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Skiing Secrets; our rolling blog
Saturday August 29, 2015 - Email this article to a friend

Skiing Secrets may or may not have something to do with skiing.

Often it doesn't - we fill it with anything that takes our fancy.

For a look back at August's Skiing Secrets that had more than 5,000 people read it then see here. 

Wednesday 30th September

Body of skier missing for 35 years has been found.

Canadian skier, Gregory Barnes, vanished in 1980 while skiing in Italy.

This summer and body was found as the summer heat melted glaciers.

His body is being repatriated so he can be buried along side his mother.

His sister, Sonja, has been speaking to the Canadian radio station, CBC, see here for more.

Gregory BarnesGregory Barnes













Now on to other matters...

Here is one of the more bizarre opening sentences to a story we have read:

"Sheep are rarely dangerous to skiers, but otherwise they have a lot in common with avalanches."

Well it made us want to read on.

Tuesday 29th September

Finally some sensible advice about ski helmets…

"It is important to note that helmets do not guarantee someone's safety in a crash, but they do provide additional protection and help reduce the likelihood of serious brain injury. Skiers and snowboarders are required to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet use”.

See here for more details

Monday 28th September

Is this the most stunning hotel in the Alps?

We get press releases and information on dozens, if not hundreds of hotels. This one stands out.

The Adler Mountain Lodge is in the Sud Tirol in the Dolomites in Italy.

Adler Mountain LodgeAdler Mountain Lodge














Nothing particularly special about that.

Except it is in the middle of the piste.

It is a modern boutique lodge-style hotel - think contemporary alpine chic.

It has some of the most stunning views of the some of the most beautiful mountains in the world.

It is in the Alpe di Siusi ski area in Val Gardena about 26km by road from the nearest major resort, Ortisei.

Adler Mountain LodgeAdler Mountain Lodge











Unique is an over-used word, but in this case.........

If you want to find out more then the UK tour operator, snow-wise, offers holidays to 5* property - see here for more details.

For further information please contact: or 020 3397 8451

Sunday 27th September

Good point, well made.



















Friday 25th September

What has watching New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup got to do with skiing?

Well, for a start the New Zealanders are passionate about both sports.

And here they are brought together.


PlanetSKI was at the match last night against Namibia at the Olymic stadium in East London.

We won't mention the score (58-14) but we will mention the Haka.

It was incredible to watch live.

The hakaThe haka














It was cheered almost as loudly as when the Namibians got their one and only try.

Or won a lineout.

Lineout victoryLineout victory















The Haka made us remember one of the most famous renditions of them all at the Millenium stadium in Cardiff back in 2008 as Wales stood their ground. Literally.

Grand Slam champions Wales were looking to beat New Zealand for the first time since 1953.

Their masterplan included a two-minute stand-off following a spine-tingling haka.

Both teams then stood motionless as the referee tried in vain to get both teams to start the game.

It didn't do much good for the Welsh team as they lost 29-9.

And if you want to find out a bit more about the Haka then see below.

Now we can't mention New Zealand without talking about the current ski season Down Under.

It has been a good one with records broken and resorts already announcing that they are extending their season.

If the All Blacks perform as well as their snow gods back home then it's a sure bet who will emerge victorious at Twickenham on October 31st.

Thursday 24th September

PlanetSKI has just appointed a chief reporter; Jane Peel.

She worked at the BBC as a News Correspondent for more years that she cares to remember.

She worked mainly in the UK but also covered wars, revolutions, hurricanes and earthquakes across the globe.

She is rather enjoying her new role with PlanetSKI that is rather less dangerous (though still globe trotting) and seems to involve hanging out with Celebrity chefs.

She was recently at the launch of the Mountain Gourmet Ski Experience, run by Momentum Ski.

Dangerous timesDangerous times
















From left to right:

Claire Smyth: First British female chef to earn 3 Michelin stars.

Heston Blumenthal: 6 Michelin stars including 3 for The Fat Duck.

Sat Bains ; 2 Michelin stars.

Jane Peel: Cooks a decent boiled egg.

Marcus Wareing: 2 Michelin stars.

Wednesday 23rd September

What do you do with mountains when there is no snow?

Easy, run up them.

The resort of Kicking Horse & the town of Golden in Canada have just hosted a 3-day event called the Golden Ultra - Blood Sweat & Tears.

