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Austria's alps from the top of Obergurgl, Solden's nextdoor neighbour.

Austria’s alps from the top of Obergurgl, Solden’s next door neighbour.

Salut from Sölden! Last March we explored this monstrous ski resort situated in the Ötztal Valley of the Austrian Tirol.

Back home in North America, we know it for the World Cup ski race it stages on its glacier every October. But Sölden is a lot more than just a glacier — it has more than 70 lifts and 186 miles of ski terrain.

This photo was snapped at the tip of Obergurgl, Solden’s next door neighbour, in the midst of the glorious Tirolean alps.

Our adventures in Sölden have been documented (by two 10 year olds) in the latest Winter edition of SNOW Magazine.

For more on exploring Solden, see www.Soelden.com

 

Lori Knowles

Lori Knowles

 

Lori Knowles is a ski and travel writer/editor based in Toronto, Canada. She is the editor of SNOW Magazine. See past work at LoriKnowles.com or follow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring.

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This week marks the launch of the Winter 2014/15 edition of SNOW Magazine, a sure sign winter is coming. isn’t she a beauty?

SNOW Magazine Winter 2014/15

SNOW Magazine
Winter 2014/15

On stands now, this edition is focused on all that’s warm and sumptuous and luxurious in the winter ski lifestyle. Lech’s lovely Chalet N–a luscious slopeside retreat for celebs–is profiled. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Shribman lends us a peek inside Dartmouth, his alma mater and the world’s only Ivy Ski League. Fashion photographer Daniela Federici has captured the bold colours of 2015 skiwear. Barbara Sanders, SNOW’s publisher, profiles a spa laden with Swarvoski crystals. And I, Lori Knowles, trace the rich history of Idaho’s Sun Valley, where Clarke Gable and Ingrid Bergman and Ernest Hemingway launched the first American Ski Resort, an iconic spot once known as the “American Shangri-la.”

The magazine is on stands now, as well as inside the rooms of the world’s best alpine hotels, in Air Canada lounges, and available for download on Zinio. See www.TheSnowMag.com and @SNOWmagazine for more information.

Once you’ve got it, curl up in front of a warm fire, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy your read. Lech, Park City, the Okanagan, Sun Valley, Courchevel, Aspen… Reading these pages is the next best thing to skiing in one of these fabulous places.

Lori Knowles is Editor-in-Chief of SNOW Magazine @LoriExploring

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SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be demonstrating snow art at the Toronto Snow Show

SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be demonstrating snow art at the Toronto Snow Show

Toronto skiers, it’s time for the Toronto Snow Show.

Here are five reasons why you should go:

1. The Toronto Snow Show (October 17-20) has a new name, a new location, and a new vibe. Once known as the Toronto Ski Show, it’s joined this latest century with a name that encompasses all you can do at a ski resort besides simply skiing–namely, snowboarding, tubing, skating, XC skiing, spa-ing, shopping, eating. All stuff you can do in an environment of snow. The show has moved from Exhibition Place to the International Centre–free parking, and closer to those of you living and skiing outside metro Toronto. And organizers have promised a new vibe–graffiti artists, a rail jam, a snow park. I’m hoping they’ll rev us up for the coming of snow.

Graffiti2. Art and snow are two of my favourite things and this season the Toronto Snow Show promises them both. SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be onsite with six demonstrations throughout the weekend. This guy’s work is pretty cool. I’m keen to see what he creates in the theme of snow. For a schedule of live demonstration times, visit http://tssts.sportshows.ca/skam_grafitti_demonstrations/.

3. There are $10,000 in cash giveaways to pro and amateur skiers and riders competing in the Pro-AM Rail Jam during the show. Admission is free… at least, it’s included in the cost of Snow Show Admission. Plus, new this year is an area in which you can try your own tricks. The Burton Riglet Park is a mini terrain park with features that will help you get the sensation of snowboarding.
4. Two-for-One lift passes are on sale at the Snow Show with the price of admission. Participating Ontario resorts include Blue Mountain, Horseshoe, Mount St. Louis, Brimacomb and Snow Valley.
Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

5. My favourite: browsing. That’s right, browsing. At the Toronto Snow Show you can shop for jackets, pants, equipment, goggles and helmets. You can swap or purchase inexpensive equipment at Canada’s largest ski and snowboard Swap, organized by the Canadian Ski Patrol. And best yet, you can visit ski areas booths from all over Canada, the US and Europe… all to plan your next ski vacation.

