DECEMBER NEWS IN BRIEF
1st December 2019
Last modified on January 3rd, 2020
* Mikaela Shiffrin clocks up more records
* US Pro snowboarder commits suicide
* Organisation formed to protect the mountain environment
* Sapporo in Japan plans 2030 Winter Olympic Bid
NEWS IN BRIEF STORIES FROM NOVEMBER 2019
MONDAY 30TH DECEMBER
SHIFFRIN CLOCKS UP MORE RECORDS
The US ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin has now equalled compatriot Lindsey Vonn’s record for the most World Cup wins by a woman in a single discipline.
Shiffrin reached the milestone with slalom victory number 43 at Lienz in Austria on Sunday.
Vonn, who has now retired, has the same number of wins in the downhill.
Shiffrin could well soon match or overtake the great Swede, Ingemar Stenmark.
He holds the record for 46 discipline wins.
Shiffrin also became the first alpine skier, male or female, to record 14 successive slalom podiums in World Cup history.
Still only 24, she had topped the podium in the giant slalom at Lienz 24 hours earlier.
These back-to-back victories have put her on 64 World Cup wins in total.
We wouldn’t bet against her surpassing Vonn’s women’s record of 82, or even the overall record of 86 held by Stenmark.
PROFESSIONAL SNOWBOARDER COMMITS SUICIDE ON XMAS DAY
Jaeger Alan Bailey, an X Games competitor and US professional snowboarder, has died.
The 26-year old lived in Mammoth Lakes in California.
The police were called to his home at about 6 pm on Christmas Day, the sheriff’s office said.
He was not responsive and is understood to have killed himself.
Snowboarder Magazine named him “Rookie of the Year” in 2013.
A memorial fund has already surpassed its $10,000 goal.
All the extra money will go to mental health research.
“Jaeger was a renowned snowboarder who had competed in the X-Games and been featured in several snowboarding films,” Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun.
Next of kin have been informed.
SATURDAY 28TH DECEMBER
MOUNTAIN SUMMIT IS LAUNCHED TO HELP PROTECT THE MOUNTAINS
It has been organised by the International Olympic Committee.
Members include the International Ski Federation, the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations and several sporting Federations.
Protect Our Winters is also offering support.
The group will produce a guide on how to organise sustainable events in the mountain environments that will be relevant to all mountain sports.
The group will also create a list of Top Tips on how to protect mountains for those who enjoy them for recreational purposes.
Mountains occupy around 22% of Earth’s land area and are home to 13% of the world’s population.
Mountain tourism accounts for up to 20% of the global tourism industry.
FRIDAY 27TH DECEMBER
SAPPORO SET TO BID FOR 2030 WINTER OLYMPICS
The Japanese city on the north island of Hokkaido previously hosted the Olympics in 1972.
Japan has recently held the Rugby World Cup and Tokyo is to host the Summer Olympics next year.
The city has formally expressed an interest in throwing its hat into the ring.
The city will launch co-ordination work with the International Olympic Committee towards officially submitting its bid, while receiving support from the Japanese Olympic Committee.
In September of last year, Sapporo withdrew from the race for the 2026 Winter Olympics to focus on bidding for 2030.
The decision came following a meeting between IOC President Thomas Bach and officials from the JOC & and the City of Sapporo in Lausanne, Switzerland.
It is likely Niseko will hold all four Alpine skiing disciplines; slalom, giant slalom, super-G and downhill.
The creation of new courses for the downhill and super-G events in the Yu no Sawa area of the mountain is being considered by officials.
Pre-existing courses would be used for the slalom and giant slalom events.
Salt Lake City in the USA has also said it wants to hold the 2030 Games.
It held the Winter Olympics back in 2002.
TUESDAY 24TH DECEMBER
NEW SKI AIRPORT OPENS IN SCANDINAVIA
Scandinavian Mountains Airport has welcomed its first flight.
Direct SAS flights from London Heathrow start this Saturday December 28th.
