October’s Skiing Snippets – See What Catches our Eye in the World of Snowsports…
1st October 2021
Last modified on October 31st, 2021
– Olympic Train Line Nears Completion
– GB Paralympian Kelly Gallagher Retires
– EU Recognises UK’s NHS Covid Pass
– Big Air Chur Highlights … LIVE
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 the last few months:
We’re mixing it up…
Olympic Train Line Nears Completion
A ‘Self-driving’ high-speed railway line links the 2022 Winter Olympics cities of Beijing and Zhangjiakou.
GB Paralympian Kelly Gallagher Retires
Read more from @Kellygallagher, as well as thoughts on the Para Alpine pioneer from @VickyGoslingOBE, GB Snowsport Chief Executive and Jayne Kavanagh, GB Snowsport Head of Paralympic Programme below
⬇️⬇️⬇️https://t.co/noF2rzeudo#GBSnowsport @ParalympicsGB @DSNI_tweets pic.twitter.com/RJ1VuDUDc9
— GB Snowsport (@GBSnowsport) October 29, 2021
EU Recognises UK’s NHS Covid Pass
Many countries have already done bilateral deals, but the European Commission has announced that from today all countries in the EU will recognise it.
In addition to the EU, 16 other countries will recognise it including the European ski nations of Andorra, Norway and Switzerland that are not in the European Union.
The NHS Pass allows people to prove their vaccination status when traveling.
It will also be recognised where countries need to for visiting bars or restaurants, and entering any other places such as museums, sports halls, cinemas and theatres.
View this post on Instagram
Another Ski Company Goes into Administration
Covid Rules in Aspen
This season, there will be vaccination requirements across some areas of our resort including our hotels, table service dining, and select in-resort events and experiences. But, you won’t need a vaccine to ski, ride lifts, or take lessons. Learn more: https://t.co/zCZZjjP3x8 pic.twitter.com/Not7QTSRxw
— Aspen Snowmass (@AspenSnowmass) October 21, 2021
For the full details see here.
Huge October Snowstorm in California
Maison Sport Offers Refundable Deposits
The online platform dedicated to independent ski and snowboard instructors, has announced the launch of a fully refundable deposit scheme.
It will allow customers to book an instructor months in advance, with flexibility to adapt to changing travel regulations.
A 20% deposit secures the instructor and pay the full price 24 days before the lesson.
Should their plans or government restrictions change, customers can receive a full refund, as long as the cancellation takes place 21 days before the scheduled lesson.
The deposit scheme can be used by individuals, families or large groups.
“If the last year taught us anything, it’s that plans, and especially travel plans, can change. As we become more hopeful about booking holidays for this winter, Maison Sport wanted to give our customers extra security and peace of mind, which is why we introduced our 20% deposit scheme,” said the Co-founder of Maison Sport, Nick Robinson,.
“The scheme’s aim is to reduce some of the stress that has become associated with booking holidays amidst changing travel restrictions and to reassure customers that we are on their side.
“Want to see our customers excited about their upcoming holidays, despite the unpredictability surrounding travel.
“We are really looking forward to seeing our excellent instructors reunited with clients as they work to achieve new milestones together.”
See more here.
Vail Resorts Did Not Breach Contract as it Closed Lifts Due to Covid-19
Along with other operators it shut its ski areas in mid-March due to the spread of coronavirus.
Some people claimed the operator had broken its contract by ending the season and should offer refunds.
U.S. District Court Senior Judge R. Brooke Jackson dismissed the consolidated lawsuit from 18 plaintiffs.
He said Vail Resorts was within its rights to close facilities when conditions were no longer safe.
There is currently a separate lawsuit pending in Colorado against Alterra Mountain Company, who offer the IKON pass.
Season pass holders are similarly seeking refunds after resorts were closed.
First Ski Resort in Japan Opens
And talking of ski resorts opening around the world…
Mammoth Mountain in California Opens Later This Month
The resort is starting its season on October 29th – 2 weeks ahead of schedule .
It follows early snow and forecast of more to come.
PlanetSKI was in Mammoth at the start of its season a few years back.
