News from the World of Skiing 

  Morgenstern wins FIS Grand Prix 2007 ... more

  Season's first big air to Piiroinen, parallel riders to open season indoors ... more

  Team Austria in the Vatican ... more

  FIS Masters in the Southern Hemisphere ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Grand Finals 2008 preparations in full swing ... more

  Results from the first year with FIS ISS ... more

  FIS World Championship candidates in Cape Town ... more

  Cross-Country TV Seminar: Delivering emotions on TV ... more

  Course work for 2011 begins ... more

  Skiing in Ukraine: Carpathian Impressions ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Morgenstern wins FIS Grand Prix 2007
Thomas Morgenstern
Photo: OC Klingenthal
Klingenthal podium
Photo: OC Klingenthal

A˙22nd place in the final competition in Klingenthal (GER) last Saturday was enough for Thomas Morgenstern (AUT) to take victory in the FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping 2007. Having led by 100 points before the final thanks to a 3rd place finish in Oberhof on Wednesday, 3rd October, Morgenstern took the summer series with a margin of 109 points over Adam Malysz (POL).

The final competition was won by Austria's young talent Gregor Schlierenzauer who set the summer hill record with his 2nd leap of 143.5 m. With his victory, Schlierenzauer also rose to 3rd place in the summer rankings. Switzerland's Andreas Kuettel who managed only 28th place in the last competition fell to 4th place. Saturday's surprise performance was delivered by Pawel Karelin, the 17-year-old Russian who has yet to compete in the FIS World Cup but who posted the longest jump in the first round in front of the 13'000 enthusiastic spectators. The surprise winner on the Hans Renner Hill in Oberhof was Kamil Stoch of Poland, ahead of Dernej Damjan (SLO).

"We're pleased about how the new rules worked out during the FIS Grand Prix 2007. Both the decrease in the number of pre-qualified jumpers (from 15 to 10) and the changes in competition management functioned as we intended. In fact, we have received very positive comments from the trainers and teams regarding the new role description for the Assistant Technical Delegates," commented Walter Hofer, FIS Race Director Ski Jumping and added: "The so-called Four-Nations-Grand-Prix also received a lot of good feedback and the absolute highlights - each with great atmosphere and lots of spectators - were the events in Zakopane (POL), Oberhof and Klingenthal (GER). And, of course, we're delighted to see the appearance of new names on the top, especially the young talents from Russia, Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, all countries that we have been supporting in the long term."

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Season's first big air to Piiroinen, parallel riders to open season indoors
Stefan Gimpl (AUT)
Crowd in Rotterdam

The reigning NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup big air title holder Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) celebrated victory in the season opening for the jump aces last Sunday. In the final knock-out round, he performed a Cab 1080 edging the 2006 FIS World Cup champion Stefan Gimpl (AUT). In front of 25'000 spectators near the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam (NED), Gimpl led after the first jump but couldn't respond to Piiroinen although he landed his first-ever Frontside 1080 in competition. The 20-year-old Finn claimed his career-fourth World Cup victory; this time in the new competition format that only allows a winning trick to be performed once in the finals: "I like the new format because everyone has to show even more of their abilities. It was a great contest," Piiroinen commented.

The NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup will continue on Friday, October 12th, as the World Cup circus stops in SnowWorld Landgraaf (NED) for the fifth consecutive year for the alpine riders' season opening. The carving specialists, including all the top riders and last year's podium finishers, will compete in enthralling duels. On the ladies' side, last year's indoor winner Amelie Kober (GER) will be challenged to repeat the feat. In the men's competition, Siegfried Grabner (AUT) will try to extend his series of victories to three.

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Team Austria in the Vatican
Team Austria visiting Vatican
Photo: Skionline.ch

The Austrian Alpine team received a special honor on Saturday, 6th October: Pope Benedikt XVI granted 60 members of the team a private audience in the Vatican. The Austrian delegation, including Olympic champion Hermann Maier and overall FIS World Cup winner Nicole Hosp among others, are said to have felt very privileged to have such a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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FIS Masters in the Southern Hemisphere
The super G course at Valle Nevado
Photo: Ski Racing

Four FIS Alpine Masters events took place in excellent snow conditions in La Parva and Valle Nevado (CHI) mid-September. All events counted for the FIS Alpine Masters South American Cup 2007. The last two events, held in Valle Nevado, also counted for the FIS Masters Cup which for the third time held its opening races in the Southern hemisphere. The FIS Masters World Cup will continue with˙a full schedule in Europe, a North American stop in Canada in March, and˙return to˙Europe for the masters World Championships in early April in Austria. In Chile, the participation of various Masters World Champions ensured a high level of the competition; more than half of the racers came from abroad as a record number of 97 racers from 12 different nations scored points. Yet another highlight was the typical Chilean lamb barbecue offered by the Masters Club of Chile, led by President Roberto Koifman, after the La Parva race.

