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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cited many reasons for Europe's declining competitiveness including: high costs, indifferent service, inflexibility, outdated marketing techniques, and a lack of government support.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


Snow Alert for Jackson Hole
Snow Alert for Torino

Heavenly Valley
New Snow: (past 7 days) 25"
Now's the time to make plans for Heavenly's annual Spring Loaded, March 11 - April 8, 2006. On the mountain enjoy the California sunshine, Heavenly's famous spring conditions, the South Shore Soldiers terrain park camp, the Gunbarrel 50 hosted by Glen Plake, the infamous pond skimming contest and much, much more. Off the mountain there's non-stop action with world-class entertainment, après-ski parties with the Heavenly Angels, pub crawls and South Shore's 24-hour nightlife

Ski with Glen Week! Spend a week (March 19-24) skiing and rubbing elbows with Heavenly's Ski.E.O. and local skiing legend, Glen Plake! The Mohawked One was extreme way before "extreme skiing" and is ready to take guests on a multi-day adventure that spans every type of skiing, including Glen's specialty, the bumps of Gunbarrel. This package includes lodging at the Embassy Suites, lift tickets, lessons/mountain guides and meals. For booking info, call 1-800-HEAVENLY
Salomon Oasis, the Ultimate Hook-Up, will stop at Heavenly February 25th and 26th. The event brings a weekend full of free equipment demos, tons of giveaways, rebates on new Salomon skis and snowboards, and a terrain park jam session
Calendar of Events FRIDAY, 24 FEB 2006 Jackpot Rail Jam Series (3 of 6) SATURDAY - SUNDAY, 25 - 26 FEB 2006 Salomon Oasis Demo Days SUNDAY, 26 FEB 2006 Kinder Kup Challenge THURSDAY - SUNDAY, 2 - 5 MAR 2006 Ascent Week Heavenly Valley

Ski New Hampshire Tourism

These next two weeks are when many families are able to get away together and enjoy some time on the snow. To add to the fun, NH ski areas fill the calendar with all types of events. Among the more unique events, you'll find The 2nd Annual Spread Eagle World Championships at Attitash, The Lunch Tray Luge at Wildcat, The Silly Slalom and Belly Bag Race at King Pine, The 17th Annual Chocolate Festival at Mt. Washington Ski Touring, and Hawaiian Weekend at Pats Peak. You get the idea! Click below for a complete list of all the events we know about! Events
King Pine: Silly Slalom and Belly Bag Races Attitash: Winterfest '06 Mount Sunapee: Snicker's Snowfest Balsams Wilderness: Torchlight Parade Feb 28
The Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge is a fun and exciting series of over 50 Ski and Snowboard Races held at the top resorts in the U.S. The races are FREE for all skiers and boarders holding a valid lift ticket. Join the Dew Crew for a day of fun at King Pine Ski new Hampshire

Valais Tourism

From 23 to 28 February it is carnival time in the Valais. There is hardly a single resort in the Valais that doesn't throw itself heart and soul into the crazy festivities. Colourful carnival parades bring the streets to life, the boisterous carnival bands play their music, there are prizes for the best masks in the children's carnival events, and the bars and restaurants are alive with celebrations until the early hours of the morning. The « Tschäggätta » carnival parade with its famous carved wooden masks from the Lötschen Valley is not to be missed.
A small selection of important winter events from mid February to the end of April : 26.02.06 The Gommerlauf in Goms 03.03.-12.03.06 The "Caprices Festival", a music festival in Crans-Montana 03.03.-11.06.06 The "Camille Claudel and Rodin" exhibition at the Fondation P. Gianadda in Martigny 04.03.-05.03.06 The Swiss Telemark championships in Thyon/Les Collons 12.03.06 The international dog sled race in Champex-Lac
17.03.-19.03.06 The O'Neill Xtreme Snowboard Contest in Verbier. Verbier for the 11th edition of the O'Neill Xtreme by Swatch where they'll tackle the world best riders. Let's wish to these Rookies, not really Rookies any more, a good run on the Bec des Rosses…
The 34th Gommer race is a 25-kilometer-long Nordic skating event for adults leading from Blitzingen to Oberwald and will take place on Sunday, February 26, 2006 in the Goms valley
Valais -Matterhornstate


