Brits Qualify For Snowboarding Slopestyle Finals as Olympics Get Started
Two of Britain’s top snowboarders have qualified for the final and semi-finals of the  men’s snowboard slopestyle competition at the Sochi Olympics after the games started with pre-qualification events at 6am (UK time) this morning, the day before the opening ceremony.
Jamie Nicholls finished fourth in men’s snowboard slopestyle qualifying heat one with a best score of 86.75 from his second run, advancing straight to the final.
"I feel amazing. I can’t explain it. I came here and all I wanted to do was land a run and landing a run and getting to the finals is a dream come true,” said Jamie, “I am just going to go up there again in the final and try my best. I am just happy to have made it.  I went for it. The standard is crazy. To be able to go up there and do a run that I have never done in my life shows the standard is pretty high."
"Now I am in the finals I have got to go all out – 100 per cent – I am just going to go for it and see what happens. I could even step up my run two more than I did. I’m happy I made it, I am not bothered anymore," Jamie added.
Billy Morgan was the first person to perform at the Sochi Games and finished sixth in men’s snowboard slopestyle qualifying heat one with a best score of 85.50 from his second run, advancing to the semi-finals.
On being the first athlete to compete at Sochi 2014, Billy said, "It was pretty cool, I didn’t realise until one of the other athletes told me at the top. It was pretty cool. I didn’t think about it until the last minute. I had fun and it was really good."
"It is absolutely amazing. I got to the bottom and looked around and saw that the stands were half full – and this is just qualification. It is good to see people coming to see our sport and the Games haven’t even started,” he added,
Yesterday the American snowboarding superstar Shaun White pulled out of Slopestyle to concentrate on the half pipe event and his bid to win gold at three successive Olympics, indicating that the slopestyle course was potential dangerous.
"The course is fine. There are always changes to be made but they sorted that out. The jumps are good and fast and fun.  I was happy. I messed my first run up a bit but my second run was solid. I could clean it up a bit," concluded Billy.

Lake Louise “World’s Most Scenic”
Lake Louise ski resort near Banff in Alberta has been named the most scenic ski resort in the world by USA Today, which described the famous centre in the Canadian Rockies as, "unsurpassed with postcard perfect beauty."
Located in the Banff National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Louise is renowned the world over for stunning panoramic views of endless, towering mountain peaks, sparkling glaciers and the shimmering lake itself.
"It is an honour to be recognized for something that truly distinguishes our resort from those around the world. Every day our guests and staff are treated to some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere and the fact that we have an amazing ski resort nestled in the heart of it all, is a special bonus," said the resort’s Dan Markham.

New Glade Skiing in Quebec
Unusually it’s not the resorts of Alberta and BC in Western Canada, famed for their light powder and deep bases that are claiming the country’s deepest snow bases but Mont Sainte Anne ion Quebec with more than 2.5 metres lying.
That’s especially good news for visitors thios season as, along with a new detachable quad chair to get up the slopes, Mont-Sainte-Anne skiable terrain keeps expanding with the developing of two new glades on the South Side of the mountain, increasing the total number of trails to 69
One is rated intermediate and named “La Palette” and the other for experts is “La Yahoo”, both  accessible via La Montmorency piste and each end near the wonderful sugar shack of the La Pichard trail.  Previously the resort’s South Side had only one glade run: La Rigolo.

Igloo Festival
Ever since the Ice Hotel gained popularity more than 20 years ago in Swedish Lapland, more and more now and ice accommodation has been built each winter at ski resorts across the northern hemisphere.
Now the Swiss resort of Adelboden has gone a stage further by offering enthusiastic igloo lovers who want to not only stay in, but actually build their own igloos the chance to come together up on their local Engstligenalp mountain above the village from 14-16 March 2014 to create a unique village out of ice and snow.
Adelboden Tourism, Alpine School Adelboden, Engstligenalp Mountain Transport an Sherpa Outdoor have joined together to organise the igloo building event.  Equipped with shovels and snow saws, the igloo builders set about creating the shelters in which they will spend the night, surrounded by a spectacular mountain backdrop.
“The Igloo Festival is certain to be a weekend full of positive experiences, with lots of fun and a great atmosphere for all participants. Igloo-building skills are required and all the necessary equipment is supplied by the organisers,” said a statement from the resort.
Participation costs from 139 Francs and would-be participants must register their interest by 2nd March via www.adelboden.ch

Work Underway On NZ Six-Seater
We’ve still got months of winter to go in the northern hemisphere, but preparations are well advanced south of the equator for new facilities for their coming 2014 ski season.
In New Zealand work has started on a high-speed chairlift, snowmaking, trail and carparking development programme at Queenstown’s The Remarkables ski area.
Following years of planning, the new 1.2km Curvey Basin lift will begin at the bottom of the expanded learners’ slopes at 1600m and rise to a top terminal at 1900m above sea level, just below the ridgeline at the south head of the Rastus Burn, known as Curvey Basin.
 “A six-strong Leitner-Poma crew will remain on site until the lift is fully-tested and commissioned by June 1st,” said The Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence, adding,  “It’s such an exciting project though we’re all happy to be working away over summer up there in our stunning alpine environment to create the ‘wow’ factor for guests when they come up for their first ski or snowboard of winter.”

