News from the World of Skiing 

  Successful FIS Snowboard World Championships end in Arosa (SUI) ... more

  Weather challenges weekend World Cups ... more

  6th Winter Asian Games begin in Changchun (CHN) ... more

  FIS Marathon Cup continues with Marcialonga (ITA) ... more

  Hoping for a cold February - more World Cup calendar changes ... more


 Council's Corner 

  Q&A with FIS Vice President Leonid Tyagachev ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Green light for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in ¸re (SWE) ... more


 Member News 

  Skiing in Chile: Getting ready for 2010 ... more


 In Depth 

  FIS Staff Member in Portrait - Sonja Reichen ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Successful FIS Snowboard World Championships end in Arosa (SUI)
Mathieu Crepel (FRA)
Photo: Arosa 2007 Bachmann

The 7th FIS Snowboard World Championships in Arosa (SUI) ended with the title contests in big air and half pipe last weekend. In the big air finals on Friday evening, the 5'500 on-site spectators saw absolutely superb riding: In the end, 22-year-old Mathieu Crepel (FRA) earned the World Champion title after he collected 29.4 points - the highest score so far in the new K.o.-format - for his "Switch Backside 1260". In Saturday's half pipe finals with almost 8'000 spectators, Crepel became the only double Champion in the 2007 championships as he beat Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) by just 0.1 points. Manuela Laura Pesko (SUI) took the ladies' freestyle title.

Overall, the Arosa 2007 FIS Snowboard World Championships were a great success. Special thanks go to the Organizing Committee around President Thomas Gurzeler and General Secretary Hello Haas, and their many staff and volunteers, as well as to the various FIS officials, technical advisors and builders, especially David Ny (SBX/HP), Ali Zehetner (BA/HP) and Uwe Beier (SBX/PAR). All competitions were held in excellent conditions despite the warm front that passed through in the middle of last week. A grand total of more than 25'000 spectators witnessed a record of 48 countries and some 400 riders compete. There were 12 nations that won medals, six of which returned home with gold medals. While Switzerland took the most medals - a total of seven - France had three golden ones, and Poland and Japan each celebrated their first-ever FIS Snowboard World Championships medals. Lindsay Jacobellis (USA) was the only 2005 World Champion able to defend her title, while Rok Flander (SLO) became the second most successful rider with two medals (gold & bronze) after double Champion Crepel, and Philipp Schoch (SUI) won two silver medals. The youngest medalist was 16-year-old Helene Olafsen (NOR), last year's silver medalist at the Junior World Championships, who took bronze in the ladies' snowboardcross although she has yet to launch her World Cup career.

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Weather challenges weekend World Cups
Men's mass start podium in Rybinsk (RUS)
Felix Gottwald (AUT)
Photo: NordicFocus

Four first-time winners in the Nordic World Cups

The Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country returned to Russia for the first time in four years last weekend. In Rybinsk, the organizing committee had spared no efforts to host the event, preparing the 2.5-km course with the help of 2'000 volunteers of crushed ice from the Volga river along with some artificial snow. To the joy of the 40'000 spectators, Alexander Legkov (RUS) took his first World Cup victory in Saturday's mass start race in front of a home audience. The weekend saw another two first-time winners as Riitta Liisa Roponen (FIN) won the ladies' mass start event and Renato Pasini (ITA) the men's sprint on Sunday. In the ladies' sprint, Arianna Follis completed the Italian celebration while Kikkan Randall (USA) earned the first-ever Cross-Country World Cup podium by a female U.S. skier, finishing third in a photo finish. By collecting additional 95 and 120 points, respectively, both Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski winners Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) and Tobias Angerer (GER) grew their leads in the overall World Cup standings.

In the e.on ruhrgas World Cup Ski Jumping in Zakopane (POL), 26'000 spectators saw the 21-year-old Slovene Rok Urbanc become this season's 6th individual winner as he took his career-first victory. In the difficult wind conditions with unexpected gusts, the competition had to be completed in only one round. Roar Ljoekelsoey, last several seasons' Ski Flying comet, ranked 2nd, taking his first podium place this season. World Cup leader Anders Jacobsen (NOR) finished 7th, further growing his lead ahead of 2nd-placed Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT), who was 9th.

