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Monday July 31, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

FACT- there are snowstorms on Mars, Chopper rescue, Reaching Out? No Thanks! + baring it all on Monte Bianco. NEW & UPDATED

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

And now this month...


We like an eye-catching headline here on PlanetSKI.

And here isn't one:





How exciting is that?

But is there enough to ski on?

According to a new study published in Nature into weather on Mars, there are some turbulent snowstorms that occur during the night.

The new findings suggest that ice-water particles swirl around in the night time storms and land on the ground within minutes.

"It's the first time anyone has shown that snowstorms, or water-ice microbursts, occur presently on Mars," says Dr Aymeric Spiga from the Université Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris.

Dr Aymeric Spiga, who headed the project, studies various planetary atmospheres in the Solar System, including the telluric planets (Mars, Venus) and the giant planets (Saturn, Jupiter).

He said that the snow can reach the ground, but it is an icy product that might not accumulate in the same way we experience snowstorms on Earth.

The snowstorms only occur during the night, through cooling of the water-ice particles in the Martian clouds after sun down.

"Snowstorms on Mars are much less dangerous than they are on Earth, and the quantity of snow that is precipitating is also quite small," said Dr Spiga.

"So if snow precipitation is able to reach the surface (which is not the case for all snowstorms), that'll look like thin patchy frost, rather than thick snow deck as it is on Earth."

Sadly that may not be enough for skiing!

Dr Spiga continued, "On Mars the snow particles are very tiny ice crystals (a couple of micrometers/tens of micrometers) while on the Earth you can have snow made of much larger (and complex) snowflakes."

NASA's Phoenix lander discovered water on Mars in 2008 - and now we have evidence snowstorms. ❄️ 😎

Headline photo: NASA Chasma Boreale & North Polar IceCap



This sort of rescue is known as a "sling operation", and this one, thankfully, was successful.

The treacherous 4,267m (14,000+ feet) altitude just above the Gosaikunda lake, in Nepal's Langtang National Park, made this particular rescue even more difficult.

"Sling operation" chopper rescue in Nepal
















Here at PlanetSKI we are bombarded with emails on an hourly basis.

Some are interesting but an increasing number are dull, junk or pure spam.

The ones that annoy us most are those that address us by our first names as if they know us, hope we are having a fabulous day and then decide to 'reach out to us.'

From now on we will simply send the image below:
















And they can find the song on You Tube themselves.



Kilian Jornet demonstrated, to the mayor of Saint Gervais les Bains (Haute Savoie) what he thinks about the new rule that climbers who intend to summit Mont Blanc must go adequately equipped to avoid accidents.

On 17th August mayor Jean-Marc Peillex made it compulsory, from the French side of Mont Blanc, for all climbers to use high mountain clothes including boots, helmets, ropes, when attempting to climb Mont Blanc. ... the list is long:

  • Warm, waterproof (Gore Tex) jacket 
  • Mountaineering trousers and base layer
  • Mountaineering-specific boots and crampons
  • Harness and crevasse rescue equipment
  • Rope
  • Ice axe
  • GPS or altimeter
  • Hat, sunglasses, sun cream, ski mask

Its a no-brainer you would think.

But, the super experienced Spanish mountaineer, Everest climber, endurance runner and skyracer Kilian Journet thinks otherwise.

He thinks that it's not what equipment you have, but more about having the knowledge and understanding of how and when to use it.

In a twitter comment he said: "C'est pas le materiel mais la connaisance sur l'utilisation de celui ci et experience a chaque un..." roughly translated ... "It's not the equipment but the knowledge on the use and experience each one..."

The possible danger lies in being over equiped, giving a false sense of security and possibly enticing you to attempt something more challenging than you are capable of.

He posted this image of protest from the Italian side of Monte Bianco where no such rule exists, with the caption:

"Bref, si on grimpe coté italien c'est legal? πŸ˜…πŸ˜… =   In short, if you climb on the Italian side it's legal? πŸ˜…πŸ˜…"

Kilian Jornet has certainly highlighted the issue from Monte Bianco at 4,810m.

Kilian Jornet on the Italian side Kilian Jornet on the Italian side















Will anyone be trying to get a skiing or snowboarding picture in the solar eclipse that passes across some US ski resorts today, Monday 21st August?

A few years back in a recent eclipse across the Arctic the photographer Reuben Krabbe followed Cody Townsend and friends on a journey to capture a skier framed by the total solar eclipse.

"Eclipse" won Best Adventure Film at the New York WILD Film Festival and Best Snow Sports Film at Banff.

