Senior manager at SCOTT dies in ski accident in Chamonix, IGLU SKI is recognised, Pam Thorburn recovering from knee surgery, 2 dead in avalanche in Romania + England Alpine Squad gets a new Head Coach. NEW & UPDATED
Wednesday 26th April
SCOTT SKI MANAGER DIES IN ACCIDENT IN CHAMONIX
A senior employee at the leading ski company, SCOTT, has died in a skiing accident in Chamonix.
Hervé Maneint, who was in his 50s, was hit by a falling rock while skiing with two mountain guides and one other person in the French resort on Friday. He died instantly.
Hervé Maneint was the Ski and Ski Boot Senior Product Manager and had worked for SCOTT since 2000.
The company said the thoughts of everyone at SCOTT was with his family and friends.
"The passing away of Hervé Maneint is a shock for the entire company," said Beat Zaugg, SCOTT's CEO.
"We have lost more than just an enthusiastic employee. Hervé lived his profession with an incredible dedication. To him, his job was not work; it was his passion.
"Hervé was larger than life. He was loud, humorous, always had strong opinions, he could be annoying, irritating, but, above all he was alive and passionate.
"He loved his work, his skis, his boots, the sea and the mountains, his family, his wife and his two sons. And he had such a big heart.
"I know that this is a shock for our whole organization, but we will find the courage to go on to maintain his life spirit and the passion he had for his work."
IGLU RECOGNISED FOR AMBITION
The company that includes IGLU SKI has been named one of the most exciting and fast-growing companies in the UK by being included in The Leap 100 2017.
"Published by City AM on Wednesday 26th April, it is a real honour to be recognised amongst this list of prestigious UK companies," said a spokesperson from IGLU.
The Leap 100 was launched by law firm Mishcon de Reya and business publication City AM and nominated in partnership with Seven Hills and The Entrepreneurs Network to celebrate fast growing companies with ambitious plans for the future.
Iglu.com was founded in 1998 and consists of 4 specialised travel brands including Iglu Ski and Iglu Cruise.
"We are incredibly proud to now have 375 staff working across the brands including an expert team of sales staff that are highly experienced in ski, cruise and travel so they can offer the best and honest advice to our customers and find the perfect holiday for their needs," added the spokesperson.
IGLU SKI on the slopes
Tuesday 25th April
PAM THORBURN ON THE MEND
The good news is Pam Thorburn did not rupture her ACL in her recent accident at the World Championships in Spain.
Pam Thorburn came out of surgery yesterday and is now on the mend.
Her recovery from knee surgery will be quicker than first expected.
She posted these two images and short gif/video post op from her bed at Glasgow Royal Infirmary (scroll left/right on image)
She commented, "Just over 5 weeks ago I crashed at World Champs and ended up in hospital. I was told by 3 separate doctors I had ruptured my ACL and torn my meniscus. After my initial heartbreak hearing the news... I began to question it. I just didn't believe the ACL was broken. I have spent the last 5 weeks 'prehabbing' and seeking other opinions."
She continued, "Today I had successful surgery on my knee and I'm beyond stoked to say my ACL was still intact! Recovery time will still be significant but it's a fraction of what it could have been."
Read about her Best/Worst moments of the season in this article on PlanetSKI.
TWO DEAD IN AVALANCHE IN ROMANIA
Two teenagers have died in an avalanche in Romania's Retezat Mountains.
The victims, aged 13 and 14, were skiing with three others in the wintry weather that hit the country and area 220 miles northwest of Bucharest on 22nd April.
Local authorities had warned about a high risk of avalanches, saying it was unsafe to send a helicopter there.
NEW HEAD COACH FOR ENGLAND ALPINE SQUAD
Snowsport England has appointed James Knock to take over from Jo Ryding, who has held the position for two years.
Knock, who is from Sheffield, began his coaching career at 16 with his local club, Sharks Ski Club, before working part-time and learning his trade with both BSA and Ambition Racing.
He then spent six years with Team Evolution, coaching National Champions in every age group from Under 10s to Under 21s.
After taking some time out to pursue a career in physiotherapy, Knock will take charge of the England Alpine Squad, which includes athletes aged from Under 14 up to Under 21.
