Ski News in Brief
1st February 2024
Last modified on February 28th, 2024
– Boss des Bosses returns to Verbier
– Record Numbers for Swiss Hotels & Mountain Huts
– Snowboarder In Utah Has Shotgun Pulled on Him
– High Number of People Caught in Avalanches in Colorado
– Registration is Open for L3V Enduro..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.
Boss des Bosses returns to Verbier
The Boss des Bosses seasonaires mogul competition takes place on 20th March 2024.
It’s the 26th edition of this inter-resort freestyle ski contest.
Mogul skiing is blends high-speed manoeuvres, aerial acrobatics, and adrenaline-pumping twists and turns.
Following the day’s competition, attendees are invited to join the legendary party at Le Rouge & Après-Ski restaurant.
Featuring local DJs and an atmosphere brimming with fun.
A seven night stay at Hotel Verbier Bristol is priced from £1,111.50 pp based on two sharing a room on a B&B basis.
Flights and transfers extra.
Wednesday 28th February
Record Numbers for Swiss Hotels & Mountain Huts
There were 41.8 million overnight hotel stays in 2023, breaking the 40m mark for the first time.
The previous highest was 39.6m in 2019.
The figures have been released by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office.
It is put down to the return of foreign visitors after the Covid pandemic.
Foreigner stays increased by 22% to 20.9 million in 2023.
The number of domestic guests fell slightly by 1.1% to 20.8 million.
Swiss mountain huts saw their best-ever summer season last year.
The Swiss Alpine Club (CAS) has 147 cabins and recorded 310,735 overnight stays.
That’s 5% more than the previous year.
75% of the visitors were Swiss.
“When it is very hot in the city, people tend to go to the mountains to cool off. The cabins are also accessible to families,” said the head of the cabin sector at CAS, Ulrich Delang, to the Swiss public broadcaster, RTS.
Tuesday 27th February
Snowboarder In Utah Has Shotgun Pulled on Him
A confrontation between a snowboarder and a homeowner with a shotgun in Big Cottownwood Canyon has gone viral after being caught on video.
Loren Richardson was confronted as he took a shortcut near the resort of Brighton.
“Do it again and there will be holes in you,” the property owner threatened.
The man shouted “I have every right to protect my private property!”
#BrightonSkiResort A skier on his very last run of his trip, goes down a snow packed road called Old Prospect Ave that connects to S Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. He is confronted and pushed by an older male with a #Shotgun that is camped out on a chair waiting for skiers to come… pic.twitter.com/lRRlNoZ9Ec
— SLCScanner (@SLCScanner) February 26, 2024
The local police have confirmed they received a call Saturday about a man brandishing a weapon.
Officers were sent to the area to investigate.
The mayor of Brighton, Danial Knopp, said the armed man in the video has been visited by police several times about similar aggressive confrontations.
High Number of People Caught in Avalanches in Colorado
Nine people have been caught in avalanches in the US state since February 17th reports the Colorado Avalanche Information Centre.
“Two people were partially buried and two were fully buried. Incredibly, and very fortunately, nobody was injured or worse,” it said.
For the full list of all recorded avalanches, go to the CAIC field report page here.
The risk is currently at Level 3 in many areas, meaning there is ‘considerable’ risk of avalanche.
“Any avalanche you trigger has the potential to step down to deeply buried weak layers in the snowpack. We are seeing this happen. Be careful.”
“Avoid steep wind-loaded slopes.”
Monday 26th February
Registration is Open for L3V Enduro
For 20 years more than 1,000 amateur skiers have been coming to take part at the event in Les3Vallees, France.
This year’s event takes pace over the Easter weekend on March 31st 2024.
“In a friendly and sporty atmosphere, in teams of 3, regardless of your category (pro, amateur athlete, or family), your goal will be to enjoy a superb day of skiing punctuated by 9 original and playful challenges,” said a description from the organisers.
See here for the event’s web site.
