SEPTEMBER NEWS IN BRIEF
1st September 2019
New chief at GB Bobsleigh, 1 million fake Trip Advisor reviews taken down + snowboarder falls from chairlift. ROLLING
NEWS IN BRIEF STORIES FROM AUGUST 2019
SUNDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER
Tony Wallington has been appointed the new President
The double Winter Olympian replaces the retiring Robin Dixon.
Wallington competed for Britain in four-man bobsleigh at the Lake Placid 1980 and Sarajevo 1984 Winter Games.
He was ice coach, equipment manager and performance director roles across five Winter Olympics between 1988 and 2002.
At Nagano in 1998 he helped guide Britain to four-man bronze, which they shared with France.
“I’m extremely honoured to be invited to take over as President of the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association,” said Wallington.
“Benefiting from 44 years participating in the sports, I’m committed to making as big a contribution as is possible to continue nurturing the global success of British bobsleigh and skeleton at the highest level and to encouraging and developing participation at all levels.”
Britain has won the Olympic gold medal in women’s skeleton at the past three Games, with Amy Williams winning at Vancouver 2010 and Lizzy Yarnold triumphing at both Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018.
THURSDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER
1M FAKE REVIEWS ON TRIP ADVISOR TAKEN DOWN
Some referred to properties in ski resorts.
A 29-page report says nearly 35,000 businesses were pushed down the ranking because they were caught attempting to post fake reviews.
It is thought many more have gone undetected.
Trip Advisor has been criticised for not doing enough to stop false reviews.
66 million reviews submitted to TripAdvisor in 2018 and 4.7% were rejected or removed – either for guideline violations or instances of review fraud.
TripAdvisor said only a small fraction of all review submissions (2.1%) were judged be fraudulent.
73% were blocked before they were ever posted.
“Ensuring that TripAdvisor is a trusted platform for our users and listed businesses is a top priority. We’ve continued to make advancements to our industry-leading fraud detection efforts in recent years, but it’s a daily battle and we are far from complacent,” said Becky Foley, senior director of trust & safety at TripAdvisor.
In 2018 the owner of a business selling fake reviews in Italy was sentenced to nine months in prison and fined around €8,000.
THURSDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER
The lift was not open at the time and no one was hurt.
Jeff Coleman with Technical Safety BC says the tourist attraction did not collapse as a result of any defect.
“Our technical failure analysis has concluded that the haul rope wires were substantially cut while under tension.
“Once a sufficient number of wire strands had been cut, the remaining rope segment yielded under the tension from the non-operating gondola.”
He says cutting the haul rope was an extremely dangerous act.
It’s hoped that the gondola can be repaired in time to re-open next Spring.
WEDNESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER
EXTREME SKIER DIES IN FREAK ACCIDENT
Davo Karnicar, the extreme skier and climber, has died while felling trees.
Slovenian media report that relatives found his body under a fallen tree near his home in Jezersko.
The 56-year-old former member of the Yugoslav ski team became the first person to ski from the summit of Everest to Base Camp via the South Col using oxygen in 2000.
“Extreme skiing is my sport, my thinking and life itself,” he said the time.
He also skied down Annapurna, the north east face of the Eiger and the east face of the Matterhorn.
In 2001 he opened a ski school for Nepalese children at the Khumbu glacier on Mount Everest.
MONDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER
FIS RENEWS AGREEMENT WITH TECHNOALPIN
The International Ski Federation has extended its agreement with TechnoAlpin, the company that specialises in snow-making technology.
They have had a deal since 2016 and have signed a new 3-year deal.
It will take the partnership beyond the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
SHAUN WHITE HEADS CLOSER TO 2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPICS
The US snowboarder is hoping to compete in skateboarding as it makes its Olympic debut.
The 33-year-old came 13th while competing in the World Skateboarding Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil .
The top 19 skaters advanced to the quarterfinal.
FRIDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER
FROM BASEBALL TO BIG AIR
BODY OF MISSING HIKER FOUND
The body of a British hiker, missing in the mountains of northern Greece since Sunday, has been found (see below).
26-year-old Robert Frome appears to have fallen into a deep ravine while walking alone in the Pindus mountains near the border with Albania.
His body was spotted on Thursday but the steep terrain meant it could not be recovered.
Specialist teams are arriving today.
THURSDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER
BRITISH HIKER MISSING IN MOUNTAINS OF GREECE
26- year old Robert Frome disappeared on Sunday while hiking in the Pindus mountain range near the Albanian border.
Two helicopters and two search dogs are taking part in the operation to try to find him.
It is understood he was hiking alone.
It is one of the largest searches ever carried out in the area.
Robert Frome’s father alerted the authorities when his son didn’t answer his phone.
His rental car has been found near the village of Mikro Papingo.
It was parked and locked.
“Our fear is that he may have slipped and fallen, which is not uncommon,” said a statement from the authorities.
WEDNESDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER
MEASLES OUTBREAK AT NZ SKI AREAS
15 people have been affected in Queenstown and the surrounding ski area.
Unvaccinated staff at the ski resorts of Coronet Peak and the Remarkables have been told not to turn up for work as health officials try to stop the spread of measles.
There have been 8 new cases of the virus.
6 were staff working at the Remarkables and the other 2 were primary school children.
In the past week more than 500 staff had been vaccinated or received booster shots.
“A lot of our staff are from overseas and it can be very hard for them to find their medical records, so the best way to protect themselves and others from the virus was just to receive the vaccination,” said a statement from the resort.
TUESDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER
THREE MOUNTAIN DEATHS IN AUSTRIA
Three German men have died in separate accidents in the Austrian Alps.
- A 60-year-old man who fell while roped to two other climbers near Nassereith in the Tirol.