Snowboard Skills Week
If you are inspired to improve your snowboarding by the performance of TeamGB in Sochi the likes of Jenny Jones and Billy Morgan then you could sign up for the rudechalets™ Snowboard Skills Week at the end of the season from 13th – 20th April 2014 (rudechalets.com)
In partnership with Mint Snowboarding, the week will enable for intermediate and advanced boarders to progress that little bit further and nail all those tricks you did not quite master before the season comes to a close.
Participants will not only receive inclusive access to the rudechalets™ 2014 Burton Snowboard Test Centre but will also get a sneak preview and the chance to test a selection of Burton’s brand spanking new 2015 Snowboards. 
A different theme each day will include Airs and Grabs, Jibbing and Buttery Stuff, Spin Class, Rails and Boxes and Halfpipe and Handplants.  Afternoons will be free to practices techniques, explore the parks, pistes and soak up the spring sunshine
The holiday costs £489pp and includes 5 x 3 hours snowboard skills tuition, rental of a 2014 Burton Snowboard, 7 nights’ accommodation in an uber-cool rudechalet™,  return airport transfers from Geneva, half board, unlimited wine and on-mountain video service.  It does not include flights to/from Geneva.

The Cowboy Downhill Rides Again
The annual Cowboy Downhill in Steamboat Springs, Colorado drew cowboys from across the world for this spectacular event. 
Just as riding a bull takes a special breed of person, hopping on skis for the first time, navigating gates, flying off a six-foot jump and making it down in one piece seems rational for those rodeo types.  
The final bit of the race, lassoing a person and saddling a horse is the easy bit, apparently. 
“When the cowboys come and we teach them to turn, they say 'We don’t want to learn to turn. Turning slows you down,’” says Billy Kidd, Steamboat Ski Area Director of Skiing at the resort. “They love adrenaline. They want to go as fast as they can all the time.”
After all the excitement, guests were treated to live music and the soothing glow of hot air balloons lighting up the base area.  And if that wasn’t enough, it was also a good chance for guests to take advantage of the resort’s new night skiing which takes place Friday-Sunday each week.

Zermatt Funicular Reborn
There was a full LED dance show for the relaunch of Zermatt’s famous Sunnegga funicular this season following a record breaking two month renovation.
Local ski racer Fränzi Aufdenblatten was appointed  the new railway’s ‘godmother’ although she  was unable to attend the ceremony in person because of World Cup racing commitments. 
Speaking in a video message, she said,  “I am very proud to be asked to act as godmother to the Sunnegga funicular. I see this honour as recognition for what I have tried to achieve over the last few years.”
For 32 years, what was hailed at the time as Europe’s first Alpine metro took visitors up to Sunnegga, until it was replaced by a new, ultramodern funicular in summer 2013. Today, passengers enjoy greater comfort in the more spacious compartments and an almost silent trip, which takes less than four minutes at speeds of up to 12 metres per second. No other funicular in Switzerland is as fast.
The Reverend Stefan Roth concluded the ceremony by blessing the railway and wishing it a long and happy future.

Skiing In An Austrian Atmosphere in the Netherlands
The company that operates the largest indoor snow slope in the world (by area), SnowWorld Landgraaf in the Netherlands (snowworld.com), and which also operate another Dutch indoor snow centre has recently announced plans to build more indoor snow centres in Barcelona and Paris, has now announced it intended to takeover SnowPlanet near Amsterdam, providing the company with a third location in the Netherlands.
“I am extremely happy with this takeover, because SnowWorld Amsterdam is a wonderful addition to our product and strategy. We are planning to create the same Austrian atmosphere which we already have in our domes in Zoetermeer and Landgraaf and expect to create a lot of synergy,” said SnowWorld CEO Koos Hendriks.
The Netherlands has more indoor snow centres than any other country in the world, with seven, and the 550m long slope at SnowWorld Landgraaf, complete with indoor six-seater chairlift and four star hotel on site, is around three times longer than the biggest British slope.

St Moritz Carlton’s Centenary
The Carlton Hotel in St Moritz, popularly regarded as one of the world’s greatest hotels since an extravagant 18 month rebuild was completed in 2007, leaving it with 60 spacious suites and junior suites and a luxurious three storey spa, celebrates its centenary this winter.
The prestigious staircase, the stucco decoration on the ceiling of the Bel Etage and the historic brick walls visible around the hotel recall the glittering times witnessed at the beginning of the 20th century, while the suites offer a wide range of colours, a high level of comfort and state-of-the-art technology.
Special  “100th anniversary” two night packages are available that include luxurious breakfasts and dinner plus 100th anniversary themed gifts including a 100-minute wellness treatment in the Carlton spa, a 100-gram jar of caviar, 100 minutes in the private spa suite, 100 tips and tricks from the butler and a 100-year-old whisky tasting. Prices from 1,200 Swiss francs (approx. £800) per person.

Les 3 Vallées Enduro Race Returns
Les 3 Vallées Enduro Race, claimed to be the world’s largest amateur ski race, will return this spring.
The race has a simple concept, teams of three, on Alpine or telemark skis or snowboard, have to complete a loop around Les 3 Vallées by taking part in special races across the ski area: freeride, skicross, freestyle (big air bag), parallel slalom, descent, freestyle descent freestyle, super-G and speed skiing.
Each team can choose their own route and the different challenges they wish to take part in and the goal of the competition is to spend an exceptional day enjoying the (hopefully) ideal spring ski conditions in the world’s largest ski area – this year on Sunday the 6th of April.
The race is open to all ability levels and there’s even a Family category so everyone can take part.