News from the World of Skiing 

  Ready.set.go: Alpine and Cross-Country World Cups at starting blocks ... more

  Flander and Austrian ladies best in Slden parallel giant slalom ... more

  Now available: The first-ever book on Worldloppet ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS Forum Alpinum in Slden on Friday ... more

  Gear from Halti - FIS official clothing supplier - arrives ... more

  French Ski Association visits Oberhofen ... more

  Educating Cross-Country TDs ... more

  FIS Aid & Promotion: Leaders in Bansko, Cross-Country camp in Liberec ... more


 In Depth 

  Before the season with Jrg Capol ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Ready.set.go: Alpine and Cross-Country World Cups at starting blocks
Dsseldorf course
Photo: NordicFocus
Glacier Opening
Photo: Agence Zoom

In just three days, the FIS Alpine and Cross-Country World Cups will launch their 2007/08 seasons on 27th-28th October in Slden (AUT) and Dsseldorf (GER), respectively. In Slden, it will be the 10th anniversary of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup's Glacier Opening and conditions are very good this year, after the first attempt to organize the celebrations last year was literally washed away by the warm rain just days before the event.

This time, the weather has cooperated with a cold front over Europe bringing snowfall along with excellent conditions for snow-making. The mixture of natural and man-made snow on the glacier giant slalom courses has allowed for excellent preparations. "The course is looking great," commented Hans Pieren, FIS Race Director for the men's technical events from the Rettenbach glacier in Slden. He added: "We are just now working with the water injection bar and should be 90% finished by tonight. There is enough snow and it is also of good quality. Even if it may get a bit warmer and sunnier for the weekend, we will have no problem carrying out the events." For more information on the World Cup Opening in Slden, click here.

The Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country will launch the season in Dsseldorf (GER) for the 6th time. About 150 athletes from 20 nations will be competing for the first points of the new season. Both overall World Cup winners 2006/2007 Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) and Tobias Angerer (GER), as well as Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR), the sprint World Cup winner 2006/2007, and `Mr. Dsseldorf'' Peter Larsson (SWE), the four-time winner of the opening sprint race, are all among the competitors entered.

Besides top level sport, there will be a lot going on in Dsseldorf. Switzerland Tourism will deliver a substantial entertainment program, including a Swiss village with skiing opportunities, a toboggan run, Guggenmusik and Alpine macaroni & cheese. On Saturday, the legendary World Cup Party will again take place at the Allrounder Ski Hall in Neuss, the home of all the snow on the Rhein promenade. Click here for more information.

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Flander and Austrian ladies best in Slden parallel giant slalom
Rok Flander (SLO)
Ladies podium in Soelden

Rok Flander (SLO) took a solid victory in the first parallel giant slalom of the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup 2007/2008 season. He triumphed over Daniel Biveson of Sweden in the final duel on the Rettenbach glacier in Slden (AUT) last Saturday. Flander had a very narrow lead after the first heat but then chose a nearly perfect line in the second one to secure victory and claim the second spot in the parallel FIS World Cup rankings. The winner of the Landgraaf (NED) indoor parallel slalom Mathieu Bozzetto (FRA) finished fifth and kept his yellow jersey.

In the ladies' race, the Austrian ladies took a double victory as Marion Kreiner finished ahead of Heidi Neururer. It was the first World Cup victory for Kreiner. Neururer was second a week ago in the season opening parallel slalom, too, and now leads the ladies' parallel FIS World Cup. The Dutch rider Nicolien Sauerbreij also continued her strong performances with a third place on the Austrian glacier on Sunday, following on the heels of a fourth-place finish on her home turf.

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Now available: The first-ever book on Worldloppet

Worldloppet, the international sports federation of cross-country skiing marathons, has just published a book to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The book which is entitled Worldloppet - 30 years of skiing around the world is a real treasure for the friends of popular skiing and skiing marathons. It includes several historical accounts and perspectives on the organization's development since its founding in 1978, ample statistics, all the winners, a list of all World Masters, as well as detailed descriptions of all the Worldloppet races. The book will be available at all Worldloppet races (race office) at the price of _10. It can also be ordered from the Worldloppet secretariat for home delivery at an additional cost of ca _7 for shipping and handling. To get your copy now, send an e-mail to info@worldloppet.com or call +390462501110.

