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Wednesday March 1, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Armada skis sold for $4.1m, Swiss skier lands first Quad Cork 1800, sharp rise in term-time holidays + Canadian Olympic slopestyle athlete injured in accident near Whistler. NEW & UPDATED

Wednesday 29th March


Amer Sports owns Salomon, Wilson, Atomic, Arc'teryx, Mavic, Suunto and Precor.

It is now adding the US ski brand, Armada, to its portfolio.

Armada has annual sales of $10m.

"The acquisition enables us to further accelerate especially in the US market where Armada has a solid presence. Further, the acquisition is synergistic, as we have already in the past collaborated with Armada through a joint manufacturing arrangement. We're pleased to welcome Armada into our portfolio of strong, well-positioned brands," said the President of Amer Sports Winter Sports Equipment, Michael Schineis.

The company started in the early 2000s as freeriding developed.

Five skiers and a photographer came together -  JP Auclair, Tanner Hall, JF Cusson, Julien Regnier and Boyd Easley, along with snow sports photographer Chris O'Connell.

It was the first athlete-owned and athlete-driven independent ski company and embraced the model of snowboarding and skateboarding rather than the big ski manufacturers that were rooted in racing.













Tuesday 28th March


At only 18 years old, Swiss skier Andri Ragettli can now add the world's first quad cork 1800 safety grab to his list of numerous accomplishments.

Andri RagettliAndri Ragettli













Ragettli managed to land the trick which entails doing 5 rotations while simultaneously dipping his head under his body 4 times, flying 35 meters over the Suzuki Nine Royals snow feature at Watles, South Tyrol, Italy.


Term-time holidays accounted for a quarter of unauthorised absences from schools in England, analysis of official figures shows.

Almost a million children missed at least one day of school in England, despite the threat of fines.

A sizeable number were children being taken out of school for ski holidays where prices can sharply up at February half-term and other winter holiday periods.

Teachers said the fines were a "blunt instrument" and the problem was down to the price of holidays.

The Department for Education said unauthorised absences damage children's life chances.

For more on the story see this article on the BBC.

In May 2016 a father, Jon Platt, won a case at the High Court to overturn a £120 fine levied for taking his daughter on holiday during term time - see here for the PlanetSKI story at the time.

The Isle of Wight Council appealed against the verdict and the case was heard at the Supreme Court in January 2017, which reserved judgment.

That ruling should be released shortly - see here for the PlanetSKI story on the case.

Kids on holidayKids on holiday








Monday 27th March


The Canadian Olympic medallist Mark McMorris has suffered multiple fractures in a backcountry snowboarding accident near Whistler, British Columbia on Saturday.

He was filming with his brother, Craig McMorris, and several other friends when he was involved in a crash.

McMorris has suffered horrific injuries including a fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung.

He underwent surgeries on Saturday and Sunday and his mother, Cindy, is at his bedside.

Road to recoveryRoad to recovery



















It is too early to speculate on a timeline for Mark's recovery, but it may mean he is unable to compete at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

Mark McMorris, aged 23, is one of Canada's top-ranked male slopestyle athletes.

He won bronze in slopestyle at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, and took gold in big air at the X-Games in Norway this year, and has won 14 medals at other X Games.

Mark McMorris is featured the following Red Bull Video on this facebook page.

More details on his accident on CBC News.


7 students and their teacher died in the avalanche at Nasu in the Tochigi prefecture.

It is 75 miles north of Tokyo.

The victims were part of a 70-strong group from several schools who were on a three-day mountain climbing training trip.

40 other people were injured.

Dozens of troops were involved in rescue efforts, amid bad weather and heavy snowfall.

All the people have been carried down from the mountain and they are now being transported to hospital," a prefecture official told AFP news agency.

The region had received heavy snow over the past two days and avalanche warnings had been in effect.

An investigation is underway.

Thursday 23rd March


Heads up if you're intending to drive in Europe, the mandatory Crit'Air sticker can take up to 6 weeks to arrive.

The Crit'Air scheme was introduced in January by the French authorities to tackle air pollution in some of its major cities.

It requires that all vehicles display a windscreen sticker, or vignette, according to how much they pollute.

Stickers cost £3.60 (€4.18) each including postage.

