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September’s Skiing Snippets

– SIGB Ski Test is Back
– Laax Freezes Lift Pass Prices
– Thinking of Skiing in Norway Next Winter?
– Spain Relaxes Border Rules
– Record breaking Winter for US Ski State of Idaho… LIVE

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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:

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SIGB Ski Test is Back

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The Swiss Resort of Laax Freezes Lift Pass Prices

It says that “it does not plan on increasing the price of lift passes this season,” in a statement.

It says passes will remain the same price as the 2021-22 ski season, with day passes starting at 55 CHF.

It goes on to say that this “unlike many other Swiss and Austrian ski resorts which will be forced to drastically increase prices due to the cost of purchasing energy.”

There is no evidence so far of drastic price rises in other resorts for next winter.

Laax says it is able to freeze prices as it has already purchased its energy for the next two years until  2024.

All Laax’s lifts run-on CO2 neutral hydro and solar power sourced from throughout Switzerland.

The waste heat from the lifts is also used to heat local restaurants.

See this related PlanetSKI story on the possible impact of rising energy prices on ski resorts next season:

Laax, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Laax, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

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Thinking of Skiing in Norway Next Winter?

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Spain Relaxes Border Rules

It will impact those heading to the Spanish Pyrenees for skiing this winter if the situation remains the same.

There is also skiing at Sierra Nevada.

The Spanish government says it will no longer be necessary to fill in the health control form to travel to Spain for all third-country nationals.

The UK is defined as a third country after leaving the EU.

The government says it wants to “favour the normalisation of international mobility.”

The government recently extended until mid-November the need for a Covid-19 vaccination, test or recovery certificate to enter Spain for travellers from non-EU countries

Children under 12 years are exempt.

PlanetSKI was making a few turns in Sierra Nevada a few years back:

Sierra Nevada, Spain. Image © PlanetSKI

Sierra Nevada, Spain. Image © PlanetSKI

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France Saw High Summer Temperatures

This summer was France’s second-hottest on record with temperatures 2.3 degrees above the average.

This has hit the glaciers hard with the summer melt continuing.

All the summer skiing areas in France are closed due to the deteriorating conditions.

France saw three separate heatwaves in July and August.

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

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Record breaking Winter for US Ski State of Idaho

According to RRC Associates, 2.15 million skiers and snowboarders visited Idaho ski areas in the winter of 2020-2021, breaking the previous record of 1.88 million.

PlanetSKI visited a few of the lesser known resorts of Idaho a few years back on one of our legendary ski road trips:

Idaho ski road trip

Idaho ski road trip. Image c/o PlanetSKI

Idaho ski road trip

Idaho ski road trip. Image c/o PlanetSKI

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 We’re Thinking of Winter…

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New Zealand Lifts Covid Restrictions

The government has ended vaccine requirements, as well as the need to self-test after arrival.

People arriving or taking internal flights will not need to wear masks.

“Masks have played an important part in keeping customers, crew and communities safe during the Covid pandemic, but it’s time to say farewell,” said Air New Zealand’s Chief Customer and Sales, Leanne Geraghty.

Skiing in New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand. Image © PlanetSKI

New Zealand has dropped all mask-wearing rules although individual facilities, including ski resorts, can still make them compulsory.

“It’s time to safely turn the page on our Covid-19 management and live without the extraordinary measures we have previously used,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“It marks a milestone in our response. Finally, rather than feeling that Covid dictates what happens to us, our lives, and our futures, we take back control,” she added

Mt Hutt, New Zealand. Image © PlanetSKI

Mt Hutt, New Zealand. Image © PlanetSKI

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Founder of Patagonia Gives Company Away to Charitable Trust

The billionaire, Yvon Chouinard, said any profit not reinvested in running the business would go to fighting climate change.

The brand specialises in outdoor clothing including ski wear and clothing for the mountains.

A rock climbing fanatic, he started out making metal climbing spikes for himself and his friends to wedge into rocks.

He then moved into clothing and eventually created a hugely successful sportswear brand with a cult following.

Founded in 1973, Patagonia’s sales were worth around $1.5bn this year, while Mr Chouinard’s net worth is thought to be $1.2bn.

