News from the World of Skiing 

  Exciting finale on the 2nd Tour de Ski ... more

  Ahonen makes history on 56th Four-Hills-Tournament ... more

  F”hny World Cup weekend in Central Europe ... more

  Freestyle ski cross and half-pipe season to launch in Les Contamines (FRA) ... more

  FIS Carving Cup season kicks off in Italy ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Szczyrk 2008 confirmed ... more

  Book your pre- or post-Congress Tour now! ... more


 Member News 

  New breeze in Hungarian Alpine Skiing ... more

  2000 Swiss kids to experience joy of snow sports ... more

  Emotional farewell to legendary Coach Hess ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Exciting finale on the 2nd Tour de Ski
Charlotte Kalla (SWE)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Lukas Bauer (CZE)
Photo: NordicFocus

After 10 days and 8 Stages, the 2007/08 Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear is over. On the ladies' side, Charlotte Kalla (SWE) stormed to win the 2nd edition of the Tour in spectacular fashion on the last Stage. In the men's event, Lukas Bauer (CZE) was never in doubt on his way to cross the line first on Alpe Cermis, Val di Fiemme (ITA).

The 20-year-old talent Kalla caught Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) a third of the way up the Final Climb and made a decisive break with one kilometer to go. Arianna Follis (ITA) took third place, just ahead of Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) who skied the fastest ladies' time of the day to move up from 10th place to 4th. Kalla and Kuitunen had duelled for the leader's golden jersey for most of the Tour, with Kuitunen wearing it for five days although Kalla recorded a total of three Stage wins. Thanks to winning 2:49 minutes in time bonuses, Kuitunen took the ladies' Tour Sprint ranking. All in all, Kalla earned CHF 168'000 and whopping 642 World Cup points on the Tour. She now leads the FIS World Cup standings with 795 points.

In the men's competition, the 30-year-old Czech Bauer collected the king's crown after extending his lead over second place by nearly another minute during last Stage. Rene Sommerfeldt (GER) took second place in a dramatic sprint with Georgio Di Centa, posting the fastest time of the day to take the Italian right on the finish line. Altogether Bauer won five out of eight Stages of the Tour, conceding only the two sprint Stages and the mass start Stage 7 in which he scored the most bonus seconds. He netted a total of CHF 163'000 and 586 World Cup points from the Tour. In the men's Tour Sprint Ranking, the victory and 10'000 CHF in prize money went to Norway's Petter Northug who collected the most bonus seconds. Lukas Bauer now leads the FIS World Cup overall with 816 points over Tor Arne Hetland of Norway in 2nd with 515 points and Sommerfeldt in 3rd.

In the Tour Team Standing, the trophy went to Team Norway which ended up beating Team Russia by 4.21 minutes in the course of the eight Stages. Each day, the best two ladies and men on each team scored for the Team Standing.

After the 2nd edition of the series, Vegard Ulvang, Chairman of the FIS Cross-Country Committee commented: "One of the main goals for the Tour de Ski was to increase interest in Cross-Country Skiing. And that we have achieved! In terms of the number of TV viewers and number of media on site, the Tour is a different story. This was the 2nd Tour and we can already say that it has found its place on the calendar. This time around, we were again able to create a good story that developed Stage after Stage."

The Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country will continue with four World Cup events in Canmore (CAN) beginning on 22nd January.

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Ahonen makes history on 56th Four-Hills-Tournament
Five-time winner Ahonen
Photo: NordicFocus
Janne Ahonen nails it
Photo: NordicFocus

The 56th Jack Wolfskin Four-Hills-Tournament was a great success despite the weather adversities. With his triumph on the dramatic final round in the last competition in Bischofshofen (AUT) and the entire Tournament, the Flying Finn, Janne Ahonen, became the first athlete ever to win five overall Tournament titles. He also won the event in 1999, 2003, and 2005, as well as in 2006 when he shared victory with Jakub Janda of the Czech Republic.

The organizers can also be satisfied: "There were new TV records in Finland, Norway and Austria. The New Year's competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, for example, grabbed a market share of over 75% in Norway. In Austria, the market share was over 50% on average and 57% in peak times. In Germany, 1.5 million people more than the year before (6.24 million as opposed to 4.8 million) watched the Tournament with great interest," commented Tournament President Claus-Peter Horle.