They come in six categories covering the very cleanest hydrogen-powered or electric vehicles - Crit'Air Green sticker, to the dirtiest - Crit'Air 5 Grey sticker for mostly older diesel cars.

The penalty for failure to display a sticker is an on-the-spot fine of between €68-135 (£58 to £117).

The French-Government's English-language website states that stickers should be delivered within 30 days, it appears however that the vignette can take up to 6 weeks to arrive.

RAC European breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said, "We ordered an 'anti-pollution' sticker as a test shortly after the English-language site went live and worryingly it took a full six weeks to turn up. As a result we are now concerned that anyone who orders one now for a trip that will take them into the centre of Paris, Lyon or Grenoble this Easter will not receive it in time and may be at risk of an unwanted encounter with the French authorities.

"We strongly urge people planning to drive to these cities at May half-term to order their stickers now to avoid any issues."

Williams added, "The best advice for motorists ordering their stickers is to make sure they use the French Government website as there are third party operators offering the same service but for significantly more money."

Full details on RAC website including application procedure.

Crit' Air Sticker mandatory in FranceCrit' Air Sticker - mandatory in France















Esprit Ski and Ski Total are fundraising for Red Nose Day by offering to the charity a £5 donation per passenger on 25th and 26th March, 2017 departures and on holidays booked before 25th March, 2017.

So if you are looking for a quick-book ski holiday, how about:

Chalet Ecureuil in the quiet ski village of Plan-Peisey for a family of four for £1,199 travelling on 26th March, 2017 with flights, catered accommodation, transfer, wine and the additional option of childcare. Visit the Esprit Ski website for more on family ski break options.

Chalet Soldanella in the Italian resort of Selva for £509pp - based on two sharing. It includes flights, catered accommodation, transfer, and wine during evening meal. See here for Ski Total's other ski breaks.

The UK is getting ready for Red Nose Day on Friday 24th March.

See below for one of our favourites of the celebrities in action for fundraising:

Sara Cox's 24 hours of non-stop dancing:

Tuesday 21st March


Climbers attempting to climb Mount Everest will now be required to wear a GPS tracking device to locate them in case they become lost on the mountain and to prevent false summit claims.

The Everest climbing season is about to start and usually takes place in April and May.

Hundereds of climbers are expected to attempt the climb but only a few will be fitted with the device.

The GPS device will cost about $300.

The data collected from the device will be checked once the climber returns from the mountain to check if the individual actually reached the summit.

In previous years a photograph at the 8,850m summit was the only proof a climber required to earn the official climbers certificate.

Last year, however, an Indian couple faked some photographs that showed them posing on the summit.

As a result both Dinesh Rathod and his wife, Tarakeshwari were banned from climbing mountains in Nepal for 10 years. We reported on that story here.

More details on new GPS device in Times of India.

Fake photograph on Everest - 2016Fake photograph on Everest - 2016













Monday 20th March


The Swiss are testing two driverless buses this summer with the possibility of them becoming part of the Zug transport system in 2018.

The Swiss Federal Railways will operate two driverless shuttle buses between Zug railway station and a technology centre.

It is hoped the Zug’s driverless buses will be integrated into the local transport network in due course.

The test runs from this summer 2017 until the end of 2018 at which point a decision will be made if their use will be continued and expanded - more information here.

Another recent trial took place in Sion in the canton of Valais in 2015. 

The Sion driverless bus project was suspended last year after it crashed into a delivery van in September.

The buses involved in the Sion trial travelled at 20mph. No one was injured in the crash.

Sunday 19th March


As part of their commitment to make Aspen Snowmass one of the most uphill friendly ski resorts in the world, Aspen Skiing Company is extending the season for uphilling.

It is holding a full weekend of free access at Buttermilk Mountain the weekend of April 8th - 9th.

Although the lifts will not be running, crews will groom 70% of the terrain to all three mountain entry points:  Tiehack, Main and West.

This will be a free event and open to everyone.

Options for uphilling include ski touring, trail running, snowshoeing, split boarding and hiking.

The base of Buttermilk Mountain will turn into a "Festival Village" with vendors, demo booths, guides, and clinics for the public. 

PlanetSKI did a spot of uphill skiing when our editor, James Cove, visited last month while on a 4-week North America road trip.  James hiked up the Highland bowl to an altitude of 3,500m - see here for his article on the hike and the resort.

