December’s Ski News In Brief – Live & Updated

– Two German Teenagers Die After Skiing Off Edge of Slope
– Border Force Strikes Resume Today
– Shiffrin Edges Closer to Women’s Record
– A Mountain Guide’s Life
– Narrow Escape in Avalanche…UPDATED

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.

Plus links to some of our main stories on PlanetSKI so you can keep up to speed on the ever changing world of snowsports.

See here for November’s Ski News in Brief

We’re mixing it up:

Thursday, 29th December

Two German Teenagers Die After Skiing Off Edge of Slope

The accident happened in the Waidring ski area in the Tirol in the west of Austria.

They fell 60m to their deaths.

Other skiers saw the 17-year-old boys skiing at high speed down a red slope as they lost control and came off the slope.

Eyewitnesses alerted the rescue services.

The two teenagers were pronounced dead at the scene.

The authorities have warned people to ski in control and obey all the local rules & regulations whole on the slopes.

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Wednesday, 28th December

Border Force Strikes Resume Today

Officers at Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow airports walked out again and remain on strike until 7am on Saturday 31st, New Year’s Eve.

Saturday is usually the main transfer day for skiers and snowboarders, but this has changed due to Xmas Day and New Year falling on the weekend.

Around 1,000 union members are part of the industrial action.

Troops and civil servants have been drafted in to help.

The Home Office says people should prepare for possible disruption.

“We know our action will cause disruption but the Government is to blame,” said the PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka.

“These strikes could be called off tomorrow if Rishi Sunak puts some money on the table.”

Gatwick airport. Image © PlanetSKI

Gatwick airport. Image © PlanetSKI

Tuesday, 27th December

Shiffrin Edges Closer to Women’s Record

The US skier, Mikaela Shiffrin, won the 78th victory of her career at Semmering, Austria.

The 27-year-old beat Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova into second place to win the giant slalom.

She is now only four wins behind the women’s record, set by her retired fellow American, Lindsey Vonn.

“My form is good,” said Shiffrin, following her fourth win of the season.
“Today was quite beautiful being the last because you can hear the announcer at the top and she was announcing in English.

“So, it was not just going in the background in my head, it was really getting into my head.

“I was thinking ‘just ignore it, just ignore it’ but I knew everything that was happening.

“I knew Marta had the best time and (then) Petra had the best time and I was just like ‘oh my gosh’,” a laughing Shiffrin said after finishing the first of a back-to-back GS double header in a combined time of 2:07.18.

“I was pushing really hard. Sometimes when I start bib 1 I am holding back on my skiing but today I said ‘no, we are not doing that, I am going full gas every time.

“I don’t care how it feels, every turn I am pushing.

“The second run a little bit wild sometimes but I felt like the skis were running.

“I really enjoy racing here.

“I was being pushed around sometimes but overall my skiing felt good.”

Image © PlanetSKI

A Mountain Guide’s Life

Mike Arnold grew up ski racing in Maine, discovered backcountry in Colorado and now works as a professional mountain guide in Italy’s Aosta Valley.

Surrounded by 4,000-metre alpine peaks, his adopted home is the historical home of ski mountaineering.

In this tight-knit local community, guides have always been highly respected. But they face high risks, too.

Having gained so much from the mountains, Mike has recently been forced to come to terms with what they can take away.

He is paid to do what he loves but is it worth the risk?

Sunday, December 25th

Narrow Escape in Avalanche

A video showing a skier being buried by an avalanche in Russia is being shared online.

The man escaped thanks to the intervention of a fellow skier.

Saturday, December 24th

Wizz Air Launches New Flight from Gatwick to Grenoble

The inaugural flights started last week in time for the ski season.

Grenoble gives access to many resorts in the southern French Alps.

PlanetSKI used Grenoble last winter as we toured some of the lesser-known resorts in the surrounding Isere region:

Ski resorts in Isere

Ski resorts in Isere. Image c/o Isere.

Friday, December 23rd

Delta Plans to Offer Free WiFi on its Planes

The most obvious group of UK skiers and snowboarders to benefit is those flying direct from Heathrow to Salt Lake City in Utah.

The direct flight has been re-introduced for this winter as we reported earlier:

Delta is planning to offer free WiFi to all its passengers as early as next year.

The airline is currently testing the offering and the systems.

According to an article in Wall Street Journal, this move is likely to intensify competition regarding in-flight offerings from the airlines.

Delta currently uses Viasat and Intelsat for internet access for a $5 flat fee.

Delta Airlines. Image © PlanetSKI

Delta Airlines. Image © PlanetSKI

Thursday, December 22nd

UK Snowsports Trade Show in January

The UK’s snowsport and outdoor trade show is less than three weeks away.