PlanetSKI will not be skiing during the eclipse but we will be in a ski resort to experience the event.

Our senior news reporter, Katie Bamber, is in Sun Valley in Idaho - see below for her preview piece as excitement mounts and 30,000 people are heading to the resort for Monday's extravaganza.

Skiing through a solar eclipseSkiing through a solar eclipse


The Verdant Creek wildfire that threatened the ski area of Sunshine Village Banff is now under control.

Parks Canada has given Sunshine Village the go-ahead to open all it's summer trails.

This timelapse video was captured from the Sunshine Village web cams on the night of 31st July showing the fire at its height with enormous flames shooting into the air.

And below we can see the aftermath as a helicopter flies over the burnt out terrain.

In the distance you can see the smoke from the smouldering embers that still require continuous monitoring by the fire crews.

Read more:



Following Mark McMorris' severe accident on 25th March this year, it's good to see him back on snow in New Zealand at Cardrona.

The 23 year-old, 7-time X-games gold medalist and Bronze Olympic medalist, let his fans know that he’s back on his snowboard in New Zealand.

Only four months ago, McMorris, severely injured himself in the backcountry snowboarding accident where he hit a tree in the Whistler area.

He sustaind multiple injuries that included fractures to his jaw, arm, pelvis and ribs, a ruptured spleen and collapsed lung.

McMorris commented, "Words can't describe how thankful I am to have a second chance at this life.. Snowboarding makes me happier than anything on this earth! Thank you all for the healing vibes and prayers. It truly made the difference πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ "

McMorris was the overall champion and won the World Cup Crystal Globes last season in the new Olympic discipline of Big Air.

We hope to see him at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang next year.

A post shared by Mark McMorris (@markmcmorris) on Aug 16, 2017 at 2:55pm PDT



Remember the Tongan Taekwondo fighter who caused a sensation with his coconut-oiled torso at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony?

No? Really?

Well, sorry, we can't show you a picture of Pita Taufatofua carrying the Tongan flag for copyright reasons.

But we can show you this one he posted on Facebook of him at the closing ceremony, looking much the same.

Pita TaufatofuaQuite a sight














Since Rio he's been working on a new challenge - to represent his tiny South Pacific island nation at the Winter Olympics as a cross-country skier.

In February this year, four months after first putting on his cross country skis, he competed in his first race.

It was at the World Championships in Finland, no less.

Now he's got his sights set on South Korea this winter.

You can follow his progress on his official Facebook page @TheRealTonganNinja



Epic backdrop for 3032m above sea level.

The winning Long Jump was South Africa's Luvo Manyonga with 8.46m, and Triple Jump was won by US WIll Claye with 17.42m.


#SautDesGeants at the Tignes Glacier (Photo: Twitter @f3alpes)#SautDesGeants at the Tignes Glacier (Photo: Twitter @f3alpes)














Result - Long Jump:
1st  Luvo Manyonga - 8m46 (RSA)
2nd Kafétien Gomis - 8m22 (FRA)
3rd Damar Forbes - 8m06 (JAM)

Result - Triple Jump:
1st  Will Claye - 17m42 (USA)
2nd Christian Taylor -16m99 (USA)
3rd Alexis Copello - 16m95 (AZE)


The trials and tribulations of losing a most precious ski.

If you were the unlucky person who lost this ski at Mt Rose, Lake Tahoe on one of those epic powder days last season, then cry no more your ski has been found.

It was found by Cody Whalin, one of the Team Falcon's coaches while out hiking.

If this is your ski then you can claim it on Facebook here.

Lost ski - now needs to find its ownerLost ski - now needs to find its owner



















On 6th August 2017, 34-year old Janine Osborne and Matt Bowring were married.

The very next day they both set off on an 8-day adventure to climb 8 Welsh peaks in 8 days.

She embarked on her adventure dressed in her full-length, lace-panelled, beaded wedding dress, and instead of kitten heels she wore proper hiking boots.

Janine Osborne-Bowring and her new partner Matt climbed the eight mountains in eight days to raise awareness for Vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels.

In 2015 Janine became ill. Her symptoms started with joint pain and exhaustion but quickly turned much more severe.

It took doctors eight weeks to diagnose her.

The newlywed is currently in remission after undergoing intense chemotherapy to treat her condition, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA/Wegener's).

Janine shares details about her 2015 diagnosis on her Just Giving page, through which she and Matt have raised nearly £1,613 for Vasculitis UK.

She used her campaign page to announce her inspiring postwedding plan, “Myself and my beautiful husband to be will climbing 8 Welsh mountains within 8 days or less, as it took 8 weeks for me to get answers.”

