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Adventures

Better Routes into the 4 Vallées This Winter

There are big improvements planned for access to Switzerland’s largest ski region, the 4 Vallées in the country’s Valais region, this winter. A new ski train service will link the Lake Geneva region with the new Châble train station on Saturday mornings. The two-storey trains will provide a direct connection to gondola lifts up to the slopes of Verbier's ski area. In addition a new eight-seater gondola lift in Nendaz - 4 Vallées ski area will provide a much improved link between Plan du Fou and Prarion, increases the transport capacity from 800 people per hour to 2,400.  There is also a new direct connection to Nendaz-Mont-Fort. The lift company is equipping all slopes between Combatseline and Thyon 2000 with…

Skier Completes 10 Years of Skiing Every Month of the Year on Scottish Snow

A Scottish skier has managed to make some turns on Scottish snow every month of the year for ten straight years. That’s 120 consecutive months on Scottish snow. Former Geography teacher Helen Rennie said that over the past decade she has had increasing difficulty finding surviving snow patches to ski in late summer/early autumn each year. Helen, now 65, started her monthly ski trips, aged 55, when she was recovering from oesophageal  cancer in 2009 and looking for a personal challenge. She has found snow in the Cairngorms every month except for September 2013, 2017 and 2019, when she had to ski a snow patch at Aonach Beag by Nevis Range, a feat that required a six mile hike there…

Everest Skier Abandons Attempt

Polish skier Andrzej Bargiel has abandoned his plan to be the first person to skin up and then ski down Mount Everest without using supplementary oxygen. Bargiel, who became the first person to ski the world’s second highest peak, K2, last year, had been in the region for some time acclimatising ahead of his attempt, joined by his brother and a film crew, but decided it was unsafe to make the attempt. The reason was a huge serac, a massive block of ice measuring 50 by 30 metres in this case, that is hanging over one of the most treacherous sections of the mountain, making an attempt too dangerous.  Bargiel’s decision to attempt the feat in the autumn was already…

Spotlight on Japan

Spotlight on Japan The Rugby World Cup is the first of two major global sporting events that are being hosted by Japan over the next 12 months, the other one of course being the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The idea of holding the Olympics during the heat and humidity of late July and early August is certainly questionable but I have no doubt that, intense heat aside, the host country will put on a good show and visitors (and viewers) will get another positive impression of Japan. As a Japan long-timer I may well be somewhat biased, but it’s hard to imagine that people could visit Japan and not be charmed by the country in various ways. Current coverage of the…

Ski Touring By Boat in Norway’s Sunnmøre Alps

A company called Fjord Adventures which specialises in ski touring adventures bin Norway’s Sunnmøre Alps, has invested £500K in an “eco facelift” of the historic ship, HMS Gåssten, which they use as the base for their trips. After the darkest of winters, HMS Gåssten will begin a new ski touring programme from February 2020. There is a blanket ban on snowmobile and helicopter assisted access to the Sunnmøre Alps which provides those arriving by boat access to untracked powder perfection. "The boat allowed us access to some of the most remote parts of the Sunnmøre Alps, the guides took to us to some of the best terrain I have ever skied, with fresh powder every day,” said skier Charles Ziar…

The Off-Piste Awareness Tour 2019

Henry’s Avalanche Talk (HAT), which over recent years has become a leading source of advice on the dangers of avalanches and how to avoid them when heading off piste, is launching a tour of venues in the UK to give skiers and boarders the chance to gain valuable advice on saying safe in the mountain. The 2019 Off-Piste Awareness Tour will kick off next month and includes more than 30 live events in venues across the UK, along with several in  France. The talks focus on how to manage risk when skiing or snowboarding off-piste and are aimed at all levels of riders from off-piste first timers to experienced veterans looking to reinforce their knowledge. Participants can sign up for…

4th Biggest French Ski Region Goes 100% Green-Energy Powered

Les Sybelles, one of the world's biggest ski areas (4th biggest in France) with more than 300km of slopes, nearly 150 runs and 70 ski lifts inter-connecting half-a-dozen resorts in the Maurienne region is the latest to announce that all of its electricity needs will be met by 100% renewable energy sources. From this winter 2019-20 the region will receive 100% certified renewable electricity from local hydro-electric centres, as well as solar and wind power source, for all lifts, snowmaking and other operations thanks to a partnership with power company EDF. Les Sybelles is just the latest of France’s and the World’s biggest ski areas to go 100% green-energy  powered. The country’s second biggest, the Paradiski region combining the skiing…

New Ski Area Opening in Park City This Winter

What is being described by its creators as “America’s first all-in-one actions sports and ski resort” is due to open in November at a location in Park City, Utah, already home to the country’s largest ski area as well as Deer Valley ski area. Woodward Park City will combine a huge indoor freestyle hall that will be open year round, and an outdoor terrain park and tubing area, complete with chairlift, which is currently being installed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=MlilXA2-4Nk The resort is being created by the POWDR group which runs more than half-a-dozen leading US ski areas including Copper Mountain in Colorado, Mt Bachelor in Oregon, Killington in Vermont and Snowbird in Utah, as well as the existing Woodward facilities at Copper…

Jean-Yves Michellod Patron of new Verbier4All Association

Jean-Yves Michellod has agreed to become a patron of Verbier4All, the new association which aims to improve all­-year round accessibility to the mountains for people with a physical or visual deficit. Mountain guide and extreme skier, Jean-Yves Michellod  won the Xtreme Verbier in 2004. But two years later, following a serious accident in the mountains, he found himself with partial paralysis. But Jean-Yves didn’t let this slow him down. He stunned the sporting world and beyond with his resolve and unaltered desire to tackle untracked faces. With the Falquet brothers, just one year later, he won Hike and Ride and was also the subject of the film ‘Skieur Libre’ which was awarded gold at the highly acclaimed International Festival of…

New Uphill Ski Run Created at French Ski Resort

Ski touring has become increasingly popular in recent years.  There are multiple reasons for this – the equipment has improved and the number of people with the fitness levels and drive to skin up mountains as well as ski down them has also grown. There is also an environmental issue with some (particularly the people who are already fit and determined enough to skin up before skiing down) arguing that if skiers really care about fighting climate change they should forego the lifts and skin up the slopes. The popularity of touring has caused some issues for resorts though as tourers tend to skin up the edges of groomed slopes, which some resorts see as a potential hazard for a…