Thursday, September 21, 2017

Looking For Inspiration: Nespresso. The Choices We Make Campaign

A case of simple, believable, and good marketing.
Brand loyalty is the goal dreamed by the big brands and marketers do everything possible to encourage loyal customers.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to try to establish an emotional bond and share values with their clients. Brands such as Apple or Nespresso cultivated vast tribes of loyal followers. Having a distinct personality gives customers a reason to remember a brand and a reason to buy it. And this campaign is a good example of how it could be done.
The reason that led me to look at this campaign at first was its slogan:

After all, we are the choices we make, aren’t we?

Another good slogan by Nespresso after the famous What Else?
The slogan was featured in the first Clooney commercial in 2006. The Nespresso What Else campaign was developed at McCann France, Paris.
Then, I tried to know a little bit more about the whole campaign.

On September 12th Nespresso released this integrated brand campaign, sharing the personal stories of the farmers behind the Nespresso brand. They invite all coffee lovers to discover the heart-warming stories that have been made possible thanks to Nespresso’s uncompromising choices.
Alfonso Gonzalez, Nespresso Chief Marketing Officer explains "Sustainability has always been at the heart of what we do at Nespresso and we wanted to use this new campaign approach to help coffee drinkers learn what is behind the coffee they enjoy every day. All of the stories in this campaign showcase how our choice to find and cultivate the best quality coffee can have amazing consequences on the people who grow and nurture it. In the end, we believe that we are the choices we make" (adforum).
The Choices We Make Campaign was developed by J. Walter Thompson London.

Launched in 1986, Nespresso is the worldwide pioneer and market leader in high-quality portioned coffee.
Nespresso has adopted a differentiation strategy through an image of exclusivity, based on high-quality products, an extensive customer service, and premium pricing.
"The brand emphasizes that it offers a whole lifestyle with its products. Consumers believe that buying Nespresso products makes them members of an exclusive club of like-minded café connoisseurs" (Business Development Strategies).
In 2003, the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program was created together with the Rainforest AllianceNespresso chose to build a community mill in Jardin, Colombia to enhance the quality of your coffee. But it ended up improving a whole lot more.
To reduce the environmental impacts of coffee processing, while also improving the consistency of coffee quality, Nespresso and key partners built a new milling facility for one longstanding community of coffee farmers.
Nestled deep in the Andes, the new mill in Jardín, Colombia, has a centralized and more efficient process, bringing together around 200 farmers and saving them each up to four hours of processing a day. They also earn more as the mills allow for more consistent processing and higher quality beans.
The mill has enabled coffee farmers to double the volume of Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program quality coffee, secure a higher premium and increase progressively their net income by 17 percent.
The facility saves around 60 percent of the water that was previously used and prevents pollution.
At the end, coffee farmers in Jardín, Colombia, earn more, have more time to spend with their families and save precious water, all thanks to the Community Mill.

The first video shows Humberto, a passionate coffee farmer benefiting from the Community Mill. He has been able to support his daughter’s passion for butterflies all the way to University where she is studying biology, thanks to the time and resources he has saved by processing his coffee centrally.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Calendar Freeride World Tour 2018

Date: January 20-27, 2018; Location: Hakuba, Japan
Date: February 3-9, 2018; Location: Kicking Horse, Golden, British Columbia, Canada

Date: March 1-7, 2018; Location: Vallnord Arcalis, Andorra
Date: March 9-15, 2018; Location: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria

Date: March 31 - April 8, 2018; Location: Verbier, Switzerland

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Freeride World Tour Expands To 3 Continents In 2018

After a long summer season of anticipation, the Freeride World Tour (FWT) announced a completely revamped competition schedule for the upcoming 2018 season.
This year, the FWT unveils two brand new locations for the opening events in Hakuba, Japan, and Kicking Horse, Golden, BC, Canada – two legendary freeride destinations.
Forty-five riders in four categories – ski men, ski women, snowboard men, and snowboard women – will make the five-stop international journey. All riders will face a round of qualification cuts after the fourth stop in Fieberbrunn, Austria before arriving at the grand finale in Verbier, Switzerland in March/April 2018.
Sadly, the 2018 event will not be taking place in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc for the first time. Haines, Alaska, also dropped from the 2018 Freeride World Tour.

The Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years show that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices, and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Simon Sinek

Simon O. Sinek (born October 9, 1973) is a British/American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant.
Described as "a visionary thinker with a rare intellect", Simon teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. Simon is fascinated by the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact within their organizations and in the world — those with the capacity to inspire. He has discovered some remarkable patterns about how they think, act and communicate, and the environments in which people operate at their natural best.

Recorded in September 2009 at TEDxPuget Sound

Published on December 2013 by 99U

Published on September 2016 by Inside Quest. The following video is an excerpt from an episode of Inside Quest with Tom Bilyeu.

Simon Sinek's full keynote in John C. Maxell's Live2Lead event in Atlanta, Georgia, October 7, 2016.


SINEK, S. (2009). Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.
SINEK, S. (2014). Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.
SINEK, S. (2016). Together Is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration.
SINEK, S. (2017). Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team.

Friday, September 1, 2017

PyeongChang Is Ready For 2018 Said IOC

Following its ninth and final visit to PyeongChang (29 to 31 August), the International Olympic Committee Coordination Commission left the Republic of Korea very confident that the city is ready to welcome the world to the XXIII Olympic Winter Games.
"Over the course of our three-day evaluation visit, PyeongChang’s readiness to host the Olympic Winter Games 2018 was highlighted", said IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg. "We saw first-hand the advances that have been made on venues and infrastructure, as well as heard updates on plans to further engage with Olympic fans. While details must continue to be refined in the coming months, it was evident that the Organising Committee is well on its way to delivering successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games".
With all permanent venues complete or nearing completion, in addition to focusing on operational readiness PyeongChang 2018 will now ramp up its promotional activities, with the second phase of ticket sales starting next week, and the Olympic Torch Relay set to begin in just over two months. Both of these important programmes are expected to heighten media and public attention for the Games, while rights-holders’ and partners’ campaigns showcasing the Games will also start to get underway.
The President of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee, Lee Hee-beom, commented, "We are now just 162 days away from the start of the Olympic Winter Games and working to put the important finishing touches to the Games. We are listening, and we are responding to all of our stakeholders and taking all the feedback and advice from the sessions this week. We want to make these the best Winter Games ever and showcase Korea to the world as a global leader in sports and as the new hub for winter sports in Asia".

The PyeongChang 2018 Games, which will take place from 9-25 February 2018, will be the third to be staged in Asia, and the first ever in the Republic of Korea, following Nagano (JPN) in 1998 and Sapporo (JPN) in 1972.
The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee’s (POCOG’s) ‘New Horizons’ vision aims to expand winter sports in Asia and transform the local Gangwon province into a new winter sports and tourism destination.
From a logistical point of view, the concept for the 2018 Winter Games is one of the most compact ever seen.The vision for PyeongChang is based on a compact geographical area, split between a coastal and a mountain cluster.
The coastal cluster, centred around the town of Gangneung on the Republic of Korea’s eastern seaboard, will provide the setting for the events on ice (speed skating, figure skating, short track, ice hockey and curling), with the main Olympic Village complex and mountain cluster (comprising the skiing and snowboarding courses and the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track) located only a 30 minute car journey away.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vail Resorts Commits To Zero Net Operating Footprint By 2030

Vail Resorts announced that the Company will aggressively pursue a comprehensive sustainability commitment, called "Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint". This ambitious undertaking, announced to employees at a companywide event today, commits to zero net emissions by 2030, zero waste to landfill by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.
"Everything we do at Vail Resorts is driven by the spectacular natural surroundings where our employees, guests, and communities live, work and play. The environment is our business, and we have a special obligation to protect it", said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. "As a growing global company so deeply connected to the outdoors, we are making a commitment to address our most pressing global environmental challenge and protect our local communities and natural resources. Through improved business practices, capital investment and continued innovation and environmental stewardship, we are setting a goal of achieving a zero net operating footprint by 2030. With our ‘Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint’, Vail Resorts is both doing the right thing for the environment and for our business".
"It’s the leadership of companies like Vail Resorts that recognize that this is good business and good for the environment that will truly make a difference in the world", said Carl Pope, co-author of Climate of Hope and former head of the Sierra Club. "We will combat climate change through commitments such as this and others from cities, municipalities, and companies across the country".
Inspired by Whistler Blackcomb’s environmental commitment, the Company intends to go beyond setting a partial emissions reduction target by executing on a more expansive and ambitious plan. "Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint" comprises three pillars: emissions, waste, and forests and habitats, with a thoughtful approach to each that was developed in consultation with leading sustainability experts in the industry.

