In this issue of Best Ski News 2014 we are Discussing Vanessa May at the Olympics, The white Thrill race in St Anton and the new reality TV show ‘The Jump’. We will also be looking at the best eco hotel and where as the most expensive hotels in North America. On top of all this lets task snow as without it none of the fun stuff will happen.
It’s been another snowy week across large swathes of Europe, unfortunately for some areas it’s the same large swathes as it has been all season and although ski areas in the northern eastern Alps and Eastern Europe have had some snowfall, they still need much more.
The areas where it has been abundant, again, include the southern French Alps, all of northern Italy and quite a few Swiss resorts. Zermatt for example clocking up 70cm of new snow in the past seven days and now boasting a 2.5m base on upper slopes, plus an equally healthy 60cm at resort level, for a resort that offers skiing and boarding every day of the year that’s very good news. Passo Tonale in Italy currently has Europe and the world’s deepest snow base at 4m, Andermatt in Switzerland is second with 3.8m.
Snowfall has been very good this week in Scandinavia too with the biggest falls of the season to date in Norway. Scottish slopes are in good shape as well, particularly at west coast ski areas although Cairngorm and Glenshee both have good cover too.
Across the Atlantic the powder has been light and fluffy at most resorts in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Further north in to Alberta, Canada, Banff reports 90cm of snow in the last week leading to epic conditions.
Vanessa Mae Qualifies To Ski Race At The Sochi Olympics
The world famous violinist Vanessa Mae has qualified to race in the slalom at the coming Sochi Winter Olympics, representing Thailand.
35 year-old Mae, reported to have been a keen skier since childhood, is British but her natural father is from Thailand. She will become the first person to downhill ski race for the country, which has no ski resorts, just a few small indoor snow centres.
Mae, who will compete using her father’s surname, as Vanessa Vanakorn, competed in four separate races in Slovenia at the weekend in order to qualify for Sochi.
IOC rules allow nations which have no competitors ranked in the world top 500 in a sport to compete if they can satisfy secondary criteria – scoring an average of 140 points or fewer over five officially recognised races – which is what Vanessa Mae has just managed to achieve.
The global superstar of classical music is now also ranked 3,166th in the world in giant slalom.
The White Thrill
St Anton’s ‘White Thrill’ race is scheduled to be staged on 19th April this year.
The cult classic marks (almost) the end of the ski season at the famous Austrian resort and sees around 500 participants from all over the world charging down the 1,300 metre, unprepared descent from the Vallugagrat Ridge to the valley, nine-kilometres away.
It’s not all downhill as en-route they have to unbuckle their skis and contend with a 150 metre long, 37 altitude metre ascent, before getting back in their skis again to race towards the finish line.
Courchevel Hotels Win Highest Eco Management Award
Two more Courchevel hotels have achieved the hard to reach Gold Award from the international organisation Travelife for operating to very high ethical and environmental standards. The Hotel New Solarium and the Hotel Des Neiges in Courchevel 1850 join the Hotel Saint Louis which was the first to get the award.
The gold award means that the hotel management must show that they lead the way and have an active environmental policy, publish regular reports on their sustainability actions, treat their staff fairly and with respect as well as helping local people.
“Our teams were already environmentally-conscious in their private lives, so taking it to a professional level was the logical thing to do,” said Sophie Roskam, Directrice General Lodges & Mountain Hotels which runs the two hotels. “They worked incredibly hard for several months to achieve the award. We had to do it and we were not scared to do so!”
Travelife is a travel industry-led scheme launched in 2007 in partnership with tour operators like TUI Travel, Thomas cook and many others, endorsed by ABTA. Crystal Ski and Flexiski offer holidays to the two hotels.
Lovers of reality TV will be delighted to hear that Channel 4 are about to launch a new show, ‘The Jump.’ The prime time series will launch on Sunday 26th January, less than a fortnight before the Sochi Olympics kick off.
Over eight nights ‘The Jump’ will see 12 celebrities get to grips with the nerve shattering physical and mental discipline needed to compete in a ski jump and a number of other demanding winter sports events.
Those celebrities are Sir Steve Redgrave, snowboarder and Altitude Comedy festival founder comedian Marcus Brigstocke, TOWIE’s Amy Childs, Laura Hamilton, Five singer Ritchie Neville, cricketer Darren Gough, party promoter Henry Conway, hairdresser Nicky Clarke, singer Sinitta, TV presenter Melinda Messenger, former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and broadcaster Anthea Turner.
Their training began at The Snow Centre Hemel, with ex Olympian and TV presenter Graham Bell giving many of the celebrities their first taste of skiing.
The show, presented by Davina McCall and broadcast from the Austrian Alps, will see the 12 celebs confront their fears and each other to compete each night in a series of open air alpine challenges. Competing contestants will be trained by expert coaches and Olympians in some of the best known winter sports including skiing, skeleton, slalom and ski jumping.
“I can’t wait to see who is going to hold their nerve over the series and take The Jump title. We’ve had so much fun coaching all these people, from their early days on snow at The Snow Centre to facing their fears on the ‘big jump’ in Innsbruck!” says coach Graham Bell.
Utah Ski Resort’s Hotels Most Expensive in North America
Ski areas in Utah and Colorado have topped a study of North America’s most expensive ski resort hotel prices for holidays during February. According to research on stays in hotels rated two stars or higher by website CheapHotels.org who used Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline to search for holidays, carrying out their research between January 15-17.
Deer Valley in Park City Utah was most expensive with an average price of $395 per night during February 2014. Snowbird, also in Utah in second place averaging $312 per night. Colorado’s Beaver Creek and Vail were third and fourth placed with prices of $289 and $281 respectively and Squaw Valley, California was fifth. Kicking Horse in British Columbia, Canada was the only non-Us resort in the top 10 ($176).