News from the World of Skiing 

  Busy December World Cup weekend ... more

  Freestyle season begins in Tignes (FRA) ... more

  2012 Winter Youth Games bidding to start next year ... more

  Sport in the EU reform treaty to be signed ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS President to receive honorary degree in Bulgaria ... more

  Some schedule changes ... more

  Stein Eriksen turns 80 ... more

  FIS Medical Committee Educational Series: Part 5

Competitions and Cold ... more

  Condolences ... more


 In Depth 

  Four months on the job: FIS Event Manager Niklas Carlsson ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Busy December World Cup weekend
Team CZE
Photo: NordicFocus
Thomas Morgenstern (AUT)
Photo: NordicFocus

Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) made an impressive comeback to the Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country in Davos (SUI) last weekend. In her first World Cup competition since October, she returned straight to the top, claiming victory ahead of Vibeke Skofterud (NOR). Marit Bjoergen (NOR) kept her overall World Cup lead despite her illness-related absence.

In the excitingly tight men's race, Alex Teichmann (GER) again showed his strength in the final kilometers. 26-year-old Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN) took third, his first podium place ever. For Teichmann, it was the second World Cup victory this season and the third podium place in as many distance races which helped him reclaim the overall World Cup leader's yellow bib from Lukas Bauer (CZE). In the ladies' relay, Norway took the honors ahead of Germany while in the men's competition, the team from the Czech Republic claimed their first-ever World Cup relay win as the top eight teams finished within 7 seconds. Norway continues to lead the Nations' Cup as the World Cup is scheduled to continue in Rybinsk (RUS) next weekend.

In the e.on Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping in Trondheim, Thomas Morgenstern from Austria made it three from three. After winning on Saturday, he took another clear victory on Sunday as Team Austria swept the podium. On Saturday, Tom Hilde (NOR) was able to break through the Austrian dominance in taking 3rd behind Morgenstern and Gregor Schlierenzauer. Morgenstern now leads the overall World Cup rankings with the maximum 300 of 300 possible points after three competitions.

The Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined also continued in Trondheim. Compared with the weather challenges in the last two years, the conditions were excellent this time around. In the individual Gundersen event, Bill Demong (USA) recorded his third World Cup victory. Sunday's sprint competition saw yet another tight competition in which Christoph Bieler (AUT) turned out to be the strongest in the final sprint. Ronny Ackermann (GER), who collected a second and a fifth place in Trondheim, leads the overall World Cup as the tour moves to Ramsau (AUT) next.

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Britt Janyk (CAN)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Men's GS top 3
Photo: Agence Zoom

The ladies Audi FIS Alpine World Cup finished its North American tour in Aspen (USA) on Sunday. After beautiful training days, the town got snowed under with some 80 cm of powder and the first downhill in Aspen since 1988 had to be rescheduled to Saturday and the super-G cancelled.

Held in challenging soft snow conditions despite impressive efforts put in by the course crew, the downhill victory went to Canada's Britt Janyk ahead of the Austrian duo Marlies Schild and Renate Goetschl. For Janyk it was her maiden World Cup victory as she also became the first Canadian female to win a World Cup DH since 1993.

In Sunday's slalom, the soft snow conditions helped tighten up the World Cup standings. Schild, winner of nine of the last 11 World Cup slaloms did not finish the second run whilst teammate Nicole Hosp put on an astounding display of prowess to claim the win over first-run leader Tanja Poutiainen of Finland. Despite her DNF, Schild maintained her lead in the World Cup overall standings, 17 points ahead of Hosp who now leads the slalom standings by 25 points over Schild. The ladies next compete in St. Moritz (SUI) in two speed events.

In the men's Alpine World Cup in Bad Kleinkirchheim (AUT), Benjamin Raich returned to the top of the overall World Cup standings as his consistency paid off delivering his first win of the season in Sunday's slalom. It was his landmark 30th career win. Last season's shooting star, Jens Byggmark of Sweden, also made a podium comeback in 2nd. Beaver Creek winner Daniel Albrecht (SUI) may have lost the lead to Raich but is still in 2nd place overall.

Bad Kleinkirchheim proved to be a great stop for the Italians who collected three of the six podium places. Massimiliano Blardone and Manfred Moelgg took two of the top spots in giant slalom, whilst Team Italia finished 3-4-5 in the slalom, including Moelgg in 3rd. Excellent timing for Squarra Azurra since the Tour will continue in Val Gardena-Groeden and La Villa - Alta Badia next weekend before it is time for the traditional New Year's downhill in Bormio (also ITA).