Friday, July 28, 2017

30 Days To Go To UTMB 2017

The UTMB® is a trail-running event for trail-runners from all over the world. Each year, the elite of the trail-running world find themselves in Chamonix to participate in one of the event's 5 races.
To participate or assist with the UTMB®, is to vibrate to the rhythm of the trail-running planet and to share an extraordinary festival at the heart of a territory which has been mobilised for the occasion. 2 000 volunteers from 15 different countries, 19 French, Italian and Swiss communes within the Mont-Blanc country all working for the success of the event and supporting the UTMB® runners. 16 000 supporters who are coming to encourage their nearest and dearest and more than 50 000 spectators who will visit the salon and participate in the animations in all the villages of the Mont-Blanc country.

UTMB® 2017 - We are waiting for you! por UltraTrailMontBlanc

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

200 Days To Go Until PyeongChang 2018

200 days until the kick-off. In 200 days PyeongChang will host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.The Games’ opening on 9 February 2018 will bring to an end the 101-day Olympic Torch Relay, which will kick off on 1 November and cover the length and breadth of the country, giving as many people as possible the chance to be part of the Olympic celebrations.
A special “G-200 Fireworks Festival was held on 22 July in Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon Province, with more than 200,000 onlookers, including dignitaries, athletes, the media, local residents and visitors to the area highly enjoying the entertainment! While fireworks lit up the sky with multi-colored stars, the Chuncheon Children’s Choir and a host of other activities, including a dance performance by the Gangwon Provincial Dance Company, amazed the public throughout the evening. Speed skaters Kim Chul-min, an Olympic silver medallist, and Kim Bo-reum, the world record holder in the 3000m and 5000m, gave congratulatory messages to the delighted crowd.
The firework festival will now be a legacy celebration to be held each year in the province to engage the nation and retain the Olympic spirit that is building ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the Games on 9 February. "After years of planning and preparation, we are now just 200 days away from the start of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. We are putting the final touches on what will be the biggest Winter Games ever", said Lee Hee-beom, President of the Organising Committee. "It will also be a Winter Games that will open up new horizons for the Gangwon Province as a tourist destination, and Asia as a winter sports hub for us all to enjoy for many years to come. Now is the time to share the passion and plan your Olympic journey with us. We are ready to showcase the best of winter sports and welcome the world class athletes that will come to PyeongChang to go for gold".

The PyeongChang 2018 Games, which will take place from 9-25 February 2018, will be the third to be staged in Asia, and the first ever in the Republic of Korea, following Nagano (JPN) in 1998 and Sapporo (JPN) in 1972.
The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee’s (POCOG’s) ‘New Horizons’ vision aims to expand winter sports in Asia and transform the local Gangwon province into a new winter sports and tourism destination.
From a logistical point of view, the concept for the 2018 Winter Games is one of the most compact ever seen.The vision for PyeongChang is based on a compact geographical area, split between a coastal and a mountain cluster.
The coastal cluster, centred around the town of Gangneung on the Republic of Korea’s eastern seaboard, will provide the setting for the events on ice (speed skating, figure skating, short track, ice hockey and curling), with the main Olympic Village complex and mountain cluster (comprising the skiing and snowboarding courses and the bobsleighluge and skeleton track) located only a 30 minute car journey away.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Highlights

Here are the highlights from the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

Christian Maurer (SUI1) won the Red Bull X-Alps 2017 in 10 days 23 hours 23 minutes 18 seconds. He spent 96.8 hours hiking and covered a total distance of 535.3km on foot. He spent 45 hours in the air and covered 1,736.2km flying. The straight-line distance of the course was 1,138km, but the total distance covered by Maurer was 2,271.5km.
Benoit Outters (FRA4) was the only other pilot to reach the final Turnpoint at Peille in the allotted time. He made it in 11 days 1 hour 12 minutes. He spent 131.8 hours hiking and covered 768.9km on foot. He spent 37.5 hours in the air and covered 1,340.6km. The total distance covered by Outters was 2,109.5km.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Saas-Fee Ski Season Opening Weekend 2017

On July 15 and 16, the Free Republic of Holidays Saas-Fee opens its summer ski resort featuring 20 km of expertly groomed slopes and one of the best summer Freestyle Parks in Europe.
Skiing in Saas-Fee in summer is an amazing experience and not just because of the pleasant temperatures and the glacier pistes. You might also spot national and international
sports teams training at the summer skiing area.

Saas-Fee is the perfect training playground for professional skiers and snowboarders. Every year National Teams and pros come to Saas-Fee to enjoy the perfect conditions of the glacier.

Saas-Fee offers ideal summer skiing and snowboarding conditions. Up on the glaciers there are 20 km of slopes to suit all levels. The Allalin Glacier is accessed via the underground funicular and is open from mid-July to late October. The glacier is particularly popular with freestylers and race teams. Swiss and international ski teams come here for their summer training sessions every year.
The snowpark has a half-pipe, kickers, rails, boxes and transitions in all shapes and sizes to suit all skill levels.

In 2012 the results of a questionnaire for "Best ski resort" with over 40‘000 guests were presented. Saas-Fee / Saastal was voted best Swiss ski Resort. Internationally it was even voted to second rank out of 55 top ski destinations in Austria, Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland. In terms of snow reliability, slope preparation and coziness, Saas-Fee/Saastal hit top status.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Days 11 - 12

Christian Maurer Wins The Red Bull X-Alps 2017 And Makes It Five In A Row

Christian Maurer (SUI, picture attached) has won the Red Bull X-Alps 2017, the world’s toughest adventure race, for the fifth consecutive time. He arrived Turnpoint 7 a little after 11 am this morning, amid the cheers of die-hard fans who had gathered to welcome his arrival. With his arms aloft, he conquered the final few metres to the Turnpoint sign where the clock officially stops, after setting off from Salzburg just over 11 days and 23 hours ago.
He said: "I felt a lot of pressure this time. To win the first time was important. It was not so important with the others. But this time it was even more important to do well, so there was a lot of pressure. It's a great thing to win, but it's an adventure first and foremost, not a competition (...) It started badly. And with the wind, rain and thunderstorms, I've never faced such bad weather in the Red Bull X-Alps before. That made it much harder to plan. I'm happy to be here. For my knees, it's good to be over. They never had to work so hard. This is the first time I've hiked over 500km, normally it's more like 300km".
As is tradition, Maurer’s race is not over until he makes the ceremonial – and untimed – flight to Rocquebrune, which will take place after 7pm due to city regulations that restrict the flights to set times of the day.
Race director Christoph Weber said: "It’s an outstanding achievement. Tell me another athlete who’s dominated his sport for eight years like Maurer has. This year was also a much more punishing course and the weather made it harder for him. He excels in the air, but had to hike much of the last 200km, so it was not easy for him at all".
Maurer won the 2009 edition and was so quick he beat the organisers to Monaco. He subsequently won in 2011, 2013 and 2015. His success is all the more extraordinary since he started the race with a nasty cold that prevented him from competing in the one-day Leatherman Prologue.
In this race, he has covered a total distance of 2,268Km, of which 1,736km were flown in the air and 531km were hiked on the ground.

