities have extended the restrictions for another two weeks as the Delta variant of Covid-19 continues to spread.
People will need to stay at home until July 30th at the earliest.
The measures came into force at the end of June and there have been almost 1,000 infections since the outbreak began.
The authorities say restrictions will only be lifted when new cases are close to zero.
The latest daily tally is 97.
Sydney residents will not be able to travel to the local resorts of Perisher, Thredbo and others.
Here on PlanetSKI we examined the impact of the lockdownon the ski areas in both Australia and New Zealand earlier:
Less than 10% of Australia’s population are fully vaccinated.
Covid-19 Worries for Next Winter
Prof Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool, says he expects there to be a “bump” in the winter from cases of Covid and other respiratory diseases.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast he said the country is now in a third wave of the pandemic and he expects a “miserable winter”.
The government in England has confirmed nearly all remaining Covid restrictions will end on 19th July.
There will be an end to social distancing and the limits on the number of people gathering.
There will be guidance to keep social distancing in ‘certain situations.’
With infection rates and hospital admissions rising sharply, it is “a significant gamble” according to the BBC’s health correspondent, Nick Triggle.
There are now around 30,000 new cases per day.
One expert has said what is being done is like taking the “control rods out of a nuclear reactor”.
“This is going to make things worse than they are now and we don’t know when it will peak,” said the Loughborough University data analyst, Dr Duncan Robertson.
The vast majority of those being treated in hospital for Covid at the moment are between the ages of 20 and 50, and unvaccinated.
The government says there could be 2,000 hospital admissions per day, with 200 deaths per day, after restrictions are lifted on July 19th.
The alpine countries of Europe will be watching the numbers carefully to see if further restrictions should be put on people arriving from the UK.
The UK peak is expected to be in August and into September which is one of the key booking periods for winter snowsports holidays.
Labour Calls for Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics
It joins growing international calls amid accusations of widespread human rights abuse by the Chinese authorities.
It would mean dignitaries would not attend and ceremonies would be boycotted.
The athletes and the teams would not be affected.
The shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the event should be used to demand “unfettered UN access to Xinjiang to conduct a full, transparent and independent investigation” into widespread allegations of abuses against Uyghur Muslims.
“This has been repeatedly sought by the UK and other governments but has not yet been realised”, continued the letter.
“If this is not granted, the UK government should not send ministers, Royal Family members or senior representatives to participate in any official duties or ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics.”
We have reported on the issue earlier on PlanetSKI.
New Boss of FIS Looks to the Future
Johan Eliasch was elected President of the International Ski Federation just over a month ago.
We reported on it at the time:
Johan Eliasch has already led two FIS Council meetings, appointed a new Secretary General and named the formation of nine new working groups and committees.
He has been reviewing work so far in a Q & A with the organisation’s newsletter, FIS Newsflash.
Q. What are your immediate impressions after your first month with FIS?
A. Within the team there is a clear passion and desire to grow FIS and all its disciplines. My impression is that everyone is ready to roll up their sleeves and get down to business. Some decisions will be easy and quick. Others will take time and resources. Our athletes and fans rely on us to deliver for them. We need to put energy and commitment into making a steep change in the performance of FIS whilst doing so in an open and transparent environment.
Q. In just a month, you have already held two Council meetings.
A. Yes, we have had many decisions to make and a lot of business to take care of in this first month.
Q. What are some of the key decisions to come out of those Council meetings?
A. Without a doubt, the most important action we have taken thus far is agreeing to hold an Extraordinary Congress on 22nd September. This will allow us to deliver on my manifesto commitments for governance proposals and generally updating our Statutes. Additionally, the formation of the new Working Groups and Committees will allow FIS to start important work in several key areas immediately.
Q. As you just mentioned, the Council agreed to the formation of several new working groups and committees, can you tell us more about those?
A. To get FIS to the next level we must tap into all of our resources. The good news is within the FIS Family, there are many knowledgeable professionals with deep roots in our sports who can help us achieve our goals. We have strategically put people on working groups and committees with specific expertise that will benefit FIS. We have also worked to create groups and committees that will help increase the transparency and good governance of FIS. For example, the FIS Strategic Planning Working Group will recommend a four-year Horizon Plan and annually review and update it to ensure FIS is working to its fullest potential.
