Showing posts with label Olympics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olympics. Show all posts

China Reveals Plans to Build Hotel, Restaurants at Everest Base Camp

Anyone who follows the mountaineering scene on Everest with any regularity already knows that it has become quite a commercial affair. But, China has decided to take that level of commercialization even further by revealing plans to build hotels, restaurants, and a climbing training center on the Tibetan side of the mountain.

On the Nepali side of the mountain, visiting Everest Base Camp is big business. Each year, thousands of travelers make the trek to EBC just to get a glimpse of the mountain. That isn't the case on the Chinese side of the mountain however, although officials there are hoping to change that. Earlier this year a paved highway running to the Tibetan camp opened, making it easier than ever to reach that point. But, that highway has also cleared the way for other businesses to begin setting up shop as well.

The plans for this project include building a training facility for mountaineers hoping to climb the mountain, as well as creating a base for a search and rescue team as well. Both of those operations would be a great addition to either side of the mountain. But, the ambitious long-term goals for the project also include expanding the site with hotels, restaurants, shops, and even a museum.

Chinese officials see this as a way to increase economic growth in Tibet and expand tourism operations there. While altitude is still a concern for anyone wanting to visit Everest Base Camp, on the Tibetan side of the mountain you can avoid a week long hike and go by car instead. The problem is, at the moment there isn't much to see there. If this project comes to fruition, that would change and allow many more visitors to visit the region.

The idea of commercializing the Tibetan side of the mountain is also part of an even bigger plan to raise interest in snow sports ahead of the 2022 Olympics games to be held in Beijing once again. The hope is to change perceptions about the activities that are available within the country and get visitors to realize there are opportunities to potentially ski, snowboard, and snowshoe while visiting China, and Tibet in particular.

There is no announced timeline for when this project will move forward, but it does appear that construction could begin as early as next year. If that is the case, it is possible that we could see a working hotel near the mountain within the next few years.

Video: Paragliding Over Rio de Janeiro

With the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in full swing the eyes of the world of turned towards Rio. If you've been watching the events unfold in Brazil, you've no doubt seen some beautiful shots of the surrounding landscapes along the way. But in this video we join paragliders Nader Couri and Joe da Silva as they soar high above the city and Conrado Beach, giving us an adrenaline filled look at the surroundings. We haven't seen Rio from this vantage point just yet.

Olympics Add Adventure Sports for 2020

As the 2016 Olympic Games continue to unfold in Rio, there was big news about the 2020 games this week – at least for the outdoor community. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had officially announced that climbing, surfing, and skateboarding will all be a part of the next Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo, Japan.

For some, the announcement came as good news, with professional climbers, surfers, and skateboarders applauding the decision. Others have shrugged it off as a non-event, saying that the Olympics are far from the venue that they want to use to promote their sports. Alex Honnold, for instance, told Reuters hat he probably wouldn't even be able to qualify, as "Competitive climbing is basically a whole different sub-sport.” He went on to add that he'll probably be on a solo expedition somewhere instead.

The surfing community has expressed a similar sentiment as outlined in this story from Outside magazine. Surf legend Kelly Slater says he'd love to compete, while others have not been so quick to embrace the Olympic spirit. Owen Wright eloquently summed up his feelings on the matter by saying “Fuck the Olympics.”

Either way, these sports will be a part of the games in four years, and it should be interesting to see how they play with a larger, more mainstream audience. I don't expect to see climbing televised, but both surfing and skateboarding will hold an appeal for sure. Whether or not viewers embrace these additions remains to be seen, but at least they are getting some recognition, even if the best athletes in each sport may not actually be there to take part.

As for the current Rio games, it has been a bit of a mixed bag for me so far. On the one hand, it is always great to see these world-class athletes competing on such a big stage. But on the other hand, the amount of trouble that has been taking place in and around the Olympic venues is a bit disturbing. Athletes getting robbed, dignitaries held up at gun point, violence in the streets. Not a lot of those stories are making it to the mainstream press, but they are happening on a regular basis. If you haven't seen the current episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumble on HBO yet, I would urge you to do so. It'll give you an entirely new perspective on the games, the IOC, and the process of determining where the Olympics are held every four years.

Lets hope things go better in Tokyo.

Outside Predicts the Trends of 2016

We sill have a couple more weeks to go before we drop the curtain on another year, but it is never too early to start looking ahead to 2016. With that in mind, Outside magazine has published an interesting article, in which the editors look into their crystal ball and make some bold predictions on the trends that will leave their mark next year.
Some of these predictions are fairly easy to make. For instance, Outside says Cuba will live up to the hype amongst travelers, and fitness trackers will continue to grow in popularity. Other items on the list are bit more of a stretch. I'm not sure that anyone will be able to run a marathon from their living room for example, and while bike-packing is on the rise, it won't supplant backpacking just yet. Outside also says that 2016 will be the year that private space travel finally comes into its own, but considering how long such a thing has been promised, I'll believe it when I see it.

Still, it is fun to take a peek over the horizon and think about the people, places, and things we'll be watching closely next year. The Olympics will take place in Rio, which will bring us a host of new athletes to admire, and there has definitely been a trend towards outdoor adventure showing up in popular media – including movies, books, and even virtual reality. All of those options will give us something to keep us occupied when we're not pursuing adventures of our own.

I won't go out on a limb and make too many predictions. I'll leave that to the experts at Outside. But I will say that I expect things to finally get back to normal on Everest after two seasons of disruptions. I also expect that there will be some bold new adventures to report on, many coming from sources we don't even know about yet, and I'm sure we'll see even better gear and equipment to get us through our personal explorations of the world around us. In short, 2016 will be like most other years. Lets all embrace it and make the most of it.