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Winner Profile: Christian Maurer

Name: Christian ("Chrigel") Maurer
Nationality: Switzerland
Date of birth: 27/27/1982
City: Interlaken
Country: Switzerland
Profession: Paraglider Pilot
Supporter: Tobias Dimmler
Glider: Skywalk X-Alps 3S
Sponsors: LOWA, TeamWork, You Count, SHV, Taktil, Dermaplast, Salewa, Skywalk, Adelboden, Bächli Bergsport, Luftikus, Saij, X-Bionic, X-Socks, Leki, Gloryfy

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 11

Here are the highlights from day 11 of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

After eleven days the end is finally in sight for race leader Chrigel Maurer. He landed in the Italian town Latte yesterday afternoon and was just 15km short of the Turnpoint of Peille last night. When he turns up is anyone’s guess however. He’s said to be hurting bad. He could take his time to rest and turn up in the morning. He’ll then most likely fly down into Monaco to complete his ‘victory lap’ descent in the evening.
As soon as he arrives at Peille, the countdown then begins on the rest of the chaser pack, who’ll have 24 hours to make goal before time is called on the 2017 Red Bull X-Alps. Outters who is 51km behind should safely make 2nd place, while Guschlbauer also looks in a strong position to claim his third 3rd place finish.
But who among the chaser pack will also make Monaco? The rest of the pack, made up of Stanislav Mayer, Pascal Purin, Ferdinand van Schelven and Simon Oberrauner, is clearly determined to put in one last push. Everyone who can has pulled a Ledlenser Night Pass – everyone except Nick Neynens that is, but then he’s always gone his own way this race.
Stanislav Mayer and Ferdinand van Schelven have both had outstanding races. But one of the chaser group will no longer be flying wing-to-wing with them. Today, Manuel Nübel called time on his race. He’s simply exhausted and doesn’t want to injure himself by continuing.
Meanwhile, rookie Simon Oberrauner pulled his Night Pass a day early, and has been flipflopping within the Top 10, making it as high as third for a while.
At the back, with 548km still to go, Jesse Williams and Tom de Dorlodot are currently bringing up the rear, but Mitch Riley just ahead, with Evgenii Griaznov a few kilometres up the road.
They are all currently hiking for their place in the race, and even though the Russian is leading the pack, he is the only one that doesn't have a Night Pass, and looks most likely to go.
It’s been an exhausting battle for the athletes, but the next 36 hours could be the most exciting of the race as they all put in a heroic effort to make goal. It’s going to be a long night.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 10

Here are the highlights from day 10 of The Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

They say you fly faster in a gaggle, where athletes can watch each other and observe the thermals more easily. But there’s one man this race who’s gone his own way and still managed to stay up front. And that’s Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1).
He’s yo-yo’d in the rankings, keeping the heart-rates of his team and supporters on edge, but since Lake Garda he’s put in a storming performance.
Yesterday was another big day for the Austrian, putting in 156.6km on the clock, flying over 120km from the Matterhorn to the edge of Turin. No one is doing these kinds of distances in the air in these conditions.
"He’s flying a blinder", says Race Organiser Ulrich Grill. "I’m really impressed. He took a very bold and difficult line across the Italian lakes. He’s flown past the gaggle and is currently third. And he seems to be having fun while doing it".
His day began with a flight that climbed up to 3,560m in the high mountains near Turnpoint 6, included 36km on foot and ended with a glide off the shoulder of Rosa dei Banchi (3,164m) to finish the day near the town of Cuorgne. He can be pleased with that, but will still need to fight hard to maintain his lead.
Just 20km to the north lie several threats Chiefly from Stanislav Mayer (CZE) - also enjoying an outstanding performance - and Austrian rookie Simon Oberaunner (AUT4).
The pair provided a thrilling spectacle as they flew south neck-and-neck but along different lines this afternoon. It looked as though Mayer had got the better of the 26-year-old Austrian by the close of play, finishing 9km ahead.
Ahead in second place, Frenchman Benoït Outters (FRA4) ploughed away along the baking hot road skirting Turin, his face showing the strain, even if his body kept up a relentless 6km/h pace. By the end of the day he’d clocked another 92km, 67km of which were on foot. When asked what he was most looking forward to in Monaco, he just said: ‘The finish’.
No doubt that’s a sentiment shared by Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), 56km ahead but still 95km from goal. He told us earlier that he reckoned he still had 12 hours of hiking before getting to a decent launch point to strike for Monaco. That puts a realistic finish time on Thursday and will most likely be his longest ever race – over 11 days.
His body is not used to this. He’s nursing a knee injury, which is not such an issue for someone who normally spends most of his time in the air, but this afternoon Maurer had to take drastic action to avoid a thunderstorm and has finished up back on the flats – just the kind of territory that aggravates the knee. It must have been an exciting ride – his Flymaster flight instrument recorded a top speed of 104km/h.
After covering 20km in 12 hours he said it had been ‘the most inefficient day’ in the history of his five Red Bull X-Alps editions. But he too had settled in for the slog. By the end of the day he’d managed to inch a total of 96km towards goal. Kilometer by kilometer, the slow march to Monaco continues.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 9

Here are the highlights from day 9 of The Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

Everyone now is feeling the pain of this race. From Chrigel Maurer up front to Jose Ignacio Arevalo Guede at the back, every athlete is battling the blisters, bad knees, sore joints, sunburn or just plain exhaustion. Everyone except Tom de Dorlodot that is, who is raring to go after 48 hours in the sin bin.
Maurer’s got a bad knee making hiking on the flat extremely painful, as well as preventing him from using full speed bar as he can only push it with his left leg. It seems this race is too brutal even for him.
Normally that should be the green light for superhuman ultrarunner Benoït Outters, currently 70km back, to take advantage. But it turns out that he is human after all. After pulling his Ledlenser Night Pass last night he confesses to feeling ‘very tired’. He now doubts that he can catch Chrigel – although that was said before news of Chrigel’s knee became public.
Maurer is closest to Monaco with 140km to go, but if you can’t fly and walking hurts, that’s still an awful long way to go – especially on the notoriously evil switchback roads in the south of France.
"With good conditions, I might make it on Wednesday and with bad luck, Friday. I think probably Thursday", he said.
The battle for 3rd place continues. Paul Guschlbauer currently holds the bronze crown and was just 20km to the east of the Matterhorn yesterday evening. But rookie Simon Oberrauner is only 2km behind and he’s hiking through the night.
And yet the crown could still go to Purin, Nübel, Mayer or van Schelven who are all within a few kilometers of each other. Nübel at least seems to be back in the game after requiring medical treatment last night suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration after yesterday’s yomp along the flat.
Thirty one athletes began this race just over a week ago.Yesterday evening only 23 remain in the field – down to 22 tomorrow when the axeman’s chop comes down on the last man in the field – likely to be Jose Arevalo Guede, despite him pulling a Ledlenser Night Pass. He’d need to cover over 70km to stay in the game.
But the race will gain two athletes from tomorrow when Evgenii Griaznov and Pal Takats are allowed to get on the move again after their 48 hour penalties.
This has been the most brutal race in recent Red Bull X-Alps history and it shows no sign of letting up.
"We fly down, hike back up again, fly down – it’s the story of my life", said Krischa Berlinger this morning. This evening he was still 100km from Turnpoint 5, Monte Baldo. No doubt he – and every other athlete – will carry on doing a bit more hiking up and flying down before it’s over.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 8

