Wintersports Roundup: Whistler IPO, RIP Georges Salomon and SIA Air

As North America readies for winter, some big headlines are blowing in ahead of the snow, including rumors of a public offering for Whistler, and the death of a ski industry legend.
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Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper is reporting that Fortress Investment Group LLC is considering offering public shares in its Whistler Blackcomb ski resort. The newspaper said that in light of the British Columbian super resort’s recent Winter Olympics coup, the company has hired bankers to explore the viability of an IPO. Fortress bought Whistler’s parent company, Intrawest, in 2006 for $2.8 billion, and has reportedly been shopping Whistler and other resort holdings in the past year. The company sold Copper Mountain in Colorado in November 2009 to Utah-based Powdr Corp.

RIP Georges Salomon

Georges Salomon, one of the all-time great ski equipment manufacturers, died in Annecy, France, this week at the age of 85. Salomon was a pioneer in ski bindings, then ski boots and finally in cap ski technology. He began by manufacturing saw blades in 1947, and by the 1950s was applying what he had learned to making edges for skis. In the 1960s, Salomon developed the first heel release binding. By the 1970s, Salomon was the leading manufacturer of ski bindings in the world. The company next leapt into skis with its ultra-lightweight cap manufacturing technique, setting the stage for a string of iconic skis, including the Force 9, X-Scream, 1080 and Pocket Rocket. His funeral will take place in Annecy on Friday.

Sprint Plans Big Air Lift for Denver Snow Show

Denver Big Air presented by Sprint, a two-day international ski and snowboarding event, will kick off the huge SnowSports Industries America Snow Show. The event opens with the Nature Valley Big Air Challenge, a skiing big air event on Jan. 25, 2011, featuring some of the best male skiers in the country. On day two, Jan. 26, action will feature the International Ski Federation's (FIS) LG FIS World Cup Snowboard Big Air, a sanctioned event on the established global snowboarding circuit with an international roster of the top male snowboarders from around the world. The event will be broadcast nationally on NBC and Versus.

-- Peter Kray

On Oct. 6, veteran journalist Peter Kray joined the SNEWS’ team in preparation for the launch of a new Wintersports channel in SNEWS. We anticipate this new subscriber channel to go live on our website in early November 2010. Until then, SNEWS Outdoor subscribers will be able to read wintersports headlines with Kray’s byline as part of their regular outdoor news. We trust you will enjoy, and it will get you hungry for more when the full Wintersports Channel launches in November. Send your wintersports news to Kray @ pkray@snewsnet.com

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