In Limone Piemonte, it was another Austrian day: Heidi Neururer and Manuel Veith (both AUT) took their career-first parallel giant slalom wins each as the Italian winter sport resort debuted in the NOKIA FIS Snowboard World Cup. In the ladies' final, the 28-year-old reigning parallel slalom World Champion successfully competed against the 2007 parallel giant slalom gold medallist Ekatarina Tudigescheva from Russia. With the victory, Neururer also increased her lead in the parallel World Cup.

On the men's side, Manuel Veith surprised the entire Alpine snowboarding elite by not only jumping on the podium for the first time but also by taking his first ever World Cup victory. The 22-year-old rider from Schladming showed nerves of steel in the final against Daniel Biveson. Remarkably, in the big final, he caught up a gap of 28 hundredths of a second at the very end of the course. Biveson, for his part, claimed the lead in the World Cup for the first time in his eleven-year career.

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Freestyle season begins in Tignes (FRA)
Tignes moguls course Wednesday

The Freestyle FIS World Cup season will launch tomorrow Thursday, 13th December in Tignes (FRA) with the ladies' and men's mogul competitions. Tignes is one of the most experienced hosts on the Freestyle tour that first featured on the schedule in 1980.

Many teams have been training in Tignes for the past few days and are anxious to get the season underway on Thursday, December 13. The conditions are excellent: "Until 10th December, more snow had fallen in Tignes than during the entire last season. The course is in great shape and everyone is looking forward to the start of the season," stated Joe Fitzgerald, FIS Freestyle Coordinator.

The first World Cup event of the season will also see a new Timing and Data partner join the team. 'Sport Timing' (www.sport-timing.at) is FIS Freestyle World Cup's new service partner. Founded in 1996 Sport Timing is based out of Feldkirchen, Austria and will provide timing and data for all four Freestyle World Cup events.

After Tignes, the Freestyle FIS World Cup will continue with the aerials opener at Lianhua Mountain (CHN) just before Christmas. The ski cross World Cup will start after the New Year's with the French mini-Tour, or back-to-back competitions in Les Contamines and Flaine. The second and third mogul events will take place at Lake Placid (USA) in mid-January.

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2012 Winter Youth Games bidding to start next year
Winter Youth Olympic Games as of 2012
Photo: Robert Kwong

The International Olympic Committee announced that the process to select a host city for the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2012 will begin in early 2008, just days after the decision by the IOC Memersto elect the city that will host the first summer YOG in 2010.

Candidate cities will have to be nominated by their National Olympic Committees by 6th March, 2008.The winter city candidature files will be due at the IOC on 19th June 2008, with a short list to be decided on 4th August. A postal vote will take place among the IOC Members in November with the announcement of a winner planned for December.

The IOC last month short-listed five cities as Candidate Cities to host the first Summer YOG in 2010. These are: Athens, Bangkok, Moscow, Singapore and Turin.

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Sport in the EU reform treaty to be signed

The European Union (EU) reform treaty, adopted by the heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states, in Lisbon (POR) on 18th October will be signed in Lisbon tomorrow Thursday 13th December. This is the first EU treaty that makes explicit reference to the specific nature of sport.

Article 124a) of the new treaty stipulates that "The Union shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues while taking account of its specific nature, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function".

The Olympic and sporting movement has high hopes for the inclusion of the notion of the specific nature of sport in the EU treaty and will closely follow its application, most notably when it comes to defining its exact contents.

The IOC President Jacques Rogge commented: "The Olympic Movement has fought for a legal basis for sport in the EU for more than 12 years. Now I can say it was worth the endurance. The reference to the specificity of sport will strengthen the role of sport in Europe. Sport cannot be approached only as an economic activity. The biggest part of sport, taking place at grassroots level, is based on voluntary structures. With the reference to sport in the EU Reform Treaty, it will be easier for sports organisations in Europe to fulfil their educational and social role in society."

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 Inside FIS 

FIS President to receive honorary degree in Bulgaria
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper
Photo: Agence Zoom

On Friday, 14th December, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper will meet the President of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, in Sofia. Before being received at the President's Office, President Kasper will visit the National Sports Academy of Bulgaria, where the Rector will confer on him the title of Doctor Honoris Causa.

In the evening, he will deliver the official opening remarks at the 6th FIS Leaders' Seminar that 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 presentations by will include a discussion by Peter Keller from the United Nations World Tourism Organization on 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.

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Some schedule changes
Villach Alpenarena
Photo: www.skispringen.com

Nove Mesto na Morave (CZE) will replace Oberstdorf (GER) as the host of the fourth and fifth Stages of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear on 1st-2nd January, 2008. The change of the venue also led to an adaptation of the competition schedule: on New Year's Day, there will be a handicap start race over 10 km (women) and 15 km (men) in the free technique rather than a pursuit race in both techniques, while on 2nd January, the interval start competitions in the classical technique will be carried out according to the original plan. The FIS Tour de Ski 2007/08 will consist of eight races in ten days.