For more info on the Toronto Snow Show, see www.TorontoSnowShow.com
Follow my #SnowShow tweets @LoriExploring
Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring
Photos supplied by the Toronto Snow Show.

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Hello, and welcome to SNOW.

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

This is the first edition of SNOW Magazine for the 2014 ski season… and the very first created by our new team:

1) Barbara Sanders, Publisher/Founder

2) Anne-Marie Boissonnault, Creative Director (YQB Media)

3) Laura Doherty, Graphic Designer (YQB Media)

4) & Me… Lori Knowles, Editor.

Inside, there are features on Banff, Lech, the sexy Sachs ski dynasty of St. Moritz, and Tremblant, which is turning a tenacious 75 this ski season. And don’t miss our 007-inspired Fashion Feature: For Your Eyes Only–2014 Ski Fashion is Shaken, Not Stirred!

SNOW Winter 2014 is available on newsstands and Zineo.com. Visit www.TheSnowMag.com for more info, and the latest on life, lifts & luxury.

Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring

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The morning fog is persistent. It hangs over the trees like smoke from a winter bush fire, refusing to lift so that I might catch even a glimpse of the Bavarian alps.

I am making my way south from Munich into the foothills that eventually give way to the mountains of Germany’s most treasured ski destination: Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

It is early here (7 am), even earlier in Toronto, on whose time I seem to be clinging resolutely. But the early morning travel is necessary so I can make today’s main event: the World Championship Women’s GS. Germany’s revered Maria Riesch–a bullet on snow–is the favourite and I anticipate the crowds to be noisy and proud. Brit Janyk is the only Canadian I know to be racing today. I have brought my Canada mittens.

This region of Germany, Bavaria, is one of three in the bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, and the IOC is watching these World Championships closely. More from the front lines soon.

Lori

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Spring skiing for the whole family.

Spring can serve up some of the season’s best — and cheapest — skiing, you’ve just got to know where to look. Here’s a list of some easy-to-reach-at-the-last-minute ski resorts that are both spring- and wallet-friendly:

Whistler, BC: With the close of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games came a ton of new snow for Whistler, BC as well as some deals on ski-and-stay packages… the ski town is keen to keep the Olympic spirit alive. Three-night, two-day packages start at…

For the remainder of the story, including deals from Killington, Vail, Aspen, Le Massif, Mont-Saint-Anne and Tremblant, visit:

http://www.torontosun.com/travel/2010/03/26/13369781-qmi.html

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The antlers-wearing paparazzi woman.

Whistler’s gone weird during the Olympics. Here are 10 weird-o things making our ski town spooky and strange… 

1) There’s a blimp flying over Whistler Village. A plain-clothes blimp (no GOODYEAR sign on this one.) No one knows for sure what it’s doing there — it’s all major hush-hush and high security. I suspect it’s the IOC’s (or the CIA’s or the FBI’s) Big Brother eye-in-the-sky watching. Don’t pick your nose… or worse. The RCMP could be tromping up your doorstep. 

2) Forget French. During the Olympics, German is Whistler’s second language. Hell, German is Whistler’s first language. St. Anton has amalgamated Whistler — which doesn’t work in the end, just ask Greater Torontonians. Who are you, and what have you done with our ski town? 

3) There are no lift lines. No. Lift. Lines. Slip up the Glacier Express, slide down Spanky’s, whip up a little white froth on Jersey Cream, glide across  the Peak2Peak for lunch at Pika’s… all in three minutes. (Ok, I’m exaggerating. Four minutes.) 

4) There are a few too many folks carrying their skis over their shoulders with the tips pointing backwards. First, how do you do that? Second, please, please, please bribe your ski valet at the Four Seasons to carry them for you. You’ll save yourself some strife, you’ll save me some strife, and you’ll look like a rich guy instead of a geek doing it. 

5) Whistler’s in-town bus service during the Games is seriously wonky. From the bus circle at Whistler you have to go to Nesters, White Gold, Function Junction, Whistler Creekside, and up the Benchlands… just to get to the base of Blackcomb. (Yes, you could walk faster, but see No.4 RE: strife caused by ski tips pointing backwards.) 

6) Too many people are wearing red-and-white, alien-looking antlers on top of their heads. Folks, these types of headwear are embarrassing. You must be huge luge fans. 

