|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Cypress PGS course|
|New aerials and moguls site|
With exactly 961 days to go until the start of the XXVI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, venue construction and event planning work by the organizing committee - VANOC - is at full speed. Following the decision of the IOC Executive Board last autumn to accept ski cross into the program, the six FIS Olympic disciplines will award a total of 120 medals including 40 titles at the 2010 Games.
The ski and snowboard events will take place at three different venues. The Alpine Skiing events will be held at the world-famous Whistler Mountain Resort whilst the Nordic events take place at the brand-new Whistler Nordic Center in Callaghan Valley. The competition sites for the six competitions in Freestyle Skiing and for the six Snowboard events are located in the Cypress Provincial Park. With spectacular views of the city of Vancouver and its harbor, Cypress Mountain is one of the most popular skiing areas in British Columbia. It is located just 31 km from the Vancouver Olympic Village in West Vancouver.
|Aerials/moguls snowmaking being finalized|
|New in-ground half-pipe|
Construction work at Cypress began in May 2006. Coursework at the new Freestyle aerials and moguls site, the upper half of the re-graded Snowboard parallel giant slalom course and snow-making pipe-work were all completed last summer. The focus this summer is on finalizing the Snowboard PGS course as well as the snowboard cross & Freestyle ski cross course. The aerials judges' tower and the over-the-ground parts for snow-making as well as lighting will be constructed. A new in-ground half-pipe is also currently being built, based on the new Olympic specifications which were further refined following the first test event in Calgary this spring.
"We are well in schedule with our construction despite the enormous amounts of snow we received this winter. In fact, there is still some snow in the upper parts of the snowboard cross/ski cross course now," noted Eric Fremont, Manager, Freestyle Skiing & Snowboard at VANOC. "Everything will be in place by November so that we can get ready for our first test events in 2009 and the Freestyle FIS World Cup aerials and moguls events on 9th-10th February.˙We will also organize some national Snowboard events to prepare for the final Snowboard tests as part of the FIS Snowboard World Cup tour in 2009," he added.
Concluding our series of questions and answers with the FIS Council Members, this week we feature an interview with Jaakko Holkeri.
Q. Finland can look back to a very successful 2006/07 season, especially in Cross-Country. What are the reasons for this newly-found strength?
A. The most important reason concerns the extremely talented athletes who are beginning to have a sufficient number of training years under their belt. The other factors are hard training and solid self-confidence both of which are also related to our new Head Coach Magnar Dalen. In addition, the team was able to stay healthy for the most part of last season and we were consistently very successful with our ski service.
Q. 2008 will be the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Ski Association. How will you celebrate?
A. The anniversary will be largely marked by our continuing work to benefit skiing but there are some plans for celebration, too. The main centennial party will be held at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti on 28th February, including a reception, evening concert and dinner. At the end of March, from 27th - 30th March to be precise, we will hold the Finnish National Championships for all our five disciplines (Alpine, Freestyle, Cross-Country, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined) at Ruka, Kuusamo. This is what we call the celebration of the sport. In mid-October, we will hold our biannual general assembly called SkiFinland 2008, or the celebration of the clubs. In addition, each discipline will host a large youth event as their celebration of the youth; this may be a competition or some other event such as a youth camp or similar. Of course, all our World Cup events will also celebrate the anniversary year in different ways, one of which will be the meeting of the FIS Council at Levi in conjunction with the FIS Alpine World Cup in November 2008. Finally, Finnish TV channel YLE is in the process of preparing a documentary on the history of Finnish skiing and the Finnish Ski Association.
Q. There are plans to build a ski flying hill in Finland. Why does it need one?
A. Finland has always been one of the leading Ski Jumping nations and wants to remain on the top. To be able to compete with the other leaders as well as to organize Ski Flying competitions, we need to have our own and the world's most modern hill in Finland. The big audiences in Ski Jumping are especially fascinated by the big flights and that is another reason why Finland wants to lead further development in Ski Flying. We also believe that the climatic conditions in Lapland (a long and snow-secure winter) provide internationally-based support for our plan.
|Halti outfitted Are 2007 volunteers|
The International Ski Federation (FIS) and Halti, the leading Finnish outdoor brand and clothing partner for some of the best skiers in the world, announced that they have established a new cooperation whereby Halti will become an official "FIS Partner" and the "FIS Official Clothing Supplier."
Under the agreement, Halti will provide clothing for the more than 100 FIS officials and professionals supporting the organization of the FIS World Cups, FIS World Ski Championships and the Olympic Winter Games in the FIS Olympic disciplines. The extensive package of gear will include everything from underwear, headgear and gloves to ski and sportswear as well as travel jackets. The outfits for the FIS officials will be part of an exclusive FIS season collection that will be on sale to the public the following season. In addition, Halti will develop a broad range of licensed products and discussions relating to an additional FIS merchandising line are also underway as from the 2008/2009 season. The new relationship between FIS and Halti will commence with the 2007/2008 season and extend until the end of the 2009/2010 season.
