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MARCH NEWS IN BRIEF

– International Matteo Baumgarten Award goes to Swiss skier
– Logo for 2020 Freeski & Snowboard Championships unveiled
– Mountain Rescue in Scotland could be affected by coronavirus
– Planning permission sought for repairs to Cairngorm Funicular

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NEWS IN BRIEF STORIES FROM FEBRUARY 2020

SATURDAY 28th MARCH
MATTEO BAUMGARTEN AWARD HANDED OUT

The Swiss skier, Tanguy Nef, is the annual winner of the International Matteo Baumgarten Award.

It recognises skiers who compete at the highest level while also completing their higher education.

The 23-year old races on the World Cup circuit and is studying computer science course at Dartmouth College in the USA.

It is named in honour of Matteo Baumgarten, a promising World Cup Alpine skier who died in a car crash in 1996.

His parents, Giacomo and Paola are the judges of the award.

The prize is now in its 20th year.

FRIDAY 27th MARCH
LOGO FOR 2021 FREESKI & SNOWBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS REVEALED

The Zhangjiakou 2021 Organising Committee has released the official logo of the FIS Freestyle Ski, Freeski & Snowboard World Championships.

The logo is composed of elements representing mountains, ramps, snowflakes and Dajingmen, which is the only gate of the Great Wall of China.

The rolling mountains, one of the most conspicuous topographical features of Zhangjiakou, share their outlines with courses and the Big Air Venue.

Zhangjiakou is widely known as one of the top 10 ice and snow tourism cities of China.

The golden snowflake represents Zhangjiakou, the host city where the Genting Snow Park stands, and the blue one for Shijingshan where the Shougang Park is located.

Zhangjiakou 2020 World Championships

“The logo highlights Zhangjiakou’s cultural tradition and characteristics, and expresses the keen aspiration of the 4.65 million local people for the upcoming world championships and for building a community with a shared future for mankind,” said Guo Ying, Executive Vice President and Secretary General of the Organising Committee.

“It will become a cultural legacy for the development of FIS freestyle ski, freeski and snowboard sports.”

FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis said the World Championships were the first ever event at this level to be organised in China.

“We are convinced that this will be the start of many such events in the future, which will be a tremendous catalyst for the growth of winter sports in China,” she said.

MONDAY 23rd MARCH
HIGHLAND RESCUE TEAM URGES PEOPLE TO STAY AWAY FROM THE MOUNTAINS

The Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in Scotland has said its ability to respond to emergencies may be reduced in the coronavirus crisis.

“Although the Lochaber hills are looking beautiful and inviting at present, we as a team would not be responsible if we failed to point out that, at this time of national emergency, our ability to respond to incidents may be curtailed by circumstances created by Covid-19” said the secretary of the organisation, Dr Brian Tregaskis.

The Lochaber team is one of the busiest in Scotland and covers the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis and many other munros in the area.

“Hillgoers should consider what extra pressures a single accident may put upon already stretched local hospital services.”

“Normal service in terms of recovery and transfer cannot be guaranteed.

“As much as it pains us, the best thing folk could do is stay at home at this time.

“Support your local community. Please do not put extra stress on our small and already fragile healthcare infrastructure.”

“The hills will still be here next winter and hopefully later in the summer adventure can be had. Stay safe.”

THURSDAY 12th MARCH
PLANNING PERMISSION SOUGHT FOR CAIRNGORM FUNICULAR REPAIRS

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has submitted a planning application to The Highland Council for the engineering works needed to strengthen the structure supporting the Scottish ski area’s main lift.

The Cairngorm Funicular has been out of action since October 2018.

HIE, which is the landlord of the Cairngorm Estate, wants to repair, rather than replace the lift, which is the main lift giving skiers and snowboarders access to the top of the hill.

It’s not clear when – or if – the repairs will get underway but HIE says it’s applying for permission now to get all the consents in place.

It would hope start work soon after the planning committee meets to consider the application.

“We have always said we are keen to restore the funicular to normal operations, subject to approval of the final business case and availability of funding,” said Caroll Buxton, interim chief executive at HIE.

“However, we need to have all necessary consents in place before any works can begin, which is why we have applied for planning consent now.

“The next stage is putting the works out to tender to get accurate costs and timescale, and this information will inform the full business case. Subject to planning approval and final business case approval, our aim is to start work soon after the planning meeting.”

WEDNESDAY 11th MARCH
BRITISH SKIER DIED AFTER HITTING A WOODEN POST

An inquest has heard that 25-year-old William Lawes crashed head first after losing one of his skis on a red run in Les2Alpes in France.

The university student from Wymondham in Norfolk was on a skiing holiday with six friends when the accident happened on 3rd February, two days into the trip.

He was said to be a good skier.

We reported on the accident at the time.

The Eastern Daily Press newspaper reports that a statement was read at the inquest from Mr Lawes’ friend, Robert Hales.

“Will was about halfway down the run when one ski came off. He fell to the right and forward head first. He was probably travelling about 20mph,” the statement said.

“There was a post about 4ft out of the snow. One of our party described that Will was ejected into the air and into the snow, hitting the post.”

The accident happened on the Piste des Fées red run.

Mr Lawes was wearing a helmet at the time.  He died of trauma.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Read more in the Eastern Daily Press

BODY FOUND AFTER AVALANCHE IN SCOTLAND

Mountain rescuers have found the body of a climber missing after an avalanche near Fort William.

Andrew Vine, who was 41, was last seen on the west face of Aonach Mor, on Friday 28th February.

