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The champagne boys hit Crans-Montana
Friday July 1, 2011 - Email this article to a friend

The City Ski Championships had its official launch party this week and PlanetSKI was asked along. The event is moving from the Italian resort of Courmayeur to Crans-Montana in Switzerland.

The event attracts a mix of city bankers, financial high-flyers and sporting celebrities.

The ex- Formula 1 champion, Damon Hill, the athlete Colin Jackson, the TV presenter, Graham Bell and the celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal make rather odd bed-fellows but they are all supporters and participants in The Championships that have been running for the past 12 years.

The ex-US racer, Tommy Moe, and the former Britsh racer, Konrad Bartelski, have also taken part.

There are teams from some of the leading firms in the City and the sponsors include Cavendish Ware, alpine homes and RKH Insurance Services. 

The teams battle it out and some take it very seriously.  City workers are, after all, known for their competitive spirit and edge.

It is a mix of racing, partying and networking. There's over a dozen events in three disciplines with people coming for 15 nationalities. Over 200 skiers from 40 different firms take part.

There are coaching clinics, equipment testing and a host of events for non-skiers.

From BBQs on the slopes to evening entertainment.

Not all about racingNot all about racing












In Crans-Montana the British comedian Marcus Brigstocke will be proving a package of entertainment.  Details of the line-up have not been confirmed but it is fair to say there will be a few comedians.

Brigstocke is a keen snowboarder and we caught up with him a couple of winters ago at The Altitude Comedy Festival in Meribel.

The City Ski Championships is run by Amin Momen from Momentum Ski

"Every event needs to be re-appraised and have a long term strategy and so we are developing the event into a ski festival with more things on offer and Crans-Montana is the perfect partner," said Amin Momen to the assembled guests as we sipped Swiss wine from the Valais.

Resort officials were at the invitation-only launch party at the prestigious City of London Club in The City and they hope the event will attract the more affluent British holiday skiers to the resort in the coming years.

"We want to increase out presence in the UK market and to be more visible and the UK market is going to be a priority area for us in the next few years," said a resort spokesman, Xavier Blanco.

The organisers have chartered a plane to fly into nearby Sion airport and already it is full so the change of venue doesn't seem to have dampened interest.

The well-heeled city skiersThe well-heeled city skiersSome might also think that in this time of economic restraints that an event this would be less popular as purse strings are tightened and hospitality budgets are cut.

However some of the prices are to be kept at the same level as in Italy and the package price starts from £595. 

The organisers have also vowed to keep the lift pass, equipment hire and other costs at the same price as they were in Italy last year.

Not though extras like drinks so people ought to be prepared to dig deep unless the exchange rate improves.  

It has fallen from 2.4 a few years ago to 1.4. Ouch!

The poor exchange rate with the Swiss franc will be felt at The Championships and elsewhere in Switzerland next winter.

However one interesting trend in the UK winter holiday industry is that the top end market and luxury holiday business has held up rather well.   It is the mass market companies that have been struggling while it seems the rich can't do without their skiing holiday and can afford it too.

There seems to be no less interest in skiing amoung people who work in The City.

All in the name of funAll in the name of fun











The City Ski Championships runs from March 16th - 18th 2012.

For the spirit of the mountains

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