PlanetSKI was due to take part last season, but the weather didn’t quite play ball:
“Discover the vastness of the world’s largest ski area in March, with an enhanced skiing experience awaiting you in Les 3 Vallées.” say Les3Vallees.
Here’s what March offers:
– Enjoy exceptional conditions with the 3 Vallées ski guarantee
– Immerse yourself in an extra-large skiing experience
– Admire the breathtaking views
– Take time for lunch on a restaurant terrace
– Enjoy a picnic in the sun
– Benefit from great deals and attractive prices
“With its natural high-altitude advantages and guaranteed snowfall, Les 3 Vallées ensures an unparalleled skiing experience, with 85% of the ski area located above 1800m,” claims Les3Vallees.
For the 3Vallees Enduro there is a main refreshment stop in Méribel Mottaret and a BBQ in Val Thorens.
Do you want to register?
It couldn’t be easier, check out the details here.
– Take advantage of the early booking rate until March 3: €25 / person
– Normal rate from March 4 to March 28: €29 / person
Online registration closes on March 28 at 10:00 am
ON SITE IN RESORT:
– Possibility to register at the Tourist Offices and Sports Clubs on March 29 & 30 at the rate of €39 / person
3 Vallées day pass (adult base) at the special rate of €46 instead of €75.
Sunday 25th February
Tough day in the office for GB slalom boys
Ongoing for GB slalom boys…
1st run done ✅
— GB Snowsport (@GBSnowsport) February 25, 2024
Odermatt Wins 3rd Title in a Row
Friday 23rd February
Fatal Avalanche in Himalayas
One Russian skier was killed and six others rescued after an avalanche near Gulmarg in Indian Kashmir.
It followed recent heavy snowfall and high winds.
The rescued skiers and their guide were receiving treatment for minor injuries.
Gulmarg is in the Pirpanjal mountain range in the western Himalayas.
It has one of the largest ski areas in Asia with thousands of skiers and snowboarders visiting each winter.
Thursday 22nd February
Lack of Snow in Italy Has Wider Consequences than Just Skiing
Regions across Italy are suffering drought and predictions it may become worse with snow levels down in both the Alps and Apennines.
The Italian snow/water equivalent, the equivalent amount of water stored in the snow-pack is down 64% according to the CIMA Research Foundation.
The alpine region of Piedmont has asked the agricultural ministry to declare a natural disaster for drought.
Wednesday 21st February
Heathrow Airport Back in Profit
It returned to profit for the first time since before the pandemic with a 2023 pre-tax profit of £38 million.
It is a turn-around from losses of £684 million the previous year.
There was a 28.6% increase in passenger traffic to 79.2 million, thanks to its busiest ever December including ski flights.
“2023 was a good year for Heathrow from a challenging start to a great finish, said Thomas Woldbye, Heathrow’s new CEO.
“We delivered much improved service for our customers, and managed to turn a small profit after three consecutive years of losses.”
Monday 19th February
Two Brits in Top 20
2 Brits in the 🔝 20 at the @fiscrosscountry World Cup in Minneapolis 🔥
Andrew Musgrave finished 9th and Joe Davies finished 16th at the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Minneapolis, marking Davies’s personal best World Cup result to date 🔥💪#gbsnowsport pic.twitter.com/6gaPrVa1EU
— GB Snowsport (@GBSnowsport) February 19, 2024
Meet the 2024 Jackson Hole Ski Patrol avalanche dog team! Left to right: Cache, Sparrow, Levi, Dolly & Toby.
— Jackson Hole (@jhski) February 2, 2024
Sunday 18th February
Skiers with Finnair Could be Asked to be Weighed
It’s part of a data-collecting initiative at Helsinki airport and began last week.
It is voluntary and anonymous.
The airline said that “data will only be used to optimise Finnair’s current aircraft balance calculations”.
Gates for a number of the carrier’s long-haul flights and European routes will be selected for the scheme.
