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JULY NEWS IN BRIEF
Sunday July 1, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Mt Blanc is closed, death in Perisher, IOC claims 2026 on track, new ski routes for easyJet + Ortovox re-issues transceiver warning. NEW & UPDATED

 

.....NEWS IN BRIEF STORIES FROM JUNE 2018

 

 

SUNDAY 15TH JULY

AUTHORITIES CLOSE MT BLANC

The highest mountain in western Europe has been closed off to everyone except experienced climbers with a booked place at a mountain hut.

It comes amid overcrowding and safety fears and the ban will last 8 days.

The same thing happened last year.

Only climbers who have a booking at the Gouter hut will be allowed to set out for the top of Mont Blanc.

The shelter has an overnight capacity of 120 people.

Last year 15 people died on the approaches to the summit, and two people have already been killed in falls this year.

The Mont Blanc massif is Europe's deadliest mountain range claiming around 50 lives each year.

There have been an increase in rock falls in recent years as the permafrost that holds the mountains together shrinks due to climate change.

Mont Blanc, FranceMont Blanc, France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEATH IN PERISHER

Australian police are investigating the death of a femal skier in the resort.

The unidentified woman suffered what has been called a "medical episode".

Emergency services were called to Pretty Valley Road in Kosciuszko National Park on Thursday amid reports a person had been injured.

She was treated by paramedics and ski patrol members but died at the scene, NSW Police said.

Perisher Ski Resort said the local alpine community was "saddened" by the "tragic death".

"The Perisher community is very upset by this terrible accident," the resort said in a statement.

 

SATURDAY 14TH JULY

IOC CLAIMS 2026 WINTER OLYMPICS BIDDING PROCESS ON TRACK

5 cities remain in contention - Stockholm in Sweden, Erzurum in Turkey, Calgary in Canada, Sapporo in Japan and a yet to be named Italian city (either Turin, Milan or Cortina).

However Graz in Austria has just pulled out and its withdrawl follows referendum defeats in Sion and Innsbruck.

Now the IOC executive director for the Olympic Games, Christophe Dubi, has said he is "super confident" the IOC would eventually secure a viable city to host the 2026 Games.

He did though say the IOC needs to improve its communication over the benefits of hosting the event to buck the trend of cities losing referendums and subsequently withdrawing their bid.

Read more of his views in an interview with Inside The Games.

Here at PlanetSKI we are somewhat sceptical about his optimism and we cannot see a Winter Olympic taking place in Europe anytime soon:

And for past PlanetSKI articles as cities have withdrawn see the links here:

The host city will be selected at the 134th IOC Session in September 2019 in Milan in Italy.
Winter Olympics in trouble?Winter Olympics in trouble?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES FOR BEIJING OLYMPICS

The International Ski Federation, FIS, says work is continuing apace at the competition venues.

There are currently 38 construction projects are underway at the Zhangjiakou area.

The Zhangjiakou Zone, with a total of eight competition and non-competition venues, will be the host of five FIS disciplines and Biathlon staging a total of 50 events (Snowboard, Freestyle Skiing, Cross Country, Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined and Biathlon).

The Beijing 2022 competitions will be held in three areas: Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.

It has been announced that the design of competition venues in Zhangjiakou is closely linked with Chinese elements.

For example, the Ski Jumping course at the Nordic Centre is designed as Ruyi, an S-shaped Chinese traditional ornamental object and a symbol of good luck.

Construction continuesConstruction continues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRIDAY 13TH JULY

EASYJET UNVEILS NEW WINTER SKI ROUTES

EasyJet will be flying 16 new routes for winter 2018.

Here are the ones that will be serving airports that give access to ski resorts across the Alps, Pyrenees and Scandinavia:

- Belfast to Salzburg in Austria,
- Bristol to Larnaca to Are Ostersund in Sweden.
- Glasgow to Venice in Italy.
- Liverpool to Toulouse in France.
- London Luton to Krakow in Poland
- Manchester to Barcelona in Spain and Innsbruck in Austria.
Aprroaching Innsbruck with EasyJetAprroaching Innsbruck with EasyJet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHECK YOUR ORTOVOX TRANSCEIVER

Ortovox has re-issued safety warnings about some of its avalanche transceivers, urging owners to check whether their device is affected.

The company began recalling its 3+ transceivers running software version 2.1 in the spring, as we reported in May's News In Brief (see entry under Wednesday 16th).

The concern is that a software error could result in a failure to transmit the location of people buried in an avalanche, though there have been no known accidents.

