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Wednesday August 1, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Racing up a ski jump, how are new chairlifts installed? Chinese tourists brawl over mountain view + Finns ski in a swamp in high heels. NEW & UPDATED



See here for a flavour of what it is all about from last month's ramble.



The world's craziest and steepest 400-metre races have been held in Austria.  

Almost 2,000 competitors from around the world ran/climbed/staggered UP a ski jumping hill at Bischofshofen.

It was the second edition of the Red Bull 400 World Championships.

An 18-year-old Norwegian, Erik Resell, won the men's race in 3m 16s.6.

Erik ResellErik Resell in the lead - photo Stefan Voitl, Red Bull

Andrea Mayr, the 38-year-old Austrian defending champion held on to her title.  She finished in 3m 56.1s.

Andrea Mayr The women's race - photo Mirja Gey, Red Bull


One of the highlights was the firefighters' relay race which was won by the home nation.

Firefighters' relayFirefighters' relay














In all, 1,800 runners from 40 countries and 189 relay teams took part.

Rather them than us.



With a lot of equipment, that's how.

Check out the super Kamov Swiss helicopter putting pylons in place for the new Chamonix chairlift at Grands Montets.

That's a 4,400 horsepower heli, with 5 tons charge maxi, although that is at sea level!

Read here for else has been going on in Chamonix this summer:
Or if you're looking ahead to winter, as we are, see how we saw out last winter in May:



If you've ever been to a well-known tourist spot with a bunch of Chinese visitors, you'll know they love to take photographs - lots of them.

Sometimes, they want to take photos of the oddest things, or people....

We've also noticed that they love their mountains and particularly the views from the top....

But it seems competition for the perfect viewpoint for that holiday snap was too much for one group of Chinese tourists last week.

According to the South China Morning Post, a brawl broke out at high altitude.

Several men in red jackets exchanged blows with another man at 4,680 metres on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in southwest China.

A video was recorded and shared online by a witness....


The tourists were take off for questioning after which both sides "realised their faults", the police said in a statement.

The Post reports that it's unclear whether any of those involved got the photo they wanted.



It is possibly the most ridiculous thing you can do on skis but, if you're in remote northern Finland in summer, why not?

Every year the Swamp Skiing championships are held in a small village and the 2018 edition has just taken place.

It's also known as kukkamekkokorkokenkäsuohiihto, but we'll stick to Swamp Skiing.

Swamp skiing in FinlandSwamp skiing














Many of the competitors wear floral dresses and wigs.... both the women and men.

And high heels are compulsory.

Swamp skiing in FinlandSwamp skiing













Unsurprisingly, not everyone gets to the finish (or is it Finnish?) line unscathed....

Swamp skiing in FinlandSwamp skiing














The event was the idea of the larger-than-life artist Kari Tykkyläinen, who acts as commentator.

Swamp skiing in FinlandSwamp skiing creator Kari Tykkyläinen at the mic















The video of this year's contest, with English subtitles, was posted on YouTube by YLE Areena.

WARNING: If you are of a delicate disposition you may find the contents disturbing!



This poor owl was ultra keen to get out and about, and couldn't wait for winter to be over.

It was found at first tracks on Summit at Mount Buller but looked a little worse for wear.

It has been well looked after though, and has been thawed out, warmed up, and prepared for release when conditions are more favourable.

No worms around for this early bird - Mt BullerNo worms around for this early bird - Mt Buller





















Mount Kuro in the Daisetsuzan Mountains of Hokkaido is one of Japan's most northerly ski areas.

It has reported its earliest ever snowfall.

The snow fell five days earlier than the previous record for first snow that was set back in 2002 on 21 August.

Winter in the summer - photo posted on facebook by Nozawa Onsen.

Early snow at Mount Kuro - JapanEarly snow at Mount Kuro - Japan














It's a little early for the annual race to open first between the two Colorado ski areas of Arapahoe Basin and Loveland as we're still in the heart of August.

But, according to a recent tweet on Twitter, it seems that Arapahoe Basin is the first to report it has had its first dusting of winter.

Though we can't see any snow in the photo below.





Now here at PlanetSKI we have ridden all sorts of snow: powder, ice, slush, rock, grass, plastic, artificial, spring and occasionally yellow.

But we have never ridden on sand.

The opportunity has just presented itself as we are passing through Dubai in The Gulf on the way to the ski fields of Australia and New Zealand.

We are hitting the Ski Dubai snow centre:

But there is some snowboarding to be had on the sand dunes of the local desert.


We had driven out to the sands on a so-called 'desert safari' though actually it was more like a 'sand dune safari'.

On offer was, er, sandbo(ar)ding.

Dubai, UAEDubai, UAE
















The PlanetSKI digital editor and social media supremo, KisIa Cove, was keen for a ride.