Q. The Council also appointed Michel Vion the new Secretary General.
A. I have known Michel for many years, and we have always worked well together. He brings a deep knowledge about FIS and its structures after serving as the French Federation President and FIS Council member for a long time. As an ex-racer and race team director he brings massive sports knowledge, which is crucial in the role. When he was proposed to the Council, they also had the same opinion as me – that he was the right man for the job.
Q. What does the rest of the summer have in store?
A. Now that the Extraordinary Congress is approved, the full focus will be on preparing for that very important day. The decisions that the General Assembly takes on 22nd September will lay the ground work for the future of FIS, so it is critical that we are well-prepared.
Sydney Covid-19 Surge Continues with Tougher Restrictions Introduced
The current measures are not working as cases continue to rise with 44 new cases on Friday.
Only 10% of the population of Australia are vaccinated so worries are rising.
People in Sydney are now banned from travelling more than 10km (6 miles) from their homes meaning the local ski areas, including the resorts of Perisher and Thredbo, are out-of-bounds.
Here on PlanetSKI we examined the impact of the lockdown on the ski areas in both Australia and New Zealand.
Outdoor exercise is limited to groups of two people, and only one person from each household can go grocery shopping.
Bramble Ski Sold
The chalet specialist has been bought by the luxury European home rental company, Le Collectionist, for an undisclosed sum.
Bramble Ski has 160 chalets in up-market resorts like Verbier & Zermatt in Switzerland, St Anton & Lech in Austria, and Val d’Isere & Meribel in France.
“Bramble Ski and Le Collectionist have a natural synergy, and are both renowned for offering exceptional service, and unique experiences,” said owner and director of Bramble Ski, Natasha Robertson.
“Le Collectionist has previously acquired market leaders in other regions, and we are thrilled to have been recognised as the market leader in the Alps,” she added.
“Despite the fact that Bramble Ski has been closely associated with one of leading luxury rental agency for years by having its owner on board of directors, Bramble always was having an incomparable level of professionalism which excluded conflict of interest.,” said the co-founder of Chaletowners, Alexanader Potapov.
“We hope that the new owners will manage to keep the spirit of Bramble in their operations.”
Bramble Ski was founded in 2005.
Sydney Extends Lockdown With Impact on Ski Areas
People in the Australian city will be in lockdown for another week meaning they will not be able to travel to the local resorts of Perisher, Thredbo and others.
Here on PlanetSKI we examined the impact of the lockdownon the ski areas in both Australia and New Zealand.
The authorities said it had made the “difficult decision” as it fights the highly transmissible Delta strain.
The lockdown affects around 5m people and was due to be lifted this Friday.
It has now been extended to 16th July.
Only 10% of the population in Australia has been vaccinated.
Germany Eases Restrictions on Travellers from UK
People arriving from the UK can skip quarantine as long as they are fully vaccinated.
In addition the quarantine period for those unvaccinated people is reduced to five days as long as they have a negative Covid test result.
The quarantine period had previously been 10 days.
Germany has downgraded the UK to the second-highest level – ‘high-incidence area.’
Germany remains on the UK’s amber travel list.
It opens up some travel to the Bavarian Alps in the south of the country.
Austria Bans Majority of UK Arrivals Until August 31st
It follows growing concerns and cases of Covid-19 in the UK.
There have recently been 27,000 cases per day, mostly of the Delta variant, in the UK.
It has the highest rate in Europe with 216 confirmed cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.
The corresponding figure in Austria is 6.2.
Austrian citizens and residents, plus citizens and residents of other European countries, are allowed to enter Austria from the UK.
It is primarily aimed to stop tourist travel.
Those who are allowed to enter need to provide a negative test and to quarantine for ten days, although they can leave quarantine after the fifth day with a negative PCR test.
No Green Card Required to Drive to Alps
The post-Brexit requirement for drivers from the UK to obtain a ‘green card’ from their insurance company before visiting Europe is set to be dropped.
