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New Chairlift and More Snowmaking For Châtel

December 7th, 2009

Châtel in the giant French-Swiss Portes dui Soleil ski region has replaced its Linga 2 chairlift ready for the new season, which began in the resort this weekend.

The old Linga 2 chairlift which takes skiers up to Col du Linga at 2050m has been replaced by a new six-searer detachable chairlift, ascending from 1550m, at a departure point next to the Leiche ski lift, and it’s name will be Echo Alpin lift.

The 1580m long lift with a vertical rise 525m can carry 2400 people per hour initially, but this capacity is due to be increased to 2700 people per hour after a trial period.

The new chair is one of the fastest lifts of the Portes du Soleil area as it can carry skiers at a speed of 5.5 metres per second taking them to the top in just five minutes.

Châtel is also increasing the area it can cover with machine made snow thanks to the addition of a new reservoir. For winter 2009-2010 the resort has 180 snow guns and the Combes and Linga 2 runs now have snowmaking.

Finally the resort has launched a new ‘any 4 hours’ hands-free Liberty ski pass.

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General News, Ski and Snowboard News

World’s Biggest Resorts Open For Winter 09-10

December 7th, 2009

Many of the world’s leading ski resorts have opened for the 2009-10 ski season this weekend following heavy snowfall in the Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees and lower temperatures in Eastern North America allowing for snowmaking.

In the French Alps, Courchevel and Meribel joined Val Thorens opening in the Three Valleys and in Austria the Arlberg opened a week later than planned after a spell of warm weather ended with falls of several feet of snow.

In the Pyrenees most of the leading resorts in Andorra, France and Spain all opened on Friday or Saturday after several feet on new snow fell. Baqueira Beret and Formigal, Spain’s two largest resorts were among those opening.

In New England resorts opening thanks to improved conditions include Sugarloaf in Maine, and further north in Quebec, Mont Ste Anne has opened after several postponed dates.

Over on the West, Fernie and Revelstoke in British Columbia have also opened.

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General News, Ski & snow news

Ski Environmentalist Walking To Copenhagen Climate Talks Carrying Skis

December 7th, 2009

Intrepid explorers, adventurers and rail enthusiasts are currently en-route to the UN Climate conference in Copenhagen using a variety of low carbon ways to reach their final destination.

World Champion extreme free-skier and founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation (www.sosfound.org), American Alison Gannett is walking 200 miles from Big Ben in London to Brusssels railway station with snow skis on her back, in the first stage of her trip to the conference.

In an email to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) staff she wrote, “’I am doing this to help raise awareness on the importance of saving our snow, both for the fun sports we love such as skiing, but more importantly that half the world depends on snow and ice melt for drinking and irrigation water.”

She is walking with Roz Savage, a British ocean rower and environmental campaigner. From Brussels, both walkers will join the Climate Express train which is taking more than 400 climate change negotiators, campaigners and high-profile personalities to Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, last week, a small team of environmental experts, NGOs and journalists left Kyoto, Japan on an epic 9,000 kilometre-long journey from Kyoto to Copenhagen, most of it by train.

The group boarded the Trans-Siberian Express in Vladivostok, Russia on Saturday and will document the impacts of climate change, raise awareness of low-carbon transport solutions, and gather signatures for the UN led Seal the Deal! Climate Petition.

Led by the International Union of Railways in partnership with UNEP, WWF and Russian Railways, the journey through Russia will cover Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Novgorod, ending up in Moscow. A member of UNEP’s Moscow office, Ludmila Khorosheva, will join the train in Novosibirsk on Thursday.

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Ski Holiday Bookings – what is REALLY going to happen this winter?

July 15th, 2009

There has been a lot of talk around the internet about an impending supply disaster when it comes to booking your 2010 ski holiday. We reported on this on a earlier thread (read: Ski Holidays 2010 - Book Early To Get The Best Deals).

On the face of it, these stories have been pitched as “useful advice for consumers”. However, dig around a bit behind the scenes, and cynics might claim that these stories are just “spin”, generated by the ski industry to try and encourage early bookings for an uncertain winter season.

We spoke to an independent tour operator in Chatel, France, who claims that the theory of reduced supply is incorrect.

“Just because large tour operators have reduced the number of chalets that they offer, doesn’t mean that there will be less chalets to rent. On the contrary, there are now a large number of chalets available which were previously tied in to expensive contracts with tour operators.

In our resort, a catered chalet operator decided not to continue for the following season. On the face of it, this meant that there are now less catered chalet holidays available. However, the ski chalets which were rented by this company are now available with a number of different booking agents, in many cases at a lower price.”

So yes, book early to guarantee the right chalet in the right resort for the right week. But if you can’t commit to a ski holiday now, don’t worry. Chances are there are going to be a lot of independent chalets available at reasonable prices throughout the Alps.

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Articles, General News, Ski & snow news, Ski Advice

Ski Holidays 2010 – book early to get the best deals

June 8th, 2009

It has been a funny old year. Recession hit the UK, the pound crashed against the Euro, holidays in the Eurozone became a lot more expensive for Brits, and the Alps received some of the best snowfall for 25 years, with the season opening in style in November and continuing with fantastic conditions until the end of April. So a bit of a mixed bag for British skiers – great snow conditions vs expensive European holidays.