For Snowboard Masters, the Brazilian Snow Sports Federation organized the first ever˙slopestyle˙Masters event followed by a snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom in El Colorado (CHI) in August, together with the FIS Snowboard South American Cup 2007. Participants included riders from eight nations. Efforts to further develop the Snowboard Masters continue, including the development of specific computer programs, creation of independent FIS Codes and incentives to other NSAs to organize Masters events.

Contributed by Stefano Arnhold

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 Inside FIS 

Grand Finals 2008 preparations in full swing

Preparations are well underway in Bormio, Santa Caterina and Valmalenco (ITA) for the FIS World Cup Grand Finals 2008, set to take place from 12th-16th March 2008.

The Alpine Finals will feature the season's last races in four FIS Alpine World Cup events (slalom, giant slalom, super-G and downhill) with competitions starting as from Wednesday 12th March. All men's and ladies races - ladies for the first time since 2003 - will be held on the (in)famous Stelvio slope. The schedule will conclude with the nations' team event on Sunday, 16th March. As at the traditional New Year's men's downhill race, the Finals finish area will be at the bottom of the slope.

As a premiere, the Cross-Country World Cup Final in Santa Caterina will be staged as a mini competition series. Starting with a prologue and followed by two distance races, the three-race weekend - only entry in all races is possible - will test the athletes in diverse ways while delivering a maximum of 300 FIS World Cup points to the best athletes. For carrying out the new Finals race program, construction work to broaden the trails, modify a downhill section and complete a bridge is underway with scheduled completion by the end of October. A final course and TV inspection with host broadcaster RAI and rights holder Infront Italy is scheduled for 30th October.

Valmalenco will host the FIS Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard World Cup finals. Work on the snowboard and ski cross courses features, the moguls course and big air venue has already been finished and so are the adaptations to the snow-making system. Work on the half-pipe, for both Snowboard and Freestyle, will begin next week and is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

All the various organizing˙teams in the Bormio region are looking forward to the culmination of the 2007/08 season there.˙For more information, the home page for the FIS Grand Finals 2008 is already online at www.grandfinals2008.com.

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Results from the first year with FIS ISS
FIS ISS interview in progress
Source: OSTRC

The FIS Injury Surveillance System (FIS ISS) was established prior to the 2006-2007 season with the ultimate aim of reducing the injury rates with elite skiers and snowboarders. The system is based on injury reports from the FIS Technical Delegates (TDs), and the objective is to record all injuries that occur during official training or competition requiring attention by medical personnel. The report form is found with the other TD forms on the FIS website. The FIS ISS is planned to be an ongoing system and is generously supported by DJO.

During the 2006-2007 season, 902 FIS World Cup athletes from 9 nations were interviewed towards the end of the season regarding injuries they might have sustained. As presented at the FIS Autumn Meetings in Zurich, results from the interviews showed that injuries to the knee were the most common injuries in all disciplines (Alpine, Freestyle, Snowboard, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined), except for Cross-Country, where lower back problems were most common. Nearly half of all injuries, 139 of 296 or 47%, happened in FIS World Cup competitions/World Championships (WSC) or in official training at these events as opposed to other preparations training or when World Cup athletes competed at other level events. It could be estimated that in Alpine, Freestyle and Snowboard there were 15, 14 and 11 injuries per 100 athletes in World Cup competitions/WSC or official training, if injuries which caused the athlete to miss at least one day were considered. In comparison, Nordic Combined, Ski Jumping and Cross-Country had 11, 6 and 3 injuries per 100 athletes per season, respectively. Between 22% - 43% of all injuries were more severe injuries, leading to more than one month of missed participation. However, no more severe injuries were recorded in Cross-Country Skiing.

The reports from the TDs turned out to be reasonably accurate when they were completed, yet only 1/3 - 1/4 of all injuries were reported. For next season, the aim is to involve all TDs in the injury recording, so that injury patterns and types in the various disciplines within FIS can be continually analyzed. This will enable the FIS ISS to lay an important foundation for making ski sports as safe as possible for elite skiers and snowboarders in the future. One suggestion for obtaining more complete data is for the TDs to involve race doctors and ski patrols, as well as for the teams to consistently report back to the TDs if an injury happens in competition and official training.

