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Swiss Info
The recent International Tourism Symposium held in Zermatt started with a sobering statistic: there are more charter flights out of London taking British skiers to North American resorts than the Alps.
The experts cited many reasons for Europe's declining competitiveness including: high costs, indifferent service, inflexibility, outdated marketing techniques, and a lack of government support.
Alain Dupeyras, head of the tourism programme at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said the European industry was also characterised by a predominance of small operators who lacked the clout to lobby effectively. In Switzerland the European problem can be seen in microcosm. There are around 600 ski lift companies spread across more than 200 resorts in the country, and only a dozen of the latter – according to analysts – have growth potential.
Since most Swiss resorts are small and located in peripheral regions, they have low cash flow, an inability to attract investment capital, and are crippled by high costs of labour, services and food, according to professor Thomas Bieger of St Gallen University.
"The Swiss ski industry is split into two camps: bigger companies [in large resorts] that are innovative and can keep pace with global developments, and too many operators in small ski areas who don't have the means to invest."
Bieger told swissinfo that consolidation is one of the answers to the problem. "Only then do you have enough money to make investments."
The Swiss industry has seen a number of mergers in recent years and more are on the cards, but the speed of change has been slow. Snowboards for skateboards
Berry also concluded that snowboarding had cut across all ethnic and class lines, with second generation Hispanics, for instance, trading in their skateboards for snowboards in winter.
While flexible pricing remains controversial in the European industry, Bieger said there was much to be learned from the American model.
Skiing has become less popular among the Swiss with resorts in the country reporting a five per cent drop in sales to residents, and that has been partly blamed on the increase in the immigrant population.
Swiss Info Org

USSA News - Torino

RANDALL POSTS HISTORIC 9th IN CROSS COUNTRY SPRINT Best All-Time U.S. Olympic Cross Country Finish
PRAGELATO, Italy (Feb. 22) - American Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) made history Wednesday as she was ninth in the Olympic cross country sprint, the best all-time Olympic finish by any U.S. woman. Canadian Chandra Crawford won the gold and was followed by silver medalist Claudia Kuenzel of Germany and bronze winner Alena Sidko of Russia. Canadian Beckie Scott was fourth. Other U.S. finishes today included Wendy Wagner (Park City, UT) in 35th and Lindsay Williams (Hastings, MN) in 38th.
Pragelato, ITA - Feb. 22, 2006 Cross Country Women's Sprint 1. Chandra Crawford, Canada 2. Claudia Kuenzel, Germany 3. Alena Sidko, Russia 4. Beckie Scott, Canada 5. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland -- 9. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, Alaska 35. Wendy Wagner, Park City, Utah 38. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, Minn. For complete results: Torino

Big Sky
Date: 2/22/2006 Powder Day Report Time: 5:26 am Weather: Cloudy with snow flurries through out the day. Temperature: 23 ° to 10 ° (Fahrenheit) Wind: 10-20 from West New Overnight Snow: 4" Snow Fall past 24hrs: 10" Snow Fall past 48hrs: 12" Base Snow Depth: 56-86" Surface Conditions: Powder, Packed powder, machine groomed Terrain Open: 100%
What's Happening

Knee deep turns in Challenger, more powder skiing tomorrow!

~~~~~ TripAdvisor Travel Newsletter ~~~~~
This week's special deals:
* Switzerland: Book Now - Pay on Check Out!, Venere.com Buying Direct Means Lower Price.
* Zermatt: Great Rates on Hotels, Expedia.com Don't just travel. Travel right!
* Zurich: Great Prices, Great Rooms, hotels.com We Know Hotels Inside And Out.
Ski Australia
* Melbourne: Great Prices, Great Rooms, hotels.com We Know Hotels Inside And Out.

Crans Montana

26/02/2006 Skiing European Freestyle Cup Crans-Montana Switzerland (SUI)
Crans Montana Snow Games
Crans Montana

Tignes -France
Jib Vid Rides again at Tignes
High altitude French ski resort Tignes will stage its second Jib Vid
contest on 22nd March.
A 'jib vid,' for the uninitiated, involves a visit to the snowpark complete with camcorder. Film your tricks in the park, make up a storyline, edit the pictures and produce a video: that's a jib vid. The teams of two riders and a cameraman have one day to film all their sequences around Tignes. There's one rule: the video must be 90 seconds long, but otherwise anything goes.

Deities Oppose Construction of Multi-Million 'Ford' Ski Village in India Plans for a five star, sustainable-ski-tourism resort in the Indian Himalayas by a member of the Ford motorcars family dynasty, Alfred Ford, have run in to opposition from local deities. Despite winning political support in the region and at a national level in India, the Ski Village at Manali in Himachal Pradesh has been snubbed by the ''Dharam Sansad'' (congregation of local deities). A large number of local people and some voluntary organisations had opposed the project from the very beginning, fearing it would lead to displacement of local residents, despite assurances to the contrary by the resort team. However "divine intervention'' by Jamlu Devta, a reincarnation of Jagadmani Rishi, is potentially the most critical rejection of the project.
Responding to the directions of Jamlu Devta, Maheshwar Singh, Charibadar of chief deity, Lord Raghunathji, convened the Dharam Sansad today, which rejected the proposal.
''He had ruled out the possibility of convening another Dharam Sansad'' said Mr Singh on behalf of Lord Raghunantji, adding it was for the government and the Ford company to decide their future course.
From: Patrick Thorne of snow365

Ski Himalaya

India has sent in a photo. This is Mt.Apharwat ( Kashmir Region )showing what the locals refer to as the banana chutes. Keep in mind the distance from the chutes these were taken.
There are some resorts that would fit nicely into either of the "B1" or "B2" chutes. Additionally along one of the right desending finger ridge line, is a Large capacity gondola. Summit can be hiked for those wanting a "CAT" pick up at alternate run -outs.
Himalaya Powder Cats

A little more of the Italian Alps

Alagana Italy

Stevens Pass Wa Stevens Pass, ever since the opening season of 1937, has been a research center and to this day those that carry on, record daily snow fall, wind, temperature and weather that relates to avalanche potential.
Photo:Stevens pass Pic of the day Stevens Pass is a Class A avalanche area and has over two hundred and thirty, avalanche paths in the ski area boundary. The ski area being on the Crest of the Cascade Range has weather patterns that can change rapidly. These sometimes-rapid changing weather patterns can rapidly change the condition of the snow pack causing avalanches or very different snow conditions from moments before. So you can see that it keeps the avalanche control people quite busy throughout the winter season. Stevens Pass has snow, weather and avalanche documentation dating back to 1937 and still conducts research projects relating to snow science and weather. Stevens Pass has a very active avalanche control program that monitors hourly weather and snow pack information and that conducts avalanche control mitigation in the ski area boundary to help minimize the avalanche potential to the skiing public. Stevens has lots of it, averaging 450" of snowfall each year, covering 1,125 acres of skiable terrain, including 37 major runs and numerous bowls, glades and faces. Base area elevation 4,061' Top elevation Cowboy Mountain 5,845' Mill Valley base elevation 3,821' 1,800 vertical feet on three sides of two different mountains
Stevens Pass



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