Ikon Pass to include Zermatt and Cervinia for the 2019/20 ski season

Matterhorn at dusk. Photo credit: Marc Weiler. Zermatt Tourism Office. Ikon Pass to include Zermatt and Cervinia for the 2019/20 ski season.

Ikon Pass to include Zermatt and Cervinia for the 2019/20 ski season

Ikon Pass expands into Europe with the addition of Zermatt in Switzerland and Cervinia Valtourneche in Italy for the 2019/20 ski season

Soak up the magic of the Matterhorn as Zermatt in Switzerland becomes the first European destination partner on the Ikon Pass. Now Ikon Pass holders have access to snow at 41 global destinations across five continents.

The iconic Matterhorn towers over more than 3,500 acres (1,416 hectares) of terrain that spans both Switzerland and Italy, offering Swiss hospitality coupled with Italian lifestyle, in the highest skiable terrain offered in the picturesque Alps. Connected lift service offers Ikon Pass holders access to Rothorn, Gornergrat and the Schwarzsee-Matterhorn glacier paradise within the Zermatt ski area, plus Cervinia-Valtournenche ski areas in Italy, collectively known as Matterhorn ski paradise.

The IKON Pass extends into Europe. Ikon Pass to include Zermatt and Cervinia for the 2019/20 ski season.
The IKON Pass extends into Europe. Ikon Pass to include Zermatt and Cervinia for the 2019/20 ski season.

Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to Zermatt and the Matterhorn ski paradise network on the Ikon Pass with no blackout dates, and five-day access on the Ikon Base Pass, also with no blackout dates.

“The Matterhorn is a true icon known around the world, so we are thrilled to have Zermatt join the Ikon Pass community,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer for Alterra Mountain Company. “Ikon Pass strives to continually offer pass holders unique experiences in the mountains. Now they can experience Zermatt’s glacier skiing, traditional Swiss fondue, plus its infamous European après ski across two countries, on one pass.”

“Zermatt and Matterhorn ski paradise are pleased to be the first European destination on the Ikon Pass, and we look forward to offering our best Swiss quality and Italian lifestyle to Ikon Pass holders everywhere. We are excited to share our passion and devotion to skiing within the Ikon Pass community and its impressive destination partners across the globe,” said Sandra Zenhäusern, Director of Marketing, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG.

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Stream bursts banks and floods Zermatt

Matterhorn with an imposing ram in front of it. Photo Leander Wenger. Zermatt Tourism Office. Stream bursts banks and floods Zermatt.

Stream bursts banks and floods Zermatt

From Swissinfo.ch

A torrent of water in the Triftbach stream caused unexpected flooding in the Swiss resort of Zermatt. A pocket of meltwater in the glacier above is believed to be the cause.

Despite it being the hottest day of the year without a drop of rain in sight, the Triftbach stream took Zermatt by surprise on Wednesday when it transformed into a gushing torrent of grey water for a while. News website 20 Minuten was able to source footage from readers.

(Keystone / Philippe Mooser) Swissinfo.ch. Stream bursts banks and floods Zermatt.
(Keystone / Philippe Mooser) Swissinfo.ch. Stream bursts banks and floods Zermatt.

No one was injured, the municipality said.

A glacier is probably at the origin of these torrents of water carrying sand and stones, said mayor Romy Biner-Hauser, who described it as “an unpredictable whim of nature”.

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Stranded tourists heli-ported after Stanserhorn CabriO cable car breakdown

The Stanserhorn Cabrio cablecar. Stranded tourists heli-ported after Stanserhorn CabriO cable car breakdown

Stranded tourists heli-ported after Stanserhorn CabriO cable car breakdown

From Swiss.ch

Around 150 tourists stranded at the top of the Stanserhorn mountain in central Switzerland had to be rescued by helicopter after the cable car they came up with broke down.

On Friday evening, the monitoring system of the open-air cable car triggered an emergency shutdown due to a technical defect, said the operators. Passengers in the cabins were able reach both ends thanks to a backup mechanism. However, those who were at the top of the mountain were stranded. They had to be transported by three helicopters to the valley below.

The Stanserhorn Cabrio is arriving to the top station in Stanserhorn mountain. Stranded tourists heli-ported after Stanserhorn CabriO cable car breakdown.
The Stanserhorn Cabrio is arriving to the top station in Stanserhorn mountain. Stranded tourists heli-ported after Stanserhorn CabriO cable car breakdown.

“At no time were they in any danger,” said the Stanserhorn cable car operators.

Repairs were scheduled for Saturday morning and the cable cars are expected to return to service Sunday morning. A similar incident took place a week ago on the Niesen mountain in the Bernese mountains. The breakdown of the funicular railway had necessitated a rescue by helicopter.

More information: Swiss.ch

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Swiss village plans to sell ‘houses for one franc.’

Monte Sciaga - Swiss village plans to sell 'houses for one franc.'