Day 1 -  The Blood

The first day of the 3-day Golden Ultra involves a 5 km uphill challenge.  

1,000 m elevation gain.  0 m loss.

0 km pavement, 5 km of dirt. 

Basically from the Gondola base to the top - straight up.

The winner did it in 50 minutes.

Day OneDay One















Day 2  - The Sweat

One big and beautiful 55 km loop with fantastic mountain views.  Running from the Town of Golden to the summit of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort... and back again...

2,500 m elevation gain... and loss.

50 km of singletrack, 5 km of "getting there" road.

Ridge runningRidge running















Day 3  - The Tears

This last 20 km of "flat," "flowy," and "fun" single track may be the best of times... or it may be the worst. 

375 m elevation gain.

4 km of natural surface town trail, 16 km of single track.

So, how do we know all this at PlanetSKI?

One of our regular readers, Richard Barker, from Kicking Horse Powder Tours took part.

"I did the last day which was a 20 km mountain run and I did it in 2 hours and 30 minutes," he said.

But he has provided us with no photographic evidence. 

Just a bib Wink

Evidence enough?Evidence enough?

Main photos of athletes c/o Bruno Long

Tuesday 22nd September

Well if this doesn't get you in the mood for winter then nothing will!

It is a little taster of what is to come from the French resort of Val Thorens for the coming season.

PlanetSKI will be in Val Thorens a few times this season and we look forward to reporting from the highest resort in the Alps.

It has one of the longest ski seasons of any resort in the Alps as it opens in November and closes in early May.

Monday 21st September

Now we are trying not to get obsessed by Pluto, but news that there is snow has certainly aroused our interest.

Here is a compilation of the photos presented as a flypast video.

See this earlier story on PlanetSKI as the unmanned craft flew by and mission control talked of skiing!

While there are further photos in Skiing Secrets in our post below from September 13th.

Sunday 20th September

Now we have no idea who Mr White is but his observation is not quite correct in our view.



















We reckon skiing is all about feeling and going with the flow not about 'linked recoveries'.

Now then, Sunday is always a good day for a bike ride, but some routes can be more demanding than others.

The Belgian rider and nine time world trial bike champion, Kenny Belaey, likes a challenge.

The feat was done in La Plagne, at an altitude of 2,700 meters. The slackline was 18m long with a 112m drop.

Saturday 19th September

This a road we would like to drive up.

The turns up look rather good and they appear to be none too shabby on the way down.

But where is it?

Turning timesTurning times












Apparently it is Portillo in Chile.....we had no idea so we asked out followers on Facebook and @PlanetSKI on Twitter and  the answer was quick in coming.


Friday 18th September

Artificial intelligence and the future role of robots seem to be all the rage this week.

The BBC has been reporting the issues across many of its outlets.

Here's one of the aspects we like the best.

Type your job into this infographic and see if a robot could do it.

It is obviously nonsense, but it is a bit of fun.

The robots are comingThe robots are coming










Sadly there are no ski related jobs in the list but which ones could be done by a robot?

Chalet staff? No.

Resort Rep? No.

UK sales staff? No.

Shop staff? No.

Liftie? Maybe as long as no-one falls off.

Piste basher driver? Yes as long as the robot can drink schnapps or smoke weed.

Ski instructor? Perhaps as so many teach in a regimented and closed way; "Just follow and copy me."

Ski journalist? Well the same old stories seem to be churned out every year including the 10 best this that and the other, hidden gems, how to ski in a week, articles about sampling the local food and wines, reviews of spas etc... 

And then there is snow dripping off the trees (after it has dumped), people hitting the pistes, powder heaven etc... All these could easily be programmed into a computer model. Perhaps they are already.

Our content editor, James Cove, is both a ski instructor and a journalist Wink

A robot at workA robot at work

















Over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page one of our regular readers, Rob Stewart, has made an observation:

"I'm sure a Verbier ski bum 'job' could be done by a robot - ski, beer, sleep repeat. Fairly simple." said Rob.

Thursday 17th September

Last night (or is that tonight as we are posting just after midnight?) we went to a media launch of all that is new in Switzerland this winter.

The theme was "falling in love with Switzerland". 

And heart shaped cookies were on hand for the assembled hacks to decorate.

One of our reporters at PlanetSKI, Petra Shepherd, did the honours.