Slide & OTS Winter will take place at the Telford International Centre from 10th to 12th January.

The organisers say the 2023 show is one not to be missed for anyone involved in buying or selling into the trade.

Visitors can pre-register online here

The event will also feature the Slide & OTS Winter 2023 Show Awards, which are spread across six categories.

They include Snowsport Hardware, Outdoor Hardware and Software Accessories.

There is also a Fresh Brand category which is open only to new brands or first-time exhibitors at the show as well as an Eco Award for brands that show particular environmentally friendly credentials.

For more details about events at the show, visit www.slideotswinter.co.uk

Wednesday, December 21st

Eurostar Boxing Day Cancellations Hit Skiers

Industrial action by the RMT has led to Eurostar cancelling all Boxing Day journeys to Paris.

Part of the route in England is affected by signalling issues caused by the industrial action.

The Eurostar route to Paris is used by skiers and snowboarders who prefer to travel to the Alps by train.

London to Paris by Eurostar and then a change in Paris takes people to the Alps and the Pyrenees.

PlanetSKI has done the journey many times.

We have also take the overnight train from Amsterdam to the Austrian Alps.

All Eurostar trains to the Amsterdam have also been cancelled on Boxing Day.

Alpen Express to the Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI.

Alpen Express to the Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI.

Estimates say 20,000 people will be affected.

The figure includes those heading to the mountains.


Eurostar. Image © PlanetSKI

Tuesday, December 20th

VIP SKI Sponsors GB Racer Max Laughland

Max is one of the most promising GB skier of his generation.

He won the Under 18 GB Downhill cup in Tignes earlier this year, a cup that also bears Martin Bell’s name, having won the same discipline at the very start of his career in 1980.

As one of the Ambition Alpine Ski Racing Academy stable of GB skiers, this season is all about FIS points in international races throughout Europe, and VIP SKI is to support him through this.

Max has been in the England Alpine Team since the age of 12 and have had selection into the British Team for U14 & U16 and currently the Senior Team after meeting the criteria in the first year in FIS.

Max has completed a summer training season in Zermatt, Saas-Fee and Landgraaf, and now moves to pre-season training on the snow in Scandinavia.

VIP SKI is delighted to be joining Savills, Atomic and Shred as Max’s 2023 sponsors and we’ll be following Max as the racing season progresses.

Max Laughland. Image c/o VIP SKI

Max Laughland. Image c/o VIP SKI

Monday, December 19th

Avalanche Canada Introduces New Forecasting System

The new model will group areas that have similar avalanche conditions, along with giving users relevant information.

  • The homepage map will have a new search feature.
  • Each forecast region is coloured to reflect its highest danger rating.
  • The forecast will feature boundaries that change in response to conditions.
  • There will no longer be fixed forecast regions or region names.
  • Forecasters will determine regional boundaries every day.

“This new system allows our forecasts to more accurately reflect backcountry conditions,” said Avalanche Canada.

“Our regions are now determined by the avalanche conditions. We’ve made these changes to tackle one of our biggest problems with our old system, where conditions would often vary significantly across some of our larger regions.”

See here for more on the Avalanche Canada web site.

Avalanche Canada logo

Avalanche Canada logo

Sunday, December 18th

Bankes Takes Gold

Britain’s Charlotte Bankes has won a gold medal at the Snowboard Cross World Cup in Cervinia, Italy.

The 27-year-old, who won five out of eight World Cups last season, also secured bronze on Friday.

It was defending champion Bankes’ 10th victory in Cervinia.

Australian teenager Josie Baff, 19, claimed silver, while 28-year-old Chloe Trespeuch of France took bronze.

Trespeuch’s third-placed finish means she keeps the world championship leader bib.

Josie Baff, 19, from Australia took silver, while 28-year-old Chloe Trespeuch of France claimed bronze.

Trespeuch keeps the world championship leader bib.

Charlotte Bankes – photo © PlanetSKI

Saturday, December 17th

Bankes Takes Bronze

Britain’s Charlotte Bankes won her first medal of the season with bronze at the Snowboard Cross World Cup in Cervinia, Italy.

The defending champion won five out of eight World Cups last season.

French pair Chloe Trespeuch and Manon Petit-Lenoir won gold and silver.

Friday, December 16th

Daily Avalanche Forecast Resumes in Scotland

The Scottish Avalanche Information Service, SAIS, provides assessments for six mountain areas from mid-December to mid-April.

Forecasts are given for:

  • Lochaber,
  • Glen Coe,
  • Northern and Southern Cairngorms,
  • Creag Meagaidh
  • Torridon.

The season has started with a cold snap which has brought freezing temperatures and widespread snow across Scotland.

The forecasts are used, along with other information, by walkers, climbers and snowsports enthusiasts in planning trips into the hills.

