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Tuesday May 1, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Profit rise for largest lift company in the world, GB first to visit Beijing 2022, legal row looms over Ikon name + body of missing snowboarder recovered. NEW & UPDATED






The Compagnie des Alpes has reported a rise in first-half profits helped by higher sales at its ski resorts and theme parks operations.

Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) operates in 11 ski resorts in France and 13 leisure parks in Europe.

The resorts include Chamonix, Tignes, Val d'Isere, Les Arcs, La Plagne, Meribel, Flaine and Serre Chevalier.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 6.7% to €169.8 million in the first half of its financial year.

The ski business makes makes the bulk of group sales.

CDA expects growth in sales for the ski division to be up 2% for the full year 2017/18.

Going up...Going up...


The British Olympic Association & the British Paralympic Association are the first national governing bodies to visit Beijing ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"Impressed with the Organising Committee's plans so far and great to see both new and familiar venues taking shape, said the Director of sport at the British Paralympic Association Penny Briscoe.

The city will become the first to host both the Summer and Winter Games.

It hosted the Summer Games in 2008.

Four years to goFour years to go 



Ikon is the name of the new multi-resort lift pass offered by the recently formed Alterra resort company that covers ski resorts in Canada and the USA.

See here as we reported on the new pass last season:

Ikon resortsIkon resorts












However a former Aspen ski instructor claims the word 'Ikon' infringes on his own instructing brand.

Cary Thompson runs an instructor programme, Ride in Harmony Athletics in Glenwood Springs in Colorado, and claims that he holds the rights to 'Icon' and any derivatives.

He claims to have taken out a federal trademark in 2012.

Alterra had the term 'Ikon' federally trademarked last November.

Legal action is now being considered.

Ikon resortsIkon resorts














A body believed to be that of a 24-year-old snowboarder who went missing last January has been recovered near the Mt Baker ski resort in the state of Washington.

Vitaliy Datskiy was reported missing on 21st January when he failed to arrive at a designated meeting point.

The body was found on the north face of Pan Dome and it appeared he had ducked under a rope.

His family were present as the body was recovered.

Other bodies have been recovered across the mountains in Europe and North America as we have reported earlier in News In Brief on May 15th and 20th.



Glencoe Mountain Resort announced the trial with the Snowfactory last winter has been successful and it now intends to buy the snow making machine to guarantee some snow for next season.

Glencoe also says a 'likely' opening date for snowsports to be December 1st 2018.

"Thanks to your amazing support and the great winter we have just had we are delighted to let you know that the Snowfactory we had on trial is being purchased and will be moved up onto the plateau in the next couple of months. This will ensure a guaranteed opening date (likely to be 1st Dec) for the Coire Pollach tow and the sledging area."

With the success of the trial it is also considering a second Snowfactory unit to provide snow across more of the mountain.

"Now that's done we're dreaming about a second Snowfactory unit, with a reservoir and pumping station so that we can run our conventional fan guns and the Snowfactory at the same time and ensure guaranteed snow across a much wider area."

Glencoe to buy a SnowfactoryGlencoe to buy a Snowfactory













A cougar attacked two cyclists in Washington State in the USA.

They were riding 30 miles north of Seattle when the animal attacked.

One rider was dragged away by the cougar to its den and the other man was mauled and then called the emergency services.

Such an attack is very rare and is only the second fatal cougar attack in the past 100 years.

Tracker dogs were used to locate the animal and it was then shot.

"They were riding when they saw a cougar, kind of stalking them. They did what they were supposed to, which is make noise and distract the cougar. The cougar ran away," said Sgt. Ryan Abbott of the Sheriff's Office to local media.

"He (the animal) jumped the first victim and attacked him," said Abbott.

"The second victim turned and started to run away. The cougar saw that and went after the second victim. The first victim saw his friend being pulled by the cougar. He got on his bike and started to bike away."

The surviving mountain biker had to ride almost 2 miles before being able to get a mobile phone signal to call the authorities. 

Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rareCougar attacks on humans are extremely rare














The Press Association has analysed figures from the Civil Aviation Authority and concluded Luton is the worst in a study of average flight delays at UK airports.

Flights at Luton were delayed by an average of 19.7 minutes.

