August’s Skiing Snippets

– Secret Swimming Pools in the Alps Provide Windfall for French Tax Authorities
– Air France Pilots Fight in Cockpit After Geneva Takeoff
– Switzerland Trials Wind Turbine with Solar Panels
– Mummified Chamois Found as Glacier Melts
– Glaciers in the Pyrenees Set to Disappear…LIVE

Here we cover anything that takes our fancy.

Short news stories, eye catching videos, amusing cartoons, 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 few months:

We’re mixing it up:


Secret Swimming Pools in the Alps Provide Windfall for French Tax Authorities

The discovery of thousands of undeclared private swimming pools in France has provided a boost for French tax collectors.

More than 20,000 hidden pools were discovered after ariel images were taken to try to find those people dodging paying tax.

Nine areas of France were targeted, including the Alpes-Maritimes and the Haute Savoie in the Alps.

It is understood several hundred of the pools were in the alpine regions.

Pools can lead to higher property taxes because they boost property value and therefore must be declared under French law.

An average pool of 30 sq m is taxed at €200 (£170) a year.

Artificial intelligence , AI, was used in the operation using software developed by Google and the French consulting firm, Capgemini.

The French tax authorities are reported to have taken around €10m (£8.5m) in extra revenue.

Private swimming pool in France. Image © PlanetSKI

Private swimming pool in Alpes-Maritimes, France. Image © PlanetSKI


Air France Pilots Fight in Cockpit After Geneva Takeoff

Two Air France pilots have been suspended after a physical altercation in the cockpit.

The pilot and co-pilot exchanged blows as they flew an Airbus A320 from Geneva to Paris in June, according to the Swiss news outlet, La Tribune.

The incident happened shortly after takeoff from Switzerland.

Members of the cabin crew intervened after hearing the noise from the cockpit.

One crew member stayed in the cockpit until the flight landed safely in Paris.

The incident did not affect the flight the airline said.

An Air France spokesperson said the pilots are awaiting a decision by management on their “totally inappropriate behaviour.”

Geneva airport - photo © PlanetSKI

Geneva airport – photo © PlanetSKI


Switzerland Trials Wind Turbine with Solar Panels

A small wind turbine that also has solar panels is set to be tested in Medel in the Alps, near the ski resort of Andermatt in central Switzerland.

The Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement, Armasuisse, has submitted a planning application for the hybrid system.

It is one of the first of its kind in Switzerland.

It is expected to be ready for testing in the autumn of 2023 and could generate up to 35 MWh per year.

That would provide energy for an average home for 15-months.

It is not a huge amount but if installed on a large scale it could have an impact.

If it proves a success nine other similar devices could be installed in the first roll out and then more could follow.

With the cost of energy and fears for hydro-electric power with the melting of glaciers, alternative methods of power are being examined.

Image c/o PlanetSKI


Mummified Chamois Found as Glacier Melts

The animal, a mix of goat and antelope, is believed to be 500 years old and was found on the Gepatschferner glacier in Austria.

The animal was a young female and was around two-feet tall.

Its vertebrae and ribcage were still covered with leathery skin and there was some fur on the hooves.

“It is incredible and it is incredible that she is sitting exactly where we do our research and that we passed right when it was coming out of the ice,” said an alpine glaciologist, Andrea Fischer, to National Geographic.

The animal has been recovered and taken to a laboratory

Glaciers have given up other secrets as the ice melts due to climate change:


Glaciers in the Pyrenees Set to Disappear

The glaciers in the Pyrenees mountain range are predicted to melt in three decades.

The Gourgs Blancs glacier has now completely disappeared due to rising temperatures.

The glacier sat at an altitude of 3,128m and was located in the Luchonnais valley region in Haute-Garonne, close to the border with Spain.

The picture in the Tweet below shows a comparison of the glacier at the beginning of the 20th century with another picture taken on August 6th 2022.

See here for our main story on glaciers melting in the Alps:


The Campaign for Alpine Funding Continues

See here for the full story on PlanetSKI:

Image © GB Alpine Ski Team

Image © GB Alpine Ski Team


Hydroelectricity Output Drops 20% in Europe

Much is created in the mountains or from water flowing from the ranges of Europe, but the summer drought and poor snowfalls last winter have hit production.

The latest report from the Global Drought Observatory says energy production has suffered with two thirds of Europe under some type of drought warning.

The drought observatory is part of the European Commission’s research wing.

A “severe drought” has been present in many places all year, but “has been further expanding and worsening as of early August” it says.

We have reported on PlanetSKI how the drought has hit the mountains, particularly in northern Italy.


Utah Residents Support Hosting Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City Again

A recent poll concludes our-fifths of people in the US state back holding the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

A survey from Desert News and the Hinckley Institute of Politics found that 79% of residents back the bid, while 16% oppose it.

5% are undecided.

Vancouver in Canada and the Japanese city of Sapporo have expressed an interesting in staging the 2030 Olympics.

Salt Lake City held the Winter Olympics in 2002.

Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Image © PlanetSKI

Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Image © PlanetSKI


Germany’s Glaciers Set to Melt in 15 Years

Germany’s five alpine glaciers could all disappear within the next 15 years, according to a glaciologist from Bavarian Academy of Sciences in Munich.


Skiing & Snowboarding in Southern Africa

The 2022 Winter Whip Snowboard and Ski Festival has taken place in the Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho.


Glacier in Himalayas Reveals Soldier who went missing 38 years ago

Chandrashekhar Harbola and 19 colleagues were caught in an avalanche on the Siachen glacier along the India-Pakistan border in 1984.

Fifteen bodies were recovered at the time but five remained missing.

An army unit was on a routine patrol when they came across a bunker – inside they found a body.

Harbola’s army ID number, engraved on a piece of metal, was still intact.

They relayed the information to headquarters and after checking the records they concluded the body was of the missing soldier, Chandrashekhar Harbola.

Harbola’s family said the discovery would give them closure.

A funeral has been held with full military honours in his village.


Glacier Melt in the Alps Continues

Near the Austrian Swiss border scientists are studying how global warming is causing a glacier to melt at an unprecedented rate.


The National Ability Center, NAC, is behind the new facility, named the “McGrath Family Mountain Center.”

“Putting the initial shovels in the ground is the first step to building the nonprofit’s long-awaited adaptive ski-in ski-out facility,”said the CEO of NAC, Danny Glasser.

“Once finished, this new center will not only be bigger and better but will bring countless smiles and hope to our adaptive community for generations to come,”

The Centre will cost $6.5 million and is expected to be finished by summer 2023.


Is Burton Snowboard Up for Sale?

The respected business web site, Bloomberg, reports that it could be worth £800m

According to Bloomberg “The owners of snowboard gear manufacturer Burton are exploring a sale that could value the family-run business at as much as $800 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.”

It reports that the company is working with an adviser on the potential sale but there is no certainty that the company will be sold.

The company was founded in 1977 by Jake Burton Carpenter, who died in 2019:

The current chairwoman of Burton, Donna Carpenter, has reacted by saying Burton Snowboard is absolutely not for sale.

It is reported that she said Burton will remain family-owned and privately held following the publication of the Bloomberg News’s report.


Cost of Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics Rises to €2 billion

That’s according to Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Due to the rise in costs the Italian Parliament is currently considering to approve a €400 million loan for the Olympics.

The Games had been allocated a budget of €1.58 billion.

In June, local politicians voiced their concerns over the funding for the Olympics and Paralympics.

According to Il Fatto Quotidiano officials claim there is “no money” for the Games and that there are four years left and we are worried.”

The 2026 Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held from February 6th to 22nd.

With the Paralympics from March 6th to 15th.

2026 Winter Olympics

Image c/o 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics


New to Skiing & Snowboarding?

This might be the answer…


Wolf Packs Spreading Rapidly Across the Alps

A Swiss wolf-protection group estimates there are now over 300 wolf packs roaming the Alps.

That number could reach 800 over the next five years.

The number of wolf packs in the Alps has jumped by over 25% in just one year said the Swiss-based wolf-protection association Gruppe Wolf Schweiz, GWS.

Most of them are in the border region between Italy and France.

“The wolf is here to stay,” said GSW.

It said that numbers are likely to rise until the predators cover all territory fit for their habitation.

“Increased wolf population control, both preventive and reactive, will not change this reality at all,” GWS said.

“Due to the species’ mobility, there would be no wolf-free areas.”

The current wolf population in Europe numbers around 12,000 animals, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

We have reported in the past on PlanetSKI on the increasing number of wolves in the Alps:

Wolves in winter. Image © PlanetSKI

Wolves in winter. Image © PlanetSKI


82-Year Old Man Climbs All of Scotland’s 282 Munros

The final one for Nick Gardner was the summit of Cairn Gorm above the ski resort.

A munro is a Scottish mountain higher than 3,000ft.

He set himself the challenge after his wife Janet went into full-time care when she developed Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis.

Mr Gardner was joined by family and friends for the 1,245m (4,085ft) climb in the Cairngorms, near Aviemore.

The former physics teacher had never climbed a Munro previously.

See more on the BBC.

He posted on Facebook ahead of his final climb:

Mr Gardner said he had developed immense respect for mountains while completing his challenge.

“I have never conquered or beaten a mountain, I have climbed them,” he said.

“If you start trying to conquer them, they will get their own back.”


Switzerland’s melting glaciers: drone footage reveals impact of climate crisis

See here for the latest in-depth PlanetSKI article on the current situation:

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan


Ski Wax Ban Postponed Again

The International Ski and Snowboard Federation, FIS, has said that a full fluor wax ban will be postponed to the 2023/2024 season.

The ban is intended to reduce risks to human health and the environment coming from chemicals found in fluorocarbon products used in the preparation of skis.

FIS says the delay is to allow additional time for the further refinement of the fluor testing device and to define the procedures to protect the integrity of FIS competitions.