With transfers to Sälen, Sweden, from just 10 minutes, British skiers can fly in the morning and be out on the slopes after lunch.
The new airport is situated by the Norwegian border in Sweden between the resorts of Sälen in Sweden and Trysil, Norway.
Here at PlanetSKI we are visiting next month and look forward to reporting back on the airport and the resorts of Salen and Trysil.
SUNDAY 22ND DECEMBER
SNICKERS IS OFFICIAL CHOCOLATE BAR OF BEIJING WINTER OLYMPICS
The bar brand is owned by the American global manufacturer, Mars-Wrigley.
The deal has just been signed with Chinese officials.
Snickers was previously the official chocolate for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
It was also a sponsor of the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics in Seoul and Barcelona.
11 Beijing 2022 official partners have been signed, including People’s Insurance Company of China , Bank of China, Air China, Yili Group, ANTA, China Unicom, Shougang Group, CNPC, Sinopec Group, and
Seven official sponsors have been signed, including Tsingtao Beer, Yanjing Beer, Arawana, Shunxin, Cultural Investment Holdings, Beijing Beiao Group and HYX.
Four official exclusive suppliers have also been signed – China Post, EF Education First, iFLYTEK, and now Snickers.
All the sponsors are Chinese brands except for Snickers and EF Education First which is a European brand.
FRIDAY 20TH DECEMBER
X GAMES BACK IN NORWAY IN 2020
ESPN, which owns the X Games brand, has announced Norway will host an edition of the X Games for a fifth consecutive year.
Ski and Snowboard Bit Air and Knuckle Huck competitions will take place in the resort of Hafjell 7th and 8th March.
What is Knuckle Huck?
Instead of hitting the Big Air jump in the traditional way, riders take off the knuckle (roll over) and ‘huck’ their most creative and unique trick.
The event had its debut at the 2019 Aspen X Games.
The first round of athletes invited to compete in Norway have also been announced.
They include the Canadian Max Parrot, who won Snowboard Big Air gold at X Games Norway in August after completing cancer treatment.
The full list of athletes invited to date can be found on XGames.com
THURSDAY 19TH DECEMBER
The wife of a former Colorado ski company executive has admitted stealing skis and snowboards from her husband’s firm and selling them online.
The Aspen Times reports that Kerri Johnson, who is 48, pleaded guilty this week to the theft from Aspen Skiing Co.
She was working alongside her husband, 52-year-old Derek Johnson, who has already admitted stealing from the company.
See our earlier article from when the couple were accused:
Derek Johnson faces a prison term of between four and 12 years.
His wife is reported to be facing a sentence of probation with open conditions and possible jail time.
The couple will also have to pay $250,000 restitution.
Derek Johnson co-founded D&E Ski and Snowboard Shops in 1993 before selling the company to Aspen Skiing Co in 2001.
He stayed on as MD of retail and rental equipment.
Between 2010 and 2018, he is said to have taken skis and snowboards from the company to a storage unit he and his wife rented.
Kerri Johnson was responsible for the sale and shipping of the stolen equipment through eBay, according to the authorities.
TUESDAY 17TH DECEMBER
IOC PRAISES BEIJING 2022 PREPARATIONS
The vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, is in China to see progress.
He claims the country is embracing the idea and much has already happened to grow interest in snowsports and promote its legacy.
“The legacy to winter sports is really being delivered even before the Games.
“People here are really enthusiastic about winter sports.
“This city enjoys the Olympic spirit.
“Citizens of Beijing are 100% behind the Games, and we thank them for that.”
“We are so convinced that the Beijing 2022 Games will be an extraordinary success,” he added.
MONDAY 16TH DECEMBER
TRADITIONAL FIRES BANNED IN PART OF FRENCH ALPS
The préfect of Haute-Savoie has signed a decree to forbid the use of traditional fireplaces in the Arve valley.
