|News from the World of Skiing|
FIS World Cup opener in New Zealand underlines importance of on-snow summer training ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
The resignation of Jean-Claude Killy from his position as President of the Board of Directors of the Organizing Committee for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2009 in Val d'IsŐre (FRA) has helped to bring the project back on course and put focus on the most urgent issues.
Following a meeting with all the partners responsible for the delivery of the infrastructure in Val d'IsŐre on Monday 16th July, FIS Secretary-General Sarah Lewis commented: "Our meeting to review the Organizing Committee's progress was very constructive - we are all on the same page and realize that we cannot afford to lose more time. Significant steps have already been taken in key areas although there is no room for complacency and the intensity of the efforts needs to be maintained. Work is underway to complete the necessary modifications to the slopes. However, the milestones for the sports center that will house the media and logistical center will be challenging to meet and we are going to be keeping a keen eye on that."
Last week, Bernard Catelan, Mayor of Val d'IsŐre and President of the 2009 Organizing Committee along with representatives of local and regional institutions were invited by Roselyn Bachelot, the French Minister for Sports, to review the current situation of the event's organization. The Minister reiterated her confidence in the project but also called for vigilance, including the necessity for a strict and stringent schedule in order to respect their commitments. The Organizing Committee was asked to present a fortnightly progress report to the Minister henceforth.
|Super powder down under|
Photo: Steve Cuff
Australian skiers are enjoying one of the best starts to the ski season for years with regular heavy dry snowfalls over the last several weeks. The recorded snow depths are the best since 1990 for early skiing.
Last week's independent Snowy Hydro reading at Perisher Blue, New South Wales, of 136.6cm confirmed that this is the best start to the season since 1990, surpassing the oft-referred to 2000 and 2004 bumper years. Other Australian resorts are reporting similar snow depths. Hotham in Victoria claimed to be the first resort in the country to pass the meter mark last week with 125cm following a 68cm snowfall in a week. Mt Buller has more than 80cm of snow and most lifts operating. The recent snowfalls also help breathe life back into the local alpine industry which suffered from a lack of snow in 2006.
South America is enjoying excellent early snow conditions this year as well. Bariloche and Las Lenas in Argentina as well as at least Portillo, El Colorado, La Parva, Valle Nevado and Termas de Chillan in Chile are all reporting more than a meter of snow on the mountain this early in the season.
Six coaches and four athletes from the fledgling Chinese moguls program arrived in Canada on June 15th for some extensive training in Whistler, BC. China is intending to enter their first mogul skiers ever into the Freestyle FIS World Cup in the coming season with their eyes squarely on the target of participating in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
The team has been working with Canadian National Team coaches Stephen Fearing and Jim Schiman both on snow and at the Canadian team's water ramp training facility at Blackcomb Mountain. The coaches have been learning development techniques that they will be taking home to help quickly build the grassroots program in China; they all hail from the Harbin ski area. The athletes range in age from 15 to 28 and all have already had success in China with four coming out of the Alpine program and one from Ski Jumping. The youngest, Wen Mengying, is one of the top junior skiers in the country and one of the men, Liu Peihua, is the top Chinese super-G skier.
Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA), says to watch out for this new team of athletes: "We're delighted to have the Chinese mogul program training here in Canada and training with our National Team athletes. To have the Chinese Ski Association expand their commitment to the FIS skiing world, and to Freestyle Skiing in particular, is great for our sport. With the growing popularity of skiing in China, and after their gold medal performance in men's aerials at the Torino Olympics, there is no doubt they will become a force to reckon with in the future and we are happy to play a part in this growth for Freestyle, for FIS, and for skiing."
More general skiing background from China here
Contributed by CFSA
|Right To Play team at finish|
Photo: Right To Play
|Johann Olav Koss, CEO of Right To Play|
Photo: Right To Play
Three Right To Play teams participated in this year's Gigathlon, a grueling seven-day, 1'400 km and 30'000-meters-of-altitude adventure race across Switzerland, raising funds for Right To Play's project in Sierra Leone. What is more, skiers were well-represented on the Right To Play teams: Along with Hippolyt Kempf, Olympic gold medalist in Nordic Combined, Matthias Remund, Director General of the Swiss Federal Office of Sports and past member of FIS Cross-Country Committee, coach and former skier, Flurina Bachmann, former member of the Swiss national Cross-Country team and Laurence Rochat 2002 Olympic Cross-Country relay bronze medalist participated. Led by Johann Olav Koss, four-time Olympic gold medalist in Speed Skating and Founder & CEO of Right To Play, the three RTP teams managed to raise more than CHF 150'000 during last week to give a better life for 11'000 children in Kono, Sierra Leone. Despite the extreme conditions, including very low temperatures and significant snowfall (!) in the Swiss mountains early in the week followed by extreme heat during the last two days, all contributors were thrilled to complete the five-discipline (inline skating, running, swimming, biking and cycling) challenge for a good cause.
The calendar for the FIS Marathon Cup 2007/2008 has now officially been confirmed. The 9th edition of the Cup will include ten races, four in the free technique and six in the classical technique.
The Marathon Cup will again kick-off with the 42-km-long La Sgambeda (ITA) on 16th December 2007.
Jizerska padesatka (CZE, 50km, classical), Dolomitenlauf (ITA, 60 km, free) and Marcialonga (ITA, 70 km, classical) will follow in January 2008. In February, the Cup will feature the König-Ludwig-Lauf (GER, 50 km, classical), La Transjurassienne (FRA, 54/76 km, free) and the Tartu Marathon (EST, 63 km, classical). Finally, in March, the skiers will have to race another 186 km to complete the Cup as Vasaloppet (SWE, 90 km, classical), the Engadin Ski Marathon (SUI, 42 km, free) and the Birkebeinerrennet (NOR, 54 km, classical) are on the schedule.