FIS announced a decision to band the use of fluorinated waxes in June 2020 and to introduce the ban in the 2020-2021 season.

In October 2020 the ban was pushed back to the start of the 2021-2022 season.

It was then moved to the 2022-2023 season and this has now been pushed back by a further year.

Extensive testing of the fluor detection device, together with experts from National Federations and the International Biathlon Union (IBU), led to the conclusion that more time is again needed to check new fluor-free waxes to provide accurate results.

The testing of these new products is underway.

The US Ski and Snowboard body banned fluorinated wax in October 2020 because they “have been scientifically studied for their negative environmental and health impacts”.

The European Union banned specific fluorine compounds in July 2020.

Image c/o PlanetSKI


Climate Crisis Drives Tourism Boom

Visitors are reportedly flocking to Greenland to see its retreating glaciers and icebergs.

It is driven by fears they might soon be gone forever.


The Snow Centre is Hiring

The indoor real snow centre in Hemel Hempstead to the north of London is on the look-out for ski & snowboard instructors.



Italy Drought Continues

Areas in the Alps and the Dolomites are affected as the River Po dries up in places.

This year has so far been the driest since records began in 1800 according to the National Research Council’s climate unit.

We reported on the drought earlier on PlanetSKI:

As well as a current lack of rain there was 70% less snow last winter, so the level of snow melt filling rivers and reservoirs was considerably down.

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy, Winter 2022. Image © PlanetSKI

Rainfall is down by 46% across the country, with the north worst affected.

In Milan, at the foot of the Alps, elderly people  living alone are having volunteers deliver food and medicines.

Italian Alps. Image © PlanetSKI

Italian Alps. Image © PlanetSKI

In the past 20 years Europe has experienced its five hottest summers since 1500.


Alta Upgrades Avalanche Protection Measures

Alta Ski Area in Utah is installing new avalanche towers to better protect skiers and to phase out old military artillery.


Esprit Ski Backs Snowcamp


Vail Resorts Drops Compulsory Covid-19 Vaccination for Staff

It is the largest ski operator in North America and it says it will no longer require its employees to be vaccinated.

It will continue encouraging them to do so, but it will not be mandatory.

US Federal authorities have withdrawn a temporary order that called for large companies to have a compulsory vaccination policy.

Skiing in the USA. Image © PlanetSKI

Skiing in the USA. Image © PlanetSKI


Dave Ryding Back on Snow & Training in Saas-Fee


How About Skiing in Norway Next Winter?


New Zealand’s Borders Fully Open

It is the first time since March 2020 when they were closed to try to keep out Covid-19.

International skiers and snowboarders heading to the NZ ski areas now face no restrictions.

The NZ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said that it was an “enormous moment” and part of a “cautious process”.

Most visitors will still need to be fully vaccinated, but there are no quarantine requirements.

In May New Zealand started allowing in tourists from more than 50 countries on a visa-waiver list.

Tourism was one of the industries hardest hit by New Zealand’s tough Covid measures and the snowsport industry suffered.

In the year ending March 2021, the tourisy industry’s contribution to the GDP dropped to 2.9%, from 5.5% the year before.

The number of people directly employed in tourism also fell by over 72,000 during this period.

Skiing and snowboarding are now well underway:

Skiing in New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand. Image © PlanetSKI


Crystal Ski Holidays Reveals the Best Value Lift Passes


Austria Mountain Destinations Come Out on Top

According to a guest survey, Austrian mountain destinations are ahead of other alpine holiday regions when it comes to customer satisfaction with summer offers.

This is the conclusion of market research from the  company “Mountain Management Consulting” in cooperation with the University of Innsbruck.

In the summer of 2021, almost 40,000 guests in the leading mountain destinations in the Alps were surveyed.

The Austrian mountain destinations score particularly well in the areas of friendliness, bike offers, offers for children and families, accommodation, hiking trails, wellness offers and gastronomy.

The results underline the trend towards year-round destinations

“It is striking that in contrast to the surveys in winter, where Swiss or Italian ski areas tend to be at the top, in the last summer study 2021 Austrian areas were ahead in terms of guest satisfaction,” said the author of the study, Mike Partel.

” We see this as confirmation that the continuous expansion of the summer offer and investments in the quality of offers and services in Austrian mountain destinations are bearing fruit.

“This also underscores the current trend in the direction of development towards year-round destinations.”

Austrian Alps in the summer

Austrian Alps in the summer. Image © PlanetSKI.


New Winter Route from Gatwick to Grenoble

Wizz Air UK has unveiled nine new low-fare routes from its bases at London Luton and Gatwick Airport.

One is to the ski gateway airport of Grenoble in the southern French Alps.

The new routes are available to book with fares starting from £20.99.


Space Junk Lands in Snowy Mountains in Australia

About three weeks ago, residents in the Snowy Mountains reported hearing a mysterious loud boom.

Others saw debris falling from the sky.