Ski News in Brief

– Go Katie!
– New air route to Verona for next winter
– Woman trapped in gondola overnight
– Mikaela Shiffrin airlifted to hospital after crash
– Milan-Cortina Olympics Could get its Own Sliding Centre … LIVE

Here we cover anything that takes our fancy.

Short news stories, stunning videos, amusing cartoons, things that make us smile/things that make us shout at the screen.

Mainly it is just plain news stories to keep you updated.

It is also anything that catches our eye in the world of skiing and snowsports.

Wednesday 31s January

Go Katie!

Tuesday 30th January

New air route to Verona for next winter

Jet2.com adds a flight from Manchester to the Italian airport from December 21st to April 5th.

Nearby resorts include Cortina, Madonna di Campiglio and Val di Fassa.

“We are experiencing strong demand from skiers and snowboarders clamouring to book the best of the action for Winter 24/25 and our ski flights are selling very well,” said the CEO of Jet2ski.com, Steve Heapy.

“As a result, we are delighted to be expanding our ski programme even further and giving snow sports fans more choice, with the addition of Verona for Winter 24/25.”

The airline has ski flights on sale to eight ski destinations for Winter 24/25: Verona, Chambery, Geneva, Grenoble, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Lyon and Turin.

The company’s expanded ski programme offers 37 ski routes and 70 weekly flights during peak periods.

Cortina, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Cortina, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Monday 29th January

Woman trapped in gondola overnight

The woman was stuck trapped in Heavenly ski resort in Lake Tahoe, California.

Monica Laso decided she was too tired to snowboard back to the base of the resort at the end of the day, so she decided to take the gondola down.

She was reportedly helped onto the lift by an attendant.

She boarded the lift at 5.48PM and two minutes later it stopped.

She shouted for help to no avail and kept warm by rubbing her hands and feet.

She was found the next morning when workers started the lift.

The long, dark night was “very cold,” she said.

“I didn’t have a phone, a light or anything.”,

She was treated for the affects of cold, but declined to be taken to hospital.

The resort is “investigating this situation with the utmost seriousness,” said  Vail Resorts, which operates the Heavenly.

“The safety and well-being of our guests is our top priority,” it added.

Heavenly Ski Resort

Friday 26th January

Mikaela Shiffrin airlifted to hospital after crash

She was competing in the women’s downhill race in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy.

The 28-year-old fell and collided with the netting surrounding the slope.

It appears there is no serious injury and scans appeared to show knee ligaments seem intact.

“Thank you everyone for your support and well wishes,” she said.

“At this point I’m just taking it day by day.”

The US Ski & Snowboard Team said Shiffrin would continue to be assessed, but her anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments in the left knee “seem intact”.

“Mikaela Shiffrin was taken by ambulance to the clinic in Cortina and is being evaluated for a left leg injury. Initial analysis shows the ACL and PCL seem intact. Further details to come.”

Thursday 25th January

Huge Avalanche on Ben Nevis

A recorder from the Scottish Avalanche Information Service said it was the largest he had seen in recent years.

It happened in Observatory Gully on Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK at 1,345m.

“There had been large avalanches out of both Number 2 Gully area and Observatory Gully as well as some smaller (but still substantial) avalanches,” wrote the recorder.

“This included another one on the West Face of Carn Mor Dearg. I had not seen an avalanche on this face before, and now I have seen two in a few days!

“Over the season you tend to get quite a lot of avalanche activity in Observatory Gully. However, this is the biggest slide I have seen here for a few years.”

See more in the Scottish Sun.

There have been avalanches in recent days in the ski resorts of Glencoe and Cairngorm.

There have been 42 avalanches so far this winter.

Last winter 156 avalanches were logged by recorders from the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) – compared to 162 the previous year.

Glencoe, Scotland. Image c/o Dianne Frazer

Glencoe, Scotland. Image c/o Dianne Frazer

Wednesday 24th January

Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympics Could get its Own Sliding Centre

A construction company has responded to the public tender to build the track.

