Conquering Mongolia’s West on Touring Skis

Azerbaijan-smUnpublished / April 2015
'Mongolia'

Andreas came to a halt on the gravel landing strip of Gobi-Altai, 1100km west of Ulaanbaatar, When our Fokker 50 turboprop I had the distinct feeling of having landed in the exact middle of nowhere. Our team of two drivers, a pathfinder and a cook, who met us at the airport looked like the cartoon version of a crime gang: the tiny guy wore a gray chequered trilby hat which he never took off, the tall guy had a leather jacket and safety boots, the podgy guy was wearing a tracksuit, a baseball cap and plastic sandals, and the guy with the black riding boots, the felt beret of indefinable colour and the de- meanour of a people’s commissar was robed...Read more

 
Welcome to Europe's newest skiing nation...

Azerbaijan-smSki+board Febrary / March 2015
'Azerbaijan'

AZERBAIJAN IS BUILDING TWO NEW SKI RESORTS WHERE EVERYTHING SPARKLES, BUT WILL THE FORMER SOVIET REPUBLIC ATTRACT VISITORS? ANDREAS HOFER REPORTS The last time I was in Baku, Soviet tanks were positioned at crossroads in Azerbaijan’s capital, enforcing a strict curfew. The USSR was in its death throes, with nationalism fast supplanting Communist ideals of brotherhood and internationalism. A dispute over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh was building to an all-out war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, with terrible consequences for ethnic Azeris and Armenians who found themselves  ...Read more

 
Where have all the skiers gone?

piedmont-smSki+board January 2015
'Italy - Piedmont'

LARGE SWATHES OF THE ALPS IN PIEDMONT, WHICH RECENTLY FORCED BRITISH TRAVEL FIRMS TO WITHDRAW THEIR POPULAR HOSTING SERVICE, HAVE NO PISTES, NO LIFTS, NO APRÈS, NO FUN. BUT THEY ARE WILD. The ski instructors’ association of the Italian region of Piedmont has threatened to take British tour operators to court unless they cease their ski hosting programmes, and Crystal, Inghams and Neilson have responded by withdrawing this popular, free service for guests. The move has led some British skiers to ask  ...Read more

 
Civil war? What civil war? The misplaced optimism of Ukraine

Ukraine02smSki+board November 2014
'Ukraine'

Remarkable as it may seem, the last contender to drop its 2022 bid before the shortlist was announced was Ukraine. But we should not applaud this pluckiness, warns Andreas Hofer. ...Read more

 
Of all the former communist bidders, Slovakia was the best

SlovakiasmSki+board November 2014
'Slovakia'

The joint bid between the Polish city of Krakow and well-established resorts in the Tatras range puts the environmental and financial hubris of others to shame, writes Andreas Hofer. ...Read more

 
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