Once the weights are confirmed, they will be used by the airline for balance and loading calculations between 2025 and 2030.
Saturday 17th February
The future of GB alpine ski racing
— Victoria Gosling-Evans OBE (@VickyGoslingOBE) February 17, 2024
Andorra & UK Strike Visa Deal for Under 30s
From January 31st a new visa arrangement will allow young people from Andorra and the UK to have the chance to live, work or travel to each other’s countries for up to 2 years
The Youth Mobility Scheme, YMS, allows 100 Andorrans aged 18 to 30 to apply for the visa provided they have £2,530 in savings and cover the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Britons can also live in Andorra for 2-years.
“The Youth Mobility Scheme is an excellent opportunity for young Andorran and British people to immerse themselves in each other’s cultures, making life-long connections that will bolster our already strong people-to-people links,” said the British ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Hugh Elliot.
“I hope those eligible can take advantage of this exciting new scheme and apply.”
Andorra is neither in the EU or Schengen so British citizens going to Andorra to ski do not have to count the days they are there.
UK citizens are now generally only allowed in the majority of European countries for 90 days out of 180 following Brexit.
PlanetSKI was skiing in Andorra last month:
Thursday 15th February
2030 Winter Paralympics Urged to Include Nordic and Alpine Skiing for Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities
The International Federation of Sports for Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities (Virtus) has made an official bid to include the disciplines in the next but one Winter Games.
“This bid is an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to ensure equal opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities on the global stage,” said Marc Truffaut, President of Virtus.
According to a report in Inside the Games the project for inclusion began 12 years ago, ahead of the 2021 Summer Paralympics but it’s not yet happened.
“It is the time for Virtus athletes to take their rightful place alongside other elite athletes with physical and visual impairments in the Winter Paralympic Games. We cannot wait another decade for this to happen,” Marc Truffaut said.
Virtus has submitted a historic bid to IPC to include Nordic & Alpine skiing for athletes with II in the 2030 Winter Paralympic Games, advocating for an end to exclusion in winter sports.
Let's champion inclusion together.
— Virtus Sport (@SPORTVirtus) February 12, 2024
Wednesday 14th February
Yoga Workouts in Les Menuires
A week of events is taking place in Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville in Les3Vallees, 7th-11th April 2024.
There’s an early morning yoga session at the top of La Masse at 2,804m through to a candle lit session in the old village of St Martin de Belleville.
Plus the option of a new day retreat at the Refuge Trait d’Union.
The programme involves a week of yoga and hiking, relaxation and meditation, combining positive energy and sharing good vibes.
There are workshops in sophrology, laughter yoga, vinyasa yoga, sylvotherapy, Qigong and foot reflexology.
Many are free sessions with a small charge for evening activities at altitude.
See more here.
Tuesday 13th February:
Swiss Snowsport Hire Shop Rejects Jews
Posters in a Davos sports shop window informed customers that, because of incidents, including theft, “we no longer rent sports equipment to our Jewish brothers”.
It said its staff no longer wanted “the hassle” of scouring the mountain sides trying to find abandoned sledges.
Davos Mayor Philipp Wilhelm told Swiss media: “Any and all forms of antisemitism, racism and discrimination must be condemned. This does not belong in Davos.”
The manager of the shop has apologised, agreeing that the poster had been “badly worded”.
Jewish customers were welcome, he said, with immediate effect.
See here for the full story on the BBC.
It appears the incident is a violation of Switzerland’s laws against discrimination and incitement to racial or religious hatred.
The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities has launched its own legal action, condemning the signs as clearly discriminatory.
VIP SKI Claims Popularity with Families
Children aged between two and 12 represented 17% of VIP SKI’s guests last winter.
120 babies were looked after.
- VIP SKI holidays offer children unrestricted access to communal areas and facilities.
- Children are accepted in all chalets during school holidays.
- There are discounts and family rooms with bunks where the child stays half price.
