Chat with the FIS Race Directors: Walter Hofer

13 November 2013 18:22
FIS Ski Jumping Race Director Walter Hofer provides his insights on the new season
FIS Ski Jumping Race Director Walter Hofer provides his insights on the new season -
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A few weeks before the opening of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup season 2013/14 presented by Viessmann, FIS interviewed Race Director Walter Hofer about the upcoming winter.

There's an exciting winter 2013/14 ahead for the ski jumpers. What will be new in the upcoming winter and what can the fans especially look forward to? 

We haven’t made any major changes with regard to rules, equipment and formats in order to give the athletes the chance to focus on their own preparations for Sochi. According to the results of the summer events, we expect some more nations stepping up to the top level. WTo get the season underway we are also looking forward to a Season Opening in Germany’s Klingenthal for the first time ever, and many more highlights throughout the winter season.

After the premium event, the Four-Hills-Tournament, we are directly continuing to the first Ski Flying event at Kulm (AUT). After the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi (RUS), the “2015 pre-championships” in Falun (SWE) will take place as well as the FIS Ski Flying World Ski Championships in Harrachov (CZE).

A new Organiser this season will be Nizhny Tagil (RUS) in the ladies’ series. In addition, Planica (SLO) will be hosting the joint finals for men and ladies on the completely renewed facility.

This season's highlight will be the Olympic Winter Games. You must be very excited, just like the athletes, or will this just be a competition like the others for you?

In principle, the competitions are conducted according to the FIS World Cup rules. However, the importance of the event, as part of a huge organisation with great public interest makes the difference, especially for the athletes and coaches. … and of course, it is a great honour for all officials who are nominated by FIS to fulfil their obligations on behalf of the IOC.

There was less than a two-month break between the final competitions of the FIS Grand Prix 2013 and the opener of the World Cup 2013. Is this enough time for the athletes and FIS to implement changes for the upcoming season?

Actually, the summer series is our main opportunity and period of time to test all rule changes (if there are any). In addition, athletes and coaches can assess their preparations. The time in between the two series is more to inspect the competition sites in order to give all involved parties the opportunity to coordinate these high profile events.

This season, there is another premiere: Klingenthal, the final location of the FIS Grand Prix 2013 will also be the first location of the World Cup 2013/14. What was the reason for this decision? 

It was a pragmatic decision. The Grand Prix event was set in stone long before the idea of the season opening in Klingenthal was born. The FIS Ski Jumping Committee was searching for an Organiser able to attract - among other aspects - a large number of spectators which provides the perfect setting for a real season opening at this early stage of the season. Klingenthal announced its application and can fulfil these requirements.