The PlanetSKI founder and editor, AKA Mr Cove, surveyed the scene.

"Now call me a miserable old killjoy but if you can snowboard down that flat slope up there then I'm a camel. The laws of physics simply won't allow it," said the miserable old killjoy.

"Lets watch a couple of others try first before you walk up, get absolutely no-where and then fall over and get covered in sand," added MOK-J.

The first sandboarder stood at the top of the dune with the "slope" beneath him.

He strapped in.

Then jumped about as if he had a plague of locusts in his pants, urging his board to slide down the slope.

He got absolutely nowhere.

He then took one foot out of the rear binding and pushed on the sand.

The board moved nowhere and he got a load of sand in his shoe.

He then strapped out of the board completely and took several paces back.

He ran at it as if his life, or dignity, depended on it.

He jumped in pushing down with as much force as his legs could muster.

Before you could say 'completley covered in sand from head to foot', he was.

Mr and Mrs Cove looked around the desert/sand dune scene for further challenges.

Dubai, UAEDubai, UAE
















Mrs Cove got her ride on the sand.

Dubai, UAEDubai, UAE
















And she managed to disembark from the ship of the desert with, er, slightly more dignity than the poor people covered in sand next to a snowboard on a sand dune.

And Mr Cove went off to watch other forms of sand dune entertainement.

Dubai, UAEDubai, UAE



















The inner-city snowports youth charity Snow-Camp is going strong.

It will be celebrating its 15th birthday this autumn and has just launched its latest programme in Manchester.

But it was five of its current London apprentices who took centre stage last night at the charity's summer event - hosted by long-term supporters Delancey and held in the Olympic Park - for Snow-Camp's friends, including PlanetSKI.

We always find it inspiring to hear from youngsters who've had their lives transformed by snowsports and the introduction they've been given to skiing or snowboarding from Snow-Camp.

This bunch was no exception.

Snow-Camp London apprenticesEllie Hearn, Le'Teya Mulgrave, Ethan Bannister, Shannon Pink-Murphy, Ebony Knight McIntosh















As 19-year-old snowboarder Shannon Pink-Murphy said: "I was quite shy and insecure, low self esteem. If you caught me two years ago, I wouldn't have been talking to you.

"It's taught me life skills I was never taught before. It's helped me develop my confidence."

Snow-Camp's founder and director Dan Charlish reminded guests that the charity gets just 1% statutory funding and must find the rest of the money to run its programmes elsewhere.

If you fancy helping out while on the snow, you could take part in the 2019 A J Bell Alpine Challenge.

Teams of four aim to clock up 150km+ of GPS-tracked skiing or snowboarding over two days in the 15 resorts of the Portes.




Vienna takes over from Melbourne in Australia that has won the title for the past seven years.

The Austrian capital was named this week by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

There are a host of factors taken in consideration to judge the quality of life.

These include political and social stability, crime education and access to healthcare.

ViennaVienna in winter - photo















But here at PlanetSKI we are puzzled by one thing.

What about access to skiing?

Vienna has some fabulous ski areas in the nearby Austrian Alps that we have enjoyed many, many times.

Melbourne too has some local ski fields with the best-known one being Mt Buller.

Up until now we have not skied the resorts round Melbourne, but that is about to change.

We're are on our way to spend a month in Australia and week or so is planned in Melbourne and its surround ski resorts:

You may know about the quality of life in Melbourne and if you want to know about its nearby skiing then do check back.



How about this for helping calm the nerves of little ones stuck on a broken down chairlift?

On Sunday morning a power cut stranded skiers and snowboarders on the main Summit 6 lift at Mt Hutt in New Zealand.

Those stuck were advised to reach behind the back of their chair, lift the pod cap and read the instructions in preparation for a static line rescue by the ski patrol.

And this is what they found ... Lego men showing them what to do.

Mt Hutt chairlift evacuation instructionsHold tight, don't LEGO - photo Dianne Jenkinson




















It impressed one of the stranded skiers, Dianna Jenkinson.

"Awesome work team Mt Hutt!" she said.

"We were totally informed by your primo team and kept in the loop while waiting for the evacuation, my six year old loved that the emergency instructions in the pod were photos of Lego men.... classic!

After just over an hour sufficient power was restored to start the lift and get the remaining passengers off.



GB's top male freestyle skier James 'Woodsy' Woods is a fine figure of a man as you can see.

James WoodsWow, Woodsy




















But the X-Games champion and double Olympian has stripped down to his pants for a good cause, not simply to show off his impressive abs.

Woodsy is wearing his signature Bawbags underwear range - boxers with a leopardskin thong design.

James Woods in BawbagsRear view


















Sales of the boxers help fund male cancer charities, a commitment Bawbags has had since it was founded.