It is famous for an advert titled “Don’t buy this jacket” asking shoppers to consider costs to the environment.

See more on the BBC.

Image c/o PlanetSKI

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Film Made of Avalanche at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort

In 1982 a massive avalanche descended on Alpine Meadows Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, California.

It triggered a desperate five day search for eight missing people.

A film has been made of the incident and it is set to be released in North America and then shown on Amazon and Apple TV.

‘BURIED’ chronicles the third deadliest avalanche in US history, the miraculous rescue efforts and the traumas that still haunt the survivors today.

In cinemas in the USA and Canada on 23rd September, and then on Amazon and Apple TV on November 8th.

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Glacier Collapse in the Andes

Higher temperatures and rainfall that weakened ice walls caused part of a hanging glacier to break off at a national park in Chile’s Patagonia region.

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Fancy a Job with GB Snowsport?

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Sapporo Mayor Cancels Visit to IOC to Discuss Winter Olympic Bid

Katsuhiro Akimoto has called off his visit to Switzerland later this month where he was due to discuss the city’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics with the  IOC President, Thomas Bach.

The cancellation of Akimoto’s visit comes against the backdrop of the unfolding Tokyo 2020 bribery scandal.

Haruyuki Takahashi, a prominent member of the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board, has been arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes.

Read more about the details on Inside the Games.

Sapporo City has rejected a proposal to hold a referendum on the potential bid to gauge the level of support from residents.

A bid by Vancouver in Canada has been given City Council backing.

Catalonia in Spain and Salt Lake City in the USA have both expressed an interest in bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympics.

 

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Zermatt Pays Tribute to The Queen

Read our full story on reaction from the snowsports world on the death of the Queen:

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US Resort Tries to Save Endangered Trees

Brundage Mountain Resort in Idaho is trying to save the Whitebark Pine that could become an endangered species.

Whitebark Pine, Pinus Albicaulis, is a slow-growing tree that can live for more than 1,000 years.

The species occurs in harsh and exposed sites at high elevations.

The trees help stabilise soil, regulate runoff, and provide valuable nutrition to numerous wildlife species through its seeds.

Brundage Mountain Resort. Image © PlanetSKI

Brundage Mountain Resort. Image © PlanetSKI

This summer teams from Brundage Mountain Resort and the McCall & Council Youth Conservation Corps worked alongside engine crews with botany and silviculture experts from the Payette National Forest.

They worked on identifying existing stands, remove competing species and reducing fire hazards.

Brundage Mountain Resort. Image © PlanetSKI

Brundage Mountain Resort. Image © PlanetSKI

“The whitebark pine trees on the top of Brundage Mountain are one of the most recognisable features of the summit ecosystem,” said the Brundage Mountain General Manager, Ken Rider.

“While the delicate silver-grey branches of the dead trees can be beautiful in a snow-covered environment, we want to ensure that the healthy, living trees can thrive in the future.

“We’re excited to partner with the Forest Service and Youth Conservation Corps to step up these conservation efforts.”

“It’s important to us to be good stewards of the land on which we operate.”

Brundage Mountain Resort. Image © PlanetSKI

Brundage Mountain Resort. Image © PlanetSKI

PlanetSKI passed through Brundage Mountain Resort a few years back on a road trip round some of the little-known resorts in Idaho.

Brundage Mountain Resort. Image © PlanetSKI

Brundage Mountain Resort. Image © PlanetSKI

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Well, Could You?

An ex-Royal Marine, 31-year-old Tim Howell, had recently completed a climb of the north face of the Grandes Jorasses in the Mont Blanc Massif in the French Alps.

Many of the routes in the Alps are closed due to the summer heatwaves so Tim had to negotiate this narrow snow bridge.

“We were so tired. We had completed a climb of the Grandes Jorasses so we just wanted to get back down off the mountain,” he said.

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Mountain Refuge on Mont Blanc Collapses

The Bivouac de la Fourche was a tiny mountain refuge near the Brenva glacier.

A climber, Vivian Bruchez, has posted of its fate on Instagram.