"I am excited to share the experience that I have built up over the last 11 years with athletes, coaches and parents via my new role at Snowsport England," Knock said.
"I want to thank Jo Ryding for all her hard work over the last few years in developing the squad to its current position. I look forward to continuing to build on Jo's hard work and provide educational sessions to develop our young athletes' technical, tactical,physical and psychological skills."
Snowsport England Chief Executive Tim Fawke said he was confident that James Knock would continue to grow and develop the squad and build on the sophisticated programme built up by Jo Ryding and a team of dedicated volunteers.
Ideas and feedback for the new coach can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday 24th April
ANOTHER FIRE AT SHEFFIELD DRY SLOPE
Arsonists have struck at the former Sheffield Ski Village again.
Members of the public are being urged to stay away from the now derelict site after a blaze on Saturday night.
The dry slope centre where some of Britain's top freestyle skiers - including James Woods and Katie Summerhayes started out - closed after a fire in 2012. There have been around 60 fires since then.
Sheffield Ski Village
According to the local news website The Star, the latest attack comes less than a fortnight after two previous arson attacks on the same night.
The fire service says the call-outs are becoming a drain on its resources and the fires are endangering the old structures on the site resulting in a significant risk of injury.
The site is owned by Sheffield Council which is hoping to turn it into an outdoor adventure centre, which could include a snowsports centre, a mountain bike trail or an urban bike park.
Sunday 23rd April
CHAIRLIFT RESCUE AT MADRID'S INDOOR SKI SLOPE
Firefighters came to the rescue of skiers and snowboarders trapped on an indoor chairlift in the Snowzone at Madrid's Xanadu shopping mall.
The rescue took place today.
The Xanadu shopping mall is one of Europe's largest shopping centres that also features a snowzone with a ski slope.
About 30 people were trapped on the chair lift for around an hour.
The emergency services received a barage of telephone calls from those stuck on the chairlift from about 18:30.
It is confirmed there were no serious injuries though some skiers may have received additional medical attention for possible hypothermia.
It is an unusual rescue and here at PlanetSKI we think it is the first of its kind.
More details on Lugaresdenieve.
Firefighters to the rescue at Madrid Xanadu Indoor Ski Slope (photo: lugaresdenieve)
JURY TO DECIDE VAIL AVALANCHE CASE
A jury will decide if Vail Resorts properly closed an expert ski run where a teenager was killed in an avalanche.
District Judge Fred Gannett has ruled that jurors must decide if signs on the run called Prima Cornice were sufficient when 13-year-old Taft Conlin was swept away in January 2012.
The upper gate on the run was closed, but the lower gate was left open.
For more detail see here.
Sunday 18th April
FORMER GURKHA ATTEMPTS TO RECLAIM TITLE OF OLDEST EVEREST CLIMBER
86-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan reached Namche bazaar - the stage point for the Mt Everest climb - for acclimatisation today, according to his climbing guide Shiva Bahadur Sapkota.
Sherchan is attempting to looking to win back his name as the oldest climber of Everest this season.
Amatun Noor, aged 21, is the youngest female to obtain the Everest permit and the only Bangladeshi climber of the season.
This season the oldest foreign climbers in both the male and female categories are Japanese Hiromi Wada, 70, and New Zealand's 68-year-old Joy Christine Deerness, respectively.
729 mountaineers have been granted a permit this year to climb Nepal's Mount Everest.
Min Bahadur Sherchan: thehimalayantimes.com
Traversing through Khumbu icefall on Sunday, April 16. Photo: Jim Davidson
For more Mount Everest climbing news see here.
Read more here on PlanetSKI's coverage of Everest, with the controversial DJ set at Base camp.
Sunday 16th April
RUSSIAN LUGE ATHLETE CONSIDERS 8th OLYMPICS
Albert Demchenko is considering coming out of retirement to take part in Pyeongchang 2018.
If he does he will be the first athlete to take part in 8 Winter Olympic Games.
The 45-year old retired after Sochi 2014 where he won 2 bronze medals.
According to the TASS news agency, he is considering a return as long as he passes medical tests.
"I'm thinking about returning to the sport. I left the sledge after Sochi because of back problems but over the past three years, I think I have recovered, and I have no pain. I train. So why not try to go back at an eighth Olympic Games?" he said.