- A 50-year-old climber fell into a crevasse at high altitude near St. Leonhard im Pitztal and sustained serious injuries.
- A 50-year-old man died after tripping on a ridge and tumbling down more than 800 feet of rocky terrain near the town of Reutte.
Investigations are under way and the authorities have re-issued safety warnings.
It goes via Helsinki in Finland where it is then direct to Sapporo.
Usually to get to Sapporo and the powder fields of Hokkaido you need to go via Tokyo or have a stop off en route.
The Finnair flight starts from 15th December 2019 and runs until 1st March 2020.
“It’s a brilliant new route for the UK market and will save travellers at least 2 hours flying via Helsinki rather than Tokyo,” said a statement from the airline.
Now here at PlanetSKI we have a little secret to share.
We’re heading to Japan next weekend.
Not for skiing but for the Rugby World Cup.
With Ethiad via Abu Dabi.
Sadly there will be no snow but we will be looking at a host of other attractions in Japan than can be combined with a winter ski trip.
SUNDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER
It is going to be on its App in the next few weeks.
It claims the technology allows people to complete their search in a few seconds, rather than a typical 12 taps.
“We are constantly on the search for ways to improve the travel experience we offer our customers when flying with us and this new technology is a perfect example of that,” said Daniel Young, easyJet head of digital experience.
“As part of this, we are continually striving to make booking a flight more accessible for customers, especially those who are visually impaired, and Speak Now helps us achieve this objective.”
FRIDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER
THURSDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER
MILLER MOVES TO THE MONTANA MOUNTAINS
The retired US downhill skier is heading to Big Sky Resort with his family.
His wife, Morgan, is pregnant with twins.
It follows the death of his daughter, 19-month-old Emeline, who drowned.
Bode Miller will act as Big Sky’s brand ambassador and will help with its ski programme, run camps and promote the ski area.
He and Morgan will also continue their campaign to educate parents about water safety for young children.
Bode Miller is the most decorated male skier in U.S. history with 33 World Cup wins, two overall titles, four world championships and six Olympic medals
He retired in 2017.
We reported on his departure at the time:
WEDNESDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER
MAN INJURED AFTER SKIING OFF A CLIFF IN NEW ZEALAND
The accident happened on the Mangaehuehu Glacier on Mt Ruapehu at the weekend.
The 40-year old man is in hospital in a stable condition.
A woman was stuck on the cliff face, while two other members of their party found their way to the injured man and contacted the emergency services.
It was a long and difficult rescue operation to reach the two people according to the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation.
Police are warning skiers to stick inside ski field boundaries.
“Turoa ski patrollers volunteering their time for Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation put themselves at considerable risk,” said a statement from the authorities.
“This incident serves as a timely reminder that ignoring warning signs not only puts your own life at risk, but also the lives of those in the rescue teams.”
TUESDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER
AVALANCHE SURVIVOR TELLS HER STORY
A seasonaire who was trapped under an avalanche in Austria for 15 minutes has told her story to the BBC 3 series ‘How Not To Die On Holiday’.
The skier, Rhianna Shaw, was caught in the slide while skiing with friends in Ischgl in 2012.
She was in an area they’d nicknamed Death Valley because of the avalanche risk.
When she was found she wasn’t breathing but she was revived and airlifted to hospital.
Rhianna, now 29. gives her account, as does one of her friends who saved her life, in a short film.
If you are in the UK and can access the BBC, you can see it here.
There’s no mention of any of the group having had avalanche transceivers with them at the time, though Rhianna says at the end of the film that she has continued to ski since the accident and carries safety kit with her when goes off piste.
‘Avalanche kit is expensive, but you can’t put a price on your life,” she says.
MONDAY 2ND AUGUST
SPAIN’S FIRST FEMALE WINTER OLYMPIC MEDALLIST GOES MISSING
56-year old Blanca Fernandez Ochoa disappeared more than a week ago according to police.
Officials said on Sunday that a black Mercedes A-Class car that Ms Fernandez was last seen driving has been located in a town near Madrid.
Her family has now made a public appeal for help.
Ms Fernandez left home without her phone and has not used her credit cards since she vanished.
Detectives have found no trace of her.
She took part in four Winter Olympics between 1980 and 1992.
She won bronze in the slalom in the 1992 games at Albertville in France.
In a recent interview she said her bronze medal was a “great source of pride for women’s sport…..At the time that medal felt like gold to me.”
During her World Cup career she had four victories, 20 podiums and 69 top-ten finishes.
The airport is used by 10s of thousands of skiers and snowboarders each winter and is the main base of easyJet.
It is also a hub for ski charter flights.
The application aims to use he airport’s standby runway, known as the Northern Runway into routine use for smaller, departing aircraft alongside the main runway.
It hopes to do this by the mid-2020s.
The airport has notified the Planning Inspectorate that it will submit an application for development consent.
This is the first step in the Development Consent Order application process.
The airport insists safety will not be compromised.
15 athletes from the emerging skiing nations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Greece, Hong Kong, Iran, Ireland, Latvia and Serbia attended the event in El Colorado.
It’s the first new luxury hotel in the swish Colorado resort for 25 years.
It replaces the Sky Hotel.
The new W Aspen is an 88-room hotel and has 11 free-market residences that are currently for sale for timeshare ownership.
The property is the W brand’s second “Mountain Escape,” following the W Verbier in the Swiss Alps.
It is located at the base of Aspen Mountain and its main feature is the W’s “WET Deck” – an 8,000-square-foot rooftop area that’s open to the public.
It includes a heated pool, hot tubs, cabanas, couches, fire pits, DJ booth, dance floor, a U-shaped bar and 360-degree views.
So, could you endure a stay?
For the Spirit of the Mountains – PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news