It is reported that open fires in fireplaces causes 80% of the winter pollution in the area.
The decree forbidding the use of traditional fireplaces will come into effect on January 1st 2022.
Forty-one towns in the Arve valley will be affected by this directive.
Traditional fireplaces are a crucial selling point for many holiday homes.
“Tourists enjoy a cosy log fire. I am not really looking forward to getting rid of it,” Jean-Luc, the owner of a bed and breakfast in Saint-Gervais, told Le Parisien newspaper.
The authorities are giving grants of up to €2,000 for people to replace traditional fireplaces.
SATURDAY 14TH DECEMBER
MILAN/CORTINA 2026 OLYMPIC COMMITTEE SET UP
It has been officially been established as International Olympic Committee officials visit the region this week.
The ‘Milano Cortina 2026 Foundation’ will consist of 22 members.
These include local and national politicians, sportsmen and women, plus others with specialist experience and knowledge.
Vincenzo Novari was named chief executive of Milan-Cortina 2026 last month.
Milan Cortina beat Stockholm-Åre for the right to host the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in June.
FRIDAY 13TH DECEMBER
UBER SKI LAUNCHES IN USA
Uber users in 23 areas will see an Uber Ski icon appear on their app when they request a ride.
Riders will pay an extra surcharge for a vehicle that is guaranteed to come with extra space, or a rack that can store skis or snowboards.
UberSki rides will also to take them home at the end of the skiing day.
Drivers will not be required to accept Uber Ski rides, but if they do, they will have to provide photographic evidence that their vehicles are equipped to handle ski equipment.
Uber is launching Uber Ski in 23 markets that are close to multiple ski resorts.
WEDNESDAY 11TH DECEMBER
WEATHER FORCES CHANGES TO VAL D’ISERE SKI RACING
The International Ski Federation has rescheduled this weekend’s World Cup alpine races in Val d’Isere.
The decision has been taken because of the weather forecast over the coming days.
The men’s slalom, which should have been held on Sunday, has been moved forward to Saturday.
The men’s GS will move from Saturday to Sunday.
The racing is part of the Critérium de la Première Neige – a festival of World Cup racing in Val d’Isere which includes women’s downhill, super G and alpine combined races on 21st and 22nd December.
GB’s Dave Ryding will be lining on Saturday in the slalom up for his second race of the season.
He’ll be hoping for a better result than at Levi last month.
He had been in second place going into the second run but crashed out and failed to finish run 2.
He’s in Val d’Isere getting some practice in this week.
View this post on Instagram
Sunshine and smiles… and another lecture from the legend himself Ante Kostelic! . This man is the GOAT… he is the Pablo Picasso of Slalom setting.. (shit everywhere, but somehow it’s always good and enjoyable to ski!) . If you fancy my goggles.. link in my bio of course! Perfect XMAS gift treat. #obergurgl #hochgurgl #thediamondofthealps #yniqeyewear #zaniergloves #goldwin #leki #quinnestates #ctec #vitalmarketing #kandaharracing #secrettraining
So what is the snow situation?
There was a big dump of snow in Val d’Isere on Sunday night into Monday and there’s more forecast in the coming days, with the heaviest falls starting on Friday.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed the weather is OK for all the racing to go ahead.
TUESDAY 10TH DECEMBER
NEW SKI RESORT FOR NORTH KOREA
The North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has officially opened the nattily names, Yangdok Hot Spring Cultural Recreation Center.
It is aimed for people to enjoy “high civilization under socialism” according to an official state report.
North Korea’s state TV showed footage of the resort including thousands of soldiers and flag-waving civilians and children welcoming Kim.
Tourism is excluded from the UN sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear weapons program.
MONDAY 9TH DECEMBER
RUSSIA BANNED FROM BEIJING 2020 WINTER OLYMPICS
Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA.
It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Russia will also be barred from the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar.
Athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.
A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after the country was banned following the 2014 Winter Games that it hosted in Sochi.
Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports.
Russia has 21 days to appeal against the ban.
SATURDAY 7TH DECEMBER
8 DIE IN SKI RESORT AFTER GAS EXPLOSION
The bodies of four children and four adults have been found in the rubble of a three-story building in the southern Polish ski resort of Szczyrk.
It followed a gas explosion.
200 people, including fire fighters and police, took part in the rescue efforts.
No-one else has been reported missing.
An investigation is underway.
FRIDAY 6TH DECEMBER
TICKETS FOR 2020 SKI WORLD CUP FINALS ON SALE
The finals in Cortina will feature five days of races and events, nine races and 12 16 FIS Alpine World Cup titles: 12 events, two Overall and two Team titles.
150 athletes from 20 nations will be taking part.
Tickets for the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals can now be purchased online at the Cortina 2020 website
THURSDAY 5TH DECEMBER
POST DELIVERY BY DRONE IN FRENCH ALPS
The French post office is reportedly using drones to deliver mail to snowy alpine villages.
News reports say the idea is to save time, reduce pollution and avoid the snow.
The service using the courier firm DPD whose drivers in the Isere region launch the drones from a platform on their vans at Fontanil-Cornillon.
According to an article in The Times the drones can carry parcels weighing up to 2kg.
The drones travel almost 5km to the village of Mont-Saint-Martin, where they deposit the post in a bin at the town hall for collection.
The road to the village is often impassable by snow.
Even when it is not, the journey by road takes 30 minutes.
The Swiss Post Office already uses drones for some remote alpine areas.
TUESDAY 3RD DECEMBER
NEW HEADLINE SPONSOR FOR CITY SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
The annual racing event, which attracts 250 skiers, will take place in Courmayeur in Italy from 30th January to 2nd February.
For the next three years, its title sponsor will be the global real estate company, Knight Frank.
The City Ski Championships, organised by Momentum Ski, have been running since 2000.
PlanetSKI was there in 2016 when it was held in Verbier.
Skiers from the City of London’s biggest property, financial, management consultancy, insurance and legal firms, as well as other industry sectors take part.
As well as racing, there’s entertainment and business networking.
Knight Frank has been a sponsor since 2015 but is stepping up to become the main title sponsor.
The inner-city snowsports youth charity Snow-Camp will again be the Championships’ charity partner.
It will be contributing by running a new event during the Championships.
SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER
US SKIER SURVIVES AVALANCHE
The man was completely buried while skiing Guller Creek in the backcountry.
The area is about a mile west of the Copper Mountain ski resort in Colorado.
His friends were able to dig him out in time.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Centre described the avalanche as a “hard slab avalanche that broke on weak layers near the ground.”
The avalanche danger level is currently at 3 across much of the mountains which mean there is “considerable” risk of avalanche.
“Human triggered avalanches are likely on slopes greater than 35 degrees,” said CAIC in a tweet.
“Avalanches will be largest and most dangerous on north and east-facing slopes.”
SHIFFRIN PUSHED INTO THIRD
The US skier had to settle for bronze at the giant slalom in Vermont.
If Mikaela Shiffrin had won she would have been equal second on the women’s all-time list of winner with the Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proll who had 62 wins.
Lindsey Vonn tops the list with 83.
The race in Vermont was won by the Italian skier, Marta Bassino.
Her fellow Italian Federica Brignone came second.
Shiffrin has another chance for a 62nd career win in the slalom event on Sunday.
The GB skier, Alex Tilley, had an impressive race.
She was equal 30th after first run (from start No.51) then had the second fastest time on the second run to finish 17th overall.
She was faster than Shiffrin, Goggia and Worley.
FIS COUNCIL TO HAVE AT LEAST 3 WOMEN
The International Ski Federation has given unanimous approval to the move.
Currently the FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis and athletes’ representative Hannah Kearney are the only women on the Council.
They are both on the Council because of their roles within the organisation.
There are no formally elected female members.