There has also been a schedule change in the e.on Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping. The normal hill competition scheduled in Kranj (SLO) for 16th December 2007 had to be cancelled due to a lack of snow. The competition has been rescheduled in Villach (AUT) on 13th December. Villach will now stage two back-to-back competitions as it was already scheduled to organize a night event on Friday, 14th December 2007.

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Stein Eriksen turns 80
Stein Eriksen
Photo: IOC Olympic Museum

FIS sends its best wishes to Stein Eriksen (NOR) who turned 80 yesterday, December 11th 2007. On winning gold in the giant slalom at the Olympic Winter Games in 1952 in Oslo (NOR), Stein Eriksen became the first Olympic Champion in the men's Alpine events who did not come from the Alpine countries. He went on to win gold in slalom, too, and became a three-time World Champion at the World Ski Championships in re (SWE) in 1954. In 1952, he received the Holmenkollen medal and in 1997, the highest Norwegian award from the King of Norway. Stein Eriksen, one of the living legends in Alpine ski racing, currenty lives in Deer Valley, Utah and in Montana, USA.

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FIS Medical Committee Educational Series: Part 5
Photo: Agence Zoom

Competitions and Cold

The fifth article in the FIS Medical Committee Educational Series, entitled Competitions and Cold written by Inggard Lereim (NOR), member of the FIS Medical Committee, is available. This paper discusses the potentially damaging effects of low temperature or of wind chill. It sets recommended minimum temperature limits for different sports and provides guidance for recognizing and treating the major cold injuries including hypothermia and direct cold damage to the exposed areas of the body.

To read or download the complete article, please click here for the short version and here for the long version.

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Condolences

FIS sends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Joe Otsuki, the 79-year-old, long-time member of the FIS Freestyle Committee from Japan, who passed away on Friday 7th December. Mr. Otsuki served on the FIS Freestyle Committee from 1985 to 1998 and was the chairman of the Freestyle Committee in the Ski Association of Japan for 12 years. Playing a key role in the early development of Freestyle Skiing in Japan, as well as around Asia, Mr. Otsuki began working with Freestyle in 1980. He was also a key person behind many national and international competitions, such as the Asian Winter Games in Harbin, the 1997 FIS Freestyle World Championships in Iizuna kogen and many others. This pioneer and supporter of Freestyle Skiing will be sorely missed.

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 In Depth 

Four months on the job: FIS Event Manager Niklas Carlsson
Niklas Carlsson

The newest member of the FIS staff, Niklas Carlsson (SWE) joined the organization on 1st August in the recently created position of the FIS Event Manager with the main responsibility for advising and supporting the Local Organizing Committees in their preparations for major FIS events, notably the FIS World Championships. He has a special focus on the festival and promotional activities supporting the sports competition program.

Niklas previously served as Event Manager with the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2007 in re (SWE). Prior to that, he was General Manager for Alpine, Freestyle, Telemark and Speed Skiing and Snowboarding at the Swedish Ski Association.

FIS Newsflash: How is it going after a bit more than 4 months in your new role?

Niklas Carlsson: It's going quite well. FIS is a big organization with its 108 member National Ski Associations, all nine disciplines and the many organizers, so there has been a lot to learn and many people to meet during the first four months. It was also a big change for me and my family to move from re in the North to Switzerland in the middle of Europe, but we are settled now and feel comfortable with our lives here.

FIS Newsflash: What have you been working on since you started?

Niklas Carlsson: One of my first tasks was to be part of the FIS Inspection Group visiting all the candidates for the FIS World Ski Championships 2012 and 2013. This year we had a record number of applicants including two candidates for the 2012 Ski Flying championships, four candidates for the Alpine events, five for the Nordic events, and one for freestyle, so there has been a lot of travelling during the first period to visit them all. However, this was excellent for me because I had the chance to meet many organizing committees and a chance to talk with all our FIS Race Directors and learn their views on our different disciplines.

FIS Newsflash: What will you focus on next?

Niklas Carlsson: This year, we will only have one World Championships, in Ski Flying in Oberstdorf (GER) in February. For the other disciplines, the focus is on the following season, 2008/09, when we will have another year of FIS World Championships. I am currently trying to support and stimulate the organizing committees for the 2009 events in their preparations. After some challenges this summer notably in Val d'Isre and Liberec, it now feels that everything is more or less back on track and that they are making good progress. The biggest event we will have this year will be the FIS Grand Finals 2008 and FIS is supporting the organizing committee in Bormio (ITA) in their preparation for this extensive event. I think we will have great World Cup finals there.

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