News from the World of Skiing 

  ¸re 2007 gets underway ... more

  Full schedule at FIS World Cups ... more

  FIS Speed Skiing World Championships 2007 at Verbier (SUI) ... more

  Some more calendar changes ... more

  Savage forest fires threatened ski resorts in Australia ... more

  Strong Team Norway in early Telemark World Cups ... more

  Swedes rule FIS Marathon Cup ... more


 Council's Corner 

  Q&A with Fritz Wagnerberger (GER) ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Now available: Media Guide PDF Version & World Cup results on mobile phone ... more


 Member News 

  ¸re 2007 sets an example for sustainable development in sport ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

¸re 2007 gets underway
Ladies' super-G medallists
Photo: Are 2007
Patrick Staudacher (ITA)
Photo: Agence Zoom

The 39th FIS Alpine World Ski Championships finally got underway in ¸re (SWE) on Tuesday, 6th February, after three days of wind and heavy snowfall causing postponement of the opening weekend's races. In a beautiful, bright sunshine and under blue skies, both the men's and ladies' super-G races were held in excellent conditions. In the men's event, 26-year-old Patrick Staudacher stunned the field by becoming the first Italian World Champion in the speed events in 55 years. He is also the first Italian to win since Alberto Tomba in 1996. Staudacher was joined on the podium by veteran big-time performers Fritz Strobl of Austria and Bruno Kernen of Switzerland. Both of them only made their respective super-G national teams following internal qualifications. Aged 34 and 6 months, and 34 and 4 months, Kernen and Strobl, respectively, also became the oldest medallists at FIS Alpine World Ski Championships throughout history. Between the bronze and tenth place, there were seven men within only 7 hundreds of a second!

In the ladies' race, Anja Paerson (SWE) lived up to the huge expectations as the title defender and repeated her victory from 2005 in front of her home crowds. In a truly excellent and exciting competition, Paerson triumphed ahead of American Lindsey C. Kildow who, after several close calls, took her first medal in the big events. The season's speed queen Renate Goetschl (AUT) in 3rd place took her seventh medal in the FIS World Ski Championships.

"From the beginning, we have been prepared for possible schedule changes here in ¸re where one sometimes sees four seasons in one day. Compared with our experiences at past FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Morioka (JPN) in 1993 and Schladming (AUT) in 1982, three days of race postponements is no crisis. And, with five nations on the podium already on the first day of competition, we can only be pleased with the way the championships have now started," commented FIS President Gian Franco Kasper.

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Full schedule at FIS World Cups
Russian team wins the men's relay
Photo: NordicFocus

Last Nordic World Cups in Europe before the Worlds in Japan

In Davos (SUI), at the last Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country races held in Europe before the circuit continues in Changchun (CHN) shortly before the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo (JPN), Toni Livers made history by becoming the first Swiss male to win a World Cup Cross-County event. He shared the victory with Frenchman Vincent Vittoz, also a historical feat as before there have only been shared victories on the ladies' side. The Swiss team impressed with its overall performance, placing three men in the top ten. In the ladies' distance race, Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) celebrated her sixth World Cup victory this season. In the overall World Cup ranking, Kuitunen now leads 441 points ahead of Marit Bjoergen (NOR). In the men's standings, Tobias Angerer (GER) who skipped the Davos races to prepare in Italy for the upcoming Worlds, continues in 1st place. In the season's third relay races, the Russian men's team took its second season victory in an exciting sprint finish, 0.4 seconds ahead of Italy and 0.5 seconds ahead of France. In the ladies race, the young Swedish team took its first-ever relay victory in the FIS World Cup.

In the e.on ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping at Titisee-Neustadt (GER), Adam Malysz (POL) was not to be beaten, adding another two victories to his impressive tally of career victories. With 32 World Cup wins, Malysz is now third in the all-time ranking for the most World Cup victories, together with Janne Ahonen (FIN) and behind Matti Nyk„nen (FIN) and Jens Weissflog (GER). On Saturday, Malysz also equalled the hill record of 145m, set by Sven Hannawald in 2001. On Sunday, Dmitry Vassiliev (RUS) ranked third, his first podium since 2001. Anders Jacobsen (NOR) continues to lead in the overall standings with 987 points.

The Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined competitions at Zakopane (POL) were impacted by heavy snowfall and changing winds. The jumping part of the mass start competition scheduled for Saturday afternoon had to be completed on Sunday together with the sprint race. Based on a strong skiing performance and some of his best jumps this season, Hannu Manninen (FIN) took the victory in the mass start event. In the sprint, Bj”rn Kircheisen (GER) gained his first World Cup victory this season followed by Manninen who climbed up to 2nd place after having been only 21st after the jumping. Manninen now leads the overall World Cup rankings, 87 points ahead of Magnus Moan (NOR, 598 points).

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Freestyle in France, Snowboard in Italy

In the season's second ski cross competition in the Freestyle FIS World Cup held in Les Contamines (FRA) last Friday, Audun Gr”nvald (NOR) and Meryl Boulangeat (FRA) were the fastest on the rapid, well-shaped and technical course. Gr”nvald took his second season victory, while 20-year-old Boulangeat, silver medallist in last year's Junior World Ski Championships in ski cross, took her maiden World Cup victory.

In the first moguls Freestyle FIS World Cup events in Europe this season at La Plagne (FRA) on Monday and Tuesday, 2006 Olympic Champion Jennifer Heil (CAN) was the measure of all things, taking a double victory in both the moguls and dual moguls competitions. In the men's moguls, Sami Mustonen (FIN) took his first season victory while in the dual moguls, 2006 Olympic Champion Dale Begg-Smith (AUS) was the clear winner. In total, there were eight nations on the podium at La Plagne, with Team Canada celebrating four podium finishes.

The snowboarders in the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup returned to the 2006 Olympic venue at Bardonecchia-Melezet last weekend, and on Sunday, the season's third big air was held at Lingotto, Torino. In the parallel giant slalom, the Swiss team took a double victory with Fraenzi Kohli (SUI) and Roland Haldi (SUI) taking the top spots. For 28-year-old Haldi, it was his career's first World Cup victory after 14 years of high level competition. For the first time this season, the current World Cup leader Simon Schoch missed the podium. In the half-pipe, the reigning 2007 World Champion Manuela Laura Pesko (SUI) triumphed again while 18-year-old Peetu Piiroinen (FIN), more of a big air specialist, took his first World Cup win. In the big air contest, Janne Korpi (FIN) who was 2nd in the half-pipe climbed onto the top of the podium, leading three Finns in the top four. Piiroinen now leads the big air World Cup ranking with only one competition remaining in Moscow (RUS) on 10th February.

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FIS Speed Skiing World Championships 2007 at Verbier (SUI)

The 2007 FIS Speed Skiing World Championships have been confirmed and will be staged in Verbier (SUI) under the auspices of Swiss-Ski. The teams will arrive on April 15th and, following official training, begin the racing runs on 17th April. The Finals are scheduled for Thursday, 19th April, 2007, followed by a "Speed Exhibition," demonstrating such sports as speed flying, speed biking and ski-bob. The Organizing Committee together with T‚l‚Verbier is looking forward to hosting one of the best and most exciting Speed Skiing World Championships ever seen.

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Some more calendar changes

Originally scheduled for 29th January- 4th February but cancelled due to the lack of snow, the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships and Under-23 Cross-Country Championships in Tarvisio (ITA) will now take place from 12th-18th March, 2007. The official team entries by name have to be sent to the Organizing Committee in Tarvisio by 15th February, 2007.

The FIS World Cup Ski Flying competition that had to be cancelled in Vikersund (NOR) on 14th January, 2007, due to strong wind has been rescheduled in Planica (SLO) on Friday, 23rd March, 2007.