Aspen, ColoradoAspen, Colorado
















Wednesday 15th March


99-year old Philip Rankin is credited with installing the first lift at Glencoe 60 years ago.

Announcing the news on its website, Snowsports Scotland, said: "It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we announce the passing away of a valued member of the Snowsport community Philip Rankin at the age of 99.

"Philip Rankin was a founding force of the mechanized uplift in Scotland and passed away in the comfort of his own home yesterday.

"Philip was extremely grateful after receiving the Snowsport Scotland Lifetime award in November.

"Our thoughts go out to all his friends and family at this sad time."

See more about his life and times here.

Philip Rankin RIPPhilip Rankin RIP
















Tuesday 14th March


Some of the world's top freeriders are heading to Haines in Alaska for the next round of the Freeride World Tour.

The 12 ski men, 6 snowboard men, 6 ski women and 4 snowboard women are now flying to Alaska to prepare for the competition which will take place between March 18th-25th.

It's the 3rd time FWT lands in this small fishing village set on the wild and beautiful coastline of this remote American outpost.

The selected face named "The Venue" features a vertical drop of 600 meters and is only accessible by helicopter.

Classical Alaskan spines, steep incline and impressive cliffs will offer athletes different possibilities for creative freeride lines unique to this special part of the world.

Monday 13th March


An Italian skier died and a British holidaymaker was left seriously injured after a collision on piste in Les Deux Alpes at the weekend.

The 52-year-old Italian was knocked unconscious and could not be revived .

The 33-year-old Briton was taken to a nearby hospital in Grenoble where he is being treated for head injuries.

The accident occured on a blue run used by beginners and more experienced skiers.

More details in The Local.

Meanwhile a  34-year old man died at Lake Louise in Canada. 

He was found in the trees and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.  His family have been informed.

Saturday 11th March


The operator of the CairnGorm Mountain snowsports centre, near Aviemore in Scotland, has started consulting staff on potential job losses at the site.

It follows a poor winter so far.

The ski centre and its funicular railway are owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) but the running of the resort is done by Natural Retreats.

It began a 25-year lease for the running of the site and its railway in June 2014 as we reported here on PlanetSKI.

The company said the current ski season has been "challenging" and "poor" and this had affected revenue.

For more details see this story on the BBC.

Cairngorm, ScotlandCairngorm, Scotland














Friday 10th March


The Swiss government has announced plans to tighten the acquisition of property by citizens from countries outside Europe.

Under the draft bill, buying property in Switzerland for people living outside the European Union or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) could become subject to approval by the authorities.

The reform is aimed at closing loopholes in the current legislation and reducing the administrative burden for the local authorities, according to a statement by the justice ministry.

Non-EU or EFTA  foreigners would have to sell their apartments if they leave Switzerland to live elsewhere.

The four European EFTA states include Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

However, members of building associations would remain exempt from the legal restrictions.

The government may also introduce a formal application for the purchase of business property, a step that was lifted 20 years ago.

It is unclear how this may affect UK purchases post-Brexit.

More on Swissinfo

Swiss chalet in VerbierSwiss chalet in Verbier















Wednesday 8th March


Sion has been nominated as Switzerland's candidate for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The decision still has to be formally ratified next month.

Sion was the only Swiss candidate left after the canton of Graubünden voted decisively in a referendum against bidding for the Games.

The last time Switzerland hosted the Winter Olympics was in 1948 when it was held in St Moritz in Graubünden. St Moritz also hosted the Games in 1928.

St Moritz 1948 Winter Olympic stadiumWinter Olympic stadium - St Moritz

















For more on Sion's candidacy see Inside The Games.

Tuesday 7th March


The pro snowboarder, Xavier De Le Rue, has published a Facebook post thanking his helmet for saving his life.

The 37-year-old freerider took a whack to the head while out last Wednesday.

"Today I was lucky, riding really mellow powder I hit a rock and then hit more rocks really hard with my head and blacked out for a while," he says in the post from 1st March.

"Without a helmet the doctor thinks I could easily have died."

Xavier de le Rue & helmetXavier de le Rue with his helmet
















He says the interior absorbed the shock at the back of the helmet.