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 Inside FIS 

FIS Forum Alpinum in Slden on Friday

The FIS Forum Alpinum - the Information Session for Ski Journalists - will again take place the day before the Opening of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season 2007/08 in Slden (AUT), on Friday 26th October. It will be held in the Freizeit Arena in Slden beginning at 9:00 CET. This will be the 15th time that the FIS management led by FIS President Gian Franco Kasper together with the leading FIS Alpine professionals will provide an update on FIS' activities and stand ready for questions and answers with the international ski media. Presentations by the Organizing Committees of the FIS Grand Finals 2008 in Bormio (ITA) and the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2009 in Val d'Isre (FRA) are also scheduled, as is an introduction of the FIS Official Clothing Supplier, Halti of Finland. For a detailed agenda, click here.

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Gear from Halti - FIS official clothing supplier - arrives

As of the current season, Halti is the "FIS Official Clothing Supplier," providing clothing to the more than 100 FIS officials and professionals supporting the organization of the FIS World Cups. The extensive package of gear including everything from underwear, headgear and gloves to ski and sportswear as well as travel jackets arrived in the FIS Office in Oberhofen (SUI) last week. Timo Puputti, Halti's coordinator for the FIS clothing collection, joined the FIS staff in the office for the entire week to supervise the preparation of the individual packages of gear for each FIS official.

On Monday, Halti leadership including Martti Uusitalo, Senior Vice President, and Pasi Jaatinen, Marketing Director, also visited Oberhofen for a final check of the FIS official clothing. They then traveled to Val d'Isre (FRA) where Halti will be the official sponsor and clothing supplier of the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Determined to make the most of its championship sponsorship, Halti is already in the process of implementing a number of creative promotional activities on and around the FIS World Cup, various ski areas and events as well as its retail partners and distributors.

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French Ski Association visits Oberhofen

A delegation from the French Ski Association met with FIS President Gian Franco Kasper and Secretary General Sarah Lewis in the FIS Office in Oberhofen (SUI) on Monday 22nd October. Led by President Alain Methiaz, together with FIS Council Member Michel Vion, Administrative Director David Loison, Alpine Executive Board Member Gilles Mazzega, National Technical Director Fabien Saguez and Alpine Director Yves Dimier, the delegation discussed a variety of topics including future World Cup calendars, plans for developing Cross-Country, the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Val d'Isre, the integration of Snowboarding into the activities of the French Ski Association as well as the numerous other events organized in France, as one of the main organizer of international events in all the FIS disciplines.

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Educating Cross-Country TDs
Practical exercise in Manchester
Haanja TDs
Doubleclick to enlarge

A large number of seminars for the FIS Cross-Country Technical Delegates (TDs) have been scheduled for the autumn months this year. Following the update for the World Cup TDs held in conjunction with the FIS technical meetings in Zurich, the TDs from North America and Scandinavia were treated to an exceptional learning experience over the course of the past two weekends. Led by the Chairman of the FIS Sub-committee for Rules and Control Karl-Heinz Lickert (GER) and committee member Al Maddox (CAN), 22 - 18 of them from the USA and 4 from Canada - North American TDs gathered in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA a week ago. Last weekend, as many as 45 TDs or TD candidates from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Turkey attended their regional seminar in Haanja in the southernmost part of Estonia under the guidance of Kaarel Puetsep (SWE). The agenda at both sites included discussions on subjects such as the role of a TD, FIS points, sprint and pursuit competitions and the requirements and need for sanctions inside and outside of the competition.

Both groups also conducted practical exercises including setting up start grids and finish lanes for a pursuit competition at the New Bedford venue, or making suggestions for improving the stadium set-up for the different competition formats in Haanja, one of the venues for this season's FIS Scandinavian Cup. As social highlights, the New Bedford Ski Club offered a sirloin tip home-cooked dinner with "all the trimmings" whilst the Haanja group visited Estonia's highest point, Suur Munamgi (Egg Mountain) which reaches the altitude of 318m. Most importantly, both seminars enabled the TDs to gain insight into the FIS methods and ways of officiating a cross-country skiing event.

The Cross-Country educational program will continue with a long distance TD seminar in Tartu (EST) next weekend, followed by an East-European TD seminar in Zakopane (POL), a Cross-Country education seminar in Harbin (CHN) and a TD seminar for the Balkans Region by the middle of November.