7) You must have a reservation… to do anything. Dinner at Sushi Village at 3 pm? Need a reservation. Lunch at Subway? Need a reservation. Gotta go pee? Need a reservation. 

8) There is an exception to every rule, and I am now writing one for No.7 (see above.) I SAILED into Citta’s for a beer at 5pm while Bedoin Soundclash was on the outdoor stage at the Village plaza. I waltzed up the stairs, secured a table by the enormous front window and watched the concert warm and dry and with a beer on the table. This NEVER happens on an ordinary day in Whistler, even when a major rock band isn’t playing. 

9) The sun is shining. Ok, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights leading up to the Olympics… so much so that ducks were using the luge run as a waterslide. But the sun is shining now. (Maybe it’s not real sunshine. Maybe the blimp is beaming a massive spotlight all day on Whistler.) 

10) With The Barenaked Ladies, Michael Bublé and Rob Boyd in the crowd, Canadians in Whistler are getting a little high hoping to be caught by ‘The Paparazzi.’ When I asked one woman wearing those darn red-and-white, alien-looking antlers if I could take her picture, she looked at me deadpan and said: “Sure, I haven’t been paparazzied yet today.” 

Like I said, who are you, and what have you done with our Whistler? 

Lori Knowles is covering Whistler and Vancouver from the streets for the Toronto Sun and Ski Press World. 

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Dancing inside Whistler's new cultural centre.

At any given moment it’s rain, sun and snow here in Whistler, BC, during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, but no one inside the local Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) seems to notice. Men, women and children from all parts of the world sit transfixed as Aboriginal peoples dance, sing and tell their stories — vivid, rousing performances that capture the hearts, minds and respect of cheering audiences.

It’s all in a day’s work at this Centre, a new and strikingly beautiful cedar-and-glass structure set amid Whistler’s tall trees, snow and mountains. It has been built as an Olympic legacy to showcase the heritage and culture of Canada’s First Nations.  

The SLCC is an opportunity for Olympic watchers and future ski resort visitors to realize the connection the Lil’wat and Squamish First Nations have to Whistler. Squamish territory is to the south and Lil’wat territory is to the north; the two meet at Whistler, and have peacefully shared the land long before they shared it with skiers.

The museum is a hugely open space filled with the art, clothing, transportation and tools these two nations have used for centuries. There’s a massive hand-carved cedar canoe dug out from a single tree, ceremonial masks, weavings and house poles — tall, carved structures that resemble totems. There’s a traditional Squamish longhouse and a Lil’wat pit house. Gigantic, hand-carved cedar spindles whirl overhead. When they’re not dancing and singing, guides wander about in traditional regalia, banging their drums, greeting visitors and answering questions.

The centre's massive 40-foot dugout canoe dug out from a single cedar.

“We lead a red cedar life,” explains Gerald Paul, a cultural interpreter and member of the Squamish nation, as he shows off a 40-foot canoe dug from a single cedar tree. “The red cedar tree cradles our babies and our elders, we use it for clothing, transportation and shelter. Nothing from it is wasted.”

Paul takes his own deerhide drum down from a nearby wall and proudly explains it was made for him by his grandfather. Paul — an artist — has decorated the drum himself, creating a design that incorporates the human eye. “It is meant to remind us to keep ourselves humble,” he says. “Someone is always watching.”

Whistler is not the only BC community to benefit from Olympic exposure to First Nations communities. “A number of other cultural centres have also opened in the last few years,” says Paula Amos, spokesperson for BC’s Aboriginal Tourism Association. Those centres include the Haida Heritage Centre at Haida Gwaii along BC’s northwest coast, as well as a museum attached to the St. Eugene Resort near Cranbrook, BC.

Amos says dozens of galleries featuring First Nations art have popped up across Vancouver, as well a several tourism projects throughout BC that offer everything from canoe trips to seminars in First Nations art and culture. During the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel has created an Aboriginal village called Kla-how-ya, meaning “welcome from the heart” in Chinook, a traditional trading language among First Nations. The exposition features aboriginal fashions, traditional dancing, cedar bark weaving, birch bark chewing, moose hide tufting, jewelry making, carving and, of course, storytelling.