"We are pleased to collaborate with Halti, who has shown a real commitment to ski sport and collected substantial experience in supplying high quality outfits for organizers, including four FIS World Championships last season. Our officials will have the benefit of the very latest know-how in the demanding weather situations they encounter in their daily tasks," said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper.
For more information, please visit www.halti.com.
The Final Inspection for the FIS Ski Flying World Championships 2008 in Oberstdorf (GER) took place last Thursday, 21st June. The Coordination Group, including Thomas Pfller and Thomas Mayr from the German Ski Association; Pe Horle, President, and Stefan Huber, General Secretary of the Oberstdorf 2008 Organizing Committee; together with Christian Knauth, FIS Marketing and Communications Director and Walter Hofer, FIS Race Director Ski Jumping, reviewed all aspects of current preparations, including sports organization, logistics, marketing and promotion.
The 2008 event, scheduled from 22nd-24th February, will represent the 20th FIS World Championships in Ski Flying and the fifth time the event is staged in Oberstdorf. Following the construction of modern lighting structures, it will, however, be the first time that the Championships are held under floodlights at night, with competitions scheduled to begin at 16:30 local time every day. Protected by woods on its side, the Heini-Klopfer-hill is said to be one of the most beautiful and safest hills in the world, enabling jumps of 200m and further. The stadium with its modern infrastructure has a capacity to accommodate 40'000 spectators; for the first time, the press and media center will also be located directly at the stadium rather than in the town center. TV production will be provided by RTL as host broadcaster.
"The preparations are fully in schedule. Only the coordination of TV production on the hill still needs to be completed with the host broadcaster. We are very pleased with the Organizing Committee's progress, and look forward to exhilarating Ski Flying competitions in a special night atmosphere," summarized Walter Hofer.
For more information, please visit www.skifliegen-oberstdorf.com.
The FIS World Cup circuits, some of which visit all five continents each season, would not be possible without strong logistical support and organization. One of the most critical aspects for the efficient delivery of the racing season is travel. FIS Travel Service has been specialized in helping the teams from all National Ski Associations as well as FIS officials and staff make their travel arrangements since its founding in 1992.
Compared with many other seasons in recent years, the difficult snow conditions during the past season also put the staff at FIS Travel to a test. "The many calendar changes especially during the early season made it very challenging for us to be able to accommodate everyone's needs. However, during February and March 2007, we were able to arrange travel to Are (SWE) for approximately 600 participants in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships while about 780 people traveled to the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo (JPN) with our assistance," commented Heinz Gurtner, General Manager of FIS Travel. "This summer, we expect more than 500 persons to travel to the southern hemisphere for training purposes, and in November, approximately 600 people will need help in planning their trips to the early Alpine World Cup races and training camps in North America."
"To further improve our service to the extended FIS Family, Irene Bohren recently joined the FIS Travel staff. As before, Caroline Ris, Martin Schwarz and Margrit Bernhard continue to assist with travel arrangements for all disciplines," Gurtner added.
|Moguls in Tignes will open the 07/08 season|
Photo: Agence Zoom
The traditional season-opening Freestyle FIS World Cup aerials events at Mount Buller (AUS) season have been cancelled. Mount Buller was scheduled to host two ladies' and men's aerials contests on September 8th-9th. After more than 10 years of staging annual aerials competitions, this year's edition will not be possible for organizational reasons after last year's event had to be cancelled due to poor snow conditions. Skiing Australia has indicated that they wish to come back on the Freestyle FIS World Cup in the following years.
The 2007/2008 FIS Freestyle World Cup season will begin on 13th December with a moguls event for both ladies and men in Tignes (FRA), the perennial European Freestyle season-opening site. The aerials season will now begin at Lianhua Mountain (CHN) on 21st-22nd December 2007 while the ski crossers will kick off with the French ski cross tour in Les Contamines and Flaine from 12th January 2008.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announced that it will build a national training and education center in Park City, acclaiming it as the most important project in the Association's history.
The US$22.5-million Center of Excellence will be a state-of-the-art structure designed to serve athletes with world-class facilities and strengthen the development of future skiers and snowboarders. Construction will begin this summer at Quinn's Junction east of Park City, Utah, with groundbreaking on 18th July, and planned completion prior to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
"I'm very proud that our organization is able to build this national center to impact all areas of our sports," said Bill Marolt, FIS Vice President and USSA President and CEO. "This center has been a vision for over a decade and will have the best sport science and training facilities for our diverse athletic needs. It also will provide educational opportunities that will benefit athletes in their specific sport and after their competitive careers end."
The Center will blend the best of high-performance athletic facilities including strength-training areas, a gymnasium, a climbing wall, ski and snowboard ramps, trampolines, a nutrition center and rehabilitation facilities. It will also feature educational areas for athletes, coaches and clubs such as a computer lab, multimedia rooms for performance analysis and equipment workshops. The educational resources will be shared with all USSA's 400 clubs around the country.