The European Commission has agreed to end the requirement.
It is part of a package of measures designed to diffuse tension over the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, but will apply throughout the EU.
It will be welcome by the many skiers and snowboarders that drive to the Alps.
The green card showed that a car is fully insured, but many saw its re-introduction as unnecessary bureaucracy.
“UK drivers will no longer need to apply for a green card through their insurer which will help reduce bureaucracy for drivers and road hauliers travelling between the UK and EU,” said the director of the Association of British Insurers, Huw Evans, to the Guardian newspaper.
British Artists Dropped from the Montreux Jazz Festival
The organisers of the Swiss event say it has been forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.
The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland.
Rag’n’Bone Man was one of the headliners.
We are sorry to announce the cancellation of Rag’n’Bone Man, Inhaler, Alfa Mist and Yussef Dayes Trio’s concerts at the MJF. Zucchero, Woodkid, Benny Sings & Athletic Progression will remplace them.https://t.co/Ds3rCwQ4uD#MJF21
— Montreux Jazz Festival (@MontreuxJazz) June 25, 2021
The Festival has seen 55 editions and it started on Friday, July 2nd.
Government to Announce Travel Plans for Fully Vaccinated People this Month
Will it mean people can return to the UK from amber list countries without the need to quarantine?
People hoping to visit the mountains of Europe will be watching with interest.
The Transport Minister Grant Shapps has said details about how it will work will be published later in July.
“Thanks to our successful vaccination program, our intention is that later in the summer, UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when travelling from amber list countries,” he said.
The government has also said it intends to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries.
France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy are on the amber list.
With the continuing spread of the Delta variant in the UK it remains to be seen which countries will allow people to enter from the UK without quarantine restrictions.
The Times newspaper reports the new rules may be introduced by 26th July.
“No final decision has been made on timing yet. There are various issues that need to be worked through and we are waiting for public health advice,” said a government spokesperson.
To begin with it would initially only apply to UK residents who are registerd with the NHS, but it would later be extended to all EU citizens.
Here at PlanetSKI we will keep you posted.
GB’s Snowsports Bodies Back Diversity and Inclusion Initiative
They have set up a new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group for the sport.
The Advisory Group, which will serve an initial period to the end of 2021 ahead of longer-term decisions on the most appropriate structure.
Snowsport England, Snowsport Scotland, Snowsport Wales and GB Snowpsort are all involved.
The group will initially focus on three key areas:
- Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Inclusion
- LGBTQ+ Diversity and Inclusion
- Disability Diversity and Inclusion
It will examine grassroots and recreational participation through to elite and world class athletes.
It says it wants to focus on practical steps that can help to entrench the importance of Diversity and Inclusion within the Governing Bodies’ work.
The Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group will be Independently Chaired by Hilary Lissenden, Head of Community Sport for the Mayor of London.
It will also have additional Independent Member support from Melanie Antao, an experienced sport professional with expertise in funding, programme development and high-performance sport from a career encompassing roles at Sport England, Premiership Rugby and the Football Foundation.
Vicky Gosling, GB Snowsport Chief Executive, welcomed the launch of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, saying:
“Across the whole of our sport we recognise just how important improving diversity and inclusion is; the Advisory Group will play an important role in helping us to take meaningful steps that can lead to real improvements,” said the GB Snowsport Chief Executive, Vicky Gosling.
“We are delighted to have the support of so many expert individuals and organisations in this endeavour, in particular Hilary Lissenden and Mel Antao whose experience and knowledge of the wider sport sector will ensure we are making informed decisions around this important area of work.”
Registration for World Snow Day is Open
The event is run by the International Ski Federation, FIS, and interest has grown since it was first introduced.
The idea is to get children and young people involved in snowsports.
From July 1st people and organisations can sign up for the 2022 event.
“The event carries an air of excitement as the world gets an early glimpse into some of the events which will take place next season to bring a new generation to snowsports,” said a statement from FIS.
Registration of events for World Snow Day 2022 is free and can be done online by simply clicking on this link.
World Snow Day registration will remain open until the 15th December 2021.