"Well if you did it James there would be a typo in it!" she said to our content editor, James Cove.

Regular readers may know what she means Wink

Thanks Petra!Thanks Petra!
















She was, as always, quite correct.

James is, er, not best-known for his typing, spelling and sub-editing skills.

He quite likes cookies though.


Yum, yumYum, yum














We will be bringing you a full report on what is new in Switzerland next winter shortly over on the news and feature pages of PlanetSKI....

#loveswitzerland Smile

Wednesday 16th September










Facebook is set to introduce a Dislike button.

Here at PlanetSKI we offer a qualified welcome to the move, but will people use it in a vindictive way?

There are some fairly aggressive ski chat forums around!

A "dislike" button has been asked for by some users since the introduction of the "like" button in 2009.

"People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it," said the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg

However he went on to say he did not want it to be a mechanism with which people could "down vote" posts.

Instead, it is hoped it will be used for times when clicking "like" on "sad" posts felt insensitive.

Here at PlanetSKi we are active on Facebook with our postes reaching more 15,000 people each week and we have an engagement rate of more than 15%.

The issue is quickly seen here

Just a few posts down is a post from Tuesday where we reported on 7 people dying in an avalanche.

It has been liked by a few people.  Clearly they don't "like" it but want to empathise.

Those who are savvy also know that by hitting the like button the story will also be seen by more people via the Facebook algorithims and they will then be sent more of the originators posts in their timeline as they have engaged.

We like some posts simply so we keep seeing the posts of that person or organisation.

Given some of the vitriol to be seen on a few Facebook chat forums it is unlikely Mr Zuckerberg will have his way on people using it to empashise.

Many think there is enough cyber bullying, trolling and agression on Facebook without providing a toll to assist.

It will be interesting to see how the trail goes and if it is rolled out to everyone.

Coming soon?Coming soon?








Tuesday 15th September

Good point, well made.

Take a seatTake a seat
















Monday 14th September

We'd love you to share pictures of your screen saver with fellow PlanetSKI readers; assuming it has snow in it of course. ;-)

Here is ours.

Any guesses where it is?

Heaven on earthHeaven on earth












Feel free to post yours on the PlanetSKI Facebook page.

We've shown you ours, now show us yours.

Sunday 13th September

It seems the mountains on Pluto are more interesting than first thought.

The latest batch of pictures sent back to Earth are stunning.

As the New Horizons spacecraft swept by the planet in July the NASA team said there was snow and mountains.

And even some skiing; see here for our report from the time.

The new pictures show soaring mountains, dunes and frozen ice flows.

"Pluto is showing us a diversity of land forms and complexity of processes that rival anything we've seen in the solar system," said Alan Stern, principal investigator with the Southwest Research Institute in the USA.

The organisation is playing a key role analysing data sent by the probe.

"If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top - but that's what is actually there," he said.















The dark ridges in the center of the image below, near the bottom of Sputnik Planum, suggest possible windswept dunes.

Also visible is old, cratered terrain juxtaposed with new, smooth ground, as well as mountains.















In the next image Broken, mountainous terrain is visible on the left edge of the flat, icy Sputnik Planum.

The mountains might be blocks of water-ice floating in Sputnik Planum's frozen nitrogen, officials said.

The image covers 300 miles (470 km)















This mosaic of the new high-resolution Pluto images shows 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of the dwarf planet's surface, as taken from 50,000 miles (80,000 km) away during New Horizons' closest approach















And just in case you are wondering the New Horizons space craft is the size of a baby grand piano.

The craft travelled 3 billion miles and the journey took 9½ years.

It is now 44 million miles past Pluto

New Horizons' next target, pending formal approval by NASA, will be a much smaller object that orbits 1 billion miles beyond Pluto.

It lies in the so-called Kuiper Belt, a frigid twilight zone on the outskirts of our solar system.

New Horizons would reach PT1 (Potential Target 1) in 2019.

We wonder if there will be any skiing on it.


Saturday 12th September

Safety on the slopes can never be taken too seriously in our opinion.

Better safe than sorryBetter safe than sorry











Friday 11th September

Austria has been laying out its wares for the coming season.

Now we all know the Austrians like to add words to words.

A look at a menu in an Austrian ski resort can be quite confusing.

There is Zwiebelrostbraten (braised beef).