Andrew Vine

Andrew Vine – photo issued by Police Scotland

His climbing partner was injured but she managed to walk to the Nevis Range snowsports centre to raise the alarm.

Bad weather had earlier forced the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team to suspend the search.

It is reported that Mr Vine’s body was found on Sunday afternoon.

TUESDAY 10th MARCH
FREERIDE LEGEND CHARGED WITH MURDER

47-year old Dean Cummings has been charged with first-degree murder in New Mexico, USA.

He claims self-defence in a shooting that killed Guillermo Arriola on February 29th.

Police say  he called 911 on Saturday to report that Arriola had attacked him and that he had shot him dead in self-defence.

He left the scene and changed his clothes.

Cummings said Arriola sprayed a burning chemical in his face, but police say there was no sign of a struggle and no other firearms present.

Cummings is facing the following charges:

First-degree murder
Tampering with evidence
Concealing identity

He was a well-known extreme skier and appeared in films by Warren Miller and Greg Stump.

He was a member of the US Ski Team and was listed as one of the Top 25 skiers in the world by Ski Magazine.

FRIDAY 6th MARCH
BRITISH SNOWBOARDER DIED AFTER GETTING LOST 

An inquest has found that John Bromell died after getting disorientated and lost in a heavy snowstorm in the French resort of Tignes.

The snowboarder, who was 39 and from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, was last seen on the Paquis chairlift at around 4.30pm  on 7th January 2018.

A search in difficult conditions failed to find him.

His body remained covered in snow and was found four months later in a river bed near Lavachet.

The inquest in Lincoln was told that Mr Bromell had been on holiday and had gone down an unfamiliar black run on his own.

The coroner said he may have misjudged a sharp corner and found himself off-piste.

He said Mr Bromell had died of hypothermia.

He recorded a verdict of misadventure.

THURSDAY 5th MARCH
GB SNOWSPORT TO SUPPORT JOHAN ELIASCH AS NEW BOSS FOR FIS

The Chairman of GB Snowsport, Rory Tapner, confirmed today that “the Board unanimously voted to support the exciting vision outlined by Johan Eliasch, which matched the ethos of GB Snowsport and its stakeholders”

“We believe he will be well placed to transition FIS into its next growth phase and has the broad experience needed to implement positive and significant change.”

Johan Eliasch is a Swedish billionaire businessman, and the chairman and chief executive officer of Head, the global sporting goods group.

The current President Gian-Franco Kasper announced his retirement last November:

FIS boss to stand down

The current general secretary of FIS is a British woman and ex-GB racer, Sarah Lewis.

GB Snowsport. Image © GBSnowsport

GB Snowsport. Image © GBSnowsport

MONDAY 2nd MARCH
SHAUN WHITE GIVES UP ON SUMMER OLYMPICS BID

The legend that is US snowboarder, Shaun White, has decided not to compete at the Tokyo Summer Olympics this year.

He had been considering trying to qualify in skateboarding, which will have its Olympic debut in Japan.

The three-time Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion is a mean skateboarder and has won X Games gold medals in the sport, as well as in snowboarding.

We reported as he became the first snowboarder to win three Winter Olympic gold medals at Pyeongchang in February 2018.

White, who’s 33, told the Associated Press he’s decided to prioritise his winter sport.

“The decision became less about going for skate and more about, am I willing to walk away from snow?”  he said.

“It just was going in that direction, and I didn’t feel comfortable with it and I can’t wholeheartedly choose this path with what I’ve got going on snow.”

White has not yet decided whether to go for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and a shot at a fourth gold medal.

SUNDAY 1st MARCH
US SKI RESORT SUED AS TWO DIE IN TREE WELL ACCIDENTS

Mt Bachelor on Oregon is being sued for $30m after two people died in separate accidents on the same day.

The two people are 19-year old, Nicole Panet-Raymond, and  Alfonso Braun who was 24- years old.

The incidents took place in March 2018.

A tree well is a gap that forms around the trunk of a tree after heavy snow and people can fall in a not get out.

Some liken it to quicksand and the more they struggle the deeper they go in and the more snow falls on top of them.

The joint lawsuit claims Mt Bachelor failed to close off the areas of the mountain where the snowboarder and the skier fell.

Plus it didn’t mark off the tree wells with rope or poles and did not warning people sufficiently that there was a danger.

Skiing in the USA

Skiing in the USA. Image © PlanetSKI.

MASTER PLAN FOR CAIRNGORM ENTERS FINAL STAGE OF PUBLIC CONSULTATION

The public have been invited to comment about plans for the Scottish ski area and people have a week left.

So far more than 1200 people have taken part through an online survey.

There have been a series of public drop-in sessions held in February in Kingussie, Grantown, Aviemore and at Cairngorm Mountain.

Topics covered range from the funicular and other uplift options to climate change, visitor management, diversification opportunities and estate ownership.

See here for an earlier PlanetSKI article with linked articles about the problems facing Cairngorm and the challenges ahead:

Cairngorm winter plans revealed

The Cairngorm master planning consultation online survey is available on the Cairngorm page of the HIE website. 

It is open until midnight on Sunday 8 March and takes around 10 minutes to complete.

Consultation closes Sunday March 8th

Consultation closes Sunday March 8th

‘RED SNOW’ IN ANTARCTICA BLAMED ON RISING TEMPERATURES

The continent has seen record-breaking temperatures and this has caused algae to appear on the snow.

The algae normally live in the freezing water and lie dormant across the continent’s snow and ice.

The algae is part of a family of green algae, but turns red as it absorbs heat.

The snow is also known as ‘water melon snow’.

 

 

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