Swiss village plans to sell ‘houses for one franc.’

From The Local

A municipality in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking canton of Ticino is looking at selling off nine properties for the symbolic price of one Swiss franc (€0.90). 

The aim of the plan (here in Italian) is to breathe life back into the far-flung but picturesque hamlet of Monti Scìaga, right near the Italian border.

Monte Sciaga - Swiss village plans to sell 'houses for one franc.'
Monte Sciaga – Swiss village plans to sell ‘houses for one franc.’

The Italian border is a virtual stone’s throw from Monti Scìaga.

The local council wants to build a hut for hikers and cyclists while nine further properties could be up for grabs for one franc each if local building authorities sign off on the project this autumn.

The catch

But there is a catch. The stone houses – or rustici as they are known locally – are little more than ruins, and anyone buying them would have to fully renovate them in line with local laws.

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Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.

Courmayeur in the summer. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.

Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.

Since I first went to Courmayeur, having stopped there for breakfast, on our way home from our annual ski week in Pila, driving through the scenic SS26, I fall in love with the place. When we were coming up, just after coming out the Mont Blanc tunnel, you see the gondolas and the tram on top of the route, plus the town with all its buildings very prettily aligned around the route and I knew I wanted to check it out! Being working in the ski biz for almost all my life, before moving to the UK (in the US/Canada and Argentina/Chile), I knew about Courmayeur as a name, but I have not visited many ski areas outside America.

Summer in the mountains? Why not? The look from Plan Chécrouit in Courmayeur. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.
Summer in the mountains? Why not? The look from Plan Chécrouit in Courmayeur. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.

Of all places in our first family ski holiday in Europe, we’ve finished in Ollomont – a small ski ‘field’ – I would say, in the end of the road where mountaineers go to ice climb – but I will write more of this in another post.

But back now to Courmayeur. Since our first breakfast there, we had a second one on the following trip with my friend Claudine from the Tourist Office of Courmayeur and her baby – and then again we’ve been up the Skyway coming back from Lago di Como, and finally we’ve stayed  for some nights in winter for two years now – and managed to ski the mountain! First time only one day and the last time, for two (even though my knee was not up for skiing!).

But last summer, I’ve convinced my husband to go at least one week during our summer holidays. I would love to uproot my family there, (to the answers of my husband of what will I do, I don’t speak the language – and me telling him to just learn it!) I wanted to stay in the summer, to see how it is life in Courma in the summer. I’ve been in the fall, seeing at all the hotels – for my Must-Read Guide to Courmayeur. Even many hotels were closed, they’ve opened them to me, and I could see them while many of the maintenance and upgrades were taking place.

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Book your Eurostar Ski Train as soon as it goes on sale on Wednesday 17th July 2019

Photo: Randy Laybourne. Unsplash. Book your Eurostar Ski Train as soon as it goes on sale on Wednesday 17th July 2019.

Book your Eurostar Ski Train as soon as it goes on sale on Wednesday 17th July 2019

It is very civilised arriving to the slopes by train, if you can do it. This is not only for us living in Britain, but whoever is planning to ski in the Alps and might want to also come and stay in London for some days before or after.

As per Daniel Elkan, Snowcarbon Founder, who is always monitoring what is going on with the sale of the Eurostar Ski Train and the combined Eurostar to Paris with connections to the French trains to get to some of the French Ski Resorts, you need to be vigilant, as the Eurostar Ski Train goes on sale at 8am on Wednesday 17th July 2019.

Book your Eurostar Ski Train as soon as it goes on sale on Wednesday 17th July 2019
Book your Eurostar Ski Train as soon as it goes on sale on Wednesday 17th July 2019

There is a daytime and an overnight Eurostar Ski Train.

The Daytime train travels from London to the French Alps- The first outbound train departs on Saturday 21st 2019 and the final one on Saturday 4th April 2020.

Coming back from the French Alps the first train is on Saturday 28th December 2019 and last inbound daytime train is on Saturday 11th April 2020.

Overnight travel dates are the following:

From London to the French Alps:

First train outbound is on Friday 20th December 2019.

Last train outbound is on Friday 3rd April 2020.

From the French Alps inbound into London:

The first overnight returning train is Saturday 28th December 2019.

The final overnight returning train is on Saturday 11th April 2020.

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St Moritz has been awarded the 2023 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships.

Photo: Bobsleigh World Cup in St Moritz.2015. St Moritz has been awarded the 2023 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships.

St Moritz has been awarded the 2023 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships.

St Moritz, the renown Swiss resort, has been awarded the 2023 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships. Sochi, Whistler and Winterberg have applied to be the host of the 2024 edition of the event.

During the IBSF Congress in Prague, the Olympia Bob Run St Moritz-Celerina track was confirmed as the location for the 2023 World Championships.

It is the 24th time that St Moritz has being host on its entirety or part of the IBSF’s flagship event outside of the Olympic Games.