In the Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined in Seefeld (AUT), Felix Gottwald (AUT) won his 20th World Cup event, this time on home snow. The 31-year-old double Olympic champion, ranked fifth after the ski jumping, skied very strongly, winning comfortably ahead of Jason Lamy Chappuis of France. Hannu Manninen (FIN), winner of the last three World Cup overall titles, was fourth and reduced Christoph Bieler's lead to 28 points at the top of the standings. Sunday's event had to be cancelled due to heavy winds and rain.

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Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin (FRA)
Mancuso (USA), Putzer & Karbon (ITA)

Alpine World Cups in Val d'Isere and Cortina

In the men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup, Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin (FRA) thrilled the home fans by winning a World Cup downhill in Val d'Isere on Saturday. Along with a formidable performance by Team Canada that placed Erik Guay in second and Manuel Osborne-Paradis in third, Dalcin took his maiden World Cup win. His victory finally ended a 12-year winless streak for French skiers on the Oreiller-Killy downhill course. On Sunday, winds and fog forced cancellation of the super combined event that already had been moved from Chamonix because of poor conditions. With no more speed competitions scheduled before the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are (SWE), Didier Cuche (SUI) leads the downhill standings while Bode Miller (USA) heads those in super-G. In the overall standings, Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) continues to lead, ahead of Cuche and Miller.

In Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA), on one of the toughest ladies' speed courses on the World Cup, American Julia Mancuso continued her stellar January, taking her third season and career World Cup win in Friday's super-G. Besides Nicole Hosp in second and Renate Goetschl in third, there were another three Austrians in the top 12. On Saturday, Goetschl won the downhill on the soft but solid 2.8-km Olympia delle Tofane course, stretching her record of wins at Cortina to ten. France's 21-year-old Marie Marchand-Arvier was third for the best result of her career so far. In Sunday's foggy giant slalom, the Italians made the most out of home ground advantage, placing four skiers in the top ten, including Karen Putzer for the win and Denise Karbon in third. With her fifth straight podium result in four disciplines - three of them this weekend - Mancuso moved up to third place in the overall FIS World Cup rankings, 87 points behind Marlies Schild (AUT) who continues to lead with 881 points.

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6th Winter Asian Games begin in Changchun (CHN)

The 6th Winter Asian Games will be held in Changchun (CHN) from 28th January, 2007-4th February 2007. A celebration of winter sports in Asia held every four years, this the second time that China will be hosting the Winter Asiad; the first time was in Harbin in 1996. The first-ever Winter Asian Games were held in Sapporo in 1988. Since the last time the event took place in China, the interest in winter sports has considerably increased in China as well as around the Asian continent.

Regulated by the Olympic Council of Asia under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee, the 15th Summer Asian Games were just held in Doha, Qatar from 1st - 15th December. In Changchun, a total of 47 medal events in ten sports will be contested; of FIS's disciplines, Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard are represented. In addition, participants will compete in Biathlon, Curling, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Short Track Speed Skating and Speed Skating. Changchun, the capital and largest city in Jilin province, is located in north-eastern China. The metropolitan area has a population of 6.83 million and a population of 2.78 million in the city proper. The skiing events will be held at Beida Lake Skiing Resort, located some 140 km from Changchun, which also hosted the season opening Freestyle FIS World Cup aerials events in December 2006.

For more information on the 6th Winter Asian Games, please visit the official web site here.

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FIS Marathon Cup continues with Marcialonga (ITA)

Marcialonga - one of the classic long distance competitions and Italy's largest ski race - is set to host the second stage of the FIS Marathon Cup this weekend. Despite ongoing weather difficulties across much of Europe, race will be held on a 50km track.

Also undeterred by the weather are the participants: Marcialonga has been sold out of starting positions already weeks ago, and a record 5,177 competitors, 3,005 of them from outside of Italy, will take part. Among those will by Olympic champions Andrus Veerpalu (EST) and Gabrielle Paruzzi (ITA), as well as the overall leaders of the FIS Marathon Cup, Jerry Ahrlin (SWE) and Lara Peyrot (ITA).

This upward trend in participation among the most important popular races is not only seen at Marcialonga. Despite difficult snow conditions across Europe, Sweden's Vasaloppet is already sold out, as usual. Others, including Tartu Marathon (EST), K”nig-Ludwig-Lauf (GER), and Engadin Skimarathon (SUI), are all reporting record levels of registration. Popular skiers are clearly taking advantage of the hard work of the organizing committees, who are providing tracks when many areas cannot. Marcialonga is the second race in the now seven-stage, 433km-long (accumulated distance) FIS Marathon Cup after Jizersk  Pades tka (CZE) was cancelled due to a lack of snow.

