Snow It All discusses dangers of avalanches in Australia

Snow It All talks about avalanche danger in Australia in this piece:

“The ski and snowboard world is a tight-knit community. When someone is badly injured or loses their life on the slopes, chances are you have shared a lift line with them, have met them at a bar, know them personally or are related to them.

Deaths at the snow in beach-obsessed Australia hits deep – and there have been a few already this season. A season that has been heralded for big powder storms and some of the best conditions in over a decade – conditions few of us are used to so accidents are bound to happen.

Excitement has been contagious and a fervor to be the first to get the most of each storm has infected already over-excited skiers and boarders who have attempted terrain outside of their skill level, ducked under closed ropes or hit the side and back country without appropriate equipment or knowledge.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/snow-it-all/when-a-ski-trip-goes-wrong-20140813-3dm4z.html#ixzz3ATqfugG8

Where is Australia’s best ski resort?

Great story by Miss Snow It All at www.theage.com.au

“Imagine for a moment Australia’s perfect ski resort. The terrain of Thredbo and Hotham, the ski-in ski-out village of Falls Creek, the scale of Perisher and the urban proximity of Mt Buller.

Those devoted to their ‘own’ resort would find this sacrilege. There is no-one more passionate than a skier or boarder addicted to their resort of choice. When discussing the competition, stereotypes abound.

Buller has attitude and too many clubbies, Thredbo is old-school skier territory stuck in the past, Perisher is like Pitt Street in peak hour, Falls is flat (the ultimate insult) and Hotham too disjointed. I’ve heard them all this week while on snow tour in New South Wales and Victoria.

One thing overly-passionate skiers like to do is criticise other skiers, or at least the areas in which they choose to make their turns, in an effort to justify their own choice of field. Who really cares? Are you having fun? Then you are winning, regardless of where you lay your snowboard.

Haters will always hate. So who really does have the most going on (in a good way)? Does Victoria or New South Wales come first across that best package line?

For apres ski, Victoria lords it over New South Wales. Thredbo and Perisher don’t even come close to the on-mountain dining and drinking options, and standard of Buller and Falls Creek. My liver can attest to that.

For terrain Perisher wins in scale, Thredbo in vertical and variety. That’s a no-brainer, though Hothamites will rightly argue otherwise and Buller this year has been better than any other, or so everyone keeps telling me.

My personal favourite sidecountry run is Dead Horse Gap, so easily accessed from the top of Thredbo. Steve Lee at Falls Creek will say his terrain is better, but you have to pay for the service of being guided and transported by skidoo, so they can’t really be genuinely compared.

The best run on a powder day? Has to be The Bluff at Thredbo, if you can get to the front of the stampede. Though isn’t any run a good run on a powder day?

Charlotte Pass and Guthega at Perisher in New South Wales both win for charm, Falls Creek for happy lifties and lift queues (the chairlift capacity far outweighs the bed capacity in the village, so queues are rarely seen). Victorian resorts have swanky day spas, New South Wales resorts don’t.

For honest snow reports, Falls Creek wins this week with their ‘worst house on the best street’ email to their database. There’s nothing skiers and boarders like more than the truth and nothing they will chastise you more for than lies.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/snow-it-all/victoria-v-nsw-where-is-australias-perfect-ski-resort-20140730-3ctwz.html#ixzz3AIC2LjbA

The Mountain Collective pass on sale at Liftopia

The Mountain Collective has begun selling tickets for the 2014/2015 season adding Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine to its premier roster of independent ski resorts and giving skiers and riders access to seven iconic destinations.

Ski Banff-Lake Louise- Sunshine joins AltaSnowbird , Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and Whistler Blackcomb in this unprecedented collaboration of destinations powered by Liftopia.

Beginning today consumers can purchase The Mountain Collective Pass at the 2014/2015 rate of  $389 via www.themountaincollective.com and via Liftopia.com, the exclusive technology, distribution and marketing partner of this historic alliance.

Additionally, the price for the kid’s pass has been reduced more than 55 percent to just $99 for the 2014-2015 season making it an ideal time to plan a family ski vacation.

