February’s Skiing Snippets…
1st February 2022
Last modified on February 27th, 2022
– Bulgaria to Ease Covid-19 Restrictions
– PlanetSKI Reports from the Ski Resort of Lofer
– Planning a Ski Trip to Canada Before Winter Ends?
– GB Ski Cross Athlete is Esprit Brand Ambassador.. LIVE & UPDATED
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 past couple of months:
We’re mixing it up.
Bulgaria to Ease Covid-19 Restrictions
From March 5th, all foreign travellers who have a green pass will be allowed entry to Bulgaria – a move that should boost its late season ski industry.
The country is home to the main ski resorts of Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovets.
PlanetSKI was in the country a few years back:
It plans to lift the compulsory green pass for restaurants, shopping malls and other public venue from March 20th.
The pass shows someone has been vaccinated, tested negative or is recently recovered from covid-19.
“We managed to pass through the Omicron wave without massive closures of schools or businesses… Our forecasts show that around March 20 it would be possible to end all restrictions in the country linked to the Green Certificate,” said the Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov.
PlanetSKI Reports from the Ski Resort of Lofer
We are always happy to hear about places we never knew existed, let alone have never skied in.
One of our regular readers and occasional contributor, Konstantinos Valtadoros, has been in the ski resort Almenwelt Lofer, located in the Salzburger Saalachtal in Austria:
Small but mighty
In the German language “Klein aber fFin“ means Small but Mighty, and this is perhaps the exact description of the Lofer Ski Area.
The ski area is easily accesible , toll free and only 1.5 hours driving time from Munich and 45 km from Salzburg.
The resort surrounded from the Loferer Mountain (Lofer Rock Mountains) has only 46 Km of ski trails, and most of them (almost 32 km) are blue.
The majority of the slopes are blue and red with only two km of black trails.
There are 10 lifts in total, but the most important is that Lofer has during the last years a great amount invested, in order to be more family friendly.
That’s why it has received the highest grades in terms of “Family –Friendliness” at various ski area tests.
The new SenderExpress chairlift, the resort has two childproof 8-seater chair lifts.
The resort is the best option for families with small children.
There are also two ski schools, which offers lessons for all ages and all levels, and many mountain restaurants.
Best for the families the Soderkasser near the ski school area, but if you want a better view try the Schonblick.
For more apres ski feeling there is the Kuh bar.
If you are more experienced the resort has two really black slopes for you: the Postalm Sandard and the Hochwena, which is more a ski route than a slope.
More challenging – you have access to both of them only with tow lifts.
For accommodation there are many options down at the valley near the valley station, from hotels to cosy apartments.
So there you have it, the ski resort Almenwelt Lofer located in the Salzburger Saalachtal, Austria.
Planning a Ski Trip to Canada Before Winter Ends?
Canada has updated its Covid-19 rules and we reproduce them here:
Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be subject to mandatory arrival testing.
Instead, all fully vaccinated travellers arriving to Canada (from any country) will be subject to the random arrival testing program which has been in place since Canada re-opened its borders back in August.
Travellers who get selected for the random arrival testing will not have to quarantine while awaiting their test results.
Lifting all restrictions for unvaccinated children under 12 entering Canada with fully vaccinated parents/guardians (i.e. they no longer have to isolate from school, camps and daycares for 14 days).
All travellers still have to do a pre-arrival test before entering Canada, but now travellers have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result (taken the day prior to their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) or a molecular test result (taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry).
Note: Taking a rapid antigen test at home is not sufficient to meet the pre-entry requirement – it must be authorized by the country in which it was purchased and must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service.
All international travellers entering Canada must continue to use ArriveCAN.
There are no changes to the testing and quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travellers to enter Canada.
We are at PlanetSKI.
Watch this space…
GB Ski Cross Athlete is Esprit Brand Ambassador
Ollie Davies, who had his Olympic debut at the Beijing Games this month, is helping promote the family ski holiday provider, Esprit.
The 24-year-old had his first experience on skis on an Esprit family holiday at the age of 2.
He had three trips with the company before moving to France aged 8 to improve his skills.
“I remember buzzing around the mountains, just discovering this new world for the first time—that I’d never really had any exposure to until my first Esprit Ski holiday,” he said.“To families thinking of taking their children skiing for the first time, I would say 100% go for it!
“If it wasn’t for my family taking me on ski holidays and Esprit being able to provide the infrastructure for us to come and have such an amazing time, I wouldn’t be where I am today or have the passion and enthusiasm I do now.
“Esprit have always been about children’s enjoyment. Knowing the kids are going to be having fun and the parents can have some time away from the kids to enjoy their skiing too is great.
“And down the line, anyone looking to pursue a career in ski cross or any snow sports discipline, will need to have that enjoyment. Without enjoyment you’re never going to be able to put the hard work in needed to succeed.”