Gatwick was the next worst.

The best was Heathrow with average delay of 11-minutes.

Luton blamed the delays on a number of factors that were outside its control, including air traffic control strikes, congested airspace, bad weather and late arriving aircraft.

Luton airportLuton airport














The two men from Romania were ski touring on the Vatnajökull glacier when they were hit by an avalanche in the middle of the night.

They lost much of their equipment but that turned to their advantage as the rescuers found this first before discovering the men in a snow hole they had dug nearby.

The men, who are experienced tourers, had an emergency button that they activated.

They had also left details of their route with the authorities.

The emergency button sent out their location to rescue teams who set off on snowmobiles to find them.

They then dug themselves into the snow while they waited for the rescue teams to locate them.

They were found at 4am.

They were beginning to suffer from hyperthermia but were otherwise unharmed.

Rescue teams said they were equipped correctly and were experienced mountaineers. 

Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland



Thomas Mullarky went missing in the ski resort of Bear Valley in California on 14th March.

A 5-day search was carried out but no trace of the 65-year old was found.

Specially trained German shepherd dogs were sent out last week to try to find his body.

They detected the scent of human remains in the Groove Gully area of the resort. Searchers then found a ski pole and ski protruding from the snow.

Mullarky's body was just below the surface.

Thomas Mullarky Thomas Mullarky

The melting snowpack in Europe and North America has already revealed bodies caught in avalanches as we reported on Tuesday May 15th, lower down this edition of  News in Brief.

In the Alps others remain missing including a 57-year old Swiss man who went missing after an avalanche in the Vallon d'Arbi in Verbier claimed the lives of three others.

It was the worst avalanche incident in the Swiss Alps last winter.

The body of the German billionaire, 58- year old Karl-Erivan Haub, also remains missing. 

He disappeared while undertaking a day ski tour on his own in Zermatt.


Gian-Franco Kasper has been re-elected unopposed as president of the International Ski Federation to serve his 6th term.

The 74-year old Swiss official can stay in office until 2022 and if he stays to the end of the term he will have been in office for 24 years.

Kasper was first elected back in 1998.

There have been some rumblings of discontent that it is time for a new leader, but Kasper will remain as the organisation's President as no-one else put themself forward for re-election.

Gian-Franco KasperGian-Franco Kasper



A joint bid by Meribel and Courchevel has won the day.

The French bid edged out Saalbach-Hinterglemm in Austria by 3 votes and will be the first FIS World Championships to be held in France since Val d'Isere held the event in 2009.

The International Ski Federation's ruling council made the decision their governing body Congress in Costa Navarino in Greece.   

And the winners are...And the winners are...


Planica in Slovenia was awarded the Nordic Skiing World Championships in 2023.

"The bid of Courchevel-Meribel was very appealing with two top level resorts offering essentially men's and ladies' venues, which is sure to facilitate scheduling and logistics," said FIS President, Gian-Franco Kasper.

"The French organisers are sure to put on an excellent show for the athletes, media and fans." 

Courchevel-Meribel celebrateCourchevel-Meribel celebrate

"Hosting the 2023 Alpine World Ski Championships is an opportunity to unite an entire country around skiing, to offer the public a unique event capable of generating a passion for skiing, especially among the younger generations, and to promote France's mountain areas and mountain resorts," said a statement from the French organisers. 

FIS has also voted to recommend to the International Olympic Committee that Telemark skiing should be included in the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.



A former downhill ski racer and Olympic gold medallist is to donate her brain to medical research into concussion.

Kerrin Lee-Gartner has announced that after her death her brain will go to the Canadian Concussion Centre, saying "you can't fall at 120 km/h..... without hurting your brain".

Kerrin Lee-GartnerKerrin Lee-Gartner - photo CBC


















The 51-year-old Canadian, who won gold at the 1992 Albertville Olympics, says she suffered several concussions during her career though they were never diagnosed.

She is reported to be still feeling the symptoms including migraines, vision problems and vertigo.

"Shared knowledge is power and if something that I've experienced can help someone else, then that would be a blessing," she told CBC News.

She now works as an alpine ski analyst for CBS Sports.

Read more on CBC News.