Here are the highlights from day 8 of  the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) passed Turnpoint 6, the Matterhorn, yestterday morning, and then made slow progress south towards the final Turnpoint at Peille. With some flying and some hiking he is now just over 200km away from goal.
Maurer announced yesterday afternoon that, because of the weather conditions, he would take the Italian route to Monaco - unlike in the previous four editions where he has flown through France.
The bad weather may actually help Benoit Outters, who has pulled a Ledlenser Night Pass and was making the most of the day with a late evening flight at 19:30. He is 86km behind Maurer, but he is also an accomplished ultra-runner and mountain man - by taking a direct line towards the Matterhorn across serious alpine terrain it is not inconceivable that he could close the gap considerably overnight.
Yesterday evening he said: "I am feeling fine! I just had a good flight, and now I plan to walk to a mountain refuge and spend the night there at 2,200m. In the morning I will hike up to a ridge, take off, fly to another ridge, climb up, fly, and get to the Matterhorn this way".
Behind him, Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) is in third position. He has run his own race through this edition of the Red Bull X-Alps, and today he continued to do the same. He took a line further south compared with the rest of the chasing pack. It meant he had to hop across two big lakes by air, and run around one.
Further back, the chaser pack kept on chasing - just for most of the day it was along the road. While Pal Takats (HUN) enjoyed an ice cream on the shores of Lake Como while starting his 48-hour time penalty, the others motored through.
One athlete who did his own thing was Nick Neynens (NZL). He went north, a long way off the course-line. Why?
"It all started yesterday, when I had a cracker of a flight", he explained from the road. "I got to Lake Garda by flying and then had another great flight. So today I was trying to do the same thing and stay high, but I didn’t make one transition across a valley so I drifted north - because I thought that looked like the best chance of getting high. But I was wrong. The clouds overdeveloped and there were some storms. I landed before the storms, and then there was another flyable window later, but it was weaker conditions".
He wasn’t too downbeat about the lost time. "I prefer flying to hiking", he said, adding: "I’m now planning to hike on and get into a good position for an early morning glide down to Chiavenna. Physically I’m doing ok. My legs are good, I have the odd blister from the first day but nothing serious".
From front to back the athletes are now spread out over 550km.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 7

Here are the highlights from day 7 of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

It’s been a busy day across the Alps. Up front, Christian Maurer (SUI1) extended his lead and was this evening within touching distance of the Matterhorn, Turnpoint 6.
"I think he’ll make Monaco on Monday", said race director Christoph Weber. "I’m leaving tomorrow" (In 2009, Maurer actually beat the organisation to Monaco.)
However, Maurer is not so optimistic. "I think more like four to five days. The weather is not really flyable for the next day or so".
His plan is not to fly north and pick up the Rhone superhighway, but to enter the Aosta valley and then head for Val d’Isere and then onto Briancon before following a similar line to Monaco from 2015. 
"I will climb up to 2,000m tomorrow and I hope it’s not too windy so I can fly down to Aosta, otherwise I will have to walk. It’s going to be a hard day for sure".
If it does take him another four to five days to make goal it could be one of his slowest years. His record is 6d 23h in 2013; his slowest time to Monaco was 11d in 2011.
Otherwise he said he’s feeling strong and the team is the best it’s ever been. "I’m within my comfort zone and flying as before but I also have better planning, better logistics, I can push more on the ground. I’m very relaxed and this makes me positive". There’s a small knee complaint but nothing serious.
In second place was Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) but today he was forced to retire after injuring his wrist and knee during a bad landing near Lake Como.
"I was trying to get into a small landing and a thermic bubble blew me into a wall", he said.
"It was the perfect race until this", he added. His retirement from the race comes just 383km from Monaco. He had spent 35.8 hours flying, during which he covered 1,401.5km in the air.
Near the back, Che Golus (AUS) also quit after picking up an injury.
Rookie Benoït Outters (FRA4) now assumes 2nd place. "It’s very sad news for Gaspard but the race continues", he said.
And it’s turning into quite a battle as there are now eight athletes in with a chance, all within 30km of each other. For the last two days they’ve been jockeying for position but also co-operating, sharing intel, the good times and the bad. As Pascal Purin (AUT3) told us yesterday: "It’s great to fly with my friends".
The gaggle of Pascal, Sebastian Huber (GER1), Ferdinand van Schelven (NLD) and Simon Oberrauner (AUT4) started the day with an epic flight off the Brenta, gliding with minimal thermal activity for more than 20km all the way from glaciated peaks to the warm shores of Lake Garda. "It was very impressive", said Weber.
Pal Takats (HUN) would have been in contention and is now within touching distance of Lake Como, but he is now grounded for 48 hours following an airspace violation.
After a bad day yesterday, during which he fell back to 7th place, Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) put in a blinder today and is currently behind Manuel Nübel (GER2) in 5th. But that 3rd spot is open to anyone – who will take the prize?
But there’s still a way to go, and as Chrigel warns: "The difference between a normal paragliding competition and an adventure race like this is that with an adventure you never know what’s going to happen – and anything can happen".

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 6

Here are the highlights from day 6 of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

Six days ago 31 athletes started out from Salzburg. Today, just 26 athletes are still plugging away and the field now stretches for 500km across northern Italy, Austria and southern Germany.
At the front is Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), now on the western slopes of Lake Como. At one point this afternoon, it looked as though a new chapter in Red Bull X-Alps history would have to be written as Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) reeled him in and then drew level.
No one has caught up with Maurer like that before. But that was before Maurer got airborne again this afternoon. By the time he’d touched down, he’d managed to open up a 64km lead, flying along the south-facing flanks of the Valtellina valley.
But whereas yesterday he’d been able to cruise along the summits, this time it looked a lot more rough and dirty. The valley is notorious for its afternoon winds and Maurer would have had to fight against turbulent conditions. It would have demanded total commitment and skill, but then he’s not short of either.
Just a few hours earlier it had all looked so different as Gaspard Petiot drew level and then – for a brief moment – his name appeared at the top of the leaderboard. It was such a unique moment, we had to screenshot it for posterity. For a moment Maurer looked threatened.
Elsewhere it was a day in which the talent really showed itself. Red Bull X-Alps rookie Benoït Outters (FRA4) put in a great flight and overtook Guschlbauer (AUT1), who fell to 7th place. This evening just 9km and 1,000m of vertical ascent separated him from Turnpoint 5, Monte Baldo.
For a man of his ultra-running capability, that should take no longer than two to three hours, too long to bag tonight. But expect him to launch across Lake Garda early in the morning.
The chasing group who gathered on the summit of Matatze this morning, just north of Merano, had mixed fortunes. Nick Neynens (NZL) decided not to wait for the inversion to clear and took a bold decision to go anyway. Seeing him find some lift had Pal Takats (HUN) running for his wing and launching himself off the slope in hot pursuit.
By the end of the day, Neynens was 65km from the Turnpoint while Takats, along with Manuel Nübel (GER1) and Stanislav Mayer (CZE) were just behind Outters in the resort of Riva del Garda. Takats has a Ledlenser Night Pass so he’ll reach the Turnpoint tonight - but then he has to serve a 48-hour penalty (starting Sunday 05:00) for airspace infringement yesterday, so it’s a bitter-sweet experience for him.
Good days and bad. Every athlete experiences them. In 18th place, Krischa Berlinger (SUI2) complained of 50kph winds that made flying impossible en route to Turnpoint 4. He still had another 50km to go. Michael Gierlach (POL) also said he’d had a tough day. "It’s been hot, I tried to fly but it was windy, so I got into the lee side and had short flights".
He is currently about 45km from Turnpoint 4, about 350km from the race leader. "I hoped for something better, but it is what it is".