Vancouver 2010 marks the first time Aboriginal peoples have fully participated in an Olympic Games right from the bidding process. “The experience has rejuvenated our culture,” says Amos. “It’s not just about revitalizing our economy, it’s about having the opportunity to share and celebrate our traditions.” Adds Amos: “British Columbia now leads North America in Aboriginal cultural tourism.”

For more information on Whistler’s Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC), visit www.slcc.com. For more information on British Columbia’s Aboriginal tourism, visit www.aboriginalbc.com.

Lori Knowles is covering the Olympics live from Vancouver and Whistler for the Toronto Sun’s travel section, and blogging daily at www.LoriExploring.Wordpress.com .

This article appeared in the Toronto Sun, Wednesday Feburary 17, 2010.

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Hello from my seat on a very large AC Boeing 777 on my way to Vancouver to cover the Olympics for the Toronto Sun and SkiPressWorld.com.

I’ll endeavour to update this blog daily with neat observations and sightings. I hope you’ll join me. Enjoy the Olympics!

Lori

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They say the Olympic Winter Games, opening in just a few days in Vancouver and Whistler, is the planet’s largest sporting event. The world will be watching — a very good thing for Whistler-Blackcomb, one of Canada’s most captivating ski resorts.

 It has been a long time coming.

 Hosting the Olympics was a dream sparked 50 years ago — before Whistler, the ski resort, even existed — by the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association (GODA). A group of Vancouver guys intent on bringing the Olympics to British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, scouted the peaks north of Squamish, B.C., to establish a ski resort with enough vertical to stage an Olympic downhill. They settled on London Mountain — now Whistler Mountain — built a ski resort, and bid for the 1968 Games. They lost their bid to Grenoble in ’68, then lost four more in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1988. But they didn’t lose their dream. It took 42 years, but the Games are finally on London Mountain.

At the 2010 Games, the Men’s Downhill event — the race most skiers consider the highlight of a Winter Olympics — will rocket down the Dave Murray Downhill. As you’ll see on television during the Games, it’s a course that snakes dangerously down Whistler Creekside on a run named after Dave Murray, an original member of alpine skiing’s Crazy Canucks. Murray, a longtime Whistlerite, lost his life to cancer in 1990; his daughter, Julia Murray, is a 2010 Canadian medal hope in the new women’s Ski Cross event.

 The Dave Murray course is revered among elite racers; it has hosted more than 10 World Cup events since 1975, including the World Cup downhill Whistler-raised Rob Boyd won in 1989. Boyd returns to Whistler in 2010 as a coach for the women’s Canadian ski team. The women — along with all Paralympic alpine skiers — will be racing on a newly designed set of courses that track down Whistler runs: Wildcard, Jimmy’s Joker and Franz’s Trail.

 Both the men’s and women’s alpine ski races finish at Creekside Village, a satellite base containing a few restaurants and loads of condos, which is located about four kilometres south of Whistler’s main village and gondola.

 Whistler-Blackcomb’s total terrain tops out at a massive 8,717 acres. While officials are claiming 90 per cent of it will be open for public skiing for the Games, skiers won’t be able to access runs surrounding the Dave Murray Downhill or Franz’s. The terrain won’t reopen until March 28, following the close of the Paralympic alpine events.

 Back in Whistler’s main village, an amphitheatre has been newly built to showcase the medal ceremonies for the events taking place at Whistler —alpine skiing’s downhill, giant slalom, slalom and super-G , plus bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events that take place at the Whistler Sliding Centre. The Whistler Medals Plaza has enough tiered seating for 5,000 spectators watching medal ceremonies and Whistler’s nightly concerts between February 13 and 27. The Whistler Live concerts include performances by Feist, Our Lady Peace, Usher, The Fray, and the All American Rejects.

 Much of this will be easily spotted during the Games on TV. If you’re watching — or lucky enough to be there skiing — also check out Whistler’s new Peak 2 Peak, a gondola that spans the 4.4-kilometre distance between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It’s the gondola with the world’s longest unsupported span (3.024 kilometres between two towers), plus it’s the world’s highest lift of its kind at 436 metres above the Fitzsimmons Creek valley floor… a fitting spectacle for the world’s biggest snow sporting spectacle.

 Lori Knowles will be covering the Olympics live from Vancouver and Whistler for the Toronto Sun’s travel section, and blogging at www.LoriExploring.Wordpress.com . This column originally appeared in the travel section of  The Toronto Sun, Sunday January 31, 2010.

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