The FIS Marathon Cup aims to improve the status of long distance competitions by attracting elite racers and to increase media and spectator interest in long distance racing. It is organized in cooperation between FIS and the Worldloppet Ski Federation. For more information on Worldloppet, please visit www.worldloppet.com.
FIS Council Member Eduardo Roldán was re-elected as President of the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation on July 14th. The extraordinary General Assembly unanimously re-elected Roldán who has led the organization since 2002. Propelled by the World Cup successes of María José Rienda and Carolina Ruiz, Roldán indicated that he will concentrate his new mandate on maintaining the harmony and understanding that has been established among the key stakeholders during his tenure: the national association, the regional federations and the local ski areas which are key for developing the new generations.
|Martin Schmitt entering the field|
The 10th edition of the Charity Football Match between the German Ski Jumping National team and the German Paralympic Nordic National Team again raised _20'000 to support youth development in Paralympic Nordic disciplines. 1'200 on-site spectators attended the game in the Black Forest.
"Our entire team fully supports this initiative. It does not matter that we lost today for the first time in the game's history," commented Martin Schmitt who has played each of the ten games. Overall, the Ski Jumping team has raised _220'000 in the course of the ten-year project. The German National Team was represented in full force, including the injured stars Michael Uhrmann and Michael Neumayer and the retired 2002 Four-Hills-Tournament hero Sven Hannawald. The night before the game more than 500 fans could meet their idols at a mega-party known as the "Night of the Eagles" (Nacht der Adler).
|Westin Grand Hotel, Cape Town|
The 46th International Ski Congress will be held in Cape Town (RSA) from 26th to 31st May 2008. The National Ski Associations, FIS Council and Committee Members have been sent initial information about the hotel, the Congress Program and other topics as well as the official registration form this week. The registration deadline is 31st January 2008.
The 2008 Congress will be held at the Westin Grand Hotel at the Victoria and Arthur Waterfront in downtown Cape Town. Some of the highlights of the 2008 FIS Congress will include the FIS General Assembly as well as the election by the FIS Council of the hosts of the 2012 and 2013 FIS World Championships along with the meetings of the FIS Technical Committees. There will also be a golf tournament and an excursion to a vineyard in Spier near Stellenbosch including a special African lunch.
FIS World Cup opener in New Zealand underlines importance of on-snow summer training
In about a month, the 2007/08 season for the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup will kick off with a special highlight: On 31st August-1st September, 2007, the first-ever Snowboard World Cup contest in New Zealand will be held in the half-pipe of Cardrona. A fantastic timing since all well-known names of the freestyle scene will have set up their tents in nearby Wanaka anyway.
Tor Svensson, the Swedish coach for the Dutch team, says on behalf of the riders: "We are super happy that a FIS World Cup will be held in New Zealand. We'll see probably one of the best competitions ever because so many good riders will be there. I'm happy FIS made this decision." Svensson and the squad from the Netherlands - including Dolf van der Wal, third in the 2006/07 FIS half-pipe World Cup - will fly down under on August 8th for on-snow training. Until now, the young team has focused on improving both their stamina and strength. Their goal for the upcoming winter is "to take the next step. We are looking toward our long time goals: the 2009 World Championships and 2010 Olympics."
Other European teams will be part of the big summer training session, too. Germany sends the complete World Cup equipe including Xaver Hoffmann, Christophe Schmidt, Alessandro Mancini, the Strauss twins Tobias and Philipp plus a few more riders from the C-pool. So far, the riders have been working on elements of coordination and strength on the trampoline and through other work-outs.
The plans for the Swiss team are similar. After an extensive session in Ticino focused on coordination, the entire Swiss freestyle team - except Gian Simmen and Markus Keller but with the new arrival Iouri Podlatschikov - will train the whole of August in New Zealand. Head Coach Marco Bruni is very pleased with the results so far: "Coordination, artistic skill and the sense for the own body is everything in Freestyle Snowboarding. We have worked very hard this spring and summer and made some good progress. In New Zealand we will try to transfer it on snow. We are looking forward to it."
|Mathieu Crepel (FRA)|
Photo: Agence Zoom
The Austrian team will be part of the "Kiwi" training camp as well. In June, the whole team went surfing for two and a half weeks. In mid-August, Head Coach Johannes Bronnemayer will catch a flight over with eleven athletes of his squad including top gun Stefan Gimpl and half-pipe riders Michael Macho and Stefan Falkeis. This season for the first time some young female riders will join and get a chance to prepare for their first World Cup season. Next winter, Stefan Falkeis won't be the only Austrian competing in this Olympic discipline.
One of last winter's biggest stars will be in New Zealand for some on-snow fun and photo shootings at the end of August. But prior to that, the 2007 half-pipe and big air FIS World Champion Mathieu Crepel (FRA) will take some time out surfing with his girlfriend. "I love it and if I don't surf enough, I can't have a good winter!" For winter preparation he is also doing some special training: "I like cycling, running, racquet sports and will also do some specific stuff for snowboarding."
The North American squads from the USA and Canada are taking advantage of the snow conditions in the Southern Hemisphere, too. After an on- and off-snow training in Whistler, Team Canada will be in New Zealand for three weeks from mid-August. The freestylers including Sarah Conrad, Mercedes Nicoll, Jeff Batchelor, Crispin Lipscomb, Brad Martin, Hugo Lemay and many more will train in Cardrona to prepare for the World Cup opener. The US team will be on-site with about ten riders, and will even stay on after the World Cup for more on-snow training.
Contributed by Oliver Kraus