Friday, July 7, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 5

Here are the highlights from day 5 of  the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

Day 5 was a story of mixed fortunes for lone warriors and the chaser groups.
Coming up fast in third place was Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1), who passed through Turnpoint 4 at lunchtime before swiftly moving on, destination Italy. He put in another incredible flight to make Merano by evening.
It was then the turn of the chaser groups. Early in the day alliances had been formed between Hungarian acro legend Pal Takats (HUN), Benoit Outters (FRA4), Ferdinand van Schelven (NLD) and Manuel Nubel (GER2). And just behind them another gaggle had also formed consisting of Pascal Purin (AUT3), Sebastian Huber (GER1) and Stansislav Mayer (CZE) "There’s one plan: fly far", Purin said before take-off.
And boy did they succeed. Outters was first to arrive, then Nick Neynens (NZL) who’d taken his own line south of the main pack. Then in quick succession, Manuel Nubel, Ferdinand van Schelven and Pal Takats. They then all raced across the valley to hike 400m up a steep gully on Sonnenspitz and within minutes of arriving were hurling themselves down the scree slope and into the air. (Head over to Live Tracking to check out their traces).
But just over the valley, the next group to come through, consisting of Huber (GER1), Mayer (CZE) and Purin (AUT3) had the cheek to launch off a grassy slope a mere 200m behind the Turnpoint. And they got away too after a mere 10 minute hike.
Last to bag Turnpoint 4 by 8pm was Frenchman Nelson de Freeman (FRA3), who was not having a happy day. Clearly exasperated he said: "I was on the wrong side of the mountain. And I was flying like a sh*t!"
But within minutes he was also back up in the air. The top 13 athletes are now firmly on their way to the Oetztal and beyond.
The only other athlete to pull a Ledlenser Night Pass was Duncan Kotze (RSA), in a bid to get clear of Claudio Heidel Schemberger (ARG). It looks like he’ll be successful and it will be the Argentinian who’ll be eliminated tomorrow.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 4

Here are the highlights from day 4 of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

Day four saw some big moves and amazing flights from all athletes. Christian Maurer (SUI1) maintains his lead but the likes of Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) and Nelson De Freeman (FRA3) were hot on his tail. Pal Takats (HUN) makes a huge leap up the rankings too
In a patch of grass surrounded by the dramatic soaring peaks of Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) finally touched down at Turnpoint 4 in the evening after experiencing the flight of his life. He could not hide his exhaustion and elation, punching the air as he landed, crying out in delight.
"That was so hard", he said. "I was constantly fighting. I’m so happy to be here. I never thought it would be possible to make this Turnpoint today. At the beginning it was very stable. Then I was able to cross the Inn valley and fly with the Bavaria north wind which I used to counter the effects of the west wind. I had to fight against the wind all the time and had many collapses. Then eventually everything calmed down and it was became paragliding – not war".
Earlier, at 2pm after touching down in Lermoos, Maurer also said he found the flight the most difficult he’d ever experienced in the Red Bull X-Alps. But the experience clearly didn’t put him off. He set off within half an hour and was soon gunning hard down the Oetz valley and into Italy, where he finished up the day just south of Merano. He still has another 100km to go to reach Monte Baldo, the half way point of the race.
"Day 4, Turnpoint 4, everything is on track", he said at Lermoos. Maurer has previously let it be known that his goal was to tag a Turnpoint a day. At this rate he’ll easily make Turnpoint 5 tomorrow, especially since the forecast from official race Meteo service Morecast is for favourable flying conditions.
Elsewhere it was a day of mixed fortunes with many in the mid-pack getting pinned down by bad weather. Tom de Dorlodot (BEL) said he’d had a ‘horrible day’ after being grounded again by rain. “I’m a little bit disappointed. Sometimes you need a bit of luck", he said.
Gavin McClurg (USA1) said he’d also been stuck in bad weather. "There wasn’t a burp of good air". "It’s wicked stomy here, with monster cells and rain, but I’m feeling great", he added. He also got a good meal thanks to some friendly locals.
Unfortunately for Evgenii Griaznov and team Russia, they didn’t get to experience the same hospitality. He top landed after being hit by strong winds but then his support team got into a misunderstanding with a farmer who locked them in after they drove on private land. Eventually, with the help of some sign language they managed to get their way out. Griaznov is now lying in 20th place.
Other athletes who had great days include Nick Neynens who took a slightly more southerly line after Turnpoint 3 down the Inn valley and was last night lying in 5th place.
Special mention should also go to Aaron Durogati who landed short of Turnpoint 3.
"It shows just how hard the flying must have been if a pilot of Durogati’s ability cannot get over", says race director Christoph Weber. "It shows it was not so easy. He is one of the greatest athletes in the race as he’s suffering more pain in his knee. He doesn’t give up. I have very big respect for him".

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 3

Here are the highlights from day 3 of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

Day 3 was action packed! From big flights to sore limbs, the adventure continues with Christian Maurer (SUI1) reaching Turnpoint 3 - Aschau Chiemsee in first place and had his sights on Lermoos Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, Turnpoint 4.
He spiralled down from a clear blue sky and landed next to the sign-in board where he was greeted by crowds of cheering fans. He started early this morning on the southern side of the Alps, and had hiked and flown for 12 hours, landing shortly before 7pm.
Meanwhile, behind him the French athletes Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) and Nelson de Freyman (FRA3) are enjoying the race of their lives, both completing epic flights over the main alpine chain.
For Petiot, his day began with an 1,300m ascent up Mangart’s northern flanks with Toma Coconea (ROU) to bag Triglav, Turnpoint 2. They arrived with time to spare before the thermals started. While Coconea signed t-shirts and agreed to fans’ requests for selfies, Petiot was swapping base layers and towelling himself off. "I feel like a tennis player", he joked.
And the mental pressure was not far off a centre court either. As he agonised at the take-off over whether to fly, he confided to feeling the pressure with everyone watching. Both he and Coconea were playing the waiting game hoping for clouds to clear. In the end, they could wait no longer and launched into the mist. Unfortunately for Coconea, his flight did not last so long and his time at the front is most likely now over.
Throughout the day, most of the pack cleared the turnpoint. Of particular note was Aaron Durogati’s (ITA) rise through the rankings. Yesterday it looked as though he might be forced to retire with a painful knee, but then he got into the air and also showed what he is capable of. He was lying in fifth place with still an hour of flying left in the day, an heroic comeback from the back of the field.
Unfortunately it was not such a happy ending for Stephan Gruber (AUT2) who has retired with severe pain in both ankles. "I can’t walk and I can’t fly with them", he said.
Meanwhile at the back, Claudio Heidel Schemberger (ARG) must take the award for dogged determination. He spent a very uncomfortable and cold night in the mountains and was close to hypothermia and in a bad state by the time his supporter found him at 2am.
But he’s determined not to be eliminated when the axeman comes down tomorrow and has pulled his Ledlenser Night Pass to fight on through the night – even though he only got three hours sleep last night.
This morning has seen the first elimination of the race. David Liano Gonzalez (MEX) was officially cut from the back at 6am. From now until the end of the race one team will be cut every 48 hours.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Race Report: Day 2

