Archive for February, 2010

New Website Launched On Responsible Ski Holidays

February 9th, 2010

A new website,, has been launched with the aim of answering the question, “Can skiing and responsible tourism go hand in hand?”

The site considers the impact of component parts of a ski holiday, including the pistes, artificial snow production, ski lifts and off piste skiing, and site founder Veronica Tonge, a consultant specialising in Responsible Tourism and project management with the particular area of expertise of responsible tourism for winter sports, goes on to answer whether she believes they can be part of a responsible skiing holiday.

In addition to this analysis, there is an overview of options for getting to the destination and then all the resort factors; such as the transport, après ski and accommodation, are reviewed with case studies and ideas for both the industry and skiers.

Veronica Tonge said, “Skiing has been the saviour of many a mountain community, however it’s important to both acknowledge that the environment has sometimes been damaged and that there is a risk to skiing posed by climate change. This is the only website that examines the entire ski holiday in the context of responsible tourism; which is minimising any negative impacts to the environment, whilst maximising the benefits to the local economy and ensuring you have a better holiday.”

Written by a skier, for skiers, the website is broken down into several informative sections and “How to be a Responsible Skier” gives a range of tips to help skiers plan a more memorable holiday that go beyond the usual, “reuse towels and don’t litter.”

“Responsible skiing is not about easing your guilt and is not just concerned with CO2 emissions. It’s about engaging with the mountain destination, enjoying a range of winter activities in beautiful surroundings, and having a fun and memorable stay, but not at the cost of the environment or the local population. And we all want that.” said Veronica Tonge.

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Freeride World Tour Underway

February 9th, 2010

The Freeride World Tour finally got underway perfect weather conditions at Chamonix on January 31st after heavy snow and strong winds led to the postponement of the first leg, which had been planned for 2014 Olympic venue Sochi in Russia earlier last month, and unsuitable weather also postponed the Chamonix stage by a day.

Against the beautiful backdrop of the Mont-Blanc, the Freeride World Tour 2010 kicked off in on the 500 metre “Pentes de l’Hôtel” face at the Brévent ski area in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. The 50 best freeriders on the planet put on an amazing performance, showing the 3000 cheering spectators the top of their game on the difficult face and challenging snow conditions.

The most impressive run of the day was the clean victory of French freestyle legend Candide Thovex, debuting in freeride contests, announcing a promising future. However there was good news for the UK too when Chamonix-based Brit, and only Briton on the line up, James Stentiford, placed third in the snowboarding contest with a very fluid and fast run, with full control down the icy part of the face.

“I was really nervous up top after the fall of Raphy (Gillioz/SUI – 4th rider that landed a cliff jump on a rock and broke his elbow) so I changed my line a bit. The landings where pretty harsh but it worked out really well for me. I am really happy to be on this podium as I live here and it is the third contest I have ever done!” said James.

After the previous few days’ of snowfall the blue skies finally presented a dream like arena for the athletes and spectators.However, the snow conditions where tricky for the competitors. A lot of the fresh powder was taken down by the first riders and parts of the face exposed rock hard snow, and at times ice. Control was decisive. First rider down, skier Julien Lopez of France set the tone with a spectacular line; steep, committing and clearing a massive cliff drop at the end. Many variations and original lines followed.

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Whisky Reward For Heroic Scottish Snow Diggers

February 9th, 2010

Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountain had the unusual problem of having too much snow in the first half of January, which led to a huge community effort to ‘dig out’ key parts of the ski area including access roads, lifts and the summit restaurant so that skiers could reach the slopes, closed by too much snow.

The Managing Director of nearby Tomatin Whisky Distillery, Tom McCulloch, was so impressed by the team effort that went into the snow clearing over the week from January 12th to 17th that he commissioned forty eight bottles of finest blend Scotch Whisky, named Big “D” , to mark the team’s efforts. The commemorative bottles have now been presented to CairnGorm staff and organizations who took part in the massive dig out operation by Graham Nicolson, Tomatin’s Regional Sales Manager. Every bottle is individually numbered and contains a blended Scotch whisky of Highland blend.

“I was talking to Dr Mike Langran, who is often on the hill assisting ski patrol at CairnGorm Mountain and gained an insight into just what efforts were being made to get the ski road and train ready to receive the public. It was a team effort on a huge scale involving paid employees as well as volunteers and contractors and it reminded me of the sense of community which is very much part of Tomatin Distillery’s heritage – one worth acknowledging and celebrating”. said Mr McCulloch.