PlanetSKI’s Scotland reporter, Rod Frazer, has already been out on skis:

Loch Morlich, Cairngorms, Scotland, Monday 12 December. Image © Rod Frazer

Thursday, December 15th

Security Baggage Rules at Airports Set to Change

Laptops will be able to be kept in hand luggage and the 100ml liquid rule will be increased to two litres.

Most UK airports will install new high-tech 3D scanners, that show more detailed images of baggage.

The new rules are set to be introduced in June 2024.

Passengers are currently required to remove items such as tablets, laptops and liquids from their hand luggage while going through security checks at airports.

Liquids, such as sun cream, shampoo or toothpaste are required to be 100ml and must be in a clear plastic bag.

The limits have been in place since November 2006

The Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said the new technology would reduce queue times to improve the “passenger experience, and most importantly detecting potential threats”.

Gatwick airport. Image © PlanetSKI

Gatwick airport. Image © PlanetSKI

Tuesday, December 13th

300 Santas Hit the Slopes of Sunday River in Maine

It is something of an annual tradition in the US resort and has been taking place for more than 20 years.

This time round though the snow gods didn’t quite play ball with little natural snow around.

There was enough of the man-made variety though.

$7,500 was raised this year for a local charity.

Monday, December 12th

Swiss Government to Allow Killing of Alpine Wolves

There are around 200 wolves in the Swiss Alps and the numbers are rising.

Attacks on livestock are also going up with around 1,000 per year.

The main regions affected by wolf attacks are the ski cantons of the Valais, Graubunden and Ticino.

A rise in attacks on mostly sheep and goats, but also cows and donkeys, has prompted calls for the wolf population to be controlled.

New legislation is expected to allow cantons to regulate the wolf population between September 1st and December 31st.

Currently wolves are a protected species, and it is only possible to regulate them if significant damage or serious danger has occurred.

The amendment to the hunting law means wolves can be shot when farms are threatened.

Wolves in winter. Image © PlanetSKI

Wolves in winter. Image © PlanetSKI

Sunday, December 11th

German Football Captain Breaks Leg while Skiing

Maneul Neuer is out of action for the rest of the season.

The 36-year-old said he had gone on holiday to clear his head after Germany was knocked out of the World Cup.

“What can I say, the end of the year could have definitely gone better,” said Neuer.

“While I was trying to get my head clear while ski touring, I suffered a lower leg fracture. Yesterday’s surgery went well. Many thanks to the doctors! However, it hurts to know that the current season is over for me.”

He is also captain of Bayern Munich that lead the Bundesliga by 4 points.

Musgrave Takes 3rd Place

Friday, December 9th

Swiss Ski Racer Suffers Brain Injury

Swiss-Ski says the Former Alpine Ski World Cup Super-G champion, Mauro Caviezel, suffered a brain injury in his fall at Lake Louise, Canada.

He lost consciousness after hitting a gate and falling.

The 34-year old is now back in Switzerland following checks in a Canadian hospital.

Caviezel suffered no other injuries except for cuts and bruises in the crash, according to Swiss-Ski.

It was his first race in more than 19-months because of past head trauma.

Doctors will now assess whether he will be able to return to the World Cup race circuit.

 GB Team Back in Action

Wednesday, December 7th

Growing Interest in Skiing in Norway

The mountains may be smaller than the Alps and the drinks more expensive, but there has been increasing interest in heading to the Scandinavian country.

“Our bookings team has seen huge demand for some of the lesser-discovered alternative options including new resorts that have been added to our portfolio in Norway,” said the managing director of Ski Solutions, Craig Burton. 

PlanetSKI was in Narvik in northern Norway last April.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

We’re back in Norway next January on a rail ski safari round a few resorts.

Look out for our reports.

And here is what is on offer next winter form Norway-Home of Skiing:

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Monday, December 5th

Future of NZ Ski Resort Remains in Doubt

The future of the Mt Ruapehu skifield on the north island is still shaky despite several high-level meetings to save it.

It’s unclear whether the Government will help bail out the operation, and a panel of stakeholders has been told liquidation might be the only option.

We have reported on the issues earlier on PlanetSKI:

Check out this latest NZ TV report from Kethaki Masilamani:

Sunday, December 4th

Huge Snowboard Jump in Commonwealth Stadium, Canada

A massive snowboard jump is being built inside Commonwealth Stadium.

Its for an upcoming major snowboarding event.

Friday, December 2nd

Inghams Take Gold at British Travel Awards

Inghams, the UK’s specialist ski, winter adventures and summer experience tour operator is a winner at this year’s British Travel Awards.