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Hoping for a cold February - more World Cup calendar changes

The FIS Nordic Junior and Under-23 World Ski Championships, scheduled to be held in Tarvisio (ITA) from 29th January - 4th February, had to be rescheduled to mid-March due to the unseasonably warm weather and resulting lack of snow.

While the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup events in Otep„„ (EST) will take place as planned, the next Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined events in Harrachov (CZE) had to be cancelled due to a lack of snow. The e.on ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping will continue in Oberstdorf (GER) with two competitions on the large hill rather than on the Ski Flying hill.

In the men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup, two slaloms will be held in Kitzbuehel (AUT) next weekend, including one rescheduled from Wengen ten days ago. Due to the warm front that passed across Europe, there is not enough snow to hold the legendary Hahnenkamm downhill and super-G races. Efforts are underway to find a substitute for the super combined cancelled in Val d Isere (FRA) due to snowfall and wind. The ladies' events in San Sicario (ITA) will take place as planned, including the additional super-G.

Finally, the Freestyle FIS World Cup moguls, aerials and ski cross competitions Splinderyv Mlyn (CZE) have been postponed to a later date. The Les Contamines (FRA) ski cross cancelled earlier has been rescheduled for 2nd February and the dual moguls competition originally scheduled in La Plagne (FRA) before Christmas has been rescheduled for 6th February, 2007.

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 Council's Corner 

Q&A with FIS Vice President Leonid Tyagachev
Leonid Tyagachev (RUS)

This week we feature some questions and answers with FIS Vice President Leonid Tyagachev (RUS).

Q. What are your first impressions since you were elected to the FIS Council in Vilamoura in May? You were also elected as FIS Vice President, succeeding Mr. Akentiev, who had successfully served on the Council for many years. How is it to follow in his footsteps?

A. I'm very glad to have joined the FIS Council. My first impressions are great! I will try to do my best to continue the successful activities of Mr. Anatoli Akentiev who worked for FIS for a very long time. We will continue to work with him in our activities for ski sports in Russia and the CIS countries. I hope to make my contribution for the development of the sport of skiing worldwide through my participation in the FIS Council and by taking wise decisions for the popularization of our sports.

Q. How do you evaluate the future prospects for skiing in Russia?

A. Traditionally, ski sports are very strong in Russia. But we know that we still have space for further development in this area. We now have to create winter sports centers with cross-country stadiums, modern jumping hills, alpine skiing and snowboard resorts in different parts of our country. This is also my policy in my position as President of the National Olympic Committee.

Q. Russia hosted the 2006 FIS Freestyle Junior World Championships in Krasnoe Ozero last March, and has staged the Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup in the past three seasons as well as the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country last weekend in Rybinsk. Do you see Russia increasingly taking on hosting responsibility for large events?

A. Every year, we organize some international events that are included in the FIS calendar such as the Russian Open National Championships, World and Continental Cups. It was a great challenge to prepare everything for the World Cup in Rybinsk because we do not have snow this winter in Russia as in the rest of Europe. My policy here is to awaken the interest by the Government of Russia, by the local governments, governors and mayors of different cities to develop ski sports in their regions and to carry out World Cups, European and Continental Cups not only in ski sports but in all winter sports. We already have several traditional winter sports cities, such as Sheregesh, Tashtagol, Krasnaja Poliana, Khanty-Manssijsk, Shukolovo, Bannoje, Sajanogorsk, St.Petersburg and Ekaterinburg, and I'm sure that we'll have some others in the future.

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 Inside FIS 

Green light for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in ¸re (SWE)
Svein Mundal & Nalle Hansson
Photo: Nisse Schmidt

The official snow control for the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships took place in ¸re (SWE) on 19th January. Svein Mundal (NOR), Technical Delegate for the men's events at the championships, performed the official inspection and confirmed that the courses can be prepared and the competitions held according to all FIS rules and specifications. "I knew that there was snow in ¸re, but there's considerably more than I'd been counting on," stated Mundahl after finishing his inspection of the men's downhill. "I am very satisfied, the snow conditions in ¸re are excellent," concluded Mundahl. "Below the fresh snow there is more than 70 cm of compact canon snow," added Nalle Hansson, Arena Manager.

The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships will begin in ¸re on 3rd February 2007.