Here are the highlights from day 2 of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017:

If Day Two started slowly, it certainly made up for it as the afternoon progressed. Maurer (SUI1) surged from 22nd place into the lead to pass TP 2, Triglav, crushing the all-day lead that Coconea (ROU) had established after hiking through the night.
For most of the day the lead athletes had been pinned down on the approach to Spittal an der Drau. Strong winds on the Hohe Tauern main ridge made taking off precarious and not every athlete was happy to chance it. For those that got away, the rewards were high.
Frenchmen Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) and Nelson de Freyman (FRA3) managed to escape and de Freyman at one point soared into second place, overtaking Chrigel a few kilometers north of Triglav.
Athletes such as Sebastian Huber (GER1) and Jesse Williams (USA2) could only watch as they flew overhead. But sometimes the right decision is not always the most obvious one. Late in the day Antoine Girard (FRA1) announced that he is retiring from the race after injuring his knee during take off.
He was attempting to launch his paraglider when the afternoon wind conditions caused him to misstep during take-off. The result was a sprained knee.
Antoine Girard is an experienced adventure paraglider pilot, who has competed in two previous Red Bull X-Alps races, in 2013 and 2015. He finished third in 2013 and fourth in 2015.
If the day began with the story of Toma Coconea, it ended with Chrigel Maurer. Having started the day an hour behind the last team in 22nd place, by the end he’d managed to fly into the lead and tag the second Turnpoint of Triglav in the air while the others struggled on foot.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017: Race On...

The Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will be the eighth edition of the world's toughest adventure race. It starts on July 2th and will see 32 athletes from 21 countries battling over 1,000km across the Alps from Salzburg to Monaco via 7 mandatory turnpoints in 7 different countries, in the fastest time possible. Every kilometer must be covered either on foot or flown by paraglider.It's a formidable undertaking and takes place in one of most breathtaking yet also unforgiving environments. Each team consists of one athlete and up to two supporters. No technical or outside assistance is allowed.
Here are the highlights from day 1 of Red Bull X-Alps 2017. The athletes start their epic journey on a day with the worst weather conditions in the history of the race.
A rainy Mozartplatz set the mood for the start of the Red Bull X-Alps earlier today, with athletes arriving covered by umbrellas, wearing rain ponchos and just trying to stay dry.
The scene on the Gaisberg wasn't very different, with stormy winds, low visibility and pouring rain.
The first two athletes to summit the Gaisberg were Sebastian Huber (GER1) with a time of 1h03m, followed by Toma Coconea (ROU), summiting in 1h10m.
Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), Aaron Durogati (ITA), Nelson de Freyman (FRA3) and Benoit Outters (FRA4) made the top of the Gaisberg as a pack in a time of 1hr 12mins.
Watch them as they power through the rain to Turnpoint 1 at the Gaisberg and then on to Turnpoint 2: Triglav, Slovenia!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Where To Ski in The Alps in July?

Saas-Fee in Switzerland is scheduled to open for summer skiing in less than two weeks, on July 15. Skiing in Saas-Fee in summer is an amazing experience and not just because of the pleasant temperatures and 20 km of diverse glacier pistes. You might also spot national and international sports teams training at the summer skiing area.

Zermatt. Zermatt has a whopping 21 km of summer skiing on its Theodul Glacier accessed by the Klein Matterhorn cable car. Zermatt is Switzernd’s only year round ski resort and one of the two remaining glaciers in the Alps to open 365 days a year. The summer ski area is shared with Cervinia in Italy, so you can ski over the border for lunch. The 13 runs are divided into blues and reds. The Gravity Park features a half-pipe, kickers and rails and also offers one of the best views of the Matterhorn.


Cervinia. The access to the glacier from Cervinia will be open from June 28th to September 10th 2017.

Passo Stelvio. 20 km of slopes among Ortles-Cevedales and Cristallo mountains, at 3000 meters of height, on the glacier near the biggest Pass of Europe. The glacier is open from May to November.


Hintertux. The Hintertux Glacier is Austria’s only year round ski resort and one of the two remaining glaciers in the Alps to open 365 days a year. The Hintertux is During summer, 22km (14 miles) of runs are open and accessed by nine lifts, including the Glacier Bus 3 with 24-person cabins, capable of transporting 3,000 skiers per hour. The Hintertux offers a good range of runs for all levels, but is famous for its steep, challenging terrain. The Betterpark Hintertux with 5 lines (Pro Line, Medium Line, Easy Line, 2 Jib Lines) and a 100-m long super pipe was designed by park builder Wille Kaufmann according to the motto "Best air time for everyone", so that not only the pros, but also rookies will find obstacles suitable for their individual skill levels.

Dachstein. Glacier skiing Hunerkogellift opened until July 9th The Dachstein Gletscherbahn brings you uphill to 2,700 metres above sea level.

Kaprun. The Kitzsteinhorn Glacier ski lifts and slopes are open down to Alpincenter. Glacier skiing area opened until July 23rd. After a few runs, chill out at the Ice Arena with its snow beach, igloos, snow slides and ice bar. Non-skiers can take free guided panoramic hikes across the glacier between July and September.


Les 2 Alpes. Les 2 Alpes has one of the largest summer ski areas in Europe. The Mont-de-Lans Glacier will be open from June 24th to September 2nd, 2017. A cable car (Jandri Express) transports skiers up to the glacier’s eight runs (2 red, 4 blue and 2 green) and a freestyle area in 24 minutes. Les 2 Alpes’ snowpark rivals that of Saas-Fee's glacier, with its snowskate zone, slopestyle (Big Air, tables, kickers and rails), cool zone, half-pipe (4.5m/15ft high, 120m/400ft long) and a smaller pipe suitable for beginners.

Tignes. This summer, the Grand Motte Glacier ski area will be open from June 25th to August 6th 2017. The 20 kms of pistes and 12 lifts are accessible via the Perce-Neige funicular which takes you up to the glacier in just 7 minutes.
At an altitude of 3,456 meters, the glacier was the meeting place of freestylers, pros and amateurs for summer snowboarding and skiing.The snowpark team shaped many runs for both beginners and experts (10 kickers and about 12 rails).
You also get free access to the Lagon swimming pool with your 2-to-10 day Tignes ski pass.

Val d'Isere. The Val d'Isere summer ski season is quite short. The Pissaillas glacier is open from june 10th to July 16th. The ski area is served by two ski lifts: Teleski des Montets and the Cascade Express chairlift.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017: The Leatherman Prologue

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will start on July 2nd and will be the eighth edition of the world’s toughest adventure race. The combination of trekking and paragliding is one of the most exciting hybrids to emerge from the ongoing convergence of mountain sports.
Starting in Salzburg, 32 Athletes of 21 nationalities will race across the Alps to Monaco via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries.
But before the main event, the one-day Leatherman Prologue race takes place in Salzburgerland. The top three finishers will each win an additional Ledlenser Night Pass, allowing them to race through the mandatory rest period.The one-day Leatherman Prologue race takes place in Fuschl am See tomorrow June 29, with athletes competing in a tough hike and fly race around the mountains made famous in the movie, The Sound of Music.
Athletes will start racing at 10:00am in Fuschl am See.
  • Start: Fuschl am See, Strandbad
  • Turnpoint 1: Zwölferhorn
  • Turnpoint 2: Schafberg
  • Finish: Fuschl am See