It remains unnamed and officials are now considering its proposal that would be within budget and meet the deadlines for building all the necessary infrastructure in time.

The Games gets underway in just over two years, February 2026.

Currently there is no proposal to build the track that would host bobsliegh, luge and skeleton.

Innsbruck, in neighbouring Austria, has offered its track but senior Italian politicians have said all aspects of the Games must remain in Italy.

See more on Inside the Games

Sunday 21st January

FIS Responds to Criticism from President of Swiss-Ski

Urs Lehmann attacked the International Ski & Snowboard Federations and its president, Johan Eliasch in recent comments to the media about the scheduling of races.

FIS has responded with this statement:

“Following the recent criticism by Urs Lehmann, President of Swiss-Ski and a member of the FIS Council in media interviews on the creation of the Alpine calendars, FIS would like to clarify the following:

  • All calendars are decided by the FIS Council. The current 2023/24 season calendar was unanimously approved by the FIS Council, including Urs Lehmann.
  • After the cancellations of many downhills at the beginning of this season, it was the strongly expressed wish of the athletes and their support teams to find new dates. The decision to add a race in Wengen was decided together with the head coaches of the national teams.
  • FIS strongly condemns such unethical behaviour. A Council Member has a duty to act with integrity and with the best interests of FIS at heart.
  • The comments have harmed the reputation of the FIS Council, and are disrespectful to our Race Directors and to the whole FIS team who are working hard at the races to offer the best possible conditions for the athletes and their teams.

“The strength of the ski and snowboard family is that together we are greater than the sum of our parts.

“Together we can make sure that our sport develops.

“When that spirit of togetherness is regularly undermined by one-upmanship or power games, we all suffer.

“Our sport suffers.

“That is why FIS will always defend itself against such accusations.”

The International Ski & Snowboard Federation. Image c/o FIS.

Saturday 20th January

FWT in Baqueira Beret in Spanish Pyrenees Cancelled

“The FWT is disappointed to announce that the first event of the season – the Baqueira Beret Pro – has been canceled due to snow conditions,” said the organisers in a statement.

“Despite recent snowfalls and good conditions on-piste, there is insufficient snowpack off-piste to safely conduct a freeride competition.

“Conditions in the backcountry will likely deteriorate further, given the warm weather forecast in the coming week, with no precipitation expected.”

It was due to take place next weekend.

Image c/o FWT

Image c/o FWT

“Well, that’s a shame but these things happen,”  said PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, who was planning to be in the resort for the event.

Maybe James will head to the resort anyway as the pistes are all open.

“Even with the recent snowfall, there are currently inadequate conditions to run a premier freeride competition,” said the Commercial Manager at Baqueira Beret, Xavi Ubeira.

“All lifts at the resort are in operation, opening up more than 120 km of slopes.

“Therefore, there is still high-quality skiing on offer but, unfortunately, not enough for a FWT Pro event”.

Freeride World Tour

Freeride World Tour. Image © PlanetSKI

“We are sad to have to cancel the FWT Baqueira Beret Pro, especially as events here over the last two years have delivered such great starts to the FWT season,” said the FWT founder, Nicolas Hale-Woods.

“As always, weather and snow conditions dictate our decisions, which is a part of the outdoor sports world. Although this is disappointing, we can’t wait to return here next year in January.”

Austrian Ski Racer Matthias Mayer Handcuffed After Hotel Incident

The Olympic gold medal skier Matthias Mayer was escorted from a hotel in Kitzbühel by police, it is reported.

It followed am incident at a reception for the Hahnenkamm race.

It is reported the 33-year old started heckling during an event at the Hotel Kitzhof.

The situation deteriorated and the police were called.

“We had to note today with regret that Matthias Mayer has not yet overcome his health problems, with which he has been struggling for a long time,” said a statement from Ski Austria.

“As a Ski Austria family, we have always given him support together with all athletes, colleagues, and partners.

“We wish Matthias all the best and hope that he can return to his passion, skiing, as soon as possible.

