Quick Hits: Southern hemisphere ski season underway

The 2017 ski season has started in the southern hemisphere. The first scheduled opening date was 1st June when Afriski in Lesotho plans to open, but as in 2016, there have been big snowfalls in South America allowing El Colorado ski area in Chile to open nearly a month early.  A second Chillean ski area, Valle Nevado, says it will also open early.

Ski areas in Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America have all reported big pre-season snowfalls with ski areas in New Zealand reporting the latest large accumulations of up to 80cm.

At least three ski areas in Australia and New Zealand aren’t taking any chances and have invested in special snow making machines for this winter that can make snow within large internal chambers then spread it on the slopes even when temperatures are in double figures above freezing.

Thus Mt. Ruapehu in New Zealand expects to be the first in the country to open for the season, for what’s believed to be the first time ever on 3rd June.  Ski areas in Australia meanwhile hope to guarantee snow on their traditional opening date, the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend from 10th-12th June this year, when ski areas often open with no snow.

Q&A with FIS Ski Jumping Race Director Chika Yoshida

At the FIS Calendar Conference in Portoroz (SLO), important steps for the future of ladies' Ski Jumping were taken. FIS took the opportunity to speak to Chika Yoshida, the FIS Race Director for ladies Ski Jumping.

Read the interview here.

Dan Barnett named to USSA Chief Commercial Officer post

The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association has named Dan Barnett as its Chief Commercial Officer. Barnett is an innovative and strategic-focused sports business leader with a wide range of global marketing and commercial experience.

He is taking on a new position within USSA designed to drive the organisation’s commercial and marketing efforts and provide strategic vision for continued growth of its brand.

"We have an opportunity at U.S. Ski & Snowboard to dramatically enhance our brand and the revenue needed to drive our athletic programmes," said President and CEO Tiger Shaw. "Dan Barnett brings a fascinating array of global experience in brand development, commercial sales and both broadcast and digital media. It's timely for him to join our team and help raise the profile of our organisation."

Barnett is presently serving as Chief Commercial Officer of the America’s Cup Event Authority and ORACLE TEAM USA, where he has been responsible for raising the profile and commercial value of the America’s Cup.

He also served in a leadership role for the 2013 America's Cup events in San Francisco. Prior to that he served as a commercial and marketing lawyer for the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in Switzerland.