Included in the pass are:

·      Two free days at each ski area

·      Unlimited 50% off lift tickets, after complimentary days are used, at each of the seven destinations

·      Exclusive perks such as discounted hotel rates at some resorts

Quantities are limited at this rate and there are no blackout dates or restrictions when using the free days or discounted days at any of the resorts.

This partnership demonstrates how the ski industry is evolving in its marketing and distribution practices to drive more purchases online and in advance while providing incentives to get skiers and snowboarders to spend more time on the mountains they love.

It also shows how the concept of a “ski pass” continues to evolve, from the traditional offering that includes season pass holders or resorts within close proximity to one another to a pass that brings added value for destination skiers.

Valle Nevado in Chile joins Mountain Collective Pass

Interesting El Nino story from www.yourwellness.com

“WHILE Panama’s Pacific coast braces itself for extra heavy downloads of rain, courtesy of El Niño, the folks in the Chilean Andes are delighted because the extra dumping come as snow.

Yes, that white stuff that sends some 750,000 Canadians and Americans scampering south in search of the sun during the northern winter, sends a smaller ban of a different kind of snowbird even further south to extend the skiing season, and this year it promises to be even longer
Valle Nevado, in Chile Chile’s premiere ski resort, opened two weeks early on Friday June 13 due to heavy early snowfall..

While El Niño weather patterns have forecast favorable weather conditions for the central Andes this year, the amount of snow received in the past few weeks has already exceeded expectations, and promises an even better season than previously rumored.

Earlier this year Valle Nevado has some added incentives for visitors as Chile joined the U.S. visa waiver program and the $160 reciprocity fee for U.S. visitors has been lifted, making air travel to Chile more convenient and affordable.

In addition, Valle Nevado just became one of the very first southern hemisphere members of the Mountain Collective Pass, joining the ranks of legendary resorts Alta Snowbird, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Whistler/Blackcomb and Mammoth Mountain. U.S.

Mountain Collective pass holders for 2014-15 receive 2 free lift tickets during Valle Nevado’s 2014 season, and “top-tier” pass holders from member resorts receive 50% off lift tickets for up to 7 days.”

Lack of snow keeps some ski resorts closed in New Zealand

Interesting Associated Press story by Nick Perry on lack of snow in New Zealand

Winter has rolled into its third month in New Zealand, and Nick Jarman says he’s going stir crazy as he stares out at the driving rain on the small ski area he manages in the Southern Alps.

The Craigieburn Valley Ski Area is one of several areas that haven’t opened for a single day this season, and some fear there may not be enough snow to open at all this year — something Jarman says has never happened during his 30 years carving turns on the mountain’s slopes.

Ski operators throughout New Zealand are feeling the effects of the country’s warmest start to the Southern Hemisphere winter since record-keeping began in 1909. And while one bad season doesn’t prove a trend, it comes at a time when scientists say the country’s snow pack and glaciers are melting at an alarming rate due to climate change.

The country’s largest ski areas have managed to open only because they’ve invested in equipment to make their own snow, which they’ve been doing this year in unprecedented quantities. For now, at least, that’s helped protect the nation’s reputation as a winter play land, one that each year attracts more than 60,000 skiers and snowboarders from Australia alone from June to August when it is winter south of the equator.

At Queenstown’s Coronet Peak, 200 snow guns have been blazing day and night whenever the temperature dips a little below freezing. Those guns have turned enough water to fill 100 Olympic-size swimming pools into a white blanket that’s remained on the main trails even on days when some skiers have taken to wearing t-shirts.

But New Zealand also has a tradition of small ski areas that rely entirely on natural snow, and many are facing steep financial losses this year. Typically, the areas are run as nonprofits. They are kept open not only by tourist dollars but also from the work of enthusiastic volunteers. Operators of these areas say they can’t afford to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in snow-making equipment.

Jarman says Craigieburn employs about 10 staff but can only pay them once the area opens. He says it’s not just the ski areas that are suffering, but also the local ski rental stores, the gas stations, even the bakeries. He says he’s been refunding money to tourists who have booked ski and accommodation packages, and the season is putting a strain on Craigieburn’s finances.