“After consultation with his family, we ask for respect and understanding that we cannot provide any further information.”

“We are still gathering information regarding the details of the incident,” stated ÖSV president Peter Schröcksnadel.

“We take such matters very seriously and will deal with them in accordance with our internal regulations.”

Mayer’s lawyer, Wolfgang Auer, declined to comment on the specifics of the incident but insisted that his client did not resist police.

“There was a misunderstanding that escalated unnecessarily,” Auer stated.

“We fully cooperate with the authorities and will provide evidence to clarify the situation.”

Matthias Mayer. Image © PlanetSKI

Matthias Mayer. Image © PlanetSKI

Thursday 18th January

Fancy a Gourmet Ski Tour of Verbier?

The tour begins at the meeting point at Vieux Verbier at 9am.

The itinerary includes three gourmet stops with some ski tips from the instructor/guide.

  • First stop at Au Vieux Verbier for a coffee and croissant
  • Second stop at Igloo, Mont Fort, for an aperitif
  • Third stop at Dahu for a three-course lunch

The gourmet food tour takes place every Saturday from 17th February 2024,

The price is from 60 CHF / £55 pp and is available for groups ranging from a minimum of three to a maximum of seven people.

Verbier: www.verbier.ch

Verbier, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Wednesday 17th January

Avalanches Strand Tourists in China

Around 1,000 tourists remain cut off in a remote holiday village after avalanches hit the  northwestern Xinjiang region.

They have been stuck for the past few days as the roads are impassable after heavy snow and high winds.

Some avalanches are reported to be 7 m high.

Military helicopters have been able to get some aid and supplies through.

“This avalanche situation is relatively special, we have seen such heavy snowfall before, but we have not seen such high frequency of avalanches,” said the authorities to China state television.

Monday 15th January

TUI Shareholders to Vote on Leaving London Stock Exchange

The world largest travel group that includes Crystal Ski Holidays is putting its stock exchange listing future in the hands of shareholders during its next Annual General Meeting.

The company has proposed to de-list from the London Stock Exchange and upgrade its secondary listing in Frankfurt.

TUI is asking its shareholders to decide on this at the AGM on 13th February 2024.

A de-listing from the LSE would take place in June 2024.

Sunday 14th January

Ryding 12th in Wengen

The Rocket might be disappointed with the result as he is outside the Top 10 and loses his third place in the overall rankings, but once again it is a pleasure to watch a British ski racer in with a chance of a podium place.

These days should be cherished in our opinion.

Bring on Kitzbuhel next weekend.

His fellow GB team member, Billy Major, put in a great couple of runs and finished inside  Top 20 with an 18th place.

Thrawn: A Stubbornly Scottish Snow Film

Scottish professional snowboarder, Lesley McKenna, depicts a nation full of passionate snowsports enthusiasts.

In the Scottish Highlands, the word “thrawn” means “stubborn,” but in a good way.

It’s a virtuous struggle to make the most of what’s available.

Lesley McKenna was raised on thrawn.

She has spent her life pushing the boundaries of her sport while advocating for the people and the place that shaped her.

Saturday 13th January

Criticism as Government Scraps Dedicated Minister for Disabled People

ParalympicsGB and its partners across the UK’s sport and activity community have urged the UK Government to reconsider its decision to remove the role of a dedicated minister of state for disabled people in an open letter to the Prime Minister.

In December 2023, the UK Government announced that the role of a dedicated minister for disabled people would be merged with a junior ministerial role in the Department for Work and Pensions.

57 organisations from across the sport and activity sector have come together to express their concern at the Government’s decision.

ParalympicsGB and its partners have called for the national pride we have in Paralympic sport to be reflected in the Government’s priorities.

Image c/o Paralympics GB

Image c/o Paralympics GB

Friday 12th January

Podium for Charlie Guest

Thursday 11th January

Air-Glaciers Called out on 3,209 Rescue Missions in 2023

The Swiss rescue airline is based in the Valais canton in Switzerland, home to the highest peaks in Switzerland.