The recall affects more than 20,000 transceivers plus around 7,000 sold in Canada.

Ortovox 3+ transceiversOrtovox 3+ transceivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All 3+ transceivers with 2.1 software need to be updated.

They were sold between July 2010 and April 2018.

Those with different software versions are not affected.

"Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled transceivers and return them to Ortovox for a free repair, including free shipping," the company says.

The recall affects model numbers 1137000006, 1137000001 and 1137000002.

They were sold in black/blue (model number 1137000006), black/black (model number 1137000001) and neon green (model number 1137000002).

 

BRITISH SKI INSTRUCTOR ACCUSED OF ASSAULT IN AUSTRALIA

28-year old Matthew Williams works in the ski resort of Perisher.

It is alleged he severely beat up a  25-year old man and then sexually and physically assaulted the man's 22-year old partner.

The attack happened in the early hours of the morning as the pair returned home from a bar in the town of Jindabyne near Perisher.

The pair was so badly injured that the police first thought there was more than one attacker.

The police have described the attack as "horrendous".

Police charged Mr Williams with aggravated sexual assault, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of occasioning actual bodily harm and possession of a prohibited drug.

The case came before a local court on Wednesday and the lawyer acting for Mr Williams asked for a two-week adjournment so Mr Williams could seek further advice.

He did not apply for bail.

The pair has since been released from hospital.

The ski resort of Perisher says it has been co-operating with the police and his biography has been taken off the ski school web site.

"We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic attack in Jindabyne. We are cooperating fully with police in their investigation," said a statement from the resort to local media.

Perisher ski resortPerisher ski resort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



THURSDAY 12TH JULY

NEW LIFT BEING INSTALLED IN ARAPAHOE BASIN

The resort in Colorado in the USA is dismantling the Norway lift.

The pylons are being brought off the mountain by helicopter and will be recycled and the metal repurposed for other industries.

Arapahoe Basin, ColoradoArapahoe Basin, Colorado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Norway Lift was installed in 1978 and took people from mid-mountain to the summit.

Arapahoe Basin sold the chairs from the lift and donated over $18,000 from the sales to 14 local charities.

A new four-person chairlift will be installed in A-Basin's new terrain, The Beavers.

A-Basin is one of our favourite resorts in Colorado and PlanetSKI last visited in 2017 on a 4-week road trip in the USA and Canada:

Photo and video credit: Ashley Ojala/Arapahoe Basin Ski Area


BANFF HOTEL OPENS AFTER HUGE FIRE

The Mount Royal Hotel, located in the heart of the Canadian ski town has welcomed its first guests.

It was destroyed by a fire in December 2016.

We reported on it at the time on PlanetSKI:

Blaze in BanffBlaze in Banff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 133-room hotel has been restored to its former glory.  
  
The newly opened hotel features a rooftop lounge with outdoor hot tubs a custom-designed museum and a hotel library.
Mount Royal Hotel, BanffMount Royal Hotel, Banff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY 11TH JULY

OPENING DATE FOR CHINA INDOOR SLOPE

A second giant Chinese indoor ski centre will open on June 15th, 2019.

It is being built in Guangzhou in Southern China

There will be 4 slopes with the longest at 460m.

It will have a vertical drop of 66m.

Up to 3,000 people can be on the slopes at any one time.

It occupies 154 hectares and has a floor area of 3.8 million square metres.

As well as the ski area there's a shopping mall, cinemas, an outdoor theme park, hotels,  a water park plus bars and restaurants.

The complex occupies 154 hectares and will have a floor area of 3.8 million square metres.

Opening soonOpening soon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See below for links to earlier planetSKI articles about the growth of skiing and snowboarding in China.

One prediction is that there could be 300m people skiing in China within the next 5 years.

Skiing is booming and with the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing interest in snowsports is predicted to grow and grow.

And than means instructors are needed.

See an earlier article lower down News In Brief on Thursday 5th July as an opening date is announced for the first indoor ski centre in the USA.

 

TUESDAY 10TH JULY

SKI RESORT IN COURT OVER FELLED TREES

One of Canada's leading ski resorts is facing a big fine for cutting down endangered trees along one of its ski runs in Banff National Park.

Lake Louise in Alberta, has admitted felling the whitebark pine trees in 2013 and is in court this week to be sentenced.

The number of whitebark pine that were felled on Ptarmigan Ridge is in dispute.

According to Canadian media, the maximum fine under the Species At Risk Act for each tree destroyed is CAD$300,000 (£172,000).