St Moritz has been awarded the 2023 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships.
St Moritz has been awarded the 2023 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships.

St Moritz has also been given the hosting rights for the IBSF Junior World Championships in 2021 at the Congress in Prague.

Heike Größwang, IBSF secretary general has told delegates at the meeting that Sochi (Russia), Whistler (Canada) and Winterberg (Germany) have submitted bids for the 2024 World Championships.

The Sanki Sliding Centre in Sochi was the stage of both bobsleigh and skeleton events at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games but was not included on the list of IBSF World Cup venues for the 2019-20 ski season.

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A Dolomites train project could be ready for the 2026 Olympics

A Dolomites train project could be ready for the 2026 Olympics. This train is one working at Sudtirol. IDM Sudtirol. Photo: Hans-Peter Leu. A unique experience is provided by the new railway line from Merano/Meran to Malles/Mals: the train brings you to Malles, where you can rent a bike and return slightly downhill alongside the orchards and ancient sites of the old Roman trade route Via Claudia Augusta.

A Dolomites train project could be ready for the 2026 Olympics

The project that will link the provinces of Trentino, Alto Adige (Sudtirol) and Veneto has a high degree of feasibility according to former councillor Mauro Gilmozzi. The cost is of one billion two hundred million Euros to be absorbed by the State and the provinces.

The Dolomites train could become a reality by 2026, in time for the Winter Olympics. Connecting Trento to Bassano, then to Feltre, Belluno, Calalzo, Cortina, Dobbiaco, Bressanone, Bolzano and returning to Trento.

An Italian traain in Verona Porta Nova Train Station. A Dolomites train project could be ready for the 2026 Olympics.
An Italian traain in Verona Porta Nova Train Station. A Dolomites train project could be ready for the 2026 Olympics.

A challenge that has a very specific name: Ring Dolomiti. The feasibility is “high” according to Mauro Gilmozzi, former councillor for infrastructures and the environment of the junta Dellai. “We keep in mind that for the most part this ring is already there.”

Total cost: from one billion two hundred million upwards. What seems an onerous amount, “… would be a cost to be divided between various agencies, the Provinces, the State.”

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Green light in Formigal for installation of a new chairlift

Formigal Panticosa ski map. Green light in Formigal for installation on a new chairlift.

Green light in Formigal for installation of a new chairlift

The new lift will improve the connections between Izas and Anayet and will increase the transport capacity.

Formigal, the Spanish ski resort has been given the green light for the installation of a new connection chairlift between the Izas and Anayet areas. In addition, the ski lift will improve the transport capacity that currently stands at 50,000 skiers per hour.

Formigal-Panticosa photo. Green light in Formigal for installation on a new chairlift.
Formigal-Panticosa photo. Green light in Formigal for installation of a new chairlift.

The Aragon Institute of Environmental Management (Inaga), has published in the BOA the resolution for the installation of a new lift, once the modification of the project to improve the connection of the valleys of Izas and Anayet in the expansion of Formigal, that ” you do not need to undergo an environmental impact assessment. ”

Formigal has 180 km skiable including Panticosa.

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What is new for Val Thorens for 2019/20.

Works are undergoing at Val Thorens this summer for the next winter season 2019-20. What is new for Val Thorens for 2019/20.

What is new for Val Thorens for 2019/20.

Following the closure at the end of January of the cable car Cime Caron, the replacement of the load carrier cables has started in May. This gigantic project will cost €6 million and will be finished in November, right on time for the start of the winter season 2019/2020.

Lac 2 - lake reservoir for snow making at Val Thorens. What is new for Val Thorens for 2019/20.
Lac 2 – lake reservoir for snow making at Val Thorens. What is new for Val Thorens for 2019/20.

Furthermore, two Gazex will be installed under the line of the cable car in order to secure even more the area and allow a faster opening to customers in the mornings.

The water reservoir Lac 2, used for snow making, will be expanded with a capacity going from 88 000m3 to 306 000m3.

Snow guns are added at the top of the blue piste Plateaux in order to improve customer satisfaction on this highly frequented area between the snowpark and the Family Park. In addition, it will facilitate the access to Funitel Grand Fond at the beginning of the season.

Col, the last fixed-grip chairlift of Val Thorens, will have its 25 years “Grande Inspection”. The top of the lift offers stunning views over Glacier de Chavière and Parc de la Vanoise.

Val Thorens- Lorries are carrying the loading cables. Photo: Val Thorens TO. What is new for Val Thorens for 2019/20.
Val Thorens- Lorries are carrying the loading cables. Photo: Val Thorens TO. What is new for Val Thorens for 2019/20.

Funitel Peclet, situated at the spine of the ski area, will undergo a major check-up, starting this summer with a three-year implementation timeframe.

The descent speed of Cairn and Caron gondolas will be increased. For our non-skiing customers, those two lifts link the summit of Cime Caron from the resort centre.

Continue reading “What is new for Val Thorens for 2019/20.”