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Snowboarders practicing on the halfpipe at the 2016 U.S. Open on Wednesday after events at Colorado’s Vail Ski Resort were canceled because of the weather. Credit Tristan Spinski for The New York Times

As the Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov twisted, flipped and spun above the halfpipe at X Games Oslo last week on his way to a silver medal, the bottom of his board — one of the more valuable pieces of advertising real estate in the sport — displayed no corporate logo. Instead, it was adorned with an artistic design he had created for a college class assignment.

The reason for the triumph of art over commerce: Podladtchikov, 27, the 2014 Olympic halfpipe champion, no longer has a board sponsor.

Snowboarding — which scarcely existed 30 years ago and took over ski resorts around the world seemingly overnight, adding 5 million participants in two decades — has tumbled to earth recently. As the sport has been abandoned by participants and advertisers, equipment sales and sponsorship opportunities for athletes have dipped below their peak numbers of five years ago.

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There is something about a secluded Olympic Games in a relatively small mountain town that sounds especially delightful in today’s bigger-must-be-better sports world.

The Winter Olympics always sneak up on us, coming so soon after the previous Summer Games. And so it is with the 2018 Olympics, which are now exactly one year away, being held in and around Pyeongchang, the smallest city (including the surrounding environs) to host an Olympic Games, summer or winter, since the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

It takes three hours to get there by bus from Seoul’s Kimpo airport. A high-speed train, still under construction, will reduce that trip by more than an hour. From Seoul itself, the train to Pyeongchang will take just over an hour.

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Photo from Steve Hulbert.

The horrors of I70 traffic don’t go unnoticed by the skiers and snowboarders of Denver, Colorado. The freeway’s ridiculous congestion is a major headache for residents along the corridor, travelers, and any human being that enjoys breathing clean air.

From 1940 to 2009, skiers and residents alike had ridden the iconic Winter Park train from Denver to Winter Park. Although the train has been long out of commission, Winter Park recognized that the railroad tracks still existed and were perfectly viable. Why not use them again? And so, with a great deal of time and effort Winter Park temporarily resurrected the Winter Park Train during the 2015 season. It was nothing short of an immense success.

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There are lots of great ski vacation destinations, but few – if any – can rival the stunning views and scenery of Banff National Park. This is Lake Louise, Canada’s third largest ski resort. Photo: Reuben Krabbe

Canada has always offered excellent skiing that vies with the best of the U.S. for quality. But Canada is a better value, and this winter it is a better value than it has been in years, with the Canadian dollar at recent lows. Prices were already considerably lower than equivalent domestic ski destinations, but the favorable exchange rate makes this stellar trip about half the price of an equivalent spot in the Rockies. And the skiing is awesome.

Western Canada has lots of great ski resorts, the most famous of which is Whistler/Blackcomb, and the buzziest are recently hot undiscovered spots like Kicking Horse and Red Mountain, all in British Columbia. So why Alberta? I’ve skied both provinces repeatedly, and have been to both in summer as well, and they are both great destinations, but here’s short list of excellent reasons to head to Banff:

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Hundreds of items donated in a bid to provide warmth for the homeless on the streets of Manchester over the winter months

Nearly twice as many people are sleeping on the streets of Manchester as last year, health with 70 recorded in one night in December, help compared with 43 on the same evening in 2014

A Muslim charity has collected more than 700 coats and 400 other items of winter clothing in a bid to provide warmth for the homeless on the streets of Manchester during the winter months.

Human Appeal, thumb a British international development and relief charity, launched a campaign in October called Wrap Up Manchester, calling on members of the public to donate their unwanted winter clothing to people in need.

In partnership with Hands On London, an organisation that has run a similar campaign in the capital over the past six years, Human Appeal organised nine collection locations across Greater Manchester, donated by Safestore Self Storages, where people could drop off their coats and other items.

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