"Remember @bawbagsunderwear is dedicated helping testicular cancer sufferers and research, so if you think a leopard thong is step too far, first get over yourself, then there is plenty of choice online for the faint hearted so get yourself a pair," Woodsy says on Instagram.

And if you, too, want to look like Woodsy in your underpants remember -  he's super-fit, extremely athletic, eats healthily and doesn't drink alcohol......

#dedication #commitment #nochance

Woodsy models BawbagsDouble thongs (spot the sign!)
















GB Telemark has bounced back from the disappointment of its failure to be included on the Olympic programme for Beijing 2022 with a glitzy fundraising dinner.

The black tie event for the team, their families, sponsors, friends and supporters of British Telemark, took place in the grand location of the Cavalry and Guards Club in London's Piccadilly.

GB Telemark dinnerGB Telemark fundraising dinner













PlanetSKI was invited along and enjoyed taking part in 'spot the skier' - a suprisingly difficult game when they're dressed in their glad rags.

We did manage to locate and catch up with team telemarkers Jasper Taylor, Ben Emsley, Robert Houstoun and Britain's most successful World Cup skier in any discipline, Jasmin Taylor.

Jasmin Taylor & Jane Peel Jasmin with PlanetSKI's Jane Peel - photo Jay Norman Photography















Last winter Jasmin picked up four World Cup wins, and 14 podiums, taking her total to 22.

We're much more used to seeing her like this........

Jasmin TaylorJasmin Taylor















or this.....

Jasmin TaylorJasmin Taylor




















Jasmin told us a secret about the dress she was wearing, but we're not going to let on.

Jasmin TaylorWhat's the secret of Jasmin's dress?




















The event, which included a silent auction and a raffle, raised £5,000 for British Telemark.

Karon, Jasmin & Mark TaylorTeam Taylor - Jasmin with mum Karon & dad Mark
















Not exactly a skiing secret - at least not any more.

Congratulations from all at PlanetSKI to British skiing couple Chemmy Alcott and Dougie Crawford, who have announced that they are expecting their second child.

The former ski racers revealed the news exclusively to the glossy celebrity magazine Hello!

The multi-talented Alcott retired from racing in 2014 and impressed as a skiing pundit for the BBC at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

It looks like she's in for another busy winter.

The baby - a sibling for 18-month-old Locki - is due on 16th January.

Chemmy Alcott & LockiChemmy & Locki in Hello! in December 2017

















"It is going to be a crazy winter with a vivacious toddler, a newborn and skiing but I know we can do it!" Alcott told the magazine.

Good luck.



So what would you do if you're on a chairlift on the way up the mountain for a spot of skiing and the volcano ahead of you decides to blow its top?

The best thing is to get your smartphone out and get the best shot you can 😎

That's precisely what Birgit Ertl from Austria did, and what a great shot too.

Volcanic activity in Chile (photo: Birgit Ertl)Volcanic activity in Chile (photo: Birgit Ertl)




















Watch the raw footage below of the volcano erupting in a post shared by Team Evolution on Instagram.

The volcano in the Nevados de Chillán volcanic complex exploded around noon on Wednesday 8th August.

As it erupted spitting out a grey plume of volcanic debris approximately 1,500m high (according to specialist recording equipment in the vicinity), it also caused an earthquake.

Scientists are maintaining an 'Orange' alert and have not ruled out further explosions of the same size or greater than this one.


The volcano is closely monitored.

Here's an animated GIF showing the exact moment the volcano erupted:




The British conductor was in the Swiss resort with his wife, the leading mezzo-soprano Magdalena KoΕΎená.

She was in rehearsal at the Verbier Festival.

The conductor, Iván Fischer, was due conduct a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No 5, given by the Verbier Festival Orchestra of young musicians.

He was taken ill so Sir Simon stepped in.

"The last thing I expected to find myself doing this summer, before getting back to work with the London Symphony Orchestra next week, was to be conducting Beethoven halfway up a mountain," said Rattle afterwards.

"The Verbier Festival Orchestra is made up of some of the world's finest young musicians, on the brink of their professional careers, so I was delighted to accept the invitation," he added.

Sir Simon RattleSir Simon Rattle













Here at PlanetSKI we have attended the Verbier Festival a few times over the years.

A highlight was the Buena Vista Social Club:

And we were there back in 2010:



Watch this short animation to find out....

Doodle Chaos has synchronised Tchaikovsky's  "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"  with one, two, then three toboggans on a line track.

The artist drew everything by hand perfectly timed to the music 🎼

It's well worth watching this short animation to the end 😎

Doodle Chaos toboggan animationDoodle Chaos toboggan animation















This is Wesley the wombat, who finds a welcome lunch-spot, thanks to Tim Whybrow from Prime Perspectives, who digs a deep snow-hole down to vegetation.