“This generous and unexpected gesture from Tomatin is hugely appreciated by all of us who work at CairnGorm Mountain.” said Ian Whitaker, Chief Executive at CairnGorm Mountain Ltd. “Like employees at the distillery, many of CairnGorm’s staff have made a lifestyle choice to work in this environment and it is a way of life for many of them. Running a ski centre on a Scottish mountain side presents huge challenges at times and it is not often that the effort that goes into getting lifts and tows up and running is so publicly recognized. I would personally like to thank all the staff, volunteers and contractors who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in these past few weeks and to Tomatin for recognising those efforts with this gesture.”.

As well as staff form CairnGorm Mountain, volunteers from local businesses including; The Ski School, G2 Outdoor Activity, Cairngorm Mountains Rescue Team were assisted by local contractors, Jerry Job and Allan Munro Construction who provided heavy plant to assist with snow moving.

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British Snowboard Association Reborn, Blames Alpine Skiing for Demise of Snowsport GB

February 9th, 2010

Following the news that Britain’s governing body of snow sports, Snowsport GB, has gone into administration, the British Snowboard Association (BSA) has announced it will retake control of snowboarding in the UK.

“In recent months there has been much speculation about the future of British Snowsports following reports of financial trouble within Snowsport GB (SSGB), the national governing body for skiing and snowboarding in the UK. Reports indicate a huge SSGB overspend, which has been difficult for the Snowboard Executive to accept with their programmes and great results continually being delivered within budget season after season. It seems the financial problems within alpine skiing may have contributed to the downfall of SSGB.” said a BSA statement, stating that it has reformed to ensure it regains control of British snowboarding and moves forward with the future of British snowboarding in the hands of snowboarders.

In 2005 the BSA merged its operations with Snowsport GB as part of a national modernising exercise initiated by the government to streamline administration and communication within national governing bodies.

“Five years on and we find ourselves in this situation, so the BSA will once again take the development of British snowboarding forward with the support of UK Sport, British Olympic Association (BOA), Team GB Ltd, World Snowboard Federation (WSF), The home nations (Snowsport England, Scotland and Wales), British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI), Snow Industries of GB (SIGB), Snowboard Club UK (SCUK), The Snowboard Asylum (TSA) and current Olympic riders Lesley McKenna, Ben Kilner and many more.” the statement continued.

The British Snowboard Association (BSA) was originally established in 1989 by a group of enthusiastic snowboarders to provide like minded riders with membership, championship events and a national governing body with representation on a global level.

The Association went through various evolutionary changes over the past 20 years and last year says in it statement it was, “made aware of financial difficulties caused by ineffective management of ski activities. The Snowboard Executive make plans to re-establish the BSA following the 09/10 winter season due to a lack of confidence in the board of Snowsport GB.”

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Dunkirk Spirit Gets British Coaches To Vancouvver After Snowsport GB’s Demise

February 9th, 2010

Owing to the sudden demise of the British Ski & Snowboard Federation (aka Snowsport GB) which went into administration on 5th Feb. 2010, the fourteen British Ski & Snowboard athletes, departing for the Winter Olympics, which start in Vancouver next weekend, were going to be without the two most important members of their team…………..the two Coaches!

Having worked tirelessly with their squads for several years, this was a huge blow to the athletes, who include world ranking Chemmy Alcott and Zoe Gillings amongst their group.

Following urgent phone calls to a number of travel industry “friends”, the Board of Directors at Snowsport England have managed to raise over £5000 to contribute to the costs of getting the two coaches out to Vancouver. The BOA (British Olympic Association) can now ensure their attendance.

Support came from Crystal Ski Holidays (Tui), Erna Low Ski Holidays, Norfolkline Ferries, TK Maxx (ski clothing retailer), Peak Retreats Ski Holidays, Ski Verbier Holidays, HolidayExtras and yet-to-be-built indoor snow centre SnOasis

Peter Stratton, Commercial Director for Snowsport England, commented

“we couldn’t stand by and see one of the most impressive British squads for many years having to prepare and compete without the support of their coaches on hand in Vancouver”. He went on to say that with the fantastic support of the above companies, this will give a great boost to our chances of bringing home a medal from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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