FrontRunners: Snow Business

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The Jiva Hill Park Hotel (www.jivahill.com) in France has begun offering easy access to some of the finest ski areas in the Alps. The hotel, located on the Swiss border near Mont Blanc, has created a package that includes helicopter trips to Courchevel, Megève, Méribel, and other ski resorts in the region. The $22,000, two-night visit includes two round-trips to a resort, ski passes, private ski instruction, and sports massages. . . . Sterling Skis, a Colorado company, recently introduced equipment appropriately named (and fashioned) for the Alps. The $3,000-a-pair Matterhorn skis (www.sterlingskis.com) are made with nano-carbon bases—the kind that are used for racing—reinforced with an aluminum/titanium alloy and topped with bird’s-eye maple, madrona burl, or palisander santos (a type of rosewood). Sterling plans to make no more than 150 pairs this season. . . . Negotiating a mogul is exciting enough, but you might experience an even more intense (albeit virtual) thrill in VRX Industries’ $25,000 VRX Mach 4 racecar simulator (www.virtualracerx.com). Ensconced in a Sparco Monza racing seat, you face three LCDs that together provide a 180-degree view of the track ahead. A screen disguised as a rearview mirror presents an image of the track behind. Surround-sound technology, a virtual wind system, and a 1,000-watt transducer beneath the seat (which VRX techs affectionately call the "butt kicker" rel="nofollow" ) reinforce the realism.

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Photo by DJ Strunz
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