He competed at his first Winter Olympics at Albertvilee in 1992 as part of the Unified Team.
Saturday 15th April
UTAH RECORDS NO AVALANCHE DEATHS FOR FIRST TIME IN 26 YEARS
For the first time in more than a quarter century, no avalanche fatalities occurred in Utah this past winter.
It comes despite huge winter snowfalls.
Utah Avalanche Center spokesman Craig Gordon said that it was 26 years ago, during the winter of 1990-1991, that the state's mountains saw a season without at least one avalanche death being recorded.
Since then, the state had averaged four avalanche deaths per winter.
"We have had lots of snow, lots of avalanches and had a couple of close calls. But the good news is that technology is working in our advantage and people are getting our information," said Craig Gordon, a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center. "The beauty is all of this technology is working and that has been a huge step in the right direction."
Last year, two avalanche fatalities were reported in Utah.
Winter's later arrival in the Wasatch Mountains likely "worked to our advantage," Gordon said. He added, "We didn't get a lot of early season snow, which can grow structurally weak and sugary and then give us issues for the rest of the winter."
"We got a lot of snow and we had violent storms that came in fast and furious. They laid down feet of snow and inches of water and there were many times when the avalanche risk was high and even extreme," Gordon said. "Given all of those factors, I think our magnitude of outreach has grown and it has become commonplace to get the advisory before doing any backcountry recreating."
For more details then see here.
Keeping skiers safe
Friday 14th April
6,000 SNOWSPORT EVENTS
That's the number of competitions run by the International Ski Federation, FIS, last winter.
- 5 World Championships
- 6 Junior World Championships
- 25,002 athletes competed
- Alpine had largest number of competitors at 8,813
- There were 462 technical delegates and 361 judges from 43 nations
Wednesday April 12th
SION GETS FURTHER BACKING FOR SWISS 2026 OLYMPIC BID
The Swiss Olympic Committee has given the bid its formal support. The last Olympics to be held in Switzerland were in St Moritz in 1948.
Sion is in the Rhone Valley in the Valais canton and lost out to Turin for the 2006 Winter Olympics.
It has a population of 33,000 and is 160km east of Geneva.
The sporting venues would be spread around the Valais and also in the neighboring cantons of Fribourg, Bern and Vaud.
We reported on its proposed bid in this earlier story on PlanetSKI.
The next step is for the Swiss Olympic Committee to ask for backing from the Swiss government.
"This clear message from Swiss sport is very important to us. It shows that the foundations of the Sion 2026 project are solid," said the President of Swiss Olympic, Jürg Stahl.
"It is also important to us as we are entering the next stage of the project, which is to gather Federal support. We are extremely grateful to be able to count on the support of these athletes, it is also with them that we will be able to explain to our population why we believe that the Games in Switzerland is a great idea," he added.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has seen interest in hosting the winter Olympics fall away in the last few years, especially in Europe.
All the European cities that began a bid process for the 2022 Games eventually pulled out as there was not enough public or political backing - see here for an earlier PlanetSKI story on the issue.
The Swiss canton of Graubünden has been interested in hosting the 2026 Games but the idea was defeat in a referendum.
"The Games would have a positive impact on a wide range of areas of our society but the focus will be on the revitalization of sport in our country, and in particular the upgrading of winter sports," said the Swiss Olympic downhill gold medalist, Didier Defago, who is backing the bid.
The Games could cost up to £2.5n.
Other cities being mooted are Trento in Italy, Dresden in Germany, Lviv in Ukraine, Sweden's capital Stockholm, Quebec City and Calgary in Canada, and the Japanese city of Sapporo.
Almaty may also bid again after losing out narrowly for the 2022 Games.
Tuesday April 11th
CHILD DIES IN BRECKENRIDGE
A 12-year-old boy from California has died after skiing into a tree stump in the Colorado resort at the weekend.
He was in the resort with his family on a ski holiday.
He was taken by helicopter to a children's hospital but pronounced dead.
He has been named as Logan Goodwin of Hermosa Beach, California.
The coroner ruled his death accidental, a result of blunt-force trauma to the abdomen.
"Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge Ski Patrol and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest's family and friends," said John Buhler, vice president and chief operating officer of Breckenridge, in a statement.
See here for more details in The Denver Post.