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 Member News 

Skiing in Chile: Getting ready for 2010

In its November 2006 meeting, the FIS Council appointed Termas de Chillan (CHI) as host for the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships in 2010. This will be the first the time the world's best junior alpine racers will compete for the championship titles in South America. Previously, Chile has hosted the 19th FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Portillo in September, 1966. "We are very proud of our appointment for 2010; the same year that we will celebrate the bicentennial of our independence," noted Luis Alberto Santa Cruz, President of the Chilean Ski and Snowboard Federation. "We aim to work very hard so that this JWSC will be remembered as one of the best ever. For our Federation, hosting this event is a wonderful opportunity to develop skiing at the children and junior level in Chile. It will also allow us to show the world that even in such a small country, we can organize excellent competitions. We also think that Argentina and Brazil will take advantage of this to promote their skiing more broadly."

Currently, the two most important skiing disciplines in Chile are Alpine Skiing and Snowboard. The three national teams - men, ladies and juniors - train during the Southern winter season in Chile and participate in the South American Continental Cup as well as in other FIS races in South America. During the Southern summer, the teams train and compete in Europe. "In this season's South American Cup, we took the third and fourth places in the ladies overall rankings through Noelle Barahona (winner in super-G) and Macarena Benvenuto, and in the men's, the second, third, and fourth places through Jorge Mandru (winner super-G, second in downhill), Cristian Anguita and Maui Gayme (winner downhill), respectively. In the overall Nations Cup, Chile was third behind the United States and Argentina. We will also have a team of four men participating in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championship in Sweden," elaborated Santa Cruz.

"This year, we are going to start a new program to prepare our Children II for the Junior World Championships in 2010. And we support all the ski associations in the country in developing their Children I and II for the Children National Championships. In addition, we take advantage of the different programs that the FIS has, such as the Alpine and Snowboard camps within the Aid & Promotion program. For the past two years, we have also been sending a group of Children II to a training camp in Spain and we will continue with this program. Finally, we support training camps in Europe and United States for children that participate in different FIS competitions like Formigal, Topolino and Borrufa, and are also starting to develop Freestyle Skiing here."

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 In Depth 

FIS Staff Member in Portrait - Sonja Reichen
Sonja Reichen

We continue our series of brief portraits of key FIS staff. These are intended to help you know who to contact for what and to provide some more background on who you might already be working with in the FIS Office in Oberhofen (SUI). This week in focus, Sonja Reichen who celebrated her 20th anniversary at FIS this week.

FIS Newsflash: What is your area of responsibility in the FIS Office?

Sonja Reichen: As Assistant for the FIS Alpine World and Continental Cups, I support the administration of the series of competitions including the competition calendar and general support for all the FIS Race Directors, national teams and their coaches and international TV stations. Additionally another of my main tasks is providing support for the committees with the development of rules for the FIS World and Continental Cups, the International Ski Competition Rules (ICR) and Specifications for Competition Equipment and Commercial Markings. I am also providing experienced assistance to the Alpine Skiing FIS Technical Delegates program handled by Christophe Boehlen, following changes in personnel this season. Finally, I coordinate the starting times for all FIS World Cup competitions across disciplines, which during the season is a weekly challenge, and communicate about any changes to the media.

FIS Newsflash: How did you come to work for FIS?

Sonja Reichen: 20 years ago, FIS was looking for help with general administrative tasks for Alpine Skiing and I responded to a newspaper ad. One of the requirements for the position were good language skills and I think one of the reasons I was chosen was the fact that I speak German, English, French, Italian and Spanish. In fact, I use most of them - especially English, German and French - on a regular basis in my work. When I started, there were just few of us working with Alpine Skiing. However, given how the sport has grown and how important the World Cup circuit has become, I am glad we now have the support of some additional resources let alone the entire technical infrastructure for managing this increased complexity professionally.

FIS Newsflash: What do you enjoy most, at your FIS work and outside of it?

Sonja Reichen: I very much like the regular contact I have with people from all around the world. My job is also very diverse and no day is like another, especially during a season like the current one. I enjoy working with sports; I personally like to ski, though I have never competed. Otherwise, I enjoy spending time with my partner and family, including my two sons, and most recently, with my newest hobby, motorcycling. Overall, I like being outside in nature because I love the mountains - all of them - and also like the sun and warm weather. That is probably why Spain has become almost like a second home for me and I guess that is where we will spend our next holiday, too.

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