Szegedinerkrautfleish (pork and sauerkraut).

Or even Geschnetzeltesrindfleisch (beef in a mushroom & paprika sauce).

Apple rings are more simple but still joined together in one word - Apfelradln

Well, the Austrians have gone and done it with their ski resorts and have created an area with the longest name that we know.

A new lift is being built this summer to connect the Fieberbrunn with its neighbouring resorts and it will be called "Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn".

Still at least they have included a few hyphens or it really would be a mouthfull:


"It does have one of the longest names of any ski resort, but then it is also one of the largest Austrian ski areas," laughed the new head of Austrian tourism in London, Ralph Strampfer.

He was addressing UK journalists at a briefing in London this week and highlighting the new area. 

Ralph relatesRalph relates















Here at PlanetSKI we visited the area ahead of construction last year; see here as we looked forward to the new linked area.

Ralph takes over from Herwig Kolzer who was a very well-known and hugely liked figure in the UK snowsports world.

We went to say 'goodbye' to Herwig and 'hello' to Ralph earlier in the summer.

In a Soho pub of course near the Austrian National Tourist Office HQ.

Herwig hands overHerwig hands over
















So, what else is new in Austria for the coming winter?

"I want to bring the passion back into skiing in Austria. Plus the excitement of a ski holiday and our beautiful mountains and make people feel again like a child in front of a Christmas tree.  My aim is to ignite the passion and encourage the sexiness of skiing," said Ralph with the biggest of smiles.

He didn't go on about numbers, return on investment (ROI), business strategies, digital marketing and all the rest; rather he talked about skiing and his passion for sliding down the mountain on a pair of skis.

That is often lost in the endless industry briefings and press conferences we go to at this time of year.

For the record though Austria is catching up with France and it wants to seize the initiative and over time become, once again, the Number 1 market for UK skiers and snowboarders.

See here for an earlier PlanetSKI story with all the facts and figures about the growing interest in Austria from the UK market.

In the meantime we leave the last word to Ralph.

"I want everyone to have a passionate and sexy time in Austria."

Who are we to disagree?

Thursday 10th September

The melting glaciers in the Alps are releasing some grim items - the bodies of climbers who perished many years ago. 

It does though give the families the chance to bury a loved one.

See this fascinating story on the BBC as the melting glaciers reveal much else besides.

Wednesday 9th September

Fancy a laugh?

Tuesday 8th September.

Oh well, looks like all the seats at the winter press launch for France Montagnes have been, er, bagged.

And we turned up especially early this evening to get a place so we could hear all about the new developments in France for next winter.

All baggedAll bagged
















For the record 300,000 of us Brits go to the French Alps and the French Pyrenees each winter; that's around a third of all British skiers and snowboarders.

€340m is being spent for the 2015/16 season upgrading lifts, slopes and resort facilities.

Here at PlanetSKI we spend much of our winter criss-crossing the French mountains simply because they have some of the best ski slopes in the world.

"The British are the most important foreign market for France and they appreciate what we have to offer. We are the biggest and the best with the most diverse range of mountains on the planet," said the director of France Montagnes, Jean-Marc Silva. 

"We are not always the cheapest but we offer the best value and are second to none," he added.

Here at PlanetSKI we already have trips planned next season to Courchevel, Val d'Isere, Les2Alpes, Brides Les Bains and the wonderful, and often over-looked, resorts of the French Pyrenees. Serre Chevalier is on the list too. And it would be an error not to head to nearby La Grave ;-)

Now if you are unfamiliar with what the French Pyrenees offer then see here for our last visit.

And if you like your Spring skiing then we were out in La Plagne and Les Arcs last April.

Vive La France!

Monday 7th September

So what has the content editor of PlanetSKI, James Cove, gone and done?

Put petrol in his diesel car......idiot!

Oh Dear!Oh Dear!
















Sunday 6th September

Well it's almost Monday.

There is a place where all fictional characters meet.

Outside of time, Outside of all logic:

This place is known as HELL'S CLUB,

But this club is not safe.


Moving on to other matters.....

So, why is the content editor and founder of PlanetSKI, James Cove, looking so distressed?

Details tomorrow :-)

Ho, hum.Ho, hum.













Saturday 5th September

And we have a bumper set of stories for you today.

Now just in case you been reading the Daily Express who gleefully report it is going to snow in the UK and temperatures are going to tumble you can stop panic buying food and getting out you winter woollies.