This year's Tournament was the first time in history that the traditional event was held on three hills only. Due to strong winds, the infamous "Foehn", the Bergisel competition had to be cancelled on Friday and rescheduled in Bischofshofen on Saturday. Even so, four competitions were held as always. "The relocation from Innsbruck to Bischofshofen was the only possibility. The weather forecast for the next several days gave us no hope for a weather improvement," FIS Race Director Walter Hofer commented on the jury decision.

After the Four-Hills-Tournament, Thomas Morgenstern continues to hold a clear lead in the e.on Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping overall standings with 940 points, 286 points ahead of teammate Gregor Schlierenzauer (654 points), with Ahonen in 3rd (615 points). The World Cup will continue in Predazzo (ITA) next weekend after a five year break from the Italian site.

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F”hny World Cup weekend in Central Europe
Albrecht and Berthod take 1-2
Photo: Agence Zoom
Marlies Schild back on top
Photo: Agence Zoom

In the men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup, Adelboden (SUI) again lived up to its reputation as the World Cup's toughest giant slalom hill last Saturday. With an excellent second run, Marc Berthod claimed his second career win after his first win had also come at Adelboden, in slalom, last season. Berthod led a 1-2 Swiss victory ahead of his mate Daniel Albrecht, the best finish for the Swiss there since 1996. 23,000 fans were on site on Saturday to cheer the home team on in the difficult conditions caused by the dreaded F”hn wind that had arrived on Thursday, wreaking havoc in the Alps with warm temperatures.

On Sunday, slalom specialist Mario Matt won his eighth World Cup slalom race, beating Austrian teammate Benjamin Raich on the difficult Kuonisbaergli course. 34 racers˙failed to finish˙the first run, including the two Swiss heroes Berthod and Albrecht. With his 2nd place finish, Raich strengthened his lead in the World Cup overall standings over Didier Cuche who did not race in the slalom. Raich also leads the slalom standings over Felix Neureuther (GER) who took 3rd in Adelboden on Sunday.

The men's next race at another classical Swiss˙site, Wengen, where the super combined is scheduled for Friday, and the original programme reversed due to the current weather forecast with the slalom now on Saturday and the downhill on Sunday.

The ladies' tour stopped in Spindleruv Mlyn (CZE) where Denise Karbon (ITA) won her fourth consecutive World Cup giant slalom race this season on Saturday. It was the second time that the ladies returned to Spindleruv Mlyn after slalom and giant slalom events in December 2005, which were the first ever FIS Alpine World Cup races held in the Czech Republic.

In Sunday's slalom, Marlies Schild of Austria returned to the top of the podium after a two slalom null numbers, beating Slovakian veteran Veronika Zuzulova who posted her career's best result. Germany's Maria Riesch took 3rd, her fourth podium of the season all of them coming in different events. Despite not finishing on Sunday, Nicole Hosp of Austria, the defending overall World Cup champion, maintained her overall World Cup lead with 559 points, with Riesch climbing to the 2nd, 34 points behind. The ladies season will continue with a giant slalom and slalom combination in Maribor (SLO) this weekend.˙

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Graz big air site
Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED)

The Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined continued in a windy and rain/hail/snow-soaked Schonach (GER). On Saturday, Jason Lamy Chappuis of France finished third in the jumping competition of the sprint event but prevailed in the finish sprint on cross-country skis, taking the honors just two-tenths of a second ahead of American Bill Demong. In Sunday's Individual Gundersen competition, Norwegian Petter Tande took the victory over Hannu Manninen of Finland, who returned to the podium following a challenging early season due to sickness. After nine events, Ronnie Ackermann (GER)˙reclaimed the World Cup points lead from teammate Bjoern Kircheisen while Demong is 3rd. The next FIS World Cup Nordic Combined competitions will take place in Val di Fiemme (ITA) this coming weekend.