Xavier De Le rue & helmetXavier De Le Rue with his helmet
















"Thankfully just a concussion with a massive headache and a reminder to always wear a helmet...even on mellow terrain."

Monday 6th March


The threatened strike by French air traffic controllers, as reported here on Friday, has begun.

The five-day stoppage is already causing disruption and the French Civil Aviation Authority has told airlines they should reduce their schedules by 25 per cent.

According to the website, Travel Mole, about 1,000 flights are expected to be cancelled in the industrial action which will affect the Brest and Bordeaux control centres until 7pm on Friday.

British airlines have warned of possible cancellations and delays.

For more information, see

Friday 3rd March


If you're flying to the Alps next week, your journey could be disrupted by industrial action by French air traffic controllers.

The unions are threatening to strike for five days from Monday to Friday.

If the action goes ahead it is likely to affect not just flights to and from France but those which use French airspace. 

It will be just the latest in a series of stoppages in a long-running dispute between French air traffic controllers and the government over staffing and pay.

It's worth checking with your airlines ahead of travel.

Lyon AirportPossible disruption? - PlanetSKI library photo of Lyon Airport













Thursday 2nd March


A US ski resort is being sued after a young snowboarder injured himself jumping more than 30 feet from a chairlift.

According to a report on, the family of the boy filed a lawsuit against Sugar Mountain Resort in North Carolina this week following the incident in February 2016.

The lawsuit claims the boy didn't get off the chairlift at the top and decided to ride back down but the lift closed with him still on it over a heavily wooded area, 30 feet in the air.

He's said to have been stranded for two hours before deciding to take off his board, lower himself down and drop to the ground, fracturing his heel and wrist.  He was also temporarily knocked unconscious.

He eventually managed to crawl away and onto a ski run where he was found by night skiers. 

For more information see

Wednesday 1st March


South Korea's largest dog meat market is in the process of being closed down ahead of next year's Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in PyeongChang.

The move comes as the country continues to face international criticism over the practice of killing the animal for human consumption and for the inhumane conditions in which the dogs are reported to be kept and slaughtered.

Inside The Games reports that officials and market merchants have started tearing down dog kennels and slaughterhouses at Seongnam's Moran market, which sells an average of 220 dogs bound for the butcher each day - that's 80,000 each year.

Online petitions are calling for a boycott of PyeongChang 2018 unless South Korea prohibits the eating of dog meat.

More information see Inside The Games.


The President of the International Paralympic Committee has said more needs to be done to raise awareness of the Paralympics in South Korea before the Winter Games next year.

Sir Phlip Craven is in the country where met the acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn yesterday to discuss preparations for PyeongChang 2018.

"The South Korean government is looking to improve barrier free access and I left the meeting greatly encouraged at his support," Sir Philip said.

"The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games are just over one year away and are a once in a generation opportunity to further societal inclusion in this country.

"However, with awareness levels of the Paralympic Winter Games still low, the transformational impact this event can have on South Korea may be reduced if progress is not made over the next 12 months."

The Games are set to attract up to 670 Para athletes from 45 nations.

Millie Knight at Sochi 2014GB's Millie Knight at the Sochi Paralympics















 "When you watch Paralympic sport you experience a positive switch," Sir Philip added.

" You take the perceived negativity of disability, which describes what does not work, and shift it 180 degrees to the positivity of athletic performance which showcases what does work.

"This ability to change attitudes and perceptions through positive experiences is only possible however if people witness the Games and are engaged with them.

"I hope that between now and 9 March 2018, the day of the Opening Ceremony, everyone can work together to help to further increase awareness and interest levels in order to make the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games a great success."


A female wolf is dead in the canton of Valais after being shot without the permission of the wildlife authorities.

Police are looking for witnesses.

Walkers found the dead animal in a forest in Val d’Anniviers on Friday.

The wolf had been shot behind the shoulder.

Pathologists at the University of Bern are performing the autopsy and the cantonal public prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident. 

The Swiss Wolf Group has offered a reward of CHF10,000 ($9,972) for information leading to the identification of the poacher.

"We offered a similar reward three years ago in a wolf poaching case in canton Graubünden and around 20 people came forward with information even though the culprit was never caught," said David Gerke, president of the group.

More information on

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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