BBC looks at GB athletes for Beijing 2022
Beijing 2022: Britons in action as Winter Olympic countdown starts 💪
— GB Snowsport (@GBSnowsport) October 21, 2021
New Lift for Les Menuires
The new €22m La Masse 10-seater gondola in @LesMenuires will open in December 2021 and will become one of the two fastest lifts in France #Les3Vallees #InfiniteMountainExperiences pic.twitter.com/es0uAJNhYZ
— Les 3 Vallées (@3Vallees_france) October 20, 2021
Austria Ski Area Should Reimburse Season Pass Holders After Covid Struck in 2020
The Association for Consumer Information (VKI) brought the case after the shortened season due to the pandemic.
The Assocatio used a specific case of a family of four who purchased tickets in the Ski Amade area in the season of 2019/20.
The agreed validity of the ski season ticket had been shortened by 24% or 49 days as the authorites ordered lifts to close.
The regional court in Salzburg has now ruled that this 24% must be reimbursed to the buyer.
The ruling is not yet legally binding.
Other ski areas are looking on with interest at how the case develops.
Maison Sport Claims Record Bookings
The independent ski instructor portal says interest in booking instructors for next season is surging.
“It’s really exciting for us to see that even though ski resorts are not officially open yet, we are already beating out previous booking records,” said Maison Sport.
“The months of August and September 2021 have proven to be a lot busier than our last normal ski season which was 2019/20, bookings have been flying in and the instructors on Maison Sport are filling up their calendars fast.”
If you want a little insider information about the peak weeks and most popular locations for this winter then click here.
New Lifts for Val Thorens
— Les 3 Vallées (@3Vallees_france) October 15, 2021
Swiss World Cup Ski Races Open to Spectators
They will need a Covid certificate, but otherwise things should look fairly normal.
There will be fan zones, VIP hospitality services, medal ceremonies and party tents.
Spectators will be at competitions in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, snowboarding, skicross, freeskiing and telemark skiing
“The primary objective of Swiss-Ski and the Swiss World Cup organisers – in this second World Cup season held under difficult circumstances – is to ensure the smooth running of the competitions,” said Swiss Ski.
See the full details on Swiss Ski
Race officials say they will be in close contact with the cantonal and federal authorities.
They say the situation could change if Covid-19 cases rise.
Fancy a Job in Snowsports?
We’re Hiring – Again!
— Sno (@SNO) October 14, 2021
Ski Weekender Prepares for Winter
The short break specialist to France has made its observations on the approaching winter.
Its MD, Paul Turnbull, has offered his thoughts on where we are, and how things might look next winter.
The key aspect for many operators is a relaxation of the Covid-19 testing requirements, especially operators that offer short breaks.
“We’re all relieved that the travel rules for France have improved and that people are able to travel from the UK,” said Paul Turnbull.
“Our French based team have been able to see their friends and family members, and it was great to finally see the return of English number plates around resort.
“After a bit of a peak in August, new Covid cases have continued to decline in France.
“It’s anticipated that France will have the highest percentage of vaccinated population of any populous nation in the world.
“The introduction of a Pass-Sanitaire (the French equivalent of a Vaccination Passport) provided an impetus, and has now become part of the daily routine for certain excursions – meaning, for the majority, life is going along without too many restrictions in place.
“We are also encouraged by the changes to the UK government’s traffic light system, and the progress being made on simplifying the process for fully-vaccinated people to travel internationally…
“Let’s hope this continues to go in the right direction for winter.”
PlanetSKI has stayed with the company a few times and it comes recommended.
Apres Ski Village for Edinburgh This Xmas
The St James Quarter in the city will see some apres ski fun – expect bars, stalls and live music starting next month.
There’s also shot skis, karaoke and more.
It opens on November 8th and the quarter will see an ‘Alpine Après Ski’ village, made up of a number of covered stalls and chalets courtesy of Bar Hütte’s festive ‘Après Ski’ experience – see here for further details.
PlanetSKI is currently in the city and hopes to be back ahead of Xmas to enjoy some apres ski.
“These Alpine Après Ski’ inspired huts are the perfect way to create our very own winter wonderland here at The Quarter and we can’t wait for everyone to enjoy them,” said Nick Peel, Managing Director at St James Quarter.
We may even head over to Hill End first for a spot of skiing.
Ski resorts in Canada Face Staff Shortages
The resorts are heavily reliant on seasonal workers from abroad but many are not applying for jobs.
The lifts, bars/restaurants and ski schools see many British, Australian and South American workers fill the jobs.
Many are now not coming due to Covid-19 and associated travel limitations.
Some say they are concerned that they won’t have enough staff to operate at full capacity this coming winter.