The top three finishers will each win an additional Ledlenser Night Pass, allowing them to race through the mandatory rest period. On day two of the main race, the usual 5:00am start will be delayed for each athlete by the time in which they finished the Leatherman prologue race behind the prologue winner.
In 2015, the Prologue was won by Paul Guschlbauer in 2h 21m. Stanislav Mayer (CZE) was 2nd in 2h 22m and Gavin McClurg (USA2) came 3rd in 2h 24m.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Looking For Inspiration. A Mater Class Event: Emirates Team New Zealand Win the 35th America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand have won the 35th edition of the America’s Cup.
The Kiwi team dominated the final stage of the 35th America’s Cup, winning eight races to Oracle Team USA’s one race win, giving the New Zealanders a final winning scoreline of 7-1.
The America’s Cup was last won by a team representing New Zealand in 2000 and they are now the Defenders of the America’s Cup for the 36th installment of the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport.
In the final press conference of the 35th America’s Cup, Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand, also announced that the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has accepted the challenge of Circolo della Vela Sicilia, who will be the Challenger of Record for the 36th America's Cup and will be represented by Luna Rossa.
Reading the statements of Peter Burling and Glenn Ashby, it is easy to understand the true dimension of this event.
"We’re just blown away. We came here to win the America’s Cup and right now we’re taking the America’s Cup back home to New Zealand.
To be able to win eight races in Beautiful Bermuda in front of a big crowd of our own fans is overwhelming, we’re just happy to be able to share this moment with them, we’re just blown away.
I’ve grown up watching this competition as a fan and to be a Kiwi and taking this Cup home is a dream come true
To be able to win this event at such a young age is an unreal feeling. However, I’m just a tiny part of a massive team and it is incredible to be able to reward the hard work of those hundreds of people who have supported us, not only here but back home in New Zealand as well
", said Peter Burling, helmsman, Emirates Team New Zealand.
"I’m just so proud to be a part of this team and to be able to bring the Cup home and I want to thank the support of the whole country.
What happened in 2013 was a brutal experience for everyone involved, to be so close was extremely disappointing and is something that will live with all of us for the rest of our lives.
So to be able to come here a few years later and pull off an unbelievable victory has really redeemed that situation for New Zealand and it feels like justice has prevailed.
I think we’ve seen some unbelievable advancements here with the boats and the type of races we’ve seen and it’s great for our sport. From a sailing perspective it’s going to be hard to sail anything else after what we’ve seen in these boats, the technology is just absolutely amazing", said Glenn Ashby, Skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand.
On the other hand, the statements of Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand, define very well the spirit behind major events and as only being faithful to this type of events will have a promising future ahead:
"It is important that we make the next America’s Cup affordable but we also need to remember that it is the America’s Cup and it is one of the top sports and not a little beach regatta. It is never going to be cheap.
It is a fine balance between not making it prohibitively expensive, but not being so cheap that it devalues the competition.
At the core of what we believe, we have to create an event that takes a lot of the good that has happened here, because there been a lot of good here. Just because we didn’t sign the Framework Agreement, that doesn’t mean to say there weren’t elements we didn’t agree with, it was just didn’t agree with every element.
To me it is a privilege to host the America’s Cup. It is not a right and we will put in place rules and an organisation of our own that will do everything to be good enough",

Monday, June 26, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017: Meet the Athletes

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will start on July 2nd and will be the eighth edition of the world’s toughest adventure race. The combination of trekking and paragliding is one of the most exciting hybrids to emerge from the ongoing convergence of mountain sports.
Starting in Salzburg, 32 Athletes of 21 nationalities will race across the Alps to Monaco via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries.
Athletes must journey non-stop for more than 1,000km across the Alps by foot or paraglider via set turnpoints. This demands a high level of endurance because when the weather isn’t friendly for flying, athletes must keep trekking until the clouds clear and they can take off again. It’s not uncommon for athletes to hike up to 100km in a day.
Being selected to compete in the world’s toughest and most prestigious adventure race is an achievement in itself. The race committee selects only the best athletes from around the world, based on solid mountaineering and trekking experience, endurance fitness, mental strength and flying ability. Only the most skilled and adventure-tested athletes will be considered.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

7 Days To Go Until Red Bull X-Alps 2017

The 2017 edition of Red Bull X-Alps is only 7 days away and for many of the athletes, it will be the biggest race of their career.
Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will start on July 2nd and will be the eighth edition of the world’s toughest adventure race. The combination of trekking and paragliding is one of the most exciting hybrids to emerge from the ongoing convergence of mountain sports.
Starting in Salzburg, 32 Athletes of 21 nationalities will race across the Alps to Monaco via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries.
Athletes must journey non-stop for more than 1,000km across the Alps by foot or paraglider via set turnpoints. This demands a high level of endurance because when the weather isn’t friendly for flying, athletes must keep trekking until the clouds clear and they can take off again. It’s not uncommon for athletes to hike up to 100km in a day.
Being selected to compete in the world’s toughest and most prestigious adventure race is an achievement in itself. The race committee selects only the best athletes from around the world, based on solid mountaineering and trekking experience, endurance fitness, mental strength and flying ability. Only the most skilled and adventure-tested athletes will be considered.
In the race’s first editions, only one or two athletes had what it takes to make it from Salzburg to the finish line in Monaco. Ever since, the level of competition has intensified and in the last race two-thirds of the athletes made the goal.
The 2015 edition saw 19 athletes of the 32 that competed make the goal – a record number since the first race in 2003. Incredibly, 12 rookies crossed the finish line, including athletes from the US, Korea, New Zealand and elsewhere for the first time in history.
Reigning champion  and four-time consecutive winner of Red Bull X-Alps Christian ‘Chrigel’ Maurer from Switzerland is the main candidate to win the race. For the first time however, Chrigel will be replacing his long-time teammate Thomas Theurillat with a new supporter, which may raise questions about whether he can retain the title. "At the start line, I know I can make it, but on the other hand every edition is new and different. This is what motivates me to do it again", he says confidently.
Toma Coconea (ROU) is the only athlete to appear in all eight editions of Red Bull X-Alps. Over the years, he has secured two second place finishes and proved himself as a serious endurance runner. Toma is one to watch as he knows both the contest and the different strategic vantage points very well.
For Jose Ignacio Arévalo Guede (ESP) this will be his first ever Red Bull X-Alps. In recent years he has been highly successful in national contests, but can he bring the same performance to the Alps?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a rookie or a veteran; everybody prepares differently for Red Bull X-Alps. The new route down to Slovenia and the unpredictable weather conditions present an almost infinite number of possibilities during the race. For this reason alone, a single strategy simply won’t cut it. Taking the title requires physical strength, unbreakable spirit and above all, versatility.

