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DECEMBER NEWS IN BRIEF
Friday December 1, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Buy your St Moritz lift pass with bitcoins, Pyeongchang tickets sales show sharp rise + Olympic torch relay in Jecheon cancelled. NEW & UPDATED

 

 

...... NEWS IN BRIEF STORIES FROM NOVEMBER 2017

 


FRIDAY 29TH DECEMBER

BUY YOUR LIFT PASS WITH BITCOINS!

Ski lifts in and around St Moritz have started accepting Bitcoins as payment for passes.

It's thought the Swiss resort is the first in the country to recognise payments with the crypto currency.

So far only the Snow Safari day passes - which are valid through the whole Upper Engadin - can be purchased with bitcoins.

Bitcoin paymentBitcoins accepted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


According to the Swiss news website, Südostschweiz, the company director of Engadin St Moritz Mountains is not worried about the bitcoin bubble bursting, despite it being subject to strong fluctuations.

Currently, a bitcoin is worth between 14,000 and 17,000 Swiss Francs.

"We also have to accept the euro, regardless of the exchange rate," Markus Meili said.

"We have to keep up with the times, especially when it comes to digitilisation."

What is a bitcoin?  Read the Wikipedia explanation here.

WEDNESDAY 27TH DECEMBER

The organisers of the Pyeongchang 2018 have revealed that 61% of available tickets have now been sold for next year's Winter Olympics.

The figure, which includes domestic and international sales, may come as a relief to organisers as it shows a significant increase from two months ago.

The current number of tickets sold stands at 655,000 out of 1.07 million tickets available, almost twice as many as had been sold in October when the figure was just 30.3%.  

Read more here. 

Rise in ticket salesRise in ticket sales 


































THURSDAY 21ST DECEMBER

OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY CANCELLED IN JECHEON

A fire at a sports centre in the central South Korean city of Jecheon has resulted in at least 29 deaths, with another 29 injured.

It is unclear what caused the fire but officials said it probably began in the building's car park.

Some 20 people were rescued from the rooftop after taking refuge from the fire.

Several of the survivors were taken hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, officials said.

As many as 60 firefighters attended the scene on Thursday in the city, 168km (104 miles) southeast of Seoul. (GMT time difference)

Organisers for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics said the route of the Olympic torch relay, that had been scheduled to pass through Jecheon on Friday, would be revised because of the tragedy.

The following statement was put out on The Pyeongchang 2018 Twitter feed,

Jecheon stage of PyeongChang torch relay cancelled Jecheon stage of PyeongChang torch relay cancelled







 

More details BBC

TUESDAY 19TH DECEMBER

CHINESE TOURISM TO EXTEND TO ANTARCTICA

According to Chinese Media, the first Chinese charter flight to Antarctica landed successfully on Saturday.

The test flight paves the way to opening up charter flights between China and Antarctica.

It is a sign the country is tapping the South Pole tourism market.

The Full Story on BBC

First Chinese charter flight lands in AntarcticaFirst Chinese charter flight lands in Antarctica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY 18TH DECEMBER

WORLD'S STEEPEST FUNICULAR OPENS


The railway takes passengers up a 110 per cent gradient from the central Swiss town of Schwyz up to the car-free alpine resort of Stoos.

It rises 743 metres in around four minutes, reaching speeds of up to 10 metres per second. 

The barrel-shaped carriages adjust their floors so passengers can still stand upright while they climbing to the plateau at 1,300 metres.



The Swiss President Doris Leuthard officially opened the funicular on Friday evening.

Locals were the first to use it on Saturday before it was opened to the public on Sunday. 

The project took 14 years to complete and cost CHF53 million (£40 million).

SUNDAY 17TH DECEMBER

DROUGHT CAUSES CALIFORNIA'S SIERRA MOUNTAINS TO GROW

The recent California drought caused the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to grow 2.5cm.

A NASA study, made public on Wednesday, says California's prolonged drought was severe enough to change the properties of the mountains - they lost water, weight and grew taller.

The study used advanced data-processing techniques on data from 1,300 GPS stations in the mountains of California, Oregon and Washington.

Data was collected from 2006 through to October 2017.

The study has lead NASA scientists to consider new thoughts about how the planet stores water.

The study allows scientists to begin exploring other questions about mountain groundwater.

Some questions include: "What does the water table look like within mountain ranges?" and "Is there a significant amount of groundwater stored within mountains?"