In the New Year's first NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup event, a big air in Graz (AUT), Stefan Gimpl celebrated a back-to-back victory at the turn of the year. Following his win in Sofia (BUL) before the holidays, the Austrian rider secured his career's third World Cup win in front of more than 7.000 enthralled spectators. The Finns Matti Kinnunen and Petja Piiroinen, brother of last season's FIS World Cup big air champion Peetu Piiroinen, completed the podium.

Tonight, the Alpine riders also contested the season's third parallel slalom in Bad Gastein (AUT). The wins there went to Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) und the men's parallel World Cup leader Mathieu Bozzetto (FRA). The experienced Dutch beat the young star Anke Karstens of Germany to claim her career-first World Cup win. Although there were six Austrians in the top eight after the qualifier, only Doris Gnther represented the host nation on the podium. On the men's side the veteran Bozzetto took already his third PS win of the season, no wonder that he is widely known as "Mr. Slalom."

The Snowboard season will continue in Bad Gastein on Sunday with the season's third Snowboard cross competition.

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Freestyle ski cross and half-pipe season to launch in Les Contamines (FRA)
Freestyle half-pipe season begins

The Freestyle FIS World Cup ski cross and half-pipe seasons are launching in Les Contamines (FRA) this weekend. The season kick-off event will see strong fields of between 120-130 entered athletes in the ski cross events while some 50 competitors will compete in the season opening Freestyle half-pipe. For the first time, Canadian and American ski cross teams will also be at start in large numbers. The course is in a good shape despite the currently warm weather. Cooler air with some precipitation is expected just before the competitions. Sunday's half-pipe competition will be shown on Eurosport on Sunday. For more information, visit the event web page here.

The second stop of the two-stop French ski cross tour will be in Flaine next week. Preparations there are already well underway; for more information, click here. The ski crossers then move to Kreischberg (AUT) on 20th January (more here). At the same time, the moguls and aerials part of the Freestyle family will be competing in Lake Placid (USA) from the 18th January.

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FIS Carving Cup season kicks off in Italy
Gianluca Grigoletto (ITA)

The 9th season of the "FIS Carving Cup", International World Edition, will start on 12th January. This year, the schedule of this special Alpine Skiing event includes ten venues, six of them in Italy, one each in Switzerland, Slovenia, Ukraine and Poland. The opening will take place on Folgarida's "Provetti", followed by two sites in Trentino including last year's World Challenge site Monte Bondone on 19th and 20th January, and, at the end of the month, the European Challenge 2008 in San Martino di Castrozza. Next in line are Airolo (SUI), Bukovel (UKR) and Kranjska Gora (SLO). The tour will return to Italy, Roccaraso, at the end of February. The first March race features a premiere: the competition take place on the outrun of the Olympic ski jump in Pragelato (ITA). The last two events will be carried out in Zakopane, Poland, on the splendid Harenda slope, and at Claviere (ITA) where the finals will be held on 15th-16th March. This last race is formally linked with the FIS Alpine European Cup Finals as Claviere will also host the ladies' giant slalom and slalom finals. All the Alpine competitors are also invited to participate in a buoy contest on the Carving course, challenging the season's best carvers!

Last year's cup winners Alessandra Merlin and Gianluca Grigoletto of Italy can expect an ever greater challenge from athletes from Switzerland, Slovenia, Poland and Germany. The prize money will again amount to _10'000 to be divided among the top 30 men and 10 women, and the Team ranking. The competition schedule also remains unchanged: Following two qualification runs on Saturday, the 30 best men and 10 best ladies (counting the best result of the two qualifiers) will start in Sunday's semi-finals, to be reduced to 10 and 5 for the final run. The course is made of about 20 curve zones, each formed by 3 buoys lined up horizontally, vertically or oblique. The outer buoy (red) provides 5 points, the one in the middle (yellow) 4 points, and the inner blue buoy 3 points. The result is given by the race time divided by buoy points. This makes carving very tactical, as the athletes have to choose whether they prefer collecting buoy points or setting a fast time. For further information, visit˙www.carvingcup.com.