Ortovox is recalling some of its avalanche transceivers following concern that a software error could cause delays in the search process.

The company says that, in some rare situations, there has been "temporary disruption of the transmission function" on its 3+ transceivers running software version 2.1.

Ortovox 3+ transceiversOrtovox 3+ transceivers















Other versions of the software are not affected.

"There have been no known accidents caused by the software error," Ortovox says in its recall notice.

"However, as a precautionary measure to ensure our customers are not at risk, we are recalling all 3+ transceivers running software version 2.1.

"Devices affected by the recall may no longer be used without the required software update to version 2.2.

"The error was identified and rectified in extensive internal tests. The new software version 2.2 will rectify the error."

The recall begins on 25th May and is free of charge.

More information and details of how to check which software version your transceiver is running can be found on the Ortovox website.



Helly Hansen changes hands for nearly a billion Canadian dollars.

The aquisition was confirmed on 10th May 2018.

The Norwegian clothing company Helly Hansen will be part of the Toronto-based Canadian Tire Corp (CTC).

CTC is paying 985 million Canadian dollars (equivalent to £567 million) for the outdoor brand that includes ski wear and it is assuming all its debts.

The Canadians expect this to boost sales of sportswear, and the purchase is intended to boost international sales.

CTC sells everything from clothing to kitchen appliances in Canada, and it already includes Helly Hansen Parkas in its range.

Oslo based, Helly Hansen owns stores in more than 40 countries and sells sailing gear and outdoor clothing.

It has about 500 employees and last year reported revenues of 1.58 billion Norwegian crowns (that is £145 million).

Helly Hansen has a strong following in the European market, including the UK along with a presence in the USA and Canadian markets.


Founded in Norway in 1877, Helly Hansen continues to develop professional-grade sports apparel.

The company makes, "professional grade gear to help people stay and feel alive in the world's harshest environments. Trusted by Professionals. Alive since 1877," says Helly Hansen.

The company has developed a long list of first-to-market innovations:
*  First supple waterproof fabrics almost 140 years ago
*  First fleece fabrics in the 1960s
*  First technical base layers in the 1970s, made with Lifa® Stay Dry Technology
*  Today's award winning and patented H2Flow® temperature regulating system

Helly Hansen is a leader in technical sailing and performance ski apparel, as well as premium workwear.

Its ski uniforms are worn and trusted by more than 50,000 professionals and can be found on Olympians, National Teams, and at more than 200 ski resorts and mountain guiding operations around the world.

Helly Hansen's outerwear, base layers, sportswear and footwear are sold in more than 40 countries.

It is a brand trusted by outdoor professionals and enthusiasts around the world.



Here's a new activity for Verbier that is currently under construction.

It is the Aerial Walkway scheduled to open on 2nd June.

Located in Medran, it includes a selection of three courses for different abilities, providing increasing levels of difficulty starting at different heights depending upon the level.

Launch yourself into one of three courses from the 12-metre-high tower, pictured below.

Aerial Walkway, Verbier, scheduled to open on 2nd JuneAerial Walkway, Verbier, scheduled to open on 2nd June
















All the gear required is provided on arrival including harness and helmet.

Green course: easy course made up of eight challenges and a zip wire.

Blue course: medium level of difficulty made up of nine challenges and a zip wire with the following features:
- Trublue Mobile: soft jump with horizontal movement.
- Saut Trublue: soft jump from a height of six metres and at a speed of two metres per second.

Red course: difficult course made up of 11 challenges and seven zip wires with the following features:
- Tyro/Saut: fast jump down a steep 45° incline.
- Tyro Express: very steep zip wire with a braking system at the finish.
- Quick jump of nine metres with a ripcord (jump with 3.5-metre free fall at the start).

Prices: CHF 25 for adults, CHF 15 for children


As the snow disappears relatives of missing skiers and snowboarders can at last recover the bodies of their loved ones who went missing last season. 

In Chamonix last Saturday (May 12th) the body of a Swiss snowboarder was found. 

He was killed in an avalanche on 4th March and his body was found as his snowboard was seen protruding out of the snow.

In the resort of Whitefish in the USA the body of Dr Jonathan Torgerson has been found.  