The paper on the research, titled "Sustained water loss in California's mountain ranges during severe drought from 2012 through 2015 inferred from GPS," was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.

SATURDAY 16TH DECEMBER

OLYMPIC LOGOS UNVEILED

The logos for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have been shown for the first time.

They were released at a ceremony at the National Aquatic Centre in Beijing.

"The emblems of Beijing 2022 combine Chinese culture, an international, modern style and winter sports together," said the President of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee Cai Qi.

Olympic logosOlympic logos











WEDNESDAY 13TH DECEMBER

The first Para Alpine Skiing World Cup races of the season have been cancelled.

The event was set to take place in the Swiss resort of St Moritz between 13th - 16th December.

But bad weather conditions with forecast wet snow have forced the organisers to cancel.

"It was a hard decision but it would not give us a good or secure race for everyone," the St Moritz Director of Sports and Events, Martin Berthod, has said.

"It would be too dangerous to hold the race at this time."

"The forecast for Thursday is wet and Friday the winds are looking to be about 100 miles per hour and the chair may not even be possible to run."

The next Para Alpine World Cup skiing is scheduled for 19th -22th December in Kuhtai, Austria.

France's Marie Bochet in action at the 2016 St Moritz World Cup © • Marcus HartmannFrance's Marie Bochet in action at the 2016 St Moritz World Cup © • Marcus Hartmann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY 12TH DECEMBER

Scotland's ski resorts are off, and now with the help of the TechnoAlpin Snowfactory. 

After the worst season ever at Glencoe Mountain resort last year with just 32 days of skiing, it was time to bring in the big guns.

...Or one snow-making machine, anyway.

In October, Glencoe resort was appealing to UK ski lovers to donate:
And it seems that the Snowfactory has arrived for its trial and test.

There is another already switched on over in Scotland's other popular ski resort of CairnGorm.

Exciting times.

There has already been skiing at Glencoe Mountain this season, in November, no less!

The newly in place snow making unit can make 100 cubic metres of snow each day in temps up to 25°C, operating in mild, wet and windy conditions.

Sounds good, right?

But the target is yet to be reached with just shy of 30% funded so more is needed to keep these potential winter-changers on Scotland's ski hills.

Glencoe Twitter Glencoe Twitter































SATURDAY 9TH DECEMBER

EASY JET SPONSORS GB TELEMARK SKIER

The airline is providing flights for 20-year-old Ben Emsley.

EasyJet flew Ben to Geneva for training in November, and this week he has been flown to a World Cup competition in Austria.

Ben started telemarking just four years ago and was selected to the British team after coming second in his age category at the French Championships, and fourth overall.  

"I really appreciate all the support easyJet has given me.," said Ben.

"Funding is currently very limited within Telemark, so it can be really hard for me to travel internationally for training and World Cup events.

"Without easyJet's support, I wouldn't be able to compete in a lot of the upcoming World Cup events this season."

"I am determined to have a strong season on the Telemark circuit, and also spread awareness of the sport as much as possible to make it more recognised. The Telemark community has been campaigning really hard to raise awareness so that we feature as an event in the 2022 Winter Olympics!

"I aim to challenge the best in the world, and make history within the sport. I'm really grateful to easyJet for helping me make this possible."
Ben EmsleyBen Emsley




















Ali Gayward, UK country manager, said:

"We are proud to be sponsoring Ben Emsley as he represents Great Britain in Telemark Skiing.

"easyJet offers more to Europe's ski destinations than any other airline in the UK, so we're really excited to be supporting this talented athlete, helping him to train and compete in amazing destinations such as the Alps.

"We wish Ben the best of luck for the Telemark Ski season!"

 FRIDAY 8TH DECEMBER

GERMAN TEENAGE SKI RACER DIES AFTER CANADA CRASH

17-year-old Max Burkhart, died in hospital in Calgary after a high-speed crash at Lake Louise in Alberta.

He was treated at the scene of the crash by paramedics before being airlifted to hospital.

He was a member of the Garmisch Ski Club in Germany.

"Alpine Canada and Alberta Alpine are devastated about this tragic loss of life," said a statement from Alpine Canada.

"We send deepest condolences to his family and team-mates. Alpine Canada and Alberta Alpine encourage the ski family around the world to support the athletes' family and team mate through this difficult time."

He was studying at a high school for competitive skiers - Sugar Bowl Academy near Lake Tahoe in California.