Big White ski resort in British Columbia said it needs 600 staff, but so far it has only filled 230 of the jobs.
It is reported to be the same in other resorts in Canada.
FIS Opens Office in Beijing Ahead of 2022 Winter Olympics
The International Ski Federation says the office will be a “headquarters to support China’s initiative to encourage 300 million people to participate in winter sports”.
“China is one of the most important global markets and has great potential for growth,” said FIS President Johan Eliasch.
His comments are reported on the web site, Inside the Games.
“I am impressed by how China has made the development of snow sports a priority.
“A country with the ambition to bring 300 million people to our sports is an amazing opportunity for our sport.
“With the office, we are able to operate directly in China and promote the proliferation of recreational and professional snow sport in the country.”
The Beijing Winter Olympics are due to take place 4th – 20th February 2022.
All Main Ski Areas in Italy Now Have RECCO Coverage
The system allows people to be found if buried in an avalanche using RECCO SAR Helicopter Detectors.
They are available at four locations in Italy, for search operations all over the country.
The latest area is Abruzzo region in central Italy.
In the Italian Alps and Dolomites there are three RECCO SAR helicopter detectors based in Aosta, Trento and Bolzano.
“Having a RECCO detector is a great resource for Abruzzo, Starting today, we have at our disposal this important tool that makes it possible to search for people both under the snow and on the surface, for increased safety and prevention in our mountains,” said Marco Marsilio, President of the Abruzzo Region.
The system uses an electronic system where by a detector can locate a person if they have the recco system with them.
Speed is of the essence though and the helicopter and searchers need to be on location in time.
There are 21 RECCO SAR Helicopter Detectors across the world with 14 in Europe and 7 in North America.
Check Out What GB Snowsports Athletes Have Been up To This Autumn
Scotland’s First Ski Hotel Set to be Demolished
Struan House Hotel in Carrbridge will make way for 10 affordable flats and parking if plans are approved this week.
The hotel was opened by ski pioneer Karl Fuchs, a member of the 1948 Austrian Olympic team, and his wife, Eileen, in 1954.
See more in the Strathspey Herald.
It has been empty and derelict for 15 years.
It was central to the early development of skiing in Scotland, and those PlanetSKI readers of a certain vintage may remember it well.
And those that have read the book by PlanetSKI’s editor, James Cove, on the history of the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.
Struan House was central to the start of skiing in Scotland and it was one hell of a place for a party.
Perfectly Preserved Prehistoric Skis Found in Norway
BREAKING NEWS! We have just made an incredible discovery at the Digervarden ice patch, Norway. We have found the best-preserved prehistoric pair of skis in the world! 1300 years old and both have the bindings preserved. The second of the two skis has just come out of the ice❤️ pic.twitter.com/fa2SYTSBfY
— Secrets Of The Ice (@brearkeologi) October 5, 2021
Maison Sport Offers 20% Refundable Deposit for Next Season
In these uncertain times the independent ski instructor organisation is allowing people to book lessons months in advance without having to pay for the whole lesson straight away.
Skiers and snowboarders can now secure a lesson for just a small deposit “but if for any reason people have to cancel your booking then your deposit is fully refundable” said Maison Sport.
See here for full details: Maison Sport
“If the last year has taught us anything it’s that plans change so we wanted to give our customers full peace of mind when booking a lesson through us,” said Maison Sport.
“If you need to cancel your booking for any reason you will get your full deposit back as long as the cancellation happens 21 days before the lesson.”
See this related PlanetSKI story as Maison Sport opens up this winter in all of Scotland’s ski areas:
FIS Pledges £4m for Covid Fighting Fund
The International Ski Federation, FIS, is to distribute the money to its member associations.
“We hope that it will help face the challenges that are posed by the pandemic,” said the FIS President Johan Eliasch.
“It is essential that in these unprecedented times the FIS family stands together and keeps the development and the promotion of our sport alive.”
In addition, FIS will pay £3.2m to local organisers to contribute to prize money.
Inspiring Video from Our Friends in Austria
Zermatt Lift Company Announces CHF 3 million Loss
That’s a loss of £2.38m.
Zermatt Bergbahnen AG saw sales of CHF 55.2 million (£43.8m) in the 2020/21 financial year, which is 15% down on the previous year.
Covid-19 is to blame.
The company said it “had to contend with a subdued summer performance and a winter season dominated by uncertainties”.