Inghams Ski has been awarded:

  • GOLD for the Best Travel Company for Special Interest Holidays
  • SILVER for the Best Travel Company for Ski/Winter Sports Holidays
  • SILVER for the Best Travel Company for Lakes & Mountains Holidays

 The winners were voted for by the consumer during September and October 2022.

“We are thrilled to have won these awards after a tough few years,” said the CEO of Inghams, Joe Pointe.

“We have a reason to celebrate now as we focus on the winter season ahead.”

The British Travel Awards honour the best companies in Travel.

85 categories cover the services used by the public when booking their holidays, making the BTAs one of the largest surveys of consumer opinion.

Thursday, December 1st

Lionel Messi Compared to Ski Legend Alberto Tomba

Poland’s coach, Czeslaw Michniewicz, said “Messi behaves on the pitch like Alberto Tomba on the slopes.”

Tomba is the Italian skier from the 1980s and ’90s who won Olympic gold medals in slalom and giant slalom.

“He is able to avoid everyone, like Alberto Tomba was able to get around everything. So we need to put players around Messi. If he is able to ride through everyone, we won’t be able to stop him.”

He made his comments ahead of the Poland/Argentina game on Wednesday night.

Argentina won the match 2-0.

Now while we are on the subject of Lionel Messi, did you know there is another skiing connection

Lionel Messi owns a ski resort hotel in the Pyrenees.

It is being reporter that the Argentine star is the owner of the MiM Hotels chain which has a property in the Spanish resort of Baqueira Beret in the Pyrenees.

It is a four-star hotel with 141 rooms, a spa, swimming pool, fitness centre, and mountain guide services.

It is located at the base of a gondola.

Where else can you can stay in a ski hotel that’s owned by perhaps the greatest football player of all time?

Baqueira Beret Piste Map

Baqueira Beret Piste Map

George Ezra Kicks Off Spring Concerts in Ischgl

The British singer-songwriter will start a four-week season of spring skiing events on 30th March 2023.

 The 29-year-old’s repertoire includes well-known hits such as “Budapest”, “Shot Gun”, “Barcelona” and “Blame It On Me” as well as songs from his new album “Gold Rush Kid”.

The open-air live concert starts at 13.00. in the middle of the ski area at the Idalp at 2,320 metres above sea level.

George Ezra. Image credit: Adam Scarborough.

George Ezra. Image credit: Adam Scarborough.

The other acts performing will be named shortly.

The “Spring Blanc” event series presents a programme  of culinary delights and music

All information can be found  here.

Ishgl, Tirol, Austria. Copyright © TVB Paznaun-Ischgl

Ischgl, Tirol, Austria. Copyright © TVB Paznaun-Ischgl

Jackson Hole Tram Opens this Weekend

The iconic US resort has received a steady stream of snowfall with 2.8m of snow already recorded this season.

More is forecast throughout the week and into next.

The Sublette and Marmot lifts and the Bridger Gondola also open this Saturday, December 3rd.

Image c/o Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Image c/o Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

“We are elated to open the Aerial Tram and upper mountain on Decembed 3rd. The snowfall we have received thus far this season is providing some of the best early-season conditions we have seen in decades,” stated the resort President, Mary Kate Buckley.

Skiers and snowboarders will be able to access 4,139 vertical feet of terrain, including:

  • Rendezvous Bowl
  • Cheyenne Bowl
  • Gros Ventre
  • Tram Line

Five other lifts are currently operating: Teewinot, Après Vous, Sweetwater Gondola, Casper and Teton.

We reported earlier on the resort opening and what’s in store for the winter.

The newly replaced Thunder Lift is scheduled to open on December 10th, with an opening ceremony including live music and a ribbon cutting to follow on December 17th.

Further details about Jackson Hole can be found in here:

FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup Season Set to Kick Off

Due to the lack of snow, the season will start off with a little delay than originally anticipated, in Les2Alpes in France on Friday 2nd December.

This will not only be the first race of the season, but also the first Snowboard Cross World Cup race run on this glacier.

See here for a trailer of the competitons:

The Snowboard Cross World Cup tour will come to a close with the World Cup Finals which will again take place in Veysonnaz, Switzerland from March 15-16.

The Snowboard Cross World Cup tour will come to a close with the World Cup Finals which will again take place in Veysonnaz, Switzerland from March 15-16.

GB Athlete on BOA Athletes’ Commission

London City Airport Invests in Next Generation of Security Scanners

Travellers can leave all items in their hand luggage, without removing laptops and liquids.

The new CT scanners will see an even faster airport security experience for passengers.

Chief Operating Officer, Alison FitzGerald, said: “Following our one-lane trial this year, we know the new CT scanners are high performing and our passengers love them.”

“The journey through the airport in 2023 will be even slicker.”

London is a popular route for skiers who use Swiss as it flies into Zurich and Gatwick.

Other airports are also looking at the scanners.

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