Contributed by Marco Di Marco

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 Inside FIS 

Szczyrk 2008 confirmed
Szczyrk (POL)

The FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships and U-23 Cross-Country Championships 2008 in Szczyrk (POL) will take place as planned from 3rd - 10th February, 2008. Following last minute completion of some facilities for the Ski Jumping competitions in the coming days and a test event from 19th - 21st January, the Polish Ski Association and its organizing committee in Szczyrk will be ready to welcome the expected more than 700 participants from some 35 countries. The FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships together with the U-23 Cross-Country Championships are the largest event in the FIS Nordic disciplines after the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

For more information, visit www.beskidy2008.pl

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Book your pre- or post-Congress Tour now!
Photo: South African Tourism Office

The 46th International Ski Congress in Cape Town (RSA) from 26th - 31st May represents an important milestone for the development of skiing worldwide. Besides the FIS Congress, or the General Assembly of the International Ski Federation, on 30th May, the Congress Week will see the meetings of the FIS Council and the FIS Technical Committees taking place. On Thursday, 29th May, the FIS Council will elect the organizers of the FIS World Championships in 2012 and 2013. As a reminder, the official Congress registrations are due to FIS Travel Service by 31st January 2008. The hotel rooms at the Westin Grand Hotel in Cape Town will be allocated on a "first come - first served" basis.

To allow Congress participants to take advantage of their trip to South Africa, FIS Travel Service has prepared an extensive portfolio of Congress Tours. A total of 11 different Tours are on offer, from a Tour to the Victoria Falls from the Zambian side, to several options to explore the natural richness of the near-by national parks or the beauty of the famous Garden Route. For more information click here or contact FIS Travel for details and booking.

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 Member News 

New breeze in Hungarian Alpine Skiing
Anna Berecz (HUN)

Thanks to assistance from FIS, Hungarian Alpine skiers are enjoying a very special season currently. The Hungarian Ski Association has contracted a talented and ambitious coach from Italy, Ezio Ferin (49). While coaching skiing since 1981, Ferin has also collected significant experience as a windsurfing coach including preparing the Italian Olympic Sailing Team for the Atlanta Olympic Summer Games.

Since this summer, Ferin has led the Hungarian Alpine team at training camps in Kaprun in July and two camps on the Stelvio glacier in August. The team has set its sights at the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships in Spain in February. Initially in the summer, the training program focused on free skiing and technique exercises with just a few runs in the gates (giant slalom and slalom). In September, the team moved to Hintertux and started working in the gates, followed by a three-week camp in Pitztal in October. The team has greatly benefited from a chance to work with skiers such as Manfred Moelgg, Kentaro Minagawa, Urs Imboden and Kilian Albrecht. While most of the team will compete in FIS-level races this season, racers such as 19-year-old Anna Berecz, plan also to compete in some European and even occasional World Cup events. Already the team reports great progress, especially on the technical level.

Contributed by Dobor Desző

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2000 Swiss kids to experience joy of snow sports
Swiss Snow Weeks Anniversary Project

The Swiss Ski and Snowboard Schools and Swiss Snowsports are celebrating their 75th anniversary this season. To mark this milestone, the two organizations are inviting 2000 children from the lowlands to the mountains for a week. The goal of the initiative is provide these children with a glimpse into life on the mountains and fascination of snow sports.

The 2000 children represent a total of 75 school classes from the flat parts of Switzerland. From 21st-25th January 2008, they will be able to participate in a full week of snow activities, all costs covered. The expenses for transportation, room & board, ski instruction, ski equipment, lift tickets and supervision are all included in the snow sports camp package organized under the title of Swiss Snow Weeks. The educational sessions and work shops also include themes such as tourism and mountain environment.

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Emotional farewell to legendary Coach Hess
Reinhard Hess
Photo: Horst Nilgen

More than 1000 guests paid their last respects to Reinhard Hess, former Coach of the German Ski Jumping team at the funeral service held in Suhl, Thuringia, Germany on Tuesday. Mr. Hess passed away on Christmas Eve. Several current and former athletes, friends and family took a moment to commemorate the legendary coach and mentor, including the Minister President of Thuringia Dieter Althaus. Mr. Hess is credited as the most successful coach˙of all times in the FIS disciplines in Germany. The German ski jumpers won a total of 21 medals at FIS World Championships and Olympic Winter Games under his guidance.

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