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FIS World Championship candidates in Cape Town
Arabella Sheraton Cape Town

Small delegations representing the 2012 and 2013 FIS World Championships candidates are travelling to Cape Town, South Africa this week to take part in meetings and inspections of the site for the 46th International Ski Congress. Scheduled for 12th-13th October, the meetings and site inspection will include representatives from all twelve bid committees - four candidates for Alpine, five for Nordic, two for Ski Flying and one for Freestyle - and key members of the FIS staff.

In addition to meetings and tours of the Arabella Sheraton, the host hotel for the FIS Congress, and the exhibition company regarding booth space and layout, delegations will also discuss the procedures review the rules governing candidate promotional activities during the Congress and draw for the order of the final presentations to the FIS Council.

The decision of which candidate will earn the right to host the 2012 and 2013 FIS World Championships could be determined by as many as three rounds (notwithstanding ties for last position) of voting by the 17 members of the FIS Council on 29th May, 2008.

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Cross-Country TV Seminar: Delivering emotions on TV
Producing Cross-Country
Photo: Thomas Strobl

On October 8th-9th, FIS Marketing led by Christian Knauth organized a second successful FIS TV Workshop for Cross-Country Skiing. The goal was to identify key concepts for optimizing TV production for the FIS World Cup Cross-Country as well as the Cross-Country part of the FIS World Cup Nordic Combined. The seminar was led by Thomas Strobl, FIS TV Expert, and the participants included leading TV professionals from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland along with representatives of the rights holder Infront Italy and other stakeholders including FIS Cross-Country leaders Vegard Ulvang, Tiit Pekk, Jrg Capol and FIS Race Director Nordic Combined Uli Wehling.

One of the main seminar subjects was TV production for the various events especially˙individual start races - one of the most challenging competition formats to produce - with a special focus on the type of preparation required from TV stations to optimize the quality of production. Further, the group of experts reviewed the FIS TV graphics developed and presented by Swiss Timing Sports Service. A recurring theme in the discussion was the need to deliver strong emotions to both the TV viewers and on-site spectators. An attempt to improve this during the coming season will be made at the World Cup in Beitostoelen (NOR) which will feature the first trial for using different starting intervals in an individual start race so that the top-ranked athletes will start with longer intervals (e.g. 60 sec) compared with the first starters (e.g. 15 sec). Another possibility for better conveying emotions will be the use of the so-called `leader's box' for the current leader to wait in the finish as already used e.g. in Alpine Skiing.

"The TV Expert Seminar provided a great opportunity for exchanging experiences and opinions and for sharing knowledge. Thanks to everyone's active participation and frank and open discussions, we're now in a position to take a step forward in delivering a good show for Cross-Country spectators," summarized Thomas Strobl.

Contributed by Sandra Spitz

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Course work for 2011 begins

Work to get the Kandahar course in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) ready for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2011 began last week. The so-called FIS Schneise ("FIS Corridor") is the first part of the course being adjusted as this key stretch of the course is being widened from 16 to 39 meters. The inner side of the slope will also be better secured while a new bridge is being built on the side of the safety nets, replacing the old wood construction dating from 1978. This first phase of construction is set to finish in November. Additional modifications to the Kandahar are planned for 2008 in order to enable the 2009 World Cup events, for both ladies and men, and the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships to take place on the championship courses.

The preparations for the 2011 event are making good progress in other areas, too. Most of the required hotel rooms for team accommodation have already been contractually agreed, including the designation of the participating hotels as Official Team Hotels with a number of associated marketing benefits.

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Skiing in Ukraine: Carpathian Impressions
Bukovel Ski Area

Ukraine is known to have some good skiers, such as the Cross-Country skiers Valentyna Shevchenko, Lada Nesterenko and Roman Leybyuk and the Freestyle skiers Stanislav Kravchuk, Enver Ablaev and Nadezhda Didenko. At the same time, the country of 48 million inhabitants and world-famous athletes including Andriy Shevchenko and the Klitchko brothers exhibits great potential to develop into a much stronger skiing nation.

The Carpathian mountain region in the western part of the country has a long skiing history as it used to serve as the main training base for the Soviet athletes in the past. A FIS Aid and Promotion delegation recently traveled to visit the southern Carpathian region called Hutzushyna, governed through the city of Ivano-Frankivsk. Along with visits to several local training sites, the delegation was able to attend the 21st Carpathian Cup for Ski Jumping. The Cup is traditionally staged in the village of Vorokhta. This year, teams from Russia, Romania, Belarus and Ukraine participated. Vorokhta is also the home of the new Bukovel ski resort that continues to attract significant investment and already boasts more than 50km of prepared slopes and modern equipment. As an indication of emerging competitive activity, Bukovel will host a SES race this coming December.

Contributed by Joe Meiner

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