Includes contributions by Bob Gross

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FIS Aid & Promotion: Leaders in Bansko, Cross-Country camp in Liberec
Bansko peak
Liberec Cross-Country area
Photo: OC Liberec

The 6th FIS Leaders' Seminar will be held in Bansko (BUL) from 14th-17th December 2007. The seminar will again be organized under the umbrella of the FIS Aid & Promotion program and is targeted at the management of the member National Ski Associations especially in developing ski nations. The agenda will include presentations by various experts such as Peter Keller from the United Nations World Tourism Organization who will discuss the impact of global warming on ski sports. Marc Girardelli, former Alpine Skiing World and Olympic Champion, will elaborate on the current requirements for building new ski resorts while Erwin Lauterwasser, FIS Environment expert, will address sustainable development in ski resorts. Seminar registrations are to be sent to Madeleine Erb (erb@fisski.ch) no later than on 16th November 2007.

The 2008 FIS Cross-Country Training Camp and Coaches' Education, targeted at the FIS member associations with one or two votes, will take place in Liberec (CZE) from 19th January - 2nd February, 2008. The aim of the camp is to bring the participating athletes on a level that they can participate in future FIS World Ski Championships. The training camp includes practical training, methodical/theoretical lessons, workshops and tests for athletes and coaches. The program will consist of separate education blocks but also of common training and instruction with athletes and coaches together.

This year, new selection criteria apply and registration is on a first-come-first-served basis, limited to a maximum of 35-40 participants meeting the criteria. Registrations are due in the FIS Office (attn. Madeleine Erb) by 9th November 2007.

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 In Depth 

Before the season with Jrg Capol
Jrg Capol
Photo: NordicFocus

The FIS Newsflash caught up with Jrg Capol, FIS Race Director for Cross-Country Skiing, just days before the start of the new season. He shared some thoughts about the winter that includes the second Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear and culminates in the FIS Grand Finals 2008 in Santa Caterina (ITA) in mid-March.

By Sandra Spitz

FIS Newsflash: How is your general feeling looking forward to the 2007-2008 season?

Jrg Capol: Firstly, I hope that overall we will have more snow than last season. At the same time, based on the lessons learnt last year, we can rest assured that our FIS World Cup organizers will be well-prepared. We now know that we have many very creative Organizing Committees that are able to manage even the most difficult situations. Secondly, I believe that education is key for our future success. We've never organized more seminars for referees, FIS Technical Delegates, homologation experts and so on than over the course of this summer and autumn. We are following a clear strategy focused on distributing knowledge and exchanging information and experiences in order to learn from each other and to develop.

FIS Newsflash: What is particular about this season?

Jrg Capol: There are a total of 10 nations organizing FIS World Cup Cross-Country competitions this season. Most of the Organizing Committees have a lot of experience, and we can expect a high general standard of event organization.

All in all, I believe that we have a well-balanced World Cup calendar. We will have a long World Cup week in Canmore where several competitions will be held at one site which allows us to reduce the number of venues on the calendar slightly. At the same time, we continue to have requests for several WC competitions from different countries. The test competitions for the FIS World Championships in Liberec are one of the season highlights, along with the Tour and the Final. In the Czech Republic we have a year to go until the 2009 championships and expect big audiences and great atmosphere.

FIS Newsflash: Are there any changes we should note in the World Cup or the Tour de Ski?

Jrg Capol: We have a lot of changes: In the World Cup, we'll hold the World Cup Final for the first time as a three-day `Mini Tour' in Bormio (ITA). This is to maintain high interest until the end of the season. Another novelty this season is that we will award overall FIS World Cup prize money to the best six athletes and also honor the Rookie of the Year (the best Under-23 athlete) with prize money.

Next weekend, we'll introduce the lucky loser rule in the team sprint, exactly as we did last year in the individual sprint races. The final change is that we'll have a trial of the nations' boxes in a mass start race in Rybinsk (RUS). We tested the nations' boxes that allow the possibility to change skis during an individual start race in Oslo at the traditional Holmenkollen races last season, and now we will try the concept for the first time in a mass start competition.

At the Tour de Ski, we've increased bonus seconds for the sprint races as well as introducing more bonus points during the distance races. For the first time, a Tour Team Standing will be introduced whereby the daily time scores for the best two athletes - both ladies and men - per team and day are added together. This year, athletes can also win World Cup points (half of a regular World Cup race) at each Stage, but only if they finish the Tour. Prague has come onboard as a new Tour venue and we will have a sprint race in the old town in front of the historical Prague castle on 30th December. The Tour will continue in Oberstdorf on 1st of January - that's also unique for the Cross-Country World Cup

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