Hot Sheet: Olympic victor, Vail retail play, ski train trial & more

The Fourth of July has come and gone, but there's still plenty of hot news in the world of WinterSports, including South Korea's Olympic win, Vail's new e-commerce property, Denver's ski train standoff and much more.
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Pyeongchang South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics, marking the first time an Asian country outside of Japan (which hosted the Winter Games in Sapporo in 1972, and in Nagano in 1998) has ever hosted the Winter Olympics. The decision was announced at an executive meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Durban, South Africa on July 5, 2011. Pyeongchang had also bid for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, which were awarded to Vancouver, British Columbia, and then Sochi, Russia. In finally gaining the Games, the city beat out Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France. Pyeongchang garnered 63 votes in the first vote for who would host the Winter Olympics, compared to 25 votes for Munich and seven votes for Annecy.

Vail’s SSV subsidiary acquires Outdoor Outlet

Specialty Sports Venture (SSV), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc., has acquired the assets of Outdoor Outlet, LLC, a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates O2GearShop.com www.o2gearshop.com/catalog/, an online retailer of outdoor/snowsports goods and equipment with more than 2 million total visits last year.

“The addition of O2GearShop.com is a significant opportunity that will allow SSV to now offer an online shopping experience to its broad customer base,” said Jeff Jones, co-president and chief financial officer of Vail Resorts. “This acquisition is a perfect complement for Specialty Sports Venture which will be able to leverage its strong vendor relationships and its wide exposure to the snowsports consumer through its more than 150 stores in five states and the broad connections that Vail Resorts has through all of its online and digital media channels.” SSV plans a series of enhancements to the O2GearShop.com site leading up to the start of the 2011-2012 ski and snowboard season. 

Jury awards $1.1 million in damages in ski train dispute

A federal jury awarded $1.1 million in damages to Iowa Pacific Holdings, which claimed that Amtrak had derailed its plans to revive the ski train from Denver to Winter Park. The ruling, issued on July 7, found that Amtrak had breached an oral contract with the company, by raising the amount of insurance coverage Iowa Pacific needed to run the train only weeks before service was to start. There was no word at press time as to if the company would try again this season to revive the service.

Mount Abram plans to open for winter season

Mount Abram Family Ski Resort General Manager told the Associated Press that despite the fire that scorched the area’s base lodge on July 6, the mountain will open on time for the upcoming winter season. Rosenberg told the AP that although the fire did not spread beyond the west wing of the lodge, the entire building was damaged by smoke and water. He did not know if the building can be repaired, or if it will have to be completely replaced.

RIP Jim Gill

The Summit Daily News is reporting that longtime ski area manager Jim Gill died on July 1, following complications from non-invasive cancer surgery. Gill, who was 66, lived in Breckenridge for about 20 years, working on the mountain as a ski patroller, lift supervisor and eventually as the manager of Peak 9 at Breckenridge Ski Resort. He also founded the Summit Foundation in Colorado, and managed Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Gill retired to Colorado Springs, Colo., where a memorial service was held for him on July 6.

Subaru freeski tour gains new stop in South America

Following its upcoming first stop in Las Lenas, Argentina on Aug. 9-12, 2011, the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour will head west across the Andes to Valle Nevado, Chile on Aug. 18-21 for The North Face Chilean Freeskiing Championships, stop two of the 15th season. Big mountain freeskiing's finest, including 2011 overall tour winners Drew Tabke and Angel Collinson, Chopo Diaz, Jess McMillan, and past tour champion Guerlain Chicherit, will compete on a rarely skied, out-of-bounds section of Valle Nevado’s Tambo venue in a two-day competition.

William and Kate wow Lake Louise

England’s Prince William and his bride Kate Middleton are wowing Canada on a cross-country tour. They arrived on July 7 at the Lake Louise ski resort after spending the previous night at the remote Skoki Lodge. According to reports from the Calgary Herald, visitors who had been taking chairlift rides to view grizzly bear habitat instead ended up snapping photos of the royal pair. 

--Peter Kray




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