The area has been hit hard by high summer temperatures which has caused rockfalls.

Some popular hiking and climbing routes in the Mont Blanc Massif have been closed by the authorities.

The high temperatures melt the permafrost causing the rocks to become unstable.

Related Articles:

Mont Blanc, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Mont Blanc, France. Image © PlanetSKI

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Japan Confirms Covid-19 Border Changes

It will increase entry numbers from 20,000 to 50,000 a day and allow travel without the requirement of a guide.

We reported on the prospects of the move earlier on PlanetSKI:

Since June 10th travellers have only been allowed to travel Japan accompanied by tour leaders and guides. Flights needed to be included in the package.

People will still need to follow Covid-19 rules and regulations but the approaching ski season now looks like it will bear some resemblance to normality.

Skiing in Japan. Image c/o Mabey Ski

Skiing in Japan. Image c/o Mabey Ski

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New Lift for Hafjell Ski Resort in Norway

The new 6-seater express lift will be installed in Hafjell South and replaces two of the older lifts –  Kringelåsheisen & Hafjellheis 3.

“With this, the capacity will increase considerably and add to a more efficient and enjoyable ski experience to all our customers,” said the CEO of Norway – Home of Skiing, Trevor de Villiers.
It will be in place for the 2023/24 season.

See here for more about Hafjell.

  • Accessible ski destination, just 15 minutes north of Lillehammer.
  • 3,474 feet elevation with stunning views and great slopes.
  • Winter Olympic Host: At the 1994 Winter Olympics Hafjell hosted the slalom and giant slalom events.
  • Terrain parks for everyone with a Frontyard and a Backyard, in addition to the main park.
  • Wide-open runs and technical challenges for experienced skiers on the Olympic runs.

Hafjell is one of our favourite smaller resorts in Norway.

PlanetSKI last visited a few years back.

Our chief reporter, Jane Peel, was last there in 2019 when she also visited Kvitfjell:

While our editor, James Cove, last passed through on one of his legendary road trips way back in 2014:

Hafjell

PlanetSKI in Hafjell. Image © PlanetSKI

PlanetSKI in Hafjell. Image © PlanetSKI

And staying with news about ski lifts…

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Further Details of New Gondola in Palisades Tahoe Revealed

The Base to Base Gondola in the Californian resort is set to open for the 2022-2023 season and will connect the two valleys of the US resort.

It makes Palisades Tahoe one of the largest ski resorts in North America.

“A realization of the founders’ original vision, the Base to Base Gondola offers newfound convenience and accessibility to the resort’s 6,000 acres and full spectrum of lifts, terrain, dining venues and more,” said the resort in a statement.

It is one of the North American resorts on the Ikon Pass.

The Base to Base ride will offer scenic views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains, easy transit between the resort’s two base areas, and lift access for expert skiers & snowboards to the top of KT-22.

The Palisades Tahoe team has launched a website to share more about the Base to Base Gondola experience, which includes a video, map, statistics, and frequently asked questions: https://gondola.palisadestahoe.com/experience

Image c/o Palisades Tahoe

Image c/o Palisades Tahoe

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Sit Back & Enjoy

Skiing the mini-spines in Bariloche, Argentina on 25th August 2022 – Miles Clark.

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Freeskiers Ride New Zealand’s Highest Mountain, Mount Cook

The Sky Piercer –  Sam Smoothy, Xavier De Le Rue, Nadine Wallner and Fraser McDougall take on the challenge of skiing down New Zealand’s highest mountain, the notorious Mount Cook (Aoraki).

Aoraki differs from bigger mountains in the Himalayas or the Alps as it’s exposed to whatever westerly weather systems the Tasman Sea throws at it.

That means strong winds, heavy snow, and thick cloud that can make visibility a serious problem.

This goes for the eastern side too if the wind changes.

The Sky Piercer director, Jase Hancox, says there has to be an understanding between the protagonists and the crew that cuts both ways.

“The film-maker needs to understand that the athlete isn’t an actor,” said Hancox.

“The athlete also needs to understand that it takes more than just skiing or action to create an engaging film.”

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Image c/o PlanetSKI

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