The case against the resort is that managers knew that the trees were a species of concern and that there was a lack of management oversight of work being carried out by the ski area's trail crew.

The sentencing hearing is due to last a week.

 

NEW ZEALAND PLANS TOURIST TAX

The government has said it plans to levy a tax on international arrivals to pay for infrastructure improvements.

It could be around NZ$35 (£18) per person.

Australia and other local Pacific countries are likely to be exempt.

Tourist numbers are up by more than 30% in the past  three years and the government says its infrastructure is struggling to cope.

So if you are heading out to ski in NZ expect it to be more expensive.

Other fees are being raised including the costs of working holiday visas for those doing a season in a ski resort.

New ZealandNew Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY 9TH JULY

During a Vermont heatwave there's a new way to stay cool...

Actually the Craftsbury Outdoor Centre, which has a Nordic ski area, is looking at storing snow in the face of growing concerns about climate change.

The centre saved some snow in April at the season's end, piling it up and covering it in plastic and wood chips.

And locals came to enjoy the tiny sliding patch this weekend when the temperatures were high.

Read more about saving snow in Europe as more resorts get involved in the environmental fight:


THURSDAY 5TH JULY

FIRST USA INDOOR SLOPE SET TO OPEN NEXT YEAR

It will be part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey and will serve the people of New York City and beyond.

Big Snow America is set to open next March and will be 16 stories high with 180,000 square feet of slopes.

It will have a vertical of 800 feet.

Half the space will be for general riding and the other half for lessons.

It will include a freestyle terrain park features for people to practice their skills during the traditional off-season months.

The complex will also have an ice climbing wall, waterpark and ice rink.

There will also be dining and shopping.

Big Snow AmericaBig Snow America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Snow AmericaBig Snow America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRITISH MOUNTAINEER DIES IN PERU AVALANCHE

55-year old Samuel Paul Richard Blelock was one of three people who died.

The others were a Slovenian Eva Zontar Litija and their guide Jaime Quintana Figueroa who came from Argentina.

A dozen people were involved in the rescue operation.

Their bodies have been recovered and next-of-kin have been informed.

The accident happened in the northeastern region of the country on Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY 4TH JULY

SKIING SOARS IN SWEDEN

Good snowfall last winter has boosted the number of skier days in the Scandinavian country.

The number of ski days for the 50 most visited ski areas went up by 10% on the previous winter.

Sales of lift passes raised 1.7 billion kronor (£143m) for the season.

An increase of 16% from 2016/17.

Good snowfall allowed the season to start early, and by the end of November around 10 resorts were operating.

Conditions were good across the winter and a late spring combined with a good Christmas period saw skiing and snowboarding on the increase.

The most popuar resort for British visitors is Are.

Are, SwedenAre, Sweden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



MONDAY 2ND JULY

BODY OF BEN NEVIS CLIMBER FOUND AFTER 5 MONTHS

The body of a climber who fell near the summit of Ben Nevis in January has been found.

Marcin Bialis, who was 36, was reported to have fallen through a cornice into a gully.

A member of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team found his body at about 1pm on 29th June in Observatory Gully.

The team has sent its thoughts and sincere condolences to his partner, family and friends.

Observatory Gully, Ben NevisObservatory Gully - photo Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The operation to recover the body was said to be difficult. It was high up in the gully which had large snow fields and very large loose boulder fields.

The search from Mr Bialis began after two members of his climbing party were rescued from the mountain.

They told rescuers that he had fallen through a cornice into Observatory Gully.

Earlier searches had been hampered by deep snow.

SUNDAY 1ST JULY

REGISTRATION OPEN FOR WORLD SNOW DAY

Today, July 1st, sees the application system open to join in World Snow Day that is run by the International Ski Federation, FIS.

The event has been going since 2012 and is a celebration of all things snowsports and encourage children to take up the sport.

In 2018 there were over 500 events with 11 city events and 8 in the southern hemisphere.

89% of 2018 World Snow Day Organisers said they intended to stage an event in 2019.

The most popular activity during World Snow Day was free or discounted lift passes.

Next season's event takes place on January 20th 2019.

We have covered the event in the past on PlanetSKI:

 

World Snow DayWorld Snow Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUSTRIAN CLIMBER DIES AND 2 BRITISH MEN RESCUED FROM ULTAR SAR PEAK

Three foreign mountaineers were buried in snow at approximately 5,900m at Ultar Sar Peak near Hunza after an avalanche hit their tent.

Pakistan Army teams on Sunday rescued two British mountaineers, and the body of their Austrian companion has been recovered.