He went missing on 17th February in an avalanche zone on the north side of the resort.

According to the local Sheriff's Office, the warming temperatures and snow conditions contributed to the successful recovery.

Dr Jonathan TorgersonDr Jonathan Torgerson

In the Alps others remain missing including a 57-year old Swiss man who went missing after an avalanche in the Vallon d'Arbi in Verbier claimed the lives of three others.

It was the worst avalanche incident in the Swiss Alps last winter.

The body of the German billionaire, 58- year old Karl-Erivan Haub, also remains missing. 

He disappeared while doing a day ski tour on his own in Zermatt.



Do these photos of Val d'Isere in France remind you of the spectacular snowy winter that's just ended?

Val d'IsereVal d'Isere

Val d'IsereVal d'Isere

Well, they were taken early this morning, Monday 14th May, and posted on Val d'Isere's official Facebook page. 

The resort is reporting as much as 30cm at altitude, with about half that in the village.

There's been significant snow across much of the Western Alps according to our friends at Weather To Ski.

It's the winter that just won't accept it's over. 

Unfortunately the lifts in Val d'Isere are all closed,  but it's great news for summer skiing.

The resort is planning to open a couple of its winter lifts and pistes on 3rd June for two weeks for the first time in its 82-year history as we reported in April's News In Brief (see entry under 25th April)

The glacier runs will open later, once the road up has been cleared of snow. 

We suspect that task has just been made a little more difficult.

It's also been snowing in the Pyrenees.

This was Grandvalira, Andorra, yesterday.

Grandvalira, AndorraGrandvalira, Andorra



Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado, USA, have announced their operating dates for the 2018-19 season.

Vail will be open from Friday, Nov. 16th, through to Sunday, April 21st.

Beaver Creek will be open from Wednesday, Nov. 21st, through to Sunday, April 14th.

Bring it on!

Here at PlanetSKI we missed out on a visit to Vail or Beaver Creek last winter, but we were in Vail in 2017:

Skiing with a certain Martin Bell.

PlanetSKI's James Cove with Martin BellPlanetSKI's James Cove with Martin Bell


















That's the finding of a study in Wales commissioned by the Welsh government.

The report surveyed teachers and staff of local authorities plus local education consortiums.

It found increased incidents after fixed penalty notices were introduced in 2013.

The report claims some travel agents paid the fines as part of the holiday deal.

According to the BBC some complained of fine inconsistencies within the same local authority and even within the same schools.

Here on PlanetSKI we followed the case of Jon Platt who took his case to the High Court where he won, but this was then over-ruled by the Supreme Court.

And much has been paid out in fines:
"I took my daughter skiing for five days out of school and I was fined £60 for taking her out," said Heather Ward from Cardiff.
Heather WardHeather Ward



She is the Secretary General of the International Ski Federation, FIS,  and has been to Buckingham Palace to collect her gong from the Queen.

She was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to sport.

"The Investiture Ceremony is an extraordinary and uniquely British occasion, following century old traditions. To receive the honour from Her Majesty the Queen was particularly special and she commented on the popularity of skiing as a sport," said Sarah after the event.

She was named in the Queen's New Year Honours List for 2018.

Sarah Lewis, OBESarah Lewis, OBE















The push to get the discipline of telemark skiing included in the next Winter Olympics has moved up a gear.

Telemark skiingTelemark skiing

The Telemark bit of the FIS - the International Ski Federation - has submitted its official bid to the organisation's Congress, which is taking place in Greece next week. 

Its report says the world's oldest skiing discipline is increasingly popular and has seen a resurgence among young people.

"It has extremely attractive viewer qualities and significant youth appeal as a 'cool' discipline," the report says.

It's asking the governing body to recommend to the International Olympic Committee that parallel sprint and team parallel sprint races are included in the programme for Beijing 2022.

Read our full article on Telemark's case for Olympic inclusion:


After skiing on Fischer skis for a number of years British slalom skier, Dave Ryding, has signed a two year contract with Dynastar skis.

He has also changed ski boots to Lange and will be using Look bindings.

Ryding commented,"Dynastar was the ski I grew up racing on when I was young and into my mid 20's, I have so many fond memories of skiing and racing on Dynastar so it always has a special place in my heart! Including winning the 2013 Europa Cup title with this brand."