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Savage forest fires threatened ski resorts in Australia
Fire threatens Mt Buller Aerials Judges' Stand
Burnt ski run

Four of the five major ski resorts in Australia - Mt.Buller, Falls Creek, Mt.Hotham and Thredbo - have been under threat from extremely strong forest fires that have been raging during the Southern summer so far. Mt. Buller in Victoria faced the strongest threat of all, with the fires burning ski runs and coming within meters of the village itself. Luckily the firefighters were able to defend all property, including the Freestyle FIS World Cup aerials site and the judges' stand, on the mountain. Each resort has been using water from their snow making machines to save the resorts, especially the infrastructure. Altogether over 5000 people have been fighting the fires. The threat has gone away for the moment though it could resurface should the drought continue and there not be enough rain.

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Strong Team Norway in early Telemark World Cups

Based on the results of the first five FIS Telemark World Cup races, held at Trysil and Rjukan (NOR), the season has started strongly for the Norwegian team and the Rykhus family.

The overall winners of last season's FIS Telemark World Cup, Katinka Knudsen and Borge Sovik (both NOR), have struggled a bit in their attempt to defend their titles. 18-year-old Katinka Knudsen, who won 11 World Cup races in 2006, began the season with a 2nd and 4th place finishes in the first two races in Trysil that also hosted the Norwegian Championships. Then, in the two Telemark Sprint Classic races at Rjukan, she was back on track, though still 100 points behind the leader in the overall rankings.

Her teammate, 22-year-old Sigrid Rykhus, who was 4th in last year's overall FIS Telemark World Cup due to injury in the early season, won the first three races. She now leads the rankings ahead of Knudsen and Astrid Sturm (GER).

24-year-old Borge Sovik began the season in the same manner as last year. Following his three victories, he clearly led the overall standings. However, the last two races were not as successful for him. In the first of the two sprint classic competition at Rjukan, he had a «-second lead on teammate Eirik Rykhus after the first run but then hooked his ski in the net at the end of the skating section, losing 5 seconds. In the second sprint classic there, Sovik fell in the top section and lost his rhythm, ending up 24th. Rykhus - with two wins and one 2nd and 3rd place each - now leads the overall standings 29 points ahead of Sovik. Daniel Halnes (NOR) is 3rd.

The organizers in Norway did a wonderful job with the first World Cup events, and the last race at Rjukan was also broadcast on Norwegian TV with good ratings. 12 nations have participated in the races so far, with four making it onto the podium. The season will continue in Bad Hinderlang (GER) in mid-March, and culminate in the FIS Telemark World Championships in Thyon (SUI) from 22nd - 25th March, 2007. For more details and information please visit www.telemarkski.org.

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Swedes rule FIS Marathon Cup
Koenig-Ludwig-Lauf

So far this season, the FIS Marathon Cup has been dominated by Swedes who, with double victories by Elin Ek and Daniel Tynell at last weekend's Koenig-Ludwig-Lauf in Oberammergau (GER), lead both the men's and ladies' overall classifications. With Elin Ek as the new leader and Jenny Hansson in 2nd, the Swedes occupy the ladies' top two spots at the half-way point. And after three stages, there have been only Swedish victors on the men's side as Jerry Ahrlin, the winner of the first two stages, wears the red leader's jersey.

Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, the next stage of the FIS Marathon Cup, the 76km La Transjurassienne in France, has had to be cancelled. This gives the competitors an additional week of recuperation before the next stage in Estonia: Over 3,000 competitors from 23 nations will take part in 63km-long Tartu Marathon on 18th February.

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 Council's Corner 

Q&A with Fritz Wagnerberger (GER)
Fritz Wagnerberger (GER)

This week we feature some questions and answers with one of the longest-serving FIS Council Members and Treasurer Fritz Wagnerberger (GER).

Q. As Chairman of the FIS Finance Commission since 1975 and FIS Treasurer, you have witnessed a significant development in FIS's financial fortunes over the years; how would you describe FIS's financial strategy?

A. In the 1970's, FIS's financial situation was quite different from what we are faced with today. We often had to consider ways to improve our finances and discuss what belongs to whom in terms of the rights. We should not forget that FIS is an international federation that consists of over a hundred National Ski Associations. It is the NSAs that provide the athletes who deliver our real `product,' the international competitions. Our main income is provided by TV rights at our largest events. While it has always been clear that the rights to the FIS World Ski Championships belong to FIS, significant discussion was required to clarify the rights situation at the FIS World Cups and to decide that the NSAs are the main rights holders there.