Bear Lodge is a particular favourite and is located next to the piste in Arc 1950.
It has 30 bedrooms and can sleep up to 80 guests.
We suspect a few more families might be looking at VIP SKI after the demise of the family specialists Espirt Ski:
Though, be warned, VIP SKI will likely put a larger hole in your bank balance.
Monday 12th February
FWT Heads to Kicking Horse, Canada
It is set t start on Wednesday February 14th.
Sunday 11th February
Ski & Snowboard Production in EU Up 37%
In 2022 EU countries produced 4.8 million pairs of skis and snowboards, an increase of 37% when compared with 2021.
2.2 million, that’s 45%, were made in Austria.
The production is now higher than the pre-Covid level.
2.6 million pairs of skis and snowboards were exported to non-EU countries – a 13% increase compared to 2021.
- USA – 1.1m
- Canada – 0.4m
- China – 0.3m
With regard to imports, 1.8 million skis and snowboards were imported – more than twice the amount of the previous year.
- China – 0.6m
- Ukraine – 0.6m
- Japan – 0.2m
Saturday 10th February
Soldeu in Andorra Tests Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in Piste Bashers
The 100% vegetable renewable fuel is produced from organic waste and therefore has lower greenhouse gas emissions.
This will reduce CO2 emissions in transportation within the ski area by up to 90%.
It is being tested in preparation for World Cup Soldeu 2024 this weekend.
Other environmental initiatives for the World Cup include:
- Much of the equipment used in previous World Cup editions will be re-used.
- An extra effort will be made this year in waste collection, not only afterwards but also during race days.
- Sonar systems and GPS mapping, will be used decide on levels of artificial snow
And talking of the World Cup this weekend…
Friday 9th February
British Skier Dies Falling Down the Swiss Wall
A 47-year-old British skier has died after falling hundreds of metres down the infamous Swiss Wall above Les Crosets in the Portes du Soleil ski area.
The accident happened at around 9.45am on Wednesday while the slope was closed for skiing due to icy conditions.
The person who died was one of a group of three – two skiers and a snowboarder – who set out on the Chavannettes slope.
The run is commonly known as the Swiss Wall.
It is exceptionally steep, ungroomed and usually heavily mogulled.
The bumps can reach as high as 2 metres.
The Swiss Wall is on the border of France and Switzerland.
It can be accessed from the French resort of Avoriaz and the Swiss resorts of Les Crosets and Champéry.
Valais police say that, for reasons unknown, one of the group of three fell and rolled down the slope for several hundred metres.
“Despite the rapid intervention of emergency services, the victim, a 47-year-old British national living in England, died at the scene of the accident.”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation in collaboration with the cantonal police.
Mascots for Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics Unveiled
Meet Tina and Milo who will be the emblems of the 2026 Winter Olympic Games and the 2026 Paralympic Winter Games respectively.
They will join the two siblings Tina and Milo in their adventures!#TinaMilo | #Mascots2026 | #MilanoCortina2026 | #Olympics | #Olimpiadi | #Paralympics | #Paralimpiadi | @Olympics | @Paralympics pic.twitter.com/uyLODUQ5OK
— Milano Cortina 2026 (@milanocortina26) February 8, 2024
They are ferret siblings and were chosen from 1,600 proposals.
Tina, the Olympic mascot, is a creative and pragmatic type. She lives in the city and loves shows and concerts. She is in awe of the power of beauty and its ability to transform. She embodies the motto “Dream big!”
Milo, the Paralympic mascot, is a dreamer. He loves pranks, playing in the snow and inventing musical instruments in his spare time. Nothing can stop his resilient character.
Thursday 8th February
GB Skiers Seem to be Skiing Later in the Season
The online ski instructor platform, Maison Sport is seeing a rise in people booking later in the season.
“Our data shows that customers have favoured trips later in the season when compared to last year, with February Half Term showing a 100% bookings increase on last year, and a similar increase has been seen already for Easter,” said the Co-Founder and CEO of Maison Sport, Nick Robinson.