Inclement weather hampered the rescue on Saturday.

Bruce Normand & Miller Timothy from UK were successfully rescued alive on Sunday, while Christian Huber from Austria died.

The injured mountaineers are en route Gilgit via an army helicopter for treatment.

Helicopter rescueHelicopter rescue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Pakistan is a magnet for mountaineers and skiers and is home to some of the tallest mountains in the world.

It includes K2 at 8,611m, the world's second highest peak, that is often considered to be more challenging than Mount Everest.

"Bruce Normand & Miller Timothy from UK successfully rescued alive while Christian Huber from Austria had succumbed to avalanche" quoted DG ISPR confirming the rescue in the tweet below.

 

 

PlanetSKI is currently following the adventures of Polish mountaineer and skier, Andrzej Bargiel who is attempting to climb K2 and then ski down the mountain.

It is his second attempt to achieve his goal - more on Andrzej Bargiel here.

SNOWSPORTS & SMOKESTACKS

An old industrial site in Beijing is being converted to become the Big Air venue for the next Winter Olympics in 2022.

The Shougang steeel mill in the west of the city will be used for the snowboard big air, and maybe even the ski big air if the International Olympic Committee decides to add the event to the Games schedule.

The mill was closed before the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics to reduce pollution in the city.

Its cooling towers, smokestacks and a large lake will provide the backdrop for the competitions.

Beijing big air venue - photo FISArtist's impression of Beijing big air venue - photo FIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The organising committee plans to begin construction of the 60 metre high ramp and refurbish warehouses for broadcasting, media and hospitality this year with the aim of completing work by the end of 2019.

"We had other proposals to build the venue elsewhere, but the idea to combine dynamic sporting action with industrial heritage won over the International Olympic Committee for the vision of sustainability," said Liu Yumin, Executive Deputy Director of the Beijing 2022 Committee's general planning and construction department.

"The project will serve as an anchor for the entire plan to repurpose the industrial compound into a future destination of winter sports and related leisure activities."

The Shougang complex is already home to Beijing 2022 HQ.

The organisers moved in in May 2016.

HIKING ROUTES MAY BE GRADED LIKE SKI RUNS

Mountains in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria could soon be graded in the same way as ski slopes in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries.

The most difficult routes for hikers would be graded black and the easiest green, with red and blue routes in the middle.

The grading could change, according to the season so a red route in the summer could become a black route in the winter.

Coniston Mountain Rescue TeamConiston Mountain Rescue Team at work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were 20 fatalities among walkers in Cumbria last year and eight during the first four months of 2018 alone.

A meeting has been held between mountain rescue volunteers and officials from the National Trust, Lake District National Park Authority and English Heritage to discuss ways to improve safety.

The routes themselves would not be marked with poles or notices but the information would be displayed in the car parks used by walkers, in leaflets.

Richard Warren, regional chairman of the Lake District Search and Rescue Association, told the News and Star:

"If these signs graded a particular route in the same way as we do for skiing or mountain bikes, for instance, and told people how long it would take them to go up and then down again it would probably make them think carefully about whether they were properly prepared as they set off."

SWISS BACK DOWN ON PROPERTY REFORM

The Swiss government will not go ahead with tighter controls on foreigners owning property in Switzerland.

There have been restrictions on foreign residents buying property in Switzerland for more than 60 years and the government had proposed to making it more difficult for non-Swiss nationals to buy both property and land.

Citizens from outside the European Union and the European Free Trade Association would have been forced to apply for an official permit even if they planned to live in the property.

The government has now said it's dropping the plans following a consultation process.

St Luc, SwitzerlandNo change to Swiss property controls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to The Local, supporters of the changes had argued foreign investors were pushing up property prices and rents in Switzerland.

But opponents said the restrictions would harm the country's economic growth.

In March 2012 Swiss voters narrowly decided to limit the building of holiday homes in mountain areas.

The vote meant that in every commune where at least 20 per cent of homes were second homes, no more could be built.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number 1 for ski news


Related Articles

MY SUMMER SKI CAMP: PART 2 (Monday July 16, 2018)
MY SUMMER SKI CAMP: PART 1 (Monday July 16, 2018)
JULY SKIING SECRETS (Sunday July 15, 2018)
SUMMER GLACIER SESSIONS (Saturday July 14, 2018)
SUMMER IN LES GETS: PART 3 (Thursday July 12, 2018)
K2: ROUND TWO (Wednesday July 11, 2018)


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