Drivers heading to France must apply for Crit'Air anti-pollution stickers or face on the spot fines, Ski companies support Comic Relief, Everest climbers to wear GPS device to prevent fake summit claims, driverless bus trial to start in Zug and uphill skiing extended at Aspen, USA. NEW & UPDATED
Thursday 23rd March
DRIVERS HEADING TO FRANCE NEED TO APPLY FOR 'ANTI-POLLUTION' STICKER ASAP
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."
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 websitefor 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
EVEREST CLIMBERS TO WEAR GPS TRACKING DEVICE
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.
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."
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.
Possible disruption? - PlanetSKI library photo of Lyon Airport
Thursday 2nd March
SKI RESORT SUED AFTER SNOWBOARDER STRANDED ON LIFT
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 WBTV.com, 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.
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.
SOUTH KOREA URGED TO RAISE AWARENESS OF PARALYMPIC SPORT
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.
GB'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."
WOLF SHOT ILLEGALY IN SWISS CANTON
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.