13 people have died while skiing or snowboarding in Colorado this season - 5 of the fatalities have been in Breckenridge.
Monday April 10th
28 YEAR OLD BRITISH OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER BEN KILNER RETIRES
PlanetSKI's Chief Reporter, Jane Peel was in Laax last week at the British Snowboard and Freeski Championships, when Ben Kilner from Banchory in Scotland announced his retirement shortly after retaining his British Snowboard Halfpipe title. Read Jane Peel's Laax report here.
Ben Kilner competed in two Winter Games - Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014.
He also won a World Cup halfpipe bronze at Calgary in 2010 and had three other top 10 results.
Ben took to social media and posted the following statement on his future plans.
"It's been an emotional ride and I would like to thank every single person that has helped carry my snowboard career for the past 20 years. The time has now come to hang up my boots and move on to the next chapter. The GB Park and Pipe family have provided the ultimate support and can only wish anyone looking for a career to strive and get on board.
"Most importantly I would like to thank my amazing parents, sister, family, friends and my amazing girlfriend who have supported me. I really couldn't have done it without you all.
"It's been a hard decision to make but the business life has really escalated and I am absolutely loving it! Another factor being due to the lack of sponsorship. A third Olympics would have been amazing but my future now lies with helping people achieve their goals in the form of health and fitness. The Unit Gym & Fitness is where that lays.
"Snowboarding will still always be the funnest/most awesome sport on this planet to me 😁 🤙🏽🤘🏽 "
"After my zillionth attempt I finally got it (totally sketch) 😂😂 this week at The BRITS has been awesome catching up with everyone!"
5 HIKERS SWEPT TO THEIR DEATHS IN CANADA SNOW SLIDE
They were crossing an unstable ledge of snow in the mountains north of Vancouver when they fell 500 metres to their deaths.
Five bodies have been recovered.
Search and rescue crews were alerted to the accident late Saturday afternoon.
Search manager Martin Colwell said four bodies were recovered at the bottom of Mount Harvey and a fifth was located several hours later.
A sixth hiker with the group had fallen behind and when he arrived at the summit, the other five had disappeared, Colwell said.
"The tracks were at the summit and there was an obvious sheer break in the snow over the north face," he said.
He said it appears the group stepped out on the ledge, or cornice, of unsupported snow and it collapsed under them.
"It's very dangerous, it's very deceptive," he said, of the snow ledge.
See more in this article in the Seattle Times.
Thursday April 6th
US SKI RESORT EXTENDS SEASON
Aspen in Colorado has announced it will stay open until April 23rd.
Another 50cm of snow has fallen in the resort in the past week and there will top-to-bottom skiing from the Silver Queen Gondola and the Ajax Express, FIS and Ruthie's lifts.
The lifts will run from 10am to 5pm to take advantage of spring conditions - unless it is a powder day and then the lifts will open at 9am.
"With good base depths from early-season snowfall and the addition of new snow, Aspen Mountain is looking in good shape for a bonus week," said mountain manager Peter King. "Spring on Ajax is always a great time to come out and enjoy some sunshine, après as well as prime slush bumps."
There has been huge snow across many parts of North America this season as we reported in this earlier PlanetSKI story.
In February the PlanetSKI editor was in Aspen as part of his 4-week multi-resort North America road trip - see here as James spent 48-hours in Aspen when he was visiting Colorado.
Monday April 3rd
TERM-TIME HOLIDAY RULING ON THURSDAY
The Supreme Court decision on whether parents can be prosecuted over term-time holidays will be announced on Thursday morning.
It is expected to be released at 09.45.
It will have significant implications for parents who wish to take their child out of school for a ski holiday and its implications with be felt by the family ski tour operators.
It follows a ruling by the High Court that a father. Jon Platt, was entitled to take his daughter out of school for a holiday as she had a good attendance record.
See here for our story from the time.
And see here as we covered the case at the Supreme Court earlier in the year.
The 5 Supreme Court Justices are Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Reed and Lord Hughes.
Here at PlanetSKI we will bring you the court's decision on Thursday
Mt Platt has said he is not confident about the outcome.
"Keep your fingers crossed for me," he said on Facebook.