The Animal was hunting for a feed between the thick snow cover on Ben Lomond, Tasmania.


Here's another pair of wombats who have wondered out into the snowparks of Tasmania, though this pair look slightly disorientated in the snow.

#CuteFactorTen #lovingwildlife



Meet Heidi, the new avalanche search and rescue hound for Sunshine Village, in Banff, Alberta.

According to her handlers, her current "skills include licking, nibbling and napping".

On a scale of 1-10, her cuteness is simply off the scale ❀️


Heidi, the new search & rescue hound at Sunshine Village, BanffHeidi, the new search & rescue hound at Sunshine Village, Banff





















These wild horses are know a Brumbies, and roam around freely in the Kosciuzko National Park.

The video was shot by Scott Jukes, between Thredbo and Dead Horse Gap on the 20th of July.

It looks as though it was quite a powder day!




There's an Emojitracker that processes every single tweet posted on Twitter and counts how frequently an emoji is used daily.

We can guess which ones are the most popular....  and according to the Emojitracker this is the Top 10 emoji list:

  1. Face with tears of joy (top left - top row)
  2. Heart
  3. Recycling symbol
  4. Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes
  5. Heart suit (a slightly different version of "Heart")
  6. Loudly crying face (left - second row)
  7. Smiling face with smiling eyes
  8. Unamused face
  9. Two hearts
  10. Face throwing a kiss
Top ten emojisTop ten emojis - image ©











.... And the least popular emojis?

That question got a lot of attention last week through the Twitter account @LeastUsedEmoji that highlights which emoji is the least popular symbol on a given day.

Last week the Aerial tramway (a red cable car symbol) was the least used emoji 🚠  sitting in bottom place from the hundereds emojis available.

It sat unmovable from the bottom of the list for 77 consecutive days.

Least popular emojiLeast popular emoji








The Tweet ruffled a few feathers.

Twitterati took to twitter, bombing the site with hundreds of red cable cars in a bid to elevate the status of the cable car.

The more red cable cars appearing on twitter feeds would increase its ranking.

The busy flapping, tweeting and bombing, successfully elevated the red cable car to the dizzy heights of 8th from bottom place - in just one day!

#DontUnderestimateThePowerOfTwitter 😎

Campaign to elevate the cable car emoji to higher rankingCampaign to elevate the cable car emoji to higher ranking















Campaign to elevate the cable car emoji to higher rankingCampaign to elevate the cable car emoji to higher ranking




















Matthew Rothenberg's Emojitracker ( processes every single tweet posted on Twitter, in every language, and counts how often each emoji is used.

He set up the tracker on 4th July in 2013 when the most popular emojis of the day were :fireworks: :hamburger: and :us:

Now here at PlanetSKI we often apply emojis to tweets we post.

So we checked out the symbols we frequently use - they're not top rankers but are being regularly used and feature mid-way in the ranking on the Emojitracker page.

❄️ snowflake                     ⛄️ snowman

πŸ‚ snowboarder                🎿 skis with boot

One omission though, that gave us quite a shock,  the emoji skier β›·  .... isn't even listed πŸ˜’ 😳

Out in the cold - a new emoji coming soonOut in the cold - a new emoji coming soon



















Here at PlanetSKI we like to share videos of impressive skiing and snowboarding that come our way.

We've been sent the one below of 15-year-old British snowboarder Gabe Adams.

In June we featured the rising star:

Have a look at this edit of the best of his 2017-18 season which has just been produced...


The young artist from Stockholm takes inspiration from the beauty in nature.

Vilija Vitkute uses body paint to blend her models into their surroundings.

In this case she's used the backdrop of snow covered trees in Lofoten, Norway that is notoriously cold.

The body paint is applied with such care and attention to detail the models appear to be almost invisible.

The effect is stunning.

Body painting by Vilija VitkuteBody painting by Vilija Vitkute














Body painting by Vilija VitkuteBody painting by Vilija Vitkute














Body painting by Vilija VitkuteBody painting by Vilija Vitkute














Body painting by Vilija VitkuteBody painting by Vilija Vitkute














In the photograph below, also taken in Lofoten, the model sits at the top of the mountain.

It is almost impossible to spot her against the rocks.

All the painting takes place in situ.

Lofoten lies within the Arctic Circle in the area of Nordland in Norway.

It is known for its distinctive scenery with dramatic mountains and peaks, open sea and sheltered bays.

Body painting by Vilija Vitkute - Lofoten, NorwayBody painting by Vilija Vitkute - Lofoten, Norway















Watch the video below as the artist Vilija Vitkute paints the model and camouflages her against the rocks and scenery.

Body painting by Vilija Vitkute - Lofoten, NorwayBody painting by Vilija Vitkute - Lofoten, Norway














Check out the artist's website for more of her stunning photographs

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

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


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