Help for Kids Wanting to Get into Snowsports
Do you know any children and young people’s groups and clubs looking to get into snowsports? 🤔
GB Snowsport Alpine partners, @Redrow, have launched a new Winter Sports Fund of £10,000 to support young people to take to the slopes. ⛷️
Read more and learn how to apply 👇
— GB Snowsport (@GBSnowsport) February 24, 2022
International Olympic Committee Condemns Russia
The IOC has said it “strongly condemns the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government” and is concerned for the safety of the Olympic community in Ukraine.
The statement follows the news in the early hours of Thursday 24th February that Russian forces had invaded Ukraine.
The Olympic Truce began 7 days before the Beijing Winter Olympics opened on 4th February and ends 7 days after the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games. The Paralympics are due to take place in Beijing from 4th to 13th March.
“Following recent events, the IOC is deeply concerned about the safety of the Olympic Community in Ukraine,” it said in a statement.
“It has established a task force to closely monitor the situation and to coordinate humanitarian assistance to members of the Olympic Community in Ukraine where possible.”
The IOC President, Thomas Bach, has reiterated his call for peace, which he made in his speeches at both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in at the Beijing Games (see item below, Beijing Winter Olympics Ends).
The resolution establishing the Olympic Truce was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2nd December by consensus of all 193 UN Member States.
Two Helicopters Crash In Snowbird, Utah
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Ski Touring in Scotland
Glenshee to be precise.
One of our regular readers and occasional contributor, Graeme Wallace, has finally been able to get his touring skis out and put on the skins.
“After a dry January, it’s a fun February. A sunny tour around Glenshee – at last!” said Graeme.
Check out some images from the excursion:
Graeme updated us from Austria earlier in the season on what it was like skiing under Covid-19 restrictions:
And last winter he was skiing in Dundee.
Beijing Winter Olympics Ends
The closing speech was delivered by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach during the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games.
Dear Olympic friends, Dear athletes,
Over the past 16 days, we admired your outstanding performances.
Each and every one of you strived to achieve your personal best. We were deeply touched how you were wishing and cheering for your competitors to achieve their best as well.
You not only respected each other. You supported each other. You embraced each other, even if your countries are divided by conflict.
You overcame these divisions, demonstrating that in this Olympic community we are all equal. We are all equal – regardless of what we look like, where we come from, or what we believe in.
This unifying power of the Olympic Games is stronger than the forces that want to divide us: you give peace a chance.
May the political leaders around the world be inspired by your example of solidarity and peace.
We share this Olympic spirit with all the athletes who because of the pandemic could not make their dream come true.
It breaks our hearts that you could not be with us.
But you belong and you will always belong to the Olympic community.
If we want to finally overcome this pandemic, we must be faster, we must aim higher, we must be stronger – we must stand together.
In this Olympic spirit of solidarity, we call on the international community: give equal access to vaccines to everybody around the world.
The Olympic spirit could only shine so brightly, because the Chinese people set the stage in such an excellent way – and in a safe way.
The Olympic Villages were outstanding. The venues – magnificent. The organisation – extraordinary. The support of the National Olympic Committees, the International Federations, our TOP Partners and Rights-Holding Broadcasters – unwavering.
Our deepest thanks and gratitude go to the Organising Committee, the public authorities and all our Chinese partners and friends. On behalf of the best winter sport athletes of the world, I say:
Thank you, our Chinese friends!
To all the volunteers I say: you warmed our hearts with your smiling eyes. Your kindness will stay with us forever.
Thank you, volunteers!
This unforgettable experience was only possible because of our gracious hosts, the Chinese people. With over 300 million people now engaged in winter sports, with the great success of the Chinese athletes, the positive legacy of these Olympic Games is ensured.
With the truly exceptional Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 we welcome China as a winter sport country.
And now I have to mark the end of this unforgettable Olympic experience: I declare the 24th Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 closed.
In accordance with tradition, I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in Milano Cortina, Italy, to celebrate with all of us, the 25th Olympic Winter Games.
See here for the latest edition of PlanetSKI’s rolling Olympic blog.
Tickets for National Snow Show 2022 Up For Grabs
Gatwick Airport to Re-Open South Terminal
It has been closed for nearly two years and will start flights again next month.
All Gatwick flights have been operating from the North Terminal since 15th June 2020 due to the collapse in international travel caused by Covid-19 rules on travel.
“After an incredibly challenging two years for the airport, our partners, local communities and the entire aviation industry, we are delighted to be reopening our South Terminal next month,” said the CEO of Gatwick, Stewart Wingate.
“Following some major announcements from our airlines about significantly increased flying schedules, and from government on removing travel restrictions and airport slot regulations, we can now look forward to once again operating a busy Gatwick this summer.”
Airlines that fly to ski destinations include British Airways, Ryanair, Norwegian and easyJet.
France Travel Update
France Travel Update: From 12th February, there is no pre-departure test requirement for fully vaccinated adults and accompanied minors arriving in France.
— Ski Solutions (@skisolutions) February 14, 2022
PlanetSKI Helps Snow-Camp
Earlier this month we posted an article about the charity’s fund raising Crans-Montana Marathon with details of the way the charity can turn around people’s lives:
As always it was a pleasure help publicise the fantastic work the charity does.