Here is how the Express sees it

Winter is HERE: Britain braces for SNOW this weekend as sub-zero temperatures hit

BRITAIN is wrapping up for SNOW this weekend as sub-zero temperatures threaten to bring the first taste of winter.

Freeze that thought it is going to be cool, not cold.

And the only place that snow may fall (and probably won't) is the highest peaks in Scotland.  And that is not unusual for the time of year.

Most of the rest of the UK will have dry and fine weather.

If you want to see where there is some snow then see this related story on PlanetSKI.

Now on other slightly odd reports a ski company has listed a few reasons why we should not go skiing in the Alps.

Perhaps they want us to go to North America or the Pyrenees instead?


There are many reasons to not go skiing and the specialist chalet company, Ski Total, has selected its Top 10 reasons to not go skiing in the Alps.

Yes you have read that correctly; to NOT go skiing.

We shared the item on Facebook and it has had a reach of almost 5,000 in a matter of hours so we thought we'd post it again here. ;-)










A partially-sighted man from the UK has climbed the west flank of the Eiger.

John Churcher from Shropshire has less than 5% vision.

He climbs with the help of a sighted assistant.

He will be taking part in he International Paraclimbing Cup in Sheffield in October.

For a video on him see this story on the BBC.

Friday 4th September.


It's a sure sign that winter is on its way as famers in the Tirol are preparing to bring their cattle down from the alpine pastures. 

In Kelchsau they do it in some style as 110,000 cows are herded down from 2,100 pastures.... in some rather fetching headwear.

Meanwhile here's another video that has taken or fancy.

Don't think much of the cheesy music but the autumn images from the mountains are stunning.

Wednesday 2nd September.

Can you believe this is what PlanetSKI reporter, James Timothy, gets up to in his spare time.

On a wet Bank Holiday Monday too.

He is chairman of the Rickmansworth Water Ski Club - literally.

It all went well until he decided to show off ;-)

But then he is an ageing snowboarder so that might explain it.

Tuesday 1st September

A cricket commentator once said "the batsmans holding the bowlers willy"

The batsman was the West Indian, Michael Holding, and bowler was the English cricketer, David Willey.

Perhaps here is the digital and athletics equivalent.

Maybe they should have stood in a different orderMaybe they should have stood in a different order















Now talking of the athletics at Beijing most of us will have seen the absurd moment Usain Bolt was knocked over by a photographer on a Segway after his 200m victory in Beijing.

There are a few other Segway accidents doing the rounds on the internet that have made us smile in the PlanetSKI office in the last few days.

This one comes from a cricket match in Melbourne

and here is a little compilation....

As this is first page of a new Skiing Secrets thread we perhaps ought to mention skiing.

The British freestyle skier, 23-year old James Woods, has just won the slopestyle event at the Winter Games NZ; see here for our report.

It led to us re-watching againd the video inteview we had with Woodsy back in 2013 at the last Winter Games NZ when he took silver.

Meanwhile other youngsters are doing well too, albeit at a different stage of their snowsports career.

Snow-Camp is a charity that helps deprived inner city kids make a start in life through snowsports.

It is the chosen charity of PlanetSKI.

One of its number, Kieron Roberts, has just achieved his BASI Level 1 snowboard instruction qualification.

He took a course at the Snozone in Milton Keynes last month.

Kieron RobertsKieron Roberts













He has penned these words of the experience.

"Thank you to BASI, Snozone and Lyndon at Snowboard Coach.

It was an amazing opportunity to help me become an snowboard instructor and it means so much that I was chosen to do the course, because it's been my goal to become an snowboard instructor and teach people.

While on the BASI course my highlights were meeting new people who had the same passion as me, also being able to learn about different teaching styles, which improves our teaching and helps us improve our riding too.

Since I completed the course my riding is completely different to how I started the course, as the intense the sessions all week have improved my riding skills!

I feel I am now a much better snowboarder and instructor.

I have already been back on the Snow-Camp beginner programmes this week helping out with my new skills.

Thank you very much to everyone who has provided me with this opportunity".

For further details of the worl of Snow-Camp and its expansion then see this earlier PlanetSKI article.

For the spirit of the mountains

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OCTOBER SKIING SECRETS (Thursday October 31, 2019)
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