The lifts in Zermatt and across Switzerland remained open last winter, but international visitors were sharply down due to Covid-19.
“The almost complete absence of international visitors (down 50% in a normal year) could not be offset by a sharp increase in the number of Swiss visitors,” said the CEO of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, Markus Hasler.
“This resulted in a deterioration in the earnings situation while operating costs remained almost entirely the same.
“Despite this unsatisfactory result for Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, the financial indicators are still among the best in the sector.”
Some main infrastructure projects and improvements have continued in Zermatt.
Some stages in the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing project have been completed and the vision of the second Matterhorn Glacier Ride 3S cableway from Testa Grigia to the Klein Matterhorn is close to becoming a reality.
Other projects, including the Kumme gondola lift with snow-making installations, were implemented during the 2020/2021 financial year.
A total of CHF 49 million (£39m) was invested during the past financial year.
Downhill World Champion to Miss Start of Season
The Swiss racer, Corinne Suter, has injured herself in training in Zermatt.
According to her doctors she needs “several weeks of rehabilitation” after damaging her shins but does not require surgery.
26-year old Suter won gold in the downhill at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina, Italy, last season.
Mt Blanc Shrinks
Western Europe’s highest mountain is almost 1m shorter than its previous official height.
It is now 4,807.81m.
In 2017 it was measured at 4,808.72m.
The height of the mountain varies each year according to the layer of permanent snow and ice on the summit.
Warming temperatures, snowfall and high winds can affect this.
Inferno Race in Murren is Full
All 1,850 entry slots for the downhill contest at the 78th International Inferno Races from 19th– 22nd January 2022 have sold out.
2,100 skiers applied for a racing bib.
The former Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill is likely to compete again in the upcoming edition, setting up a duel in the downhill with his former Formula 1 rival, the three-time Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert.
Final Covid-19 measures will need to be approved by the District Governor’s Office in Interlaken.
The race Organising Committee is in contact with the authorities and a final decision is pending.
This means that participants cannot be informed until December 2021 about the exact procedure regarding the issue of race numbers, a potential Covid-19 test centre or full programme details.
Eddie the Eagle at National Snow Show
British ski jumping champion, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards will be joining famous faces from the world of snowsports including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Chemmy Alcott and Billy Morgan on 23-24 October at the NEC, Birmingham.
Eddie Edwards is a British ski jumping champion who was the first (and only) competitor to represent Great Britain at the Winter Olympics in Ski Jumping.
Eddie gained his Eagle nickname after the International Olympics Committee President, Juan Antonio Samaranch, referenced him during the closing ceremony: ‘At Calgary people set new goals, created new world records and some even flew like an eagle’.
Eddie will be sharing his journey with visitors during a live slot on the Snow Stage.
Tickets for the Show are £10pp and are available at www.nationalsnowshow.com,
The event takes place over two days at The NEC, Birmingham.
It will have two stages, a packed schedule of speakers, a SnowDome dry slope, Skate Mini Ramp from Graystone Action Sports, Snow Skills Cabin with Crystal Ski Holidays, Riders Lounge sponsored Red Bull and Alpine Bar sponsored by AfterJam and much more.
See more here: Excitement grows for National Snow Show
Former GB Olympic Long Jumper in Bobsleigh Squad
34-year old Greg Rutherford won gold at the London Summer Games in 2012, now he wants to win a winter medal at Beijing 2022.
If he does so he would be the first GB athlete to win a medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
He has been named in one of the squads hoping to represent GB next February.
He took up the bobsleigh in April 2021.
This has been a huge undertaking, going from a very retired former athlete to retraining in a new sport,” Rutherford wrote on Instagram.
“A massive thank you to everyone who has helped thus far.”
View this post on Instagram
New for the 2021/22 Ski Season
Here on PlanetSKI we are launching a new category of stories this month – New for the 2021/22 Ski Season.
It brings together all that is new for the approaching winter.
From lifts and hotels, through to changes in Covid-19 rules, which athletes will be representing Team GB in this Olympic season, news from the resorts, news on travel to the mountains and much else besdies.
In short, all that is new for net winter in one place.
So, if you want to find out what is happening in the post-pandemic ski world as the season approaches then look no further:
Autumn Ski Testing in Soelden
It starts today, October 1st.
The Glacier Test Centre will be open until Decemcer 5th.
Then at the end of the season, from 9th April until 8th of May 2022.
There will be more than 600 skis from leading manufacturers available to test.