It seems our article has had some impact and the charity received this message:
It is, as always, a pleasure to help everyone at Snow-Camp.
Keep up the good work everyone.
‘Perfect’ Skiing Conditions in Pila
PlanetSKI meets one of the few people in the Italian resort in the Aosta Valley who thinks the snow is at its very best.
Step forward Phil Brown (with our editor, James Cove).
It hasn’t snowed for over a month (January 9th to be precise, though there was a ‘dusting’ last week), there is no off piste to talk about and some think fresh snow is needed.
So, why is Phil so pleased?
Phil is a ski race coach and is currently running the British Schools Alpine Open Championship in the resort of Pila above Aosta.
The event is organised by The National Schools Snowsports Association (NSSA)
Race conditions are ideal.
The event sees 70 children, aged 7-18, from dozens of UK schools battling it out through the gates.
“The conditions are quite simply perfect for racing here in Pila,” enthuses Phil.
“There is a good snow depth to set the course and the snow itself is grippy and hard-packed.
“Today we have had three lots of 70 racers attack the course and it was hardly marked at the end of proceedings.”
The last thing Phil, and all the racers, want at the moment is heavy snow and deep, fresh powder.
“The temperature is perhaps warmer than ideal, but the race course is on a north facing slope so the sun hits it at an oblique angle, leaving the course in truly excellent shape.”
This is the 4th edition of the Championships – last season was cancelled due to Covid-19.
In 2020 it happened in February, just ahead of the pandemic taking hold.
The event is supported by the Ski Club of Great Britain and is going from strength to strength.
Phil is a regular PlanetSKI reader, and good ski friend of the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.
We couldn’t decide, so we put it in both.
“Above all else it was just so good to see youngsters really into their ski racing,” said James as he spent some time at the event this week.
“I agree with Phil, the snow for race conditions here in Pila is perfect. There is even a bit of soft stuff at the end to brake on.”
Mountain Bike Track Planned for Cairngorm
Plans to create a new mountain bike track in Coire Cas on Cairngorm Mountain have been submitted to the Highland Council.
The resort operators are asking for permission to build the 2.9km long track which would be accessed from the main entrance to Cairngorm Mountain at the upper car park.
The track would include zones for beginners and learners as well as more experienced intermediate-level cyclists.
“While snowsports remain hugely important for us, Cairngorm already offers much more, including excellent networks of paths and trails, ranger services, and new facilities like our popular tubing slide and adventure play area for children,” said Susan Smith, Cairngorm Mountain Chief Executive.
“We see a lot of potential in offering a great range of healthy, fun outdoor activities that whole families can enjoy, in spring, summer and autumn as well as winter.
“Mountain biking can be a great way for people to access Cairngorm, get exercise and experience our wonderful natural environment.”
Snow-Camp Celebrates the Start of the Olympics
And what is Snow-Camp up to this weekend?
And more Olympic vibes…
And did we mention tickets are now on sale for the 2022 National Snow Show?
Triumph for GB Paralympic Skiers
🏆Super-G World Cup Crystal Globe Champions
❄️Millie Knight & guide Brett Wild
🏆Slalom World Cup Crystal Globe Champions
❄️Menna Fitzpatrick & guide Katie Guest
— UK Sport (@uk_sport) February 1, 2022
It all bodes rather well for the Paralympic Games in Beijing that are taking place next month.
Gurgl Celebrates its Adopted Brit
The Austrian ski resort that sponsors Great Britain’s history-making ski racer, Dave Ryding, has been basking in his glory.
Dave Ryding won the men’s slalom in the Austrian resort of Kitzbühel on 22nd January, becoming the first British alpine racer to top the podium in a World Cup race.
The Ötztal destination has been supporting Ryding as one of his main sponsors since 2017.
“We are delighted about Dave’s victory, which is more than deserved,” said Werner Hanselitsch, CEO or Obergurgl’s cable car company.
“Dave comes here regularly for training and material tests. He is also involved in campaigns on the British market.”
Gurgl is popular with British holidaymakers. The resort says that, despite Brexit, the UK is still one of its most important markets and Dave Ryding is an important and highly appreciated testimonial of the ski resort.
“Our guests are aware that we support their most successful ski athlete,” Hanselitsch said.
“At the same time, Dave is a role model for the next generation in his home country.
“He took his first turns on skis on plastic mats. For us Austrians, who are spoiled with snow, that would be unimaginable.”
2022 Report on Snow Tourism to go to Crowdfunders First
The latest edition of the International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism is out soon but, this year, it will be published first to supporters who have helped fund it.
The author of the report, the Swiss consultant, Laurent Vanat, has been crowdfunding for several years to help compile the report which gives detailed statistics on the ski industry worldwide.
Since it was first published in 2009, the report has been made available for free download.
The financial sponsors will get priority access to the report as soon as it is launched while everyone else will have to wait until later this year.
Seems like the farmers in the Aosta Valley in Italy drive Lambourghinis.