The number is down on the record-breaking figure of 3,264 in 2022.

Over Xmas until New Year Air-Glaciers crews were dispatched 230 times – an increase from the 158 incidents recorded during the same period last year.

As well as winter rescues more than 900 helicopter missions were carried out by Air-Glaciers personnel between mid-June and the end of October.

Verbier, Switzerland. Image c/o PlanetSKI

Verbier, Switzerland. Image c/o PlanetSKI

Wednesday 10th January

Nick Fellows Appointed Director of FIS TV

The sports broadcaster will be developing new content strategies, working with the FIS digital team, developing programming and world feed concepts for the official streaming platform of FIS, FIS TV, and beyond.

“It is an honour and fantastic challenge to join the FIS Media & Marketing Team as Director of FIS TV and there are some very exciting plans afoot for winter sport fans across the globe,” said Nick  Fellows.

He brings over 30 years of experience across sports, lifestyle and entertainment genres.

He has covered 17 Summer & Winter Olympic Games and every FIS World Alpine World Championships since 1989.

With such a history in the sport, FIS could not have found a better addition. FIS President Johan Eliasch said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Nick on to the team. Nick is the voice of snow sports we are all so familiar with.”

FIS Secretary General Michel Vion added: “Nick’s wealth of experience will be a great asset to the FIS Media & Marketing team. In his role, he will help to develop FIS TV and our digital initiatives even further.”

Fellows has recently been commentating on Eurosport on the good start to the season by GB’s Dave Ryding.

Monday 8th January

Two Snowshoe Hikers Die in Avalanche in Italy

The accident happened on Sunday in Piedmont at an altitude of 2,200m in the Val Forazza area.

Mountain rescue teams have recovered the bodies.

They have been identified as 30-year-old woman and a man aged 53, from the Lombardy region in northern Italy.

An investigation is underway.

Avalanche danger sign

Avalanche danger. Image c/o PlanetSKI.

Sunday 7th January

Dave Ryding 3rd in World Cup slalom standings

The Rocket may have come a disappointing 21st today in Adelboden but he remains in third place overall so far this season:

Saturday 6th January

Drunk Teenager Who Left Ski Resort Nightclub in Shorts & T-Shirt Lucky to be Alive

A 19-year-old female from Ireland left a nightclub in Les2Alpes in France at 4am and then got lost in some woods trying to get home.

Police managed to track her down in sub-zero temperatures after she raised the alarm via her mobile phone.

She is now recovering in hospital.

“She was drunk when she left a club at around 4am on Wednesday morning,” said a local police spokesman.

“She was only wearing shorts and a T-shirt and had no idea where she was going.

“When we recovered her, she was suffering from some bruises, because she must have fallen while trying to find her way back and she was suffering from slight hypothermia.

“We can say that she is a miracle, because alone, so little dressed, she would not have been able to resist the cold for long.

“’It was a real relief when the teams found her.

“Drunk people had died in the past after wandering in this part of the mountains.”

The police have called for better regulation saying ‘Just because we go out to nightclubs shouldn’t mean that we should forget to dress in accordance with the environment what surrounds us.’

Les2Alpes, France. Photo © PlanetSKI

Friday 5th January

Scottish Mountain Rescuers Urge Caution

The volunteer rescue services have already dealt with two avalanches, medical deaths and “very challenging” rescues this winter.

There were 10 more incidents in December 2023 than in the same time in 2022.

“It’s not so much the number. The severity of the rescue tends to be far greater in winter,” he said Police Scotland’s national lead for mountain rescue, Matt Smith.

“Even in the last week, volunteer teams have been out for a huge amount of hours overnight to bring people off the hills.

“Winter seasons are always quieter than summer ones, but for us we’ve seen a number of significant events.”

In 2022, there were 636 incidents and 843 call-outs on Scotland’s mountains

See here for further details on the BBC.