"I decided I would do it in my dress as I could imagine the pictures, and what amazing memories it would bring us in the future."

They climbed some of the prettiest mountains in Wales, including the tallest peak in the area Mount Snowdon (1,085m) and Pen y Fan (886m), Fan Brycheiniog (802m) and Waun Fach (811m) in the Black Mountains, and Mynydd Sygyn (300m), Grib Ddu and Moel y Dyniewyd (382m) in Snowdonia National Park.

The pair reached four summits in Snowdonia National Park in just one day

Janine & Matt 3 Peaks down, 5 to go (Photo: Instagram)Janine & Matt - 3 Peaks down, 5 to go - main pic Brecon Beacons (Photo: Instagram)




















Janaine & Matt - Fan BrycheiniogJanine & Matt - Fan Brycheiniog





















In the Swiss canton of Ticino's Valle Morobbia, four young wolf cubs have been discovered through a photo trap.

Ticino is the Italian-speaking region in southern Switzerland.

The young cubs live peacefully on the edge of a forest near Bellinzona in southeast Switzerland.

Acording to the Ticino ofice for hunting and fishing, it is the third litter from a wolf pair whose offspring now live as far as the neighbouring canton of Graubünden and Italy.

Some 35 wolves are thought to be living in Switzerland.

Wolves are a protected rare species in Switzerland.

Ticino Wolf Cubs (Photo:Repubblica e Cantone Ticino/Dipartimento del territorio)Ticino Wolf Cubs (Photo:Repubblica e Cantone Ticino/Dipartimento del territorio)

















A man dressed as the Star Wars character Chewbacca has been charged with assault after allegedly hitting a manager at an Australian ski resort with his snowboard.

A report in the Australian Daily Telegraph says Keith Melvyn Wass is accused of using his board repeatedly to hit Thredbo Alpine Village resort manager Jordan Rodgers on Saturday morning.

Rodgers is said to have suffered facial and dental injuries.

Snowboarding ChewbaccaSnowboarding Chewbacca - photo Keith Wass Facebook














Wass said in a Facebook post that the altercation resulted from him being banned from riding in costume:

Been banned from Thredbo by the ceo Jordan Rogers for riding in the chewbacca costume, so i dropped him, he lost consciousness and some teeth. Coped a head but to the bridge of the nose and have been having some difficulty with balance. Been ordered not to have any contact with Thredbo staff (even if i know them) about what happened and must stay 15klm away from Thredbo.

The newspaper says that when not wearing his Wookie costume, Wass is often seen with a white pasta colander on his head because he is a Pastafarian - a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Read the full story here.



Its 'almost' all back to normal at Sunshine Village as the firefighters move out of the Mountain Lodge.

The Mountain Lodge and the sight-seeing gondola have both reopened for business, though the hiking trails currently remain closed as the fire in Verdant Creek continues to burn.

The fire crews were using the ski resort facilities as a command centre whilst tackling the raging fires at Verdant Creek, but they've now checked out.

In a statement on their website Sunshine Village comments:

"The firefighters have been successful in their efforts to suppress the fire at its northern boundary. The Verdant Creek Fire remains on the west side of the Continental Divide and is not a threat to the Banff Communities.

Tomorrow Morning (August 9th) the firefighters will be checking out of the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, and we will begin to reopen our facilities for guests.

On Friday, August 11th, we will run our Sight-Seeing Gondola and open our interpretive center. We wish Parks Canada and BC Parks continued success in their efforts to contain the Verdant Creek Fire.

We are working with Parks Canada to see when we will be reopening our Sunshine Meadows hiking trails. As fire is unpredictable we will continue to keep you posted with Verdant Creek Fire Updates on our social media and mountain news."

Firefighters checking out of Sunshine Mountain Lodge (Photo: Pavel Tvrdy)Firefighters checking out of Sunshine Mountain Lodge (Photo: Pavel Tvrdy - courtesy Sunshine Village)






The second annual World Dog Surfing Championships have been held in Pacifica, California.

It was quite an event.



Brian Goodward lost his snowboard but fortunately not his life when he was caught in an avalanche in Stein Valley in British Columbia last January.

He hunted high and low for his board but he couldn't find it and left a note pinned to a nearby cabin.

Lost and foundLost...

















And now it has been found....  and used.   

... found ... found

















... used... used














Two-time Olympic gold snowboard medalist and multiple XGames superstar Shaun White just sold his Hollywood home for  $6.7 million.

And it was quite a pad with stunning views across Los Angeles.