“This is compared to New Year and Christmas, which saw bookings stay relatively flat year-on year.
“We believe this is down to the poor snow conditions that have hampered the start of the season for the last couple of years, particularly in the lower resorts.”
According to the company’s internal booking data, Avoriaz and Tignes have seen the largest amount of growth compared to last year, with both resorts seeing between a 50% and 75% increase in bookings.
“The increased popularity for Avoriaz and Tignes is likely due to the fact they are snow sure resorts and also offer a variety of holidays, with both high end and good value trips available at both destinations,” added Robinson.
“This makes them attractive when the cost of living has been squeezing the disposable income of many skiers.”
Wednesday 7th February
30-year old British skier dies in Serre Chevalier
He died in the resort in the southern French Alps after what is described as a ‘heavy fall’.
He was found by a patroller who carried out first aid and alerted a medical team.
“All the ski area teams are affected by this tragedy and all our thoughts are with the family,” said the head of the resort, Patrick Arnaud.
“We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in France and are in contact with the local authorities,” said a statement from the UK Foreign, the Commonwealth and Development Office.
No further details, including the identity of the man, have been released.
An investigation is underway.
Feel the Speed!
Tuesday 6th February
Arc 1950 Wins Third Place in Booking.com Awards
The ski resort takes the third spot in the category of ‘Most Welcoming Destinations in France’, according to Booking.com.
“This distinction bear witness to the continuing commitment of the Village, the accommodation providers and the retailers to offer a warm and convivial experience to their holidaymakers,” said a spokesperson from the resort.
The Arc 1950 is currently celebrating its 20th birthday.
Arc 1950 le Village claims it is distinctive for its ‘exceptionally welcoming atmosphere, unique architecture in the Alps and the diversity of its activities and entertainment’.
Monday 5th February
Iglu Raises £3,704 for DSUK Charity
The Ski Travel Agent has raised the money for Disability Snowsport UK, DSUK, a charity whose mission is to open snowsports to those with a disability.
At the time of booking, either online or via the Iglu Ski reservations team, people are asked to contribute £1 per passenger for the benefit of Disability Snowsport UK.
Last year, when the partnership started, it raised £425.
“Snowsport is such a great way of getting out and trying something new, having fun and challenging yourself,” said the CEO of Disability Snowsport UK, Virginia Anderson.
“These opportunities for disabled children and adults can be life changing as well as a lot of fun.
“We’re so grateful to Iglu Ski and their customers for helping make this happen from Cairngorm to Hemel Hempstead.”
“It’s heartwarming to see our guests consider the needs of others, and make healthy donations to the charity,” said the Head of Product and Commercial at Iglu Ski, Gordon Ritter.
“Skiing can be so inclusive, and we love to see every guest on a slope, in the UK or overseas, enjoying the atmosphere, exercising and having fun.
“We’re looking forward to raising even more for DSUK this season and in the future.’
See here for more.
Sunday 4th February
Car Left in Middle of Ski Slope
Lift operators in the resort of Gourette in the French Pyrenees arrived at work to see a car parked on the piste.
They alerted the police and place a protective matting on it.
The police have said a couple had tried to drive up the slope the night before with one of them planning to ski down.
The car has now been removed and the owner fined.
Saturday 3rd February
Learn French while skiing in Morzine
Home to the Alpine French School, why not learn the local lingo while enjoying the beautiful village and surroundings of Morzine?
Throughout the winter, the school offers a ‘Learn French and Ski/Snowboard Package’, which includes two-to-four hours of tuition each day for five days and a six-day ski pass for the Portes du Soleil ski area.
The package can also include lessons, and a self-catered apartment or half-board accommodation at one of the families partnered with the Alpine French School.
All candidates are evaluated before enrolling so everyone is placed in a group of suitable level that will help achieve their aims.