He continued, "I feel, it's time for me to come back and thanks to the cooperation and work from everyone involved with Dynastar we were able to make it happen! I feel extremely excited to be rejoining the brand and look forward to giving my all to help the brand succeed!"

A post shared by Dave Ryding (@dave_ryding) on May 7, 2018 at 12:01am PDT


A new poll suggests that public support for a bid for the Winter Olympics is growing.

A referendum is to be held on June 6th and a new poll for Swiss Info conducted by MIS Trend Institute put it at too close to call.

46% were in favour with 47% against and 7% undecided.

There is a margin of error of 3%.

A 'No' result would end any bid and a 'Yes' would trigger an extra CHF100 million (£65 million) of funding.

Among the other contenders are Calgary in Canada, Erzurum in Turkey, a joint Italian bid from Milan, Turin and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Graz in Austria, Sapporo in Japan and Stockholm in Sweden.  

Swiss bidSwiss bid




It is the largest event of its kind as resorts, organisations and those in the snowsports world join together in January to promote skiing and snowboarding.

The overall aim is to boost participation and get children involved.

See here for an earlier PlanetSKI report.

World Snow Day claims success

It's run by the International Ski Federation, FIS, and a report has just been released into last season's event. 

89% of 2018 World Snow Day Organisers intend to stage an event in 2019 and the most popular activity during World Snow Day was free or discounted lift passes.

World Snow DayWorld Snow Day















Ex-British Slopestyle Skiing champion, and former Masterchef contestant, Dave White, has made it to the top of the hazardous North Col in his bid to summit Everest.

30 year old Dave White,  got there on 27th April.

However, due to injury, he was advised to abandon his attempt to reach the top of the world's highest mountain.

Last year five people died during the climbing season.

Not only is Everest dangerous and challenging it's not cheap, the basic cost is around £40,000.

On 28th April Dave White shared an image on Facebook of himself at the top of the North Col.

"Yesterday I summited Mount Everest’s North Col sitting at 7,050 meters.....

Unfortunately the weather came up the valley real quick so no blue skies! ", he said.

Dave White on top of the world - Everest 27th April 2018Dave White on top of the North Col - 27th April 2018




















Dave White was also raising valuable funds for two charities, Snow-Camp, the UK National Youth Charity aimed at teaching life skills to disadvantaged kids from inner cities, including London through snowboarding experiences.

The second charity is POW (Protect Our Winters) a snowsports action group dedicated to raising awareness of climate change and doing something about it.

You can celebrate Dave White's success and contribute towards his fund raising by donating to Snowcamp HERE.


A young American pro-snowboarder has thanked his friends for rescuing him after he was caught in an avalanche.

Brock Crouch, who's 18, was filming with a group of friends in Whistler in Canada when he was buried in the slide.

His face was blue when he was dug out after five minutes under the snow.

Brock Crouch in hospital after avalancheIn Vancouver General - photo Brock Crouch Facebook


















"I was standing at the top of a ridge with Cam (Fitzpatrick) when the cornice broke under me and pulled me backwards into a slide," he said on social media from Vancouver General Hospital.

"It took me through about 1000 feet and over several rock bands before I ended up at the bottom, buried with no oxygen for almost 5 minutes.

"Luckily for me, I was with some of the most experienced people in the world when it comes to back country safety and without them I wouldn't be here today so thank you all!

"I tore my pancreas, knocked out 5 teeth, got a "periorbital hemotoma (basically closed up my right eye) and fractured my L2 L3 and my T12 vertebrae."

Luckily, Crouch didn't need surgery and left hospital a few days later.

Brock Crouch in hospital after avalancheBack on his feet - photo Brock Crouch Facebook


















The ordeal has not put him off.

"I love snowboarding more today than I ever have and I can't wait to get back on my board and shred with everyone again," he said.

Crouch is on the US Snowboard team and competes in slopestyle.

He won the Burton European Junior Open in 2014 and the 2016 Winter Olympic test event in South Korea.

A native of California who lives in Mammoth during the winter, he's also a competitive surfer.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number 1 for ski news

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