See here for more details in the Calgary Herald.

THURSDAY 7TH DECEMBER

LINDSEY VONN SPEAKS OUT AGAINST TRUMP

The 33-year old US racer said she will not accept an invitation to the White House if she wins gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

In an interview with CNN she said "I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president. 

"I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony," she added.

 "I want to represent our country well. I don't think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that."  

And asked if she would visit the White House"  

"Absolutely not," said Vonn. "No."      

Lindsey VonnLindsey Vonn























AUSTRIAN SKI RACERS CLAIM SEX ABUSE

An investigation is to take place into claims that Austrian ski racers were the victims of systemic sexual abuse over several decades.

The news agency Reuters reports that an independent commission will look into allegations by former skiers that the assaults were carried out by coaches, supervisors and team members from the 1970s until at least 2005.

It follows a newspaper interview given last month by the Austrian former Olympian Nicola Werdenigg.

She said the abuse took place at a Tirolean boarding school for ski racers.

More former athletes have since spoken out anonymously.

Read the full story on Reuters.

WEDNESDAY 6TH DECEMBER

The struggle of ski resort workers in North America is not fresh news.

The cost of living is high and there is little affordable housing in many big resorts.

And this worry increases when the conditions aren't up to scratch, currently the case due to a lack of snow - and for some therefore work.  

The famous ski state of Colorado that homes many of the big name US ski resorts is not having a strong season start.

But Aspen Skico. has set up soup kitchens in its resorts which have been going since Thanksgiving, three nights a week.

It is to feed employees who are in resort to work but can't due to the poor conditions.

"As long as we can't get those guys fully employed, we'll keep feeding them," the vice president of communications, Jeff Hanle, said to The Aspen Times.

"It's important to take care of people out there on the front lines and representing the company," Hanle added.
Aspen Buttermilk, set to open this SaturdayAspen Buttermilk, set to open this Saturday
























Check out the weather news when US & Canadian resorts started to open last month:
TUESDAY 5TH DECEMBER

NO KIT? NO PROBLEM

At the end of October GB para snowboarder James Barnes-Miller had his kit stolen from a van parked outside his house in Cheshire.

He lost everything.

It was worth £10,000.

We reported on it at the time and spoke to him about his attempts to replace his snowboards and clothing in time for his first competition of the winter. 
Now he's picked up a bronze medal.

It came in the first boarder cross World Cup of the season at Pyha in Finland.

He used new kit supplied to him in record time to get out to the first even of the season.


Para banked slalom podium Finland 2017Bronze for James Barnes-Miller (right)



























Congratulations.

Let's hope there's more to come.

SUNDAY 3RD DECEMBER

SHIFFRIN WINS HER FIRST DOWNHILL


The US skier and slalom specialist, Mikaela Shiffrin, won the Lake Louise downhill on Saturday.

It was only her fourth downhill race as she has concentrated on slalom in her career to date.

Observers have recognised her slalom skills but wondered if she had what it takes in the downhill.

It appears she has.

She now has 33 career World Cup wins.

Her fellow American and downhill specialist, Lindsey Vonn, crashed in training and skied carefully on race day, finishing in 12th place.

"BIG thank you to all of the course workers, race organizers, everybody who worked so hard to pull of this race today after a big snowstorm and the power outage!! The track was 👍💪👌!" she said on Facebook

and posted the following pictures:

Mikaela ShiffrinMikaela Shiffrin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mikaela ShiffrinMikaela Shiffrin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The men were racing in Beaver Creek USA and the downhill was won by Aksel Svindal from Norway.

It was also his 33rd World Cup win.

FRIDAY 1ST DECEMBER

US SKI INSTRUCTOR JAILED FOR 15 YEARS FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN

27-year-old Stephan L DeGraffenreid worked at the chiLdren's ski school in Heavenly Resort.

He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation and had child pornography on his iPod.

Here on PlanetSKI we have reported on the case in the past.

See here for our report  on 5th September:

Stephan L. DeGraffenreid Stephan L. DeGraffenreid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BBC EXAMINES DECLINE IN SKIING

A new report from the broadcaster looks at the challenges ahead for the European snowsports industry.

"Numerous factors are having an impact on the industry - including ageing participants, business consolidation, technological and climate change, and even Brexit," said the report.

There is nothing terribly new in the article but it further illustrates than snowsports is facing difficult times.

See here for further details:

Is the ski industry on a slippery slope?

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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