World Freeride Festival: Tailgate Alaska

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World Freeride Festival: Tailgate Alaska

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This ten-day festival takes place in the heart of Alaska’s Chugach Mountain Range from 3 April, offering thousands of riders the opportunity to enjoy world class riding and skiing. For more information visit worldfreeridefestival.com

Date: 3 April 2015
Venue: Chugach Mountain Range, Valdez
State: Alaska
Country: United States

Kicking Horse Wrangle the Chute 2015

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For the second year running, riders will be tackling “Truth and Dare” as they showcase their impressive skills to the judges – with big cash prizes as the goal. The spectator value of this event is enormous – so don’t miss the action. For more information visit kickhorseresort.com

Date: 27 March 2015
Venue: Kicking Horse Resort
British Columbia, Canada

Red Bull Cold Rush 2015

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This popular series fuses the disciplines of backcountry slopstyle, big mountain, cliffs and alpine ski touring and takes place at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia on March 23 to 26. A handful of the world’s top skiers will be battling it out for prize money totaling $36K. For more information visit sbcskier.com

Dates: 23-26 March 2015
Venue: Revelstoke Mountain Resort
British Columbia, Canana

Skiing at Obertauern

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Located in Radstadt Tauern, a subrange of the Austrian Central Alps, the winter sports resort of Obertauern offers more the 100 kilometers of pistes with the guarantee of snow from mid-November through to early-May each year. State-of-the-art lift facilities ensure skiers are transported safely and swiftly to even the highest peak (2,313m) to enjoy maximum time on the snow. Night-time skiing extends the pleasure and all levels of experience are catered for, from beginners through to dare-devil experts. Ski-in/ski-out accommodation offers luxury and convenience of the highest standard.

The history of the village of Obertauern goes back to the Celtic era (4th-1st century BC) and Romans used the pass in the first century, as attested to by relic milestones and tracks of Roman wagons. However the first mention of the pass was in 1207 with records in 1224 noting that a small church had been built at the top of the pass. By 1517, two inns had been built there, and these remain part of the village today. In 1764 a post office was opened with deliveries twice a week.

It is thought that the first skiers discovered the area in 1902, but the first record of skiers visiting Obertauern was in 1920. They arrived on foot with their baggage on horse-drawn sleighs. The official founding of the village is recorded as 8 December 1929, when the Tauern Pass started carrying regular traffic. The first lift was installed in 1948 and the tourism industry in the village of Obertauern started to grow, with more lifts and cable cars installed between 1952 and 1961. Interestingly, between 1948 and 1960, skiers prepared the slopes in exchange for runs, before the first motorized trail groomer was introduced. Piste construction with bulldozers in 1967 created part of the present day Tauern Circuit, allowing access for grooming equipment and more tourists. The first snow cannon was installed in 1985 and major upgrading projects were carried out in the latter years of the 20th century.

Obertauern continues to upgrade equipment and facilities, reinforcing its status as one of the top ski resorts in the world, often mentioned on “Best Resort” lists in magazines and on websites dedicated to the snow sport industry.

The Snow Sport Industry and Climate Change

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The snow sport industry has been identified by the United Nations Environment Program as being one of the most vulnerable industries when it comes to being affected by climate change. With average winter temperatures rising, and the first snowfalls happening later and later, it is becoming increasingly difficult for resorts to run for the number of days they would have in the past. Even resorts with comprehensive snowmaking equipment are finding temperatures too warm to maintain ski-worthy slopes at the beginning and end of the season. Snow skiing areas at lower elevations appear to be most at risk for losing income, as many lack the resources to deal with the drop in natural snowfall and shortening of snow sport seasons.

Founded in 2007 by Jeremy Jones, a pro snowboarder who took note of resorts closing due to lack of snow, Protect Our Winters (POW) aims to “unite and actively engage the global snow sports community to lead the fight against climate change.” POW launched the “POW Riders Alliance” consisting of fifty-two professional snow sport athletes who are dedicated to fighting climate change. These alliance members are committed to making others – sponsors, fans, students, media, etc. – aware of the problems facing the snow sport industry. POW representatives have been to Capitol Hill to discuss with members of Congress the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon standards, and have hand delivered a letter signed by seventy-five professional athletes to the White House urging President Obama to act on clean energy and climate change.

In addition to numerous other climate change awareness projects, under the banner of the POW7, the organization has compiled a list of seven things individuals can do to fight climate change. Visit the POW website to find out how you can get involved.

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