Update on the FIS alpine meetings in Portoroz
To conclude a week packed with fruitful meetings, the Alpine Committee gathered all his members on Friday afternoon and the different alpine sub committees and working group presented their proposals and summarised their discussions.
Following the trend set by chairman Bernhard Russi, the alpine skiing world is going through an “evolution, but not a revolution”, adjusting several rules and regulations to make the sport more attractive, but without losing the strength of its discipline.
From a regulations’ perspective, only few major changes have been brought to the different rule books. Besides adjustments of the Course Setting, Basic quota, Online Entries, Team and Service Personal Accommodation rules on the World Cup level, the most important change is probably the one of the starting order for downhill trainings. The weak point of the new speed starting order was that the athlete ranked 10 in the WCSL-DH always had to start first in the training runs, being kind of a test pilot for the others. To avoid this situation, the athletes ranked 1 to 10 WCSL will now be drawn between bibs 1 to 19 (uneven numbers) for the training runs, instead of having the chose their bibs. The rule remains the same as last season for the competition days.
An important discussion about the reduction of the statring field was brought to the Sub Committee for Alpine World Cup, and will probably go on for the next months as no agreement could be found.
Also in regard to parallel events, the wish came up to merge and standardise the different sets of parallel event formats (currently Team Event, City Event and Parallel Races), to facilitate the understanding for spectators and push this disciplines forward.
The Continental Cups are in a good shape and were able to organise a total of 231 races in the last season. The topic of live coverage of those events has been raised, with some successful examples such as Val d’Isère, Kronplatz, Innichen/San Candido, Meribel, Obereggen and Pozza di Fassa, who offered a live coverage on the web and delayed on public TV for the Italian resorts. Kitzbuehel could even collaborate with ORF to offer its first European Cup downhill live on the public TV channel. Another positive trend is that more and more World Cup venues accept to also organise Continental Cup races, which is especially important in the speed disciplines to better prepare the young athletes for the World Cups. Wengen and Lake Louise have been doing this for years, Kitzbuehel jumped in last season and will organise a downhill every second year, and now Kvitfjell accepted to join this program.
As almost every year, the most expected topic is the presentation of the World Cup calendars. In alpine, the highlight of the upcoming season will be the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, between 9th and 25th of February. But also the regular World Cup calendar has some new interesting additions:
- On 1st of January, Oslo will hold a City Event for the best 12 ladies’ and men. The Norwegian capital town took over the event from München (GER), where the event couldn’t be scheduled in the past two seasons.
- A parallel slalom – with a specific qualification run in the morning - is planned in Courchevel, in addition to the traditional Giant Slalom.
- After a successful World Cup premiere last season, Kronplatz is in the calendar again for 2017/18, with a Giant Slalom just before heading to Cortina d’Ampezzo.
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen will organise a two run downhill for the ladies instead of a super-g. The traditional downhill stays on the program as well.
- The men’s Tour is building on his classical sites and will include the famous Stelvio downhill again next season, as the traditional Christmas races will be held in Bormio again.
- One year before its World Championships, Are (SWE) will host the World Cup Finals in March.
Looking ahead, Lenzerheide and Bansko have been presented as the candidates for the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals 2019, while the Courchevel-Meribel and Saalbach-Hinterglemm had their first information meeting as the official appliants for the FIS World Ski Championships 2023.
The next meeting of the different Alpine Committees will take place at the FIS Autumn Meetings in Zurich in October.