“It’s going to be hard, really hard. We don’t have the extra money to spend on maintenance,” he says. “We’re not living on caviar and salmon.” Read more at SNOW.

Good description of Mt. Buller in Australia from On The Snow

On The Snow wrote a helpful piece on Mt. Buller in Australia:

A three-hour drive from Melbourne, Mt. Buller is close enough for a day’s escape. There are 25 runs in total divided into two areas of the mountain: the Northern Slopes and Southern Slopes. Intermediate runs are found on both sides of the mountain, favorites include the wide cruising slopes of Little Buller Spur and Wombat. Most advanced runs are on the south side, such as the popular Federation, Wood Run, Bull Run and Wombat bowls. First-timers can find their feet by buying a Discovery Pass which costs $108 (AUD) for one day which includes a two-hour lesson and access to seven beginner lifts. Buller also has five miles of cross-country trails, three terrain parks and two toboggan parks.

When to go: Early June to Early October

Terrain: 740 acres

Lifts: Three high-speed chairs and 10 surface lifts

Après-ski: After working up an appetite on the slopes, relax with a gluhwine next to the fire at the Moosehead bar or head to the lively Kooroora bar—a favorite locals’ watering hole. Choose from a range of dining options, including gourmet burgers, Italian, Asian, tapas and more.

Resort facilities: Mt Buller is also home to the High Alpine Spa Retreat—Australia’s highest day spa. Buller has more than 30 bars and restaurants and around 7,000 beds, some of which are ski-in/ski-out properties. There’s also a ski school, a range of shops, a movie theater and ski rentals.

Ski pass prices: Daily lift tickets cost $113 (AUD)

Transportation: Located 154 miles from Melbourne, it’s a three-hour drive away via the Hume Highway or Maroondah Highway. Park about a mile from Buller and take the free shuttle service. A number of private coach companies also operate between Melbourne and Buller.

Chilean Freeskiing Championships kicks off Freeride Series

Powder Magazine announces start of Freeride Series:

“The first big mountain freeride competition of the 2014-15 Freeride Series will kick off August 20-25 with The North Face Chilean Freeskiing Championships in El Colorado, Chile. The event is open to male and female skiers only.

Stop number one of the Freeride Series will take place on the massive cliff-riddled Santa Teresa venue. The series is North and South America’s premier level big mountain freeride tour providing five competition stops for skiers and four events for snowboarders. All events will be webcast live on SubaruFreerideSeries.com.

For the sixth consecutive year, big mountain ski competition will return to the Southern Hemisphere, allowing athletes from around the world to earn points on the 2014-15 Freeride Series.

The top three results out of five events throughout the competition season will crown the overall Freeride Series ski winners for men and women. The remaining four Freeride Series events in North America will be announced at a later date.

big mountain venue

Skiers take in the Santa Teresa venue in the Chilean Andes. PHOTO: Courtesy of Freeride Series

“It is great to see this stop take place in Chile once again,” explained Peter Leatherbe, El Colorado general manager. “It is a pleasure to open this out-of-bounds area of Santa Teresita. The special security measures applied by the event organizers combined with the serious preparation of the world’s best skiers make it possible to compete on this special venue safely.”

Registration for the The North Face Chilean Freeskiing Championships will go live on SubaruFreerideSeries.com on Tuesday, July 22 at 10 a.m. MST.

“It’s very fitting to kick off the 2014-15 Freeride Series in the world class terrain of El Colorado, which always promises to challenge the best of riders,” said Freeride Series Event Director Bryan Barlow. “Freeride’s growth in Chile is very apparent, and I can’t wait to see the local Chilean riders rise up to compete against some of the world’s best freeriders.”

In addition to podium awards, one skier at each event will be selected as the recipients of the Backcountry.com Sickbird award. This award is highly coveted by the big mountain freeride community and is granted to riders who challenge not only themselves but also the sport through their athletic performance.

For athlete information contact Julia Jimmerson, MSI athlete relations manager, at jjimmerson@mtsports.com or (801) 349-4616. A new website will be launched soon.

For media or general information contact Max Kuszaj, Freeride Series Chile media relations, at 801.244.7780 or skierinblack@gmail.com.