Over the years, we have seen a positive development of FIS's finances and are now in the satisfying situation to be able to distribute more than half of the profits as direct financial assistance to the National Ski Associations. In addition, various programs such as FIS Solidarity and FIS Aid & Promotion provide indirect financial assistance to support the development of ski sports at the national level. Overall, our current financial situation is solid, including a significant buffer to protect us from adverse financial impacts. We intend to follow the same policy of careful and risk-averse investing in the future, supported by one of the best accounting systems among the international federations. Transparent and reliable books have been one of our stated goals and we are pleased to have had this confirmed by our accountant PriceWaterhouseCoopers as well as by our own auditors.

Q. You are now also the sole chairman of the Marc Hodler Foundation (MHF). Can you discuss its role and importance to FIS?

A. The Mark Hodler Foundation is a non-profit organization with the overall goal of promoting the sport of skiing. Specifically, it intends to support injured skiers that are either poorly or not at all insured as well as to engage in furthering science and arts in ski sports. The MHF is relatively flexible in the way it seeks to fulfil its mission but we could call it a sort of reinsurance for FIS and skiing. As a foundation, its property is well-protected from legal challenges and should it ever have to be disbanded, its entire wealth would have to be used to benefit the ski sports.

Q. In May, the FIS Council appointed Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) as host for the 2011 FIS Alpine FIS World Ski Championships. It was the sixth candidacy from Garmisch-Partenkirchen - how do you assess the importance of this decision for skiing?

A. Skiing is an important sport in Germany; as a former World Cup racer I know this from my own experience. Given the size of the market - approximately 50% of the European TV market - it is crucially important for us all that the Germans are interested in skiing as a TV sport as well as that the market there continues to grow in terms of advertising revenues and the general turnover in ski equipment and tourism. I realize that we have some room for improvement in popularizing the alpine ski sport in Germany: we have seen this recently in biathlon where national success has propelled the sport to completely new heights and I hope that the 2011 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in the home country will provide an additional impetus for our alpine skiers to develop and be successful. Additionally, I think we have an opportunity to refine and hone our competition program to offer new elements to help increase general audience interest, in Germany as elsewhere in the world.

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 Inside FIS 

Now available: Media Guide PDF Version & World Cup results on mobile phone

New on the FIS Web Site: PDF versions of the FIS Media Guide are now available for Cross-Country Skiing, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined. Updated regularly after each racing weekend, these PDFs include the highlights from the past title events as well as from the FIS World Cup, among other key statistical details, and provide an on-the-road alternative for the media during the season. The most up-to-date source of competition, biographical and statistical information, however, continues to be the interactive FIS Online Media Guide - it is automatically updated as soon as new results information is available.

Also now available are results from the FIS World Cup events and the FIS World Championships via mobile phone. Visit mobile.fisski.com for more!

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 Member News 

¸re 2007 sets an example for sustainable development in sport

In addition to staging a spectacular event, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in ¸re (SWE) are setting an example with their approach to the environment and sustainable development. The organizers are partnering with a local high school, Are Gymnasium, to design the event's Environmental Policy and Plan, as well as to assess the post-event environmental impact.

"The environmental legacy and sustainable development of the ski sports have been among the key criteria evaluated by the FIS Council when assessing the candidatures and appointing the organizers of FIS World Ski Championships since many years. We are very proud to recognize the progressive example set by ¸re 2007 AB that has now raised the bar even higher for the future Championships," notes FIS President Gian Franco Kasper.

Since December 2004, dozens of students in the school's Natural Science Programme have been working with ¸re 2007, specifically Anders Sundqvist, Sports Director, Karin Halvarsson, Media Operations Manager in charge of the project, and Tomas Rydberg, Environmental Manager. Working in teams, the students chose to focus on three areas: transportation/the Green House Effect; waste sorting/recycling; and information about environmental work. Their work has been guided by an interdisciplinary approach based on a method called "Problem-based schooling (PBS)" that stems from the University of Karlstad.

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