His 4,500-square-foot home in Hollywood Hills West had five bedrooms and an open floor plan with high ceilings.

It had walls of glass and a glass enclosed wine cellar

Its back garden patio spilled into a pool and hot tub.

Floor-to-ceiling windows from most rooms overlook the mountains and city below including a view from his bath-tub.

Shaun White's pool view a view & hot tubShaun White's pool view & hot tub












Shaun White's Hollywood view from bath tubShaun White's Hollywood view from bath tub














Shaun White's Hollywood home - view from a bear rugShaun White's Hollywood home - view from a bear rug













Shaun White's Hollywood home - $6.7 millionShaun White's Hollywood home - sold for $6.7 million














It's being called the highest athletics event on the planet - and it'll take place above 3,000 metres at the foot of the glacier in Tignes.

Next week the world's best male long jumpers and triple jumpers will head straight from the World Athletics Championships in London to the French resort for a high-altitude competition.

There'll be no stadium and no traditional trackside sandpits but spectators will be able to take the seven-minute ride up the funicular railway to the Grande Motte to watch the athletes attempt to break the world records in the Long Jump and Triple Jump.

Tignes funicularTransport to world-class athletics
















It will take three days to set up the 50 tons of equipment required on site.

The unique meet - Le Saut des Géants - follows a successful indoor athletics event held at resort level in Tignes in January this year.

Jumping in Tignes, January 2017Athletics in January - photo















Athletics in TignesAthletics in January - photo














One of the highlights will be the appearance of the American 2 x World (maybe 3 x by then!) and 2 x Olympic Champion triple jumper, Christian Taylor.

He has been getting close to the long-standing world record of 18.29m, set by GB's Jonathan Edwards in 1995.

Taylor's best is 18.21m.

The Long Jump world record is even older - set at 8.95m by Mike Powell of the USA in 1991.

The newly-crowned World Champion, South African Luvo Manyonga, will be among those hoping to better that in Tignes.

He'll be joined by the silver and bronze medallists in London, Jarrion Lawson (USA) and Ruswahl Samaai (South Africa) and some French favourites including Kafétien Gomis, the 2010 European silver medallist.

Kafétien GomisKafétien Gomis in Tignes in January - photo














Other leading competitors expected to be on the start list include the 2016 Olympic long jump champion Jeff Henderson (USA) and fellow American Will Claye, the triple jump silver medallist at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

It's quite a line-up.

If you love your sport and are in Tignes, it will be worth the trip up.

Panoramic terrace, Tignes Grande MottteWatch from the terrace















It will take place just below the terrace on the left as you emerge from the funicular between 16th and 18th August.

The exact timing will be determined by the weather.

Let's hope it's not blowing a hoolie at the top!



Manchester's Indoor snow centre is showing the famous feature film about the Jamaican Olympic bobsleigh team, complete with extra special effects.

The Chill Factore has a pop-up cinema during the school summer holidays which will screen Cool Runnings on 19th August.

Cinemagoers will watch the 1993 film in a room with a view of the slope and with a blizzard of fake snow from a snow machine at the end.

The comedy is loosely based on the true story of the Jamaican national bobsleigh team who competed in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

The cinema will also show be showing last year's film about Britain's only Olympic ski jumper, Eddie the Eagle, and the ice hockey comedy The Mighty Ducks.

The pop-up cinema is part of the centre's Summer at Chill programme.

For more visit the Chill Factore website.



In the early days of snowboarding, practitioners of the fledgling sport were not always welcome in Colorado - or anywhere in the USA for that matter.

So when Ike Garst let them ride on his chairlift he took a lot of stick.

The Summit Daily website reports that Garst has died at the age of 66. He'd been suffering from brain cancer.

Garst bought the Berthoud Pass Ski Area in 1977 and decided to sell a lift ticket to anyone who would pay, even snowboarders, though he apparently never tried snowboarding himself.

Early chairlift for snowboardersA rare sight in 1977















"It was very unpopular," his widow Lucy says in the Summit Daily.

"The other ski areas gave us grief. The ski patrol gave us grief. The ski school gave us grief.

"When you're sandwiched between Winter Park and Summit County, you have to do something to attract skiers to your area. We were more than happy to help that sport grow."

Garst's attitude attracted snowboard pioneers to Berthoud Pass, among them Jake Burton - who founded Burton Snowboards the same year Garst bought the ski area -  and Tom Sims.

Some of the first snowboarding competitions were held there.

This You Tube snowboarding footage was shot by Chuck Richardson at Berthoud Pass in the 1983-84 season:



The Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS) has made a series of short online films to promote the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.