It wasn’t all bad news however. The sheer number of catered chalets available coupled with a significant drop in clients booking early meant that there were a lot of amazing deals available as increasingly desperate chalet operators dropped their prices in an attempt to fill their beds.

With an uncertain climate still prevailing throughout the British Isles, and based on what happened last year, skiers would be forgiven for thinking that the best thing to do for 2009/2010 would be to wait until the last minute, and try and get a reduced deal. However, if you are serious about your skiing, that could prove to be a mistake.

Based on the poor performance of many chalets during the winter 08/09 season, many chalet operators have dramatically reduced the number of chalets they will be operating. In simple terms, this means that there won’t be enough chalets to go around, especially during the peak weeks. Demand is predicted to massively outstrip supply which could result in price rises of between 10-30 % as the season approaches.

Because the news of these chalet cuts have yet to filter through to all the smaller chalet operators and owner run chalet operations, prices at the moment tend to be comparable with last year, or in some cases even cheaper. However, as the season approaches and it becomes clear that it is a seller’s market, prices for remaining weeks and beds are predicted to rise sharply.

At the moment, there are still some good deals to be found for next winter, even for the New Year and half term weeks. The shrewd skiers are booking now. Says Liz of independent ski holiday portal, All Mountain Holidays;

“Many people think that the thing to do this year is to book late. However, traffic on our site is currently high, and most of the quality chalets are already booked for Christmas, New Year and half term. For many chalet owners, Easter is also selling fast. I think it is going to come as quite a shock to people who leave it until the autumn to book a ski holiday during the school holidays – there will be very little availability, and what will be left will be phenomenally expensive. Even the non school holiday weeks are going to suffer price rises as the season approaches and availability becomes more limited.”

In order to avoid disappointment next winter, if you can afford to, get a deposit down on your 2009/2010 ski holiday as soon as possible. If you leave it too late, you may find that there isn’t much choice!

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Articles, General News

Les Houches to remain closed for the 08/09 Season?

September 27th, 2008

This is an interesting article from PisteHors.com:

The contracts to run the ski domain of both SEPP (Bellevue lift) and the LHSG company that runs the Prarion lift (Compagnie du Mont Blanc + Cachat family) have been recommended to be cancelled by the government commission at the tribunal of Grenoble, potentially making it legally impossible to open Les Houches for skiing this winter.

The Les Houches ski area has had concessionary issues with its ski domain for many years. The current situation is that the ski area sits between two communes, Chamonix and St Gervais, and two main families (Hottegindres of SEPP and Cachat of LHSG) one of whom (LHSG) has a principal partner/investor based in Chamonix (The Compagnie du Mont Blanc).

Each year disagreements on the division of revenues has resulted in delays in knowing when, if and how the Les Houches ski passes would be available to clients, often until nearly opening day. The director of the Office of Tourism in Les Houches, Didier Josephe, laments this situation, saying that it makes it impossible to do pre-season promotions and advertising aimed at clients. This reduces the potential winter revenues for everyone involved with the ski area.

This year SEPP (Bellevue lift) did not allow LHSG, which runs the Prarion lift, to cross any of its land to reach LHSG pistes, effectively stopping LHSG from operating. The Compagnie du Mont Blanc were aware of this tactic last Spring and have already thrown in the towel, telling clients that Les Houches would not be on the ski pass for this season. Instead they have struck a deal with Verbier in Switzerland to allow Mont Blanc Unlimited season pass holders unlimited ski days at Verbier as compensation. They are also continuing to develop relations with the Courmayeur ski area in Italy.

Now, the contract to run the ski domain of SEPP (Bellvue lift) has been recommended to be cancelled by the government commission at the Grenoble Administrative Court. Normally the conclusion of the commision is followed by judges, therefore we await the contracts of both groups to be officially annulled, and this would lead to the impossibility under French law to have enough time to renegotiate the contracts before the start of the winter season, effectively closing the hill for both lifts.

The Mayor of St Gervais was interviewed on Radio Mt Blanc saying he had asked the Prefecture what sort of help they were going to give to the towns since they have basically taken away their livelihood in this move …

The Dauphiné Libéré has speculated that the Compagnie du Mont Blanc and LHSG have actually welcomed this action because although it will be bad for this winter, it seems to bode well for the future.

In the Dauphiné Libéré, they suggest this will lead to the formation of a Sivu (Syndicat a vocation unique or Union into a single operator). A Sivu is thought by many to be a more practical legal body for the ski domain, allowing the communes to have one authority to deal with running the domains.

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Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding News, General News, Ski & snow news

All Mountain Ski Holidays – Helping you to beat the credit crunch

September 18th, 2008

Here at All Mountain Holidays, we like most people in the UK, are starting to feel the pinch of the credit crunch. So what are we going to do about it? Simple, we are helping both holiday makers and property owners make their money go further.

How?

1) For holiday makers – it is a simple formula. If you find and book you accommodation direct with the owner or independent operator, you cut out the middle man and you save money. Simple.

2) For property owners – it is free to advertise unlimited properties on this site. No strings attached. Just free advertising.

As a famous supermarket likes to say….”Every little helps”.

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General News ,

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