The stage is set for the alpine World Cup 2018/19
Last week, the FIS technical committees met in Zürich to finalize the preparations for the upcoming winter 2018/19 and discuss the future of the Alpine World Cup. Besides the highlight of the season, World Championships in Åre Sweden, the start field reduction and parallel rules harmonization were the most anticipated subjects.
The meeting week kicked off with both the ladies’ and men’s Coaches Working Groups. Together with the head coaches of each nation and with most World Cup organizers, the FIS staff went through the operational aspects of the upcoming seasons. From travel plans, arrival and departure dates, official free skiing on the hill, equipment specifications, course setters, all the way to live data collection and TV graphics, the World Cup family got organized to spend a smooth winter.
In the World Cup meeting held on Friday 28th September 2018, the discussions were more strategic and tried to offer the best possible framework for the World Cup to grow. Even though the TV figures presented are not alarming, it was agreed that steps need to be taken to improve the World Cup product.
One improvement relies on the reduction of the start field. At the last meetings in spring, the big nations made a step in that direction by accepting to cut into their quota to have a maximum of seven athletes per nation. Everyone needs to join the movement for the benefit of sport and further steps need to be made to ensure that the World Cup remains the highest league in alpine skiing. The aim is to better showcase the big stars of our sport on TV. An unofficial proposal was made by the Chairman Niklas Carlsson, that would progressively reduce the quota to the Top 30 nations. No final decision has been made, but all the committee member have been invited to discuss this in winter and come up with concrete proposal at the spring meetings in Dubrovnik.
The other main topic at this years’ fall meeting was the harmonization of the parallel rule. In spring, the FIS Council accepted to include the individual parallel as a discipline at the World Championships from Cortina 2021 on. So it became urgent to harmonize the different formats and to establish the parallel as a discipline on the World Cup Tour. In that sense, a working group has been created to analyse the different options and make a harmonization proposal that could be implemented on all FIS levels in the winter 2019/20.
With those meetings, the frame has been set for another great World Cup season. In less than 30 days, the best giant slalom athletes of the world will meet in Sölden to start the winter 2018/19, that will lead them to the World Championships in Åre (SWE) and all the way to the World Cup Finals in Soldeu (AND).