Image c/o Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team

Image c/o Lochaber Mountain  Rescue Team

Thursday 4th January

Black Eyed Peas to Close Ischgl

The US band will play the Top of the Mountain Closing Concert at the resort in the Tirol in Austria

On 30th April from 1:00 pm, the US hip-hoppers will bring the Ischgl Stage to life with their unique performance.

Their repertoire includes classic hits such as “I Gotta Feeling”, “Where Is The Love?” and “Boom Boom Pow” as well as more recent hits such as “Ritmo”, “Girl Like Me” and “Don’t You Worry”.

Admission to the open-air concert is included in a valid ski pass at a special rate.

Day ski passes for 30 April 2024 can be purchased online at skipass.silvretta.at. The slopes of the Silvretta arena are available to winter guests until 1 May 2024.

In addition, the Spring Blanc event series will provide very special skiing moments on the slopes until the end of the winter season and offer a varied programme with culinary delights and live music.

Image c/o Ischgl tourist office

Image c/o Ischgl tourist office

PlanetSKI was at the opening concert in November in Ischgl as Demi Lovato performed.

Ischgl, Austria. Image © PlanetSKI

Ischgl, Austria. Image © PlanetSKI

Ischgl, Austria. Image © PlanetSKI

Ischgl, Austria. Image © PlanetSKI

Wednesday 3rd January

Canadian heli-ski company fined $84,000 After Fatal Accident

Two people died and one was injured in an avalanche in Revelstoke, British Columbia, in January 2023.

The findings of an investigation have now been released.

The penalty to Canadian Mountain Holidays GP Inc. came after it disturbed the scene of the incident and failed to report the injury to WorkSafeBC.

A guide and two clients were caught  in the slide – the two clients were dug out but died from their injuries.

The company said it has reported the incident with ‘the best of intentions’.

It has updated its protocols.

Avalanches killed 16 people across Canada in 2023 with 14 of the deaths occurring in British Columbia.

Tuesday 2nd January

London to Switzerland by train in less than six hours

This is not yet possible, but the prospect of a direct high-speed rail link is picking up speed with the Swiss Federal Railways studying the options with international operators.

See here for a full article on SwissInfo.

Le Chable, Switzerland. Image c/o Steve Sparks

Le Chable, Switzerland. Image c/o Steve Sparks

Monday, January 1st:

British Teenager Seriously Injured in Sledge Accident in Austria

The accident happened in Mittelberg when the 19-year old student hit a tree at high speed.

He was with a group of 5 friends on a nighttime descent.

He was unconscious as rescuers arrived on the scene.

A team of 25 rescuers from Mittelberg-Hirschegg Mountain Rescue Service and the Mittelberg fire brigade were involved in the operation.

The teenager was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Kempten.

He has not been named due to local privacy laws.

It is unclear if other members of the group were injured.

Italian Government Rules Out 2026 Winter Olympics Event Outside Italy

It has been muted that the sliding events for the Milan-Cortina Games might be held in Innsbrucj in Austria as there is not suitable venue.

The sliding events include luge, bobsleigh, and skeleton.

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Matteo Salvini, has said, “The Milan-Cortina Olympics must be an Italian Olympics.”

He says organisers must be committed to finding a solution, such as building a new bobsleigh track in Cortina.

British soldier claims record for fastest woman to ski alone across Antarctica

Preet Chandi believes she has broken the record by covering 1,130km (702 miles) of Antarctic ice in 31 days, 13 hours and 19 minutes.

This needs to be verified by the Guinness World Records team.

Capt Chandi, from Derby, said: “I’m tired – but so glad I made it.”

Image c/o Sway Communications

Image c/o Sway Communications

She is also known as “Polar Preet”, and set off from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf on 26 November and arrived at the South Pole on 28 December at 02:24 GMT.

On average, she was skiing for 12 to 13 hours a day, pulling a 75kg sled, which contained everything she needed to survive.

“This was completely different to my last expedition,” she said. “I completely pushed myself to my limits on my last expedition. A speed attempt is different.

“After my last expedition, I knew I could cope well on the ice which gave me the confidence to tackle this head on.”

See here for the full story on the BBC