Here is illusionist Yu Ho-Jin Cross-country skiing down the side of a skyscraper.

Ski Jumping below - magician Yu Ho-Jin appears to be stuck mid-air in this one.

And Snowboarding below - Yu Ho-Jin straps on his snowboard and rides through city streets alongside a bus whilst he seems to hover in mid-air.

And a bit of a lame attempt at speed skating on water below:




Rollerskiing is a great way to keep fit - especially if you plan to cover 824 miles in 14 days.

Christopher Gouldsmith is attempting to rollerski from John O'Groats to Lands End.

Known as Goldie, he's hoping to set a world record and raise money for charity along the way, but it seems his efforts haven't gone down well with everyone.

Rollerski world record attemptOn the road - photo Roll Goldie Roll Facebook
















His route took him along the busy A9 in Scotland, prompting some motorists to complain.

One said on social media "It's an idiot on rollerskates".

Another wrote: "Surely there are better ways to raise money for charity than to cause havoc on the A9! It's already a nightmare road for accidents due to frustration, that's without an idiot on roller skis."

Goldie is undeterred.

On Friday he posted this on his Facebook page, @RollGoldieRoll:

Just an update. I'm Feeling really good today, making great progress. I have had a lot of support today from other road users and bystanders. A few negative comments along the way but that is expected and can't keep everyone happy. I am out to set a Guinness World Record and raise as much money and awareness for two amazing charities - National Autistic Society and Headway - as after all you never know when any of us may need their help! I'll just keep rolling, peace out Cool

Goldie set out on 1st August and plans to arrive in Land's End on 14th.



It's not the first time that King Olav V of Norway has lost his ski pole.

It vanished for about a month in the summer of 2014 and earlier this week it went missing again, though this time not for long.

The pole in question is part of a famous sculpture of Olav V, known as the Skikongen (Ski King) because of his love of the sport.

Crown Prince Olav of NorwayThe Ski King as a young prince - photo National Library of Norway














The statue - unveiled by the Monarch himself in 1984 - is close to the ski jump in the Holmenkollen area of the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

According to the website Royal Central, the Secretary General of the Norweigan Ski Federation, Erik Eide, noticed that the statue was missing a pole when he arrived at work on Monday morning.

It was feared that it had been stolen but it was discovered a few hours later discarded in the forest nearby.

The pole has been restored to the statue of the King, who reigned from 1957 to his death in 1991.

King Olav V statue, Holmenkollen, Oslo King Olav V with ski poles - photo Shyamal, Wikimedia Commons
















It's good to see Snow-Camp getting some more media coverage.

Snow-Camp TV interviewSnow-Camp on the TV
















The snowsports youth charity, a partner of PlanetSKI, gives inner-city kids the chance to get involved in skiing and snowboarding.

Some go on to qualify as instructors.

ITV London put out this short item on its work in its programme on Friday.



Ladakh is a trans-Himalayan mountain desert in the extreme north of India with villages located at 2,700m to 4,000m altitude.

Most villages face acute water shortage, particularly during the two crucial months of April and May when there is little water in the streams and villagers compete to water their newly planted crops.

Water shortage is getting worse with time as Himalayan glaciers are disappearing due to global warming and local pollution.

An engineer, Sonam Wangchuk, came up with an ingenious solution to build artificial glaciers.

They are called ice stupa glaciers, which are built during the cold winter season and naturally melt in spring to water the barren desert fields in the Himalayan region.

Each ice Stupa is approximately 30m high, each supplying 10 million litres of water.

Wangchuk won a prestigious award for his innovative engineering work and is using the prize money to fund the Ice Stupa Project.

An Ice stupa is essentially a man-made glacier that stores the water surplus during the winter season, and releases the water to irrigate the land in Spring.

Initially, Wangchuk proposes to build 20 of these artificial ice mountains to store winter water to irrigate surrounding farms.

Building an Ice Stupa (Photo: Instagram - Rolexawards)Building an Ice Stupa (Photo: Instagram - Rolexawards)




















An Ice Stupa (Video screenshot)An Ice Stupa (Video screenshot)














Now at PlanetSKI we have a slight obsession with bears and include two bear stories below.

A mother bear and her cubs spotted in popular Anchorage ski area:

The above video was captured by Austin Childers, a viewer who saw a mother bear and her three cubs walking around Arctic Valley Ski Area.

Bear Cubs Stranded with mother in Rising Tide - in the video below:

The three cubs risk being swept out to sea and possibly drowning.

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

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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