The Supreme Court
NORTH KOREA INTENDS TO TAKE PART IN NEXT YEAR'S WINTER OLYMPICS
North Korean officials have reportedly declared the country's intent to take part in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.
Talks are said to have taken place recently and a North Korean sports official confirmed his country will participate.
For more on the story see here.
Sunday April 2nd
INVESTIGATION AS SKI PATROL REMOVE BODY BEFORE CORONER ARRIVES
An investigation into a skier's death at a ski resort in Colorado was mishandled when ski patrol members removed the body and cleaned up the scene before the coroner arrived.
Cole Barker, 35, of Georgetown, hit a tree at Loveland Ski Area on March 24 near the bottom of Lift 8.
Barker was pronounced dead at the scene by Clear Creek EMS at the scene, and the ski patrol took the body down the mountain.
Fore more details see here.
Saturday April 1st
The French super star Speed Skier, Simon Billy, is recovering well in hospital and is due out shortly.
He suffered little more than a dislocated elbow.
He crashed from what was going to be a 245kph start at the World Record attempt in Vars, France.
The video was published with permission of the Billy Family.
END OF SEASON STATEMENT FROM FIS
The President of the International Ski Federation, FIS, Gian Franco Kasper has released his end of season thoughts.
They include worries about snow at the beginning of the winter with efforts needed to attract and keep interest in snowsports and continue the battle against cheating.
Gian Franco Kasper
"Spring has arrived, signalling the completion of another successful FIS competition programme in the Northern Hemisphere.
The 2016-2017 season was one with many highlights, spectacular memories and major milestones across all six of the FIS Olympic disciplines.
In December, we once again found ourselves biting our fingernails hoping that winter would arrive on time to allow us to hold our full calendar.
Due to the unseasonably warm temperatures notably in November in North America, several of our disciplines were once again forced to do some creative juggling of the schedules early on, but once again, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Organisers, we had to cancel very few events in the face of varying weather.
To the Organisers, I want to once again say thank you for your massive efforts to ensure that our events continue to be successful.
We had several key highlights during the season.
First in our World Cup competitions, the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup celebrated its 50th anniversary.
It was amazing to see the celebrations that our Organisers hosted to commemorate this milestone.
I would especially like to thank Zagreb (CRO) for its massive birthday celebration on 6th January, which was a memorable evening for current and past World Cup stars.
Ski Jumping also celebrated a major milestone during the season, with the 65th edition of the Four Hills Tournament.
It is a testament to the popularity of our competitions that we can enjoy 50 and 65 years of successfully staged tours.
And already our hugely popular Cross-Country Tour de Ski is already in double digits as it staged its 11th edition this winter.
In February and March our biggest bi-annual sporting highlights were staged as St. Moritz (SUI), Lahti (FIN) and Sierra Nevada (ESP) welcomed the world's best athletes at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championship, the FIS Nordic World Ski Championship and the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championship.
Thanks to excellent organisation, our sport and our athletes were able to shine on the biggest stages.
The memories from these six weeks of top-level competition are too many to count as the athletes gave all they had to bring the world exciting competitions conducted in the spirit of fair-play.
Congratulations not just to all the medallists, but to every participant at our FIS World Championships.
With spring arriving, we now turn our attention to preparing for the upcoming 2017/18 season.
It is clear that the focus of the next season will be the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang (KOR).
During the last two seasons, we have successfully staged FIS World Cup competitions as Test Events across every FIS discipline and I can confidently say that the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee is ready to welcome the world for what are sure to be excellent Olympic Winter Games in Korea.
We will also spend a good portion of the off season working to ensure that all of our disciplines and competitions continue to evolve and engage our audiences.
We cannot relax and become complacent as the sports market evolves, and we need to be prepared to carefully analyse our sport and be ready to make adaptations to ensure our competitions and their presentation are attractive for broadcasters, media, fans, and most importantly, the general public and next generation.
These efforts include working with a focus on scheduling, ensuring top conditions for athletes, maximising media exposure and very importantly keeping our sport clean from any form of cheating or manipulation, so as to keep the headlines focused on the action on the snow.
I wish all of our national ski associations and organisers, athletes, sponsors, partners, media representatives, fans a successful and peaceful summer season and I look forward to seeing everyone back on the snow next winter in the Northern Hemisphere."
Gian Franco Kasper
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.
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