Looking For Inspiration. A Mater Class Event: The America's Cup (3)

Last January, during a press conference at The House of Garrard in London, United Kingdom where the America’s Cup trophy was originally crafted in 1848, skippers and team leaders revealed a framework agreement that would cover the next two editions, the 36th and 37th America’s Cup, due to take place in 2019 and 2021 respectively. Racing in the 35th America’s Cup will take place in Bermuda in May/June of this year and the 36th America's Cup cycle will commence thereafter.
The framework agreement provides stability and gives interested teams an opportunity to plan longer term. It establishes a modern sporting, technology and design challenge, within which costs are controlled to provide a much lower entry price, which will encourage more teams to be involved and ultimately create larger audiences and help incentivize more people to go sailing.
As is required, the framework agreement respects and upholds all aspects of the Deed of Gift, the document that lies at the heart of the America’s Cup.
The Deed of Gift is the foundational document governing the America’s Cup. One of the unique aspects of the competition is that after winning the racing on the water, the victorious yacht club and its team then become the trustees of the event, responsible for outlining the terms of the next edition.
Historically, this has seen a crescendo of interest in the America’s Cup as the final races take place, followed by an extended period of down-time during which the new Defender re-defines the equipment and format of the next event, and builds a business structure to manage the next edition of a major, globalized, international competition, all while maintaining its core focus on winning as a sports team. This has resulted in teams being disbanded and costly equipment being made redundant and discarded.
Jimmy Spithill, the skipper of two-time winner and current defending champion, Oracle Team USA said, "We have all seen how damaging that extended quiet period can be for each of the stakeholders in the event. What we’ve done over the past year is to work together to tackle that problem head-on.
We know that one of the current teams is going to win, so we have found common ground on a vision for the next event, and formalized that into rules now, before racing starts later this year. That means there is now a clear plan in place that confirms the format for the competition using existing boats and equipment as much as possible to reduce costs.
I think this announcement will go down as one of the defining moments in America’s Cup history. It’s great for fans, athletes, and commercially – a win win for everyone. This is a huge step forward, with the sky the limit".
Iain Percy, Team Manager of Artemis Racing gave his insight into how the America’s Cup is progressing, saying, "I’ve been competing as a sailor in the America’s Cup World Series for the last two years and I’ve experienced first hand the huge swell of interest. We all realize that we’re on the right track as a sport and it is the right time to build on it for this and the next generations of top sailors".
Larry Ellison said, "It is a very modern sport, it's a very extreme sport, it's a team sport and it’s country v country so I am very optimistic that we can make this sport very attractive to the next generation of athletes. The kids love it, and this will also help make it attractive to people who don't go out and sail every day, but love watching the competition on TV".
Dean Barker, CEO and Skipper of SoftBank Team Japan endorsed the sheer spectacle that is America’s Cup racing in its modern guise: "It’s high octane, seat of the pants racing with plenty of action and plenty of drama. It can be very unpredictable but it’s a true test of machines, technology and people and the racing now is a hell of a lot better than it’s ever been before".

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Looking For Inspiration. A Mater Class Event: The America's Cup (2)

The America's Cup has always been about pushing the limits of technology in sailing, particularly in recent years. One of the hallmarks of the modern America's Cup is the introduction of foiling, reaching speeds never seen before and allowing the boats to literally "fly" above the water.

In this edition of the America's Cup the innovation has arrived to the race of the hand of the Emirates Team New Zealand.
The cycle grinding innovation. Bike on a boat? Here's the story behind the innovation.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Looking For Inspiration. A Mater Class Event: The America's Cup (1)

Events are everywhere and are present in our everyday life. They have turned into an ever-growing industry. The field of special events is now so large that it is impossible to provide a definition that includes all the different types of events available.
Major events are events that, due to their scale and media appeal, attract a large number of spectators and media as well as the corresponding economic benefits to the place where they are held.
Sports event tourism refers to sports activities or competitions that attract a considerable number of visitors who participate or attend as spectators.
Among the major sporting events stands out one that is currently being held in Bermuda: The America's Cup.
First contested in 1851, the America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport, predating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years, and is yachting’s biggest prize.
The trophy’s roots date back to when a syndicate of businessmen from New York sailed the schooner America across the Atlantic Ocean to represent the United States at the World’s Fair in England. The schooner won a race around the Isle of Wight and, with it, a trophy called the £100 Cup. (It was subsequently inscribed, incorrectly, as the 100 Guineas Cup).
The Cup is an ornate sterling silver bottomless ewer crafted in 1848 by Garrard & Co. Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey bought one and donated it for the Royal Yacht Squadron's 1851 Annual Regatta around the Isle of Wight.
After winning the trophy, the United States embarked on what would become the longest winning streak in the history of sport, a 132-year stretch of domination that saw boats representing the country successfully defend the trophy 24 times from 1870 through 1980—until 1983, when Australia II became the first successful challenger to lift the trophy. For the first time in 132 years, the America’s Cup was leaving the New York Yacht Club.
Only four nations have won the America's Cup: United States, Australia (1983), New Zealand (1995, 2000) and Switzerland (2003, 2007).

Bermuda is the host the of 35th America’s Cup. Racing started with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers on 26th and the 35th America’s Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton began on 17th June, 2017.
Bermuda is composed of 181 islands, totalling 21 square miles, and has just over 60,000 residents. Renowned for crystal blue water and beautiful pink sand beaches, Bermuda’s Great Sound form a natural amphitheatre for the race course and the America’s Cup Village at the Royal Naval Dockyard, is the beating heart of the America’s Cup experience.

Oracle Team USA is the defending champion of the America’s Cup, after winning the last two editions in 2010 and 2013.
Emirates Team New Zealand is the 2017 challenger after sailing away from their Swedish rivals in the best-of-nine challenger final 5-2.
The head-to-head between Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand is a rematch of the 2013 America’s Cup Match in which Oracle Team USA staged what many call the greatest comeback in sport, turning an 8-1 deficit into a 9-8 victory over Emirates Team New Zealand in San Francisco.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

2016-17 Estimated as Colorado’s Second Best Season on Record

Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) announced during its 54th Annual Meeting skier visits at its 22-member ski areas totaled 7.3 million during the 2016-17 season. It is estimated that after final numbers are tallied, the 2016-17 season will be the state’s second best season on record. This year’s season total was up six percent over the five-year average, marking the fourth consecutive year that skier visits at CSCUSA resorts have outperformed the five-year average.
"This season had a little bit of everything", said Colorado Ski Country USA President and CEO Melanie Mills. "A warm fall kept skiers away from the high country early in the season, but deep snow totals in December and January attracted record numbers of guests during the busy holiday period. Our resorts continue to set the industry standard for guest experience, which is reflected in this year’s numbers".
The 2016-17 season kicked off with Arapahoe Basin Ski Area winning the friendly race to open with neighbor Loveland Ski Area, becoming the nation’s first ski area to open on October 21, 2016. The season was full of exciting events and highlights including the return of the Winter Park Express in January and the World Cup Finals at Aspen Snowmass in March, the first time the event has been in the U.S. in 20 years. The season ended on a strong note with heavy snow totals allowing for season extensions at four CSCUSA resorts.
"These are very strong numbers, especially considering the warm start to the season", continued Mills. "Colorado’s consistently great snow conditions are a draw for in-state, out-of-state and international guests. Colorado Ski Country USA resorts truly have something for everyone and with a family friendly environment that is second to none, we’re looking forward to another strong season in 2017-18".
Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding. A skier visit represents a person participating in the sport of skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort. These numbers are preliminary results and subject to final adjustment by CSCUSA members.
During the 2016-17 season, many CSCUSA resorts and employees were honored with national awards and recognition. Sunlight Mountain Resort, located outside of Glenwood Springs, received an award from the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) for its marketing campaign celebrating its 50th Anniversary. The Sunny 700 was the nation’s most expensive lift ticket, but came with a custom 50th anniversary ski. Copper Mountain Resort was a finalist in NSAA’s Conversion Cup, which recognizes resorts that have outstanding programs to convert new skiers and snowboarders into lifelong enthusiasts. Ethan Mueller, the President of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, earned a 2017 SAMMY Leadership Award from Ski Area Management Magazine after being nominated by his peers. The award honors individuals who have demonstrated the leadership skills needed to help steer the snowsports industry into the future.

Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) is the not-for-profit trade association representing 22 Colorado ski & snowboard resorts. CSCUSA is the global voice of the Colorado ski industry. The Association’s primary functions are concentrated in marketing, public policy and public relations.