Meet and Greet: Men’s Alpine Chief Race Director Markus Waldner
In June 2012, FIS announced that at the end of the 2013/14 season, Guenter Hujara would be stepping down as Men’s Alpine Chief Race Director after 23 years and that Markus Waldner would take over the position. Waldner is far from a new name in FIS as he joined the organisation in 1998 as European Cup Coordinator. Two years later he took over the position of Continental Cup Coordinator, a position in which he has stayed until this April when he officially stepped into his new role. The FIS Congress in Barcelona proved a great opportunity to chat about his experiences so far and plans for the future.
This is your first “official” appearance in your new role, how have the first days been for you here in Barcelona?
This is indeed the first time officially in my new role, taking over Guenter Hujara’s position as Chief Men’s Race Director and all the work that such role brings at an event like the Congress. This is a great, but big, new challenge so it’s good this is far from my first Congress and I know my way around. I have had many meetings with our partners, various discussions with our Organising Committees and generally I am trying to close any open questions so we can have a good base for next season. Also, with my colleagues we have been working on finalising the details for the highlight of next season, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek.
What has your schedule been like?
Pretty busy. The Congress provides a packed agenda, but it is important to meet with people and build relationships outside of the official meetings. These informal moments when things are a bit quieter, is where we can really solve any challenges.
What do you expect from your first season as Chief Race Director?
It will certainly not be easy. We are quite a new team. We have a new Race Director for Speed events, Hannes Trinkl who will work with the support of Helmut Schmalzl which is a great plus for our work and there has been a change of role for the Technical Race Director where Emmanuel Couder stepped in to the position previously held by Hans Pieren. Mike Kertesz and Ana Jelusic are are integral part of the team too. Of course, with the new persons and their qualities, all the roles have changed a bit and we will all have to build on our experience. We know already that our Organising Committees are already at a very high standard so I want to take some time in the next months, especially during our summer inspections to get to know them even better and build a strong working relationship. Also, I am already very much looking forward to next Season Opening in Soelden and the rest of the season.
What would you describe as your strategy for next year?
We will try to keep the high quality Guenter and the team built in the past over 20 years. It will be important to keep the standards high, support our Organising Committees and at the same time look for some new challenges. We are observing what the market is requesting, listening to requests from TV and working on proposing some new formats as the result of those discussions. I’m definitely looking forward to all the new challenges!
Any major changes or decisions we can expect in the upcoming days?
No major changes should occur. It will always be a sport where athletes ski from top to bottom around some gates. But as at every Congress little adjustments and small reviews of some rules will occur, but no big changes. Also, of course everyone here impatiently awaits the election of the 2019 World Championships Organiser on Thursday. We have two strong Organisers running. Both have shown in the past that they can deliver great events at the highest standard and I wish them good luck and may the best one win!