COOK, LINDSEY DO NOT QUALIFY FOR AERIALS FINALS SAUZE d'OULX, Italy (Feb. 21) - Jana Lindsey (Black Hawk, SD) placed 16th and Emily Cook (Belmont, MA) was 19th in Tuesday night's women's aerials qualifying. Neither placed well enough to qualify for Wednesday's finals.
KILDOW, KOZNICK, SCHLEPER, STIEGLER TO RACE SLALOM WEDNESDAY SESTRIERE, Italy (Feb. 21) - The first pure women's alpine technical event of the '06 Olympics takes place Wednesday as Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO), Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN), Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) and Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole) will compete for the U.S. in slalom.
JEWELL MAKES OLYMPIC DEBUT WEDNESDAY IN PGS BARDONECCHIA, Italy (Feb. 21) - U.S. snowboarder Tyler Jewell (Sudbury, MA) makes his Olympic debut Wednesday in the parallel giant slalom.
PETERSON, 8th, QUALIFIES FOR AERIALS FINALS SAUZE d'OULX, Italy (Feb. 20) - Jeret Peterson (Boise, ID) finished eighth in Monday night's Olympic aerials qualifying and will advance to Thursday's finals. Joe Pack (Park City, UT), Ryan St. Onge (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Eric Bergoust (Missoula, MT) finished 15-16-17, not high enough to make finals.
Wed., Feb. 22
Alpine: Women's Slalom, Sestriere
Cross Country: Men's/Women's Sprint Freestyle, Pragelato
Freestyle: Women's Aerials, Sauze d'Oulx
Snowboard: Men's Parallel Giant Slalom, Bardonecchia

Thu., Feb. 23
Freestyle: Men's Aerials, Sauze d'Oulx
Snowboard: Women's Parallel Giant Slalom, Bardonecchia

Fri., Feb. 24
Alpine: Women's Giant Slalom, Sestriere
Cross Country: Women's 30km, Pragelato

Sat., Feb. 25
Alpine: Men's Slalom, Sestriere

Sun., Feb. 26
Cross Country: Men's 50km, Pragelato

OFFICIAL 2006 OLYMPIC TEAM BIOGRAPHIES -SOURCES Alpine - http://www.usskiteam.com/public/team.php?dId=2&sN=2 Cross Country - http://www.usskiteam.com/public/team.php?dId=3&sN=2 Freestyle - http://www.usskiteam.com/public/team.php?dId=1&sN=2 Jumping - http://www.usskiteam.com/public/team.php?dId=4&sN=2 Nordic Combined - http://www.usskiteam.com/public/team.php?dId=4&sN=2 Snowboard - http://www.ussnowboarding.com/public/team.php?&dId=7&sN=2 US Ski & Snoboard Teams

Sugarloaf/USA, Carrabassett Valley, Maine
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine - Olympic Gold Medalist and the pride of the State of Maine, Seth Wescott, will be given a hero's welcome when he makes his first public appearance in the United States at Sugarloaf/USA on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The festivities begin at noon in front of the Sugarloaf Base Lodge and will offer fans the chance to hear from Seth and then ride a specially constructed snowboard cross course with him to learn more about the sport. "We all couldn't be at the Games, so Seth is bringing the games to us," said Bill Swain, Sugarloaf's communications manager. "This is something Seth could do where he could share his excitement with everyone in Maine."
The snowboard cross course will be built on The Landing which is a green circle trail that all skiers and riders can navigate. The run through the course will not be at high speed so anyone who wants can participate can do so. Following the runs through the snowboard cross course, Seth will talk about his Olympic experience and tell fans what it was like to win an Olympic gold medal. He will also answer questions from fans. "Seth wants this to be an interactive experience so fans can see the intricacies of snowboard cross because the more you understand the sport, the more you appreciate its appeal," Swain said.
Sugarloaf has printed a special commemorative poster that Seth will autograph for fans following the trip down the snowboard cross course.
The day's events conclude indoors with a special Bud Light Concert event with John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. The concert is open to fans ages 21 and over and tickets are $10 at the door SugarLoaf

FIS at Torino 2006 -
Snowboardcross (SBX) premiered in the Olympic program at Torino 2006 with Seth Wescott (USA) and Tanja Frieden (SUI) winning the first Olympic gold medals. In contrast to other Snowboard events, the special characteristic of SBX is a unique course design that must not only meet the technical requirements for vertical drop (100-240m), width (minimum of 30m) and slope (15-18°) with varied terrain but also must include various terrain features such as crescent shaped banks, various jumps, rollers and spines. The design and building of the SBX course at the Torino Olympic Winter Games 2006 was the task of Course Builder Jeff Ihaksi (CAN) and his assistants David Ny (SWE), himself a builder of halfpipes including the impressive pipe at the Games, and Andrea Matteoli (ITA).
“Compared to regular World Cup events, we had much more time to build the course here in Bardonecchia. Typically at the World Cup races, we have anywhere between three and nine days to build the course and here we had over two weeks,” commented Jeff Ihaksi. As opposed to the detailed guidelines for building the Snowboard half-pipes, there are no specific guidelines for SBX courses. Rather, the course is the result of the skill and know-how of the building team. “The critical ingredients of a good SBX course are the length of time we have to build it, the amount and characteristics of the snow available, and the slope and width of the course. Here in Bardonecchia we had sufficient time, snow and manpower. The run was a bit narrow which made the course somewhat banky and turny. However, by working with the organizers since the site inspection in November 2005, we were able to make some changes, such as trimming some trees, which allowed us to take advantage of the best avenues for width, eventually ending up with one of the longest SBX courses ever in terms of gliding length,” said Ihaksi and added: “But what really made the difference in this course was having David there, always paying attention to the little details that made this course absolutely perfect for SBX’s Olympic debut.”