swissinfo.ch reports that Google Street View is moving onto the European ski pistes, with Zermatt chosen as the first European outing for its special snowmobile.
Apparently over 30,000 winter sport enthusiasts took part in a competition launched jointly with Switzerland Tourism at the beginning of February, to select which Swiss resort should be featured.
Google first included the Canadian resort of Whistler Mountain alongside the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Lots going on around the Swiss Alps in January with the Lauberhorn and Inferno races being the highlights. Various balloon festivals take place too, and many vintage cars will be wending their way between Davos, St Moritz and Lenzerheide. Some more colourful images will no doubt be on hand at Arosa‘s Gay Ski Week.
2-8 January 8, O’Neill Evolution, Davos (www.davosklosters.ch)
7-8 January FIS World Cup Racing Downhill & Super G – Adelboden (Fis-Ski.com)
7-9 January Engadin Wintergolf, Silvaplana (www.engadin.stmoritz.ch/silvaplana)
7-9 January Ice Climbing Festival, Kandersteg (www.kandersteg.ch)
8 January Swiss Snow Walk & Run, Arosa (http://www.swisssnowwalking.ch/arosa/sites/)
8-9 January Downhill SnowBike Race/Skwal Cup, Morgins (www.morgins.ch)
8-15 January Burton European Open – Laax (opensnowboarding.com)
8-15 January Arosa Gay Skiweek (www.arosa-gayskiweek.com)
8-12 January La Grande Odyssée, sledge dog race – Champéry (www.grandeodyssee.com)
9 January Rivella Family Contest, Hoch-Ybrigg (/www.familycontest.ch)
9 January Balloon Fiesta 11, Sattel – Hochstuckli (www.sattel-hochstuckli.ch/)
9-15 January Belalp Witch Ski Race, www.belalphexe.ch
13-15 January WinterRAID, Oldtimer Winter Rally, Graubünden (www.raid.ch)
13-16 January 20th Horu Trophy Curling Tournament, Zermatt (www.cczermatt.ch)
14 January cross country by floodlight, Engelberg, http://www.nsv-ski.ch/
14-15 January 11. int. Eisspeedway Flims, www.sportzentrum-flims.ch
14-16 January FIS World Cup Racing – The Lauberhorn – Wengen (Lauberhorn.ch)
14-22 January Ice Climbing World Championships – Saas Fee, www.saas-fee.ch
15 January Morgins Yannick Ecoeur Trophy, Morgins, www.morgins.ch
15 January Ladies First Challenge, Leysin (www.ladiesfirstchallenge.ch)
15-16 January International Hot-Air Balloon Meet, Crans – Montana (www.crans-montana.ch)
15-16 January Sledge dog race, Splügen (www.viamala.ch)
15-17 January The BCV 24 Hours of Villars, Villars-sur-Ollon (www.bcv24hvillars.com)
16 January Horse Races on Snow, Arosa (www.arosa.ch)
16-23 January St. Moritz Concours Hippique horse show, St. Moritz (www.stmoritz-concours.ch)
17-22 January World Snow Festival, international snow sculpture contest, Grindelwald (www.grindelwald.com)
19-22 January The Inferno Race – Mürren (Inferno-muerren.ch)
20-23 January Berenberg Snow-Polo, Klosters (www.klosterspolo.com)
22 January Snowgames Europacup Skicross, Zweisimmen (www.snowgames.ch)
22-23 January Mauler Cup Paragliding, Zinal (www.zinal.ch)
22-23 January International sledge dog race, Kandersteg (www.kandersteg.ch)
22-30 January 33rd Hot-Air Ballooning Week, Château-d’Oex (www.festivaldeballons.ch)
24-30 January Bob- und Skeleton World Cup, Engadin St. Moritz (www.olympia-bobrun.ch)
27-30 January Polo World Cup on Snow, St. Moritz (www.polostmoritz.com)
29 January Freeride World Tour – St Moritz
More events are listed at MySwitzerland
Well, in truth the season never went away, with glacier skiing in Zermatt throughout the summer and only the shortest of breaks at Saas-Fee. The Engadin, Engelberg, Davos/Klosters, Flims/Laax and a handful of other higher resorts have been opening their lifts for limited piste and some good early-season off-piste, but everything has changed. The huge dumps and cold spell have opened up a vast amount of terrain, even if the pistes are not all open. Flumserberg opened on 1st December and is now open daily, and the 4th December is the official opening day for a host of resorts, including Lenzerheide, the Jungfrau and the Aletsch Arena. Many lifts will only be operating at the weekends before Christmas, but this is not only in the Alpine resorts – many of the Jura resorts are also taking advantage of the excellent snow conditions to open early. Langenbruck in Baselland, for instance, is open on 4th December from 1p until 4.30pm and on Sunday 5th December from 10am until 4.30pm, and the snow is reported as good to fair and between 20 and 30cm deep.
SwissInfo reports that the foundation stone has been laid for the huge Andermatt Swiss Alps project, to include hotels, apartments, a sports complex, a conference centre and an 18-hole golf course. The Egyptian billionaire, Samih Sawiris, laid the foundation stone of the project’s centrepiece, its five-star hotel, The Chedi, on 31st August 2010
When finished in 2013, the billion-dollar resort will be the largest of its kind in the Alps, a traffic-free, Co2-neutral development with six hotels, about 20 villas and 490 apartments plus commercial property.
The resort replaces the old military barracks in Andermatt, and hopefully won’t lead to throngs of millionaires queuing to freeride off the Gemsstock.