Cross-Country season review with Pierre Mignerey
FIS Cross-Country Race Director Pierre Mignerey took a moment to reflect on the past season from the World Cup through the Tour de Ski to the Olympic Winter Games, it was an action-packed year.
Looking back, what is your overall evaluation of the 2013/14 season?
Due to the mild winter and snow conditions the last season was very challenging. Even though we did not cancel a single competition, we were quite close a few times. It was not an easy winter. In the future, we are planning to focus more on snow production, snow storage and snow guarantees.
Was the last season interesting for Cross-Country Skiing fans?
I think it was a very interesting season. We enjoyed an open fight for the overall World Cup title on the ladies’ side until the last competition. Among the men, Martin Johnsrud Sundby (SWE) was dominant during the whole season. It was an outstanding performance of him to win all the “tour events” in one season. We had very interesting competitions in the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Of course the Norwegian athletes, especially the vladies, were very strong the entire winter but they had very strong competitors such as Charlotte Kalla (SWE), the Finns who have made a big step forward and U.S. ladies who have up-and-coming athletes.
What is your evaluation of the Tour de Ski compared to the past years?
The eighth edition of the Tour de Ski was challenging due to the snow conditions in Oberhof
(GER). We were forced to change the competition programme but in the end the most
important thing was to secure fair competitions. From a spectator’s perspective, the Tour stayed extremely interesting until the very end at Alpe Cermis.
What was the biggest improvement last season and what needs to be improved in the future?
I think the biggest logisistical improvement was the wax cabins. It was a big task for our Organising Committees to change to tents and big halls for wax cabins. They put a lot of effort into solving this issue and made a big step forward. Perhaps it is not visible for spectators or TV viewers but our teams have much better working conditions now. Our goal is to develop and improve team areas even further.
The snow conditions are a theme for the future. We will work together with Organisers on plans and measures on how to guarantee a sufficient amount of snow for our World Cups, may it be snow storage, snow production or other solutions. Course design and field of play organisation are also important issues.
Spring is usually the time to prepare rule changes for the next season…
There are not many things to be changed. In the ICR we will discuss the “corridor rule”. In the World Cup rules there won’t big any changes. In general, the system is working well and we will only try to clarify or improve wording of some articles.
What are the major topics on the agenda for the Committee meetings in Barcelona?
There are several important issues to be discussed at our meetings. One of the main topics for the Rules & Control Sub-Committee is false starts in sprint competitions and other rules adaptation questions. The Sub-Committee for World and Continental Cups will traditionally prepare World Cup calendars for the upcoming seasons until 2016/17. In addition, we are going to review and improve rules about snow guarantee, substitute resorts etc. Last but not least, ski exchange in mass start competitions will be another point on the agenda.