A week’s group language lessons, plus week’s ski pass for the Portes du Soleil ski area, costs from €551 / £473 pp.
Friday 2nd February
16-Year Old Falls 10m from US Chairlift
The accident happened in Mammoth Mountain in California.
She slipped from the lift shortly after departure and fellow passengers managed to grab her, but they couldn’t hold on.
People tried to break her fall with a safety net and the incident is caught on camera.
In a statement, Mammoth Mountain said the girl had not been seated, when she slid from the chair.
“As the chair began its ascent, the guest, who for unknown reasons was not completely seated, began sliding off the chair,” a resort spokesperson said in a statement.
“The other individuals on the chair grabbed hold of the guest and held her from falling as lift operators stopped the lift.
“Five Mammoth Mountain employees and eight guests immediately responded and positioned the deceleration net under the guest.
“When the guest slipped from the grasp of her chair mates, the net decelerated her fall, but did not stop it.
“The guest was transported to Mammoth Hospital for evaluation.
“Our thoughts are with the guest and her family.”
Thursday 1st February
£57,000 Raised for Snow Camp
From the 24th – 27th January 2024, the Snow Camp team were back in Morzine for the annual Inter-Livery Ski Championships, where it was the official charity partner for the event.
116 participants took part from 29 teams of 4 in total, made up of Livery Company skiers, guests and sponsors.
LAAX Sees Jump In Dogs Staying in Resort
The Swiss resort says the numbed of canine stays has more than doubled in the past few years.
In 2019 there were 172 bookings with a request to bring a dog along on holiday.
In 2022 there was a 104% increase in bookings of this kind, totaling 352 bookings, and 290 bookings to bring their animals in the first part of 2023.
To cater to guests with four-legged friends, LAAX has created an add on at checkout across its hotels: for the cost of CHF 23 per night (£21), guests will receive a doggy box with a blanket, bowl, and a big towel to dry off after a day in the snow.
It also offers a dog sitting service, a dog walking service and will shortly have a modern dog washing station.
People are welcome to bring their dogs almost anywhere else in the resort, though dogs are not allowed on official ski slopes or the treetop walkway due to health and safety rules.
Dogs can be taken on winter hiking trails, on all lifts (including chairlifts), on the 4.7km cross-country track in Sagogn, the lantern path in Falera, and in most restaurants.
Skiing in Wales this winter
Chris Morris, 30, from Pembrokeshire has been able to ski down Foel Eryr in the Preseli Hills.
He is trying to ski as many slopes in Wales as possible, with Snowdon next on his list.
See more for this article on the BBC.
The Great Horse Race returns to Kitzbühel
Since its establishment in 1881, the First North Tirolean Trotting Club in Kitzbühel has been a stalwart promoter of Austrian harness racing.
The club, fostering this equestrian tradition, showcases the thrilling spectacle of trotting races, also known as pacing races, where horses exhibit a specific gait – either a trot or a pace.
Anchoring a history spanning across 140 years, the club hosts the annual renowned sled racing day, featuring the prestigious main event, the Golden Chamois race, which will next take place on 3rd February 2024.
This grand snow spectacle encompasses five trotting races, along with competitions in pony riding, Noriker driving, and mini trotting.
Attendees can engage in the excitement by placing bets on the horses, with the potential for significant, and at times life-changing, pay-outs.
The event promises an enchanting experience on ice and snow for the entire family, inviting all to revel in the unique ambiance of harness racing while indulging in exclusive catering and beverages.
In the realm of Austrian trotting races, horses are hitched to specialised sulkies, and the jockey or driver guides the horse from a seated position.
The horses must traverse a specified distance in the prescribed gait of trot or amble, facing disqualification if they break into a gallop.
Notably, trotting races unfold on a diverse range of surfaces, including sand, ash, or even grass, adding an extra layer of excitement to this time-honoured sporting tradition.
Tickets can only be purchased onsite on the day.