News from the World of Skiing 

  Weather challenges last weekend's World Cups ... more

  Great ski cross and half-pipe season start in France ... more

  The challenge of the Streif, ladies in Cortina ... more

  Cross-Country returns to Canada with two years to go until Vancouver 2010 ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Peruvian visitors at FIS ... more

  Contribute your thoughts: IOC launches Virtual Olympic Congress ... more


 Member News 

  Opening of the K-90 hill in Otep„„ (EST) ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Weather challenges weekend's World Cups
Tom Hilde (NOR)
Photo: NordicFocus
Sebastian Haseney (GER)
Photo: NordicFocus

Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined in rainy Val di Fiemme

The 20-year-old Norwegian Tom Hilde collected a double victory as the e.on Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping competition visited Predazzo, Val di Fiemme (ITA). After his career-first victory in the one-round competition which had to be truncated due to difficult conditions and an unfortunate fall on Saturday, Hilde doubled his tally of wins less than 24 hours afterwards. Heavy rain continued to challenge the competitors on Sunday as well.

With a 2nd and a 4th places in Italy, Thomas Morgenstern’(AUT)continues to lead the World-Cup overall standings. He has 1070 points against 710 for Janne Ahonen from Finland. Morgenstern's teammate Gregor Schlierenzauer is 3rd with 707 points. The e.on Ruhrgas FIS World Cup Ski Jumping will continue with the season's first Ski Flying weekend in Harrachov (CZE) from 18th January 2008.

Also in Val di Fiemme, it was a German weekend in the Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined. In the Individual Gundersen competition on Saturday, Ronny Ackermann benefited from his excellent jumping performance and took an easy victory ahead of Bill Demong of USA and teammate Sebastian Haseney. On Sunday, in the hurricane sprint competition, it was Haseney's time to take his second career victory, seven years after the first one in 2001.

Thanks to the victory and a fifth place finish, Ackermann grew his lead in the overall ranking to 78 points ahead of Demong. Bjoern Kircheisen (GER) missed the weekend's competitions due to sickness and fell to third. The Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined will continue on 19th January in Klingenthal, Germany.

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From sun to fog and rain
Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Ladies' SBX in Bad Gastein

Grange and Miller were the winners as the men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup completed the Swiss part of the Classics in Wengen. To kick off the racing weekend, Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA) took the win in Friday's super combined with an excellent slalom run after a solid downhill race. Daniel Albrecht, the young Swiss hope, only lost 0.06 seconds and kept his lead in the event standings. On Saturday, Grange again smoked the field for a World Cup slalom win in steady snowfall that had forced organizers to swap out the slalom for the originally scheduled downhill. Several top contenders failed to complete the second run while the Swedes put two men in the top four, Byggmark in 2nd and Myhrer 4th.

On Sunday, Bode Miller (USA) won the Lauberhorn downhill in no uncertain fashion and caught Phil Mahre's 25-year-old U.S. win record with his 27th career win. Only Swiss veteran Didier Cuche cane within a full second of Miller's time. It was third straight time Americans have claimed the Lauberhorn. Miller also won last season and Daron Rahlves in 2006. While during the race on Sunday it was sunny, significant snow fell the night before making parts of the course challenging and soft.

With 20 of 41 events completed, Benjamin Raich (AUT) holds the lead in the World Cup overall standings with 690 to 611 over Bode Miller as the men's Tour moves to another Classic site, Kitzbuehel.

In Maribor (SLO), the ladies Audi FIS Alpine World Cup continued in rainy conditions. On Saturday, Austria's Elisabeth Goergl earned her career-first win and ended Denise Karbon's run of four straight giant slalom victories. Only the Swiss star Vreni Schneider has had more GS wins at the start of season, i.e. five. Sixth after the first run, Karbon rallied to finish third behind teammate Manuela Moelgg. The soft Mariborski course gave many favorites troubles after a warm front rolled through the region during the night, turning conditions upside down.

In Sunday's slalom, the defending overall World Cup champion and current leader Nicole Hosp (AUT) charged to her fourth podium of the season. Again in challenging weather conditions, she beat Slovakian veteran Veronika Zuzulova. Hosp now leads the standings with 699 points. Behind her, the race is tight with eight ladies from six different nations within 100 points of each other with Marlies Schild (AUT) and Maria Riesch (GER) sharing 2nd (574 points each).

In the season's third Snowboard cross competition in Bad Gastein (AUT) on Sunday Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Mario Fuchs (AUT) triumphed. The reigning World Champion from the USA successfully relegated Switzerland's Mellie Francon to 2nd spot and retained her points lead. Olympic Champion Tanja Frieden (SUI), recovering from a serious sickness, surprised with her 3rd place. On the men's side, Mario Fuchs was able to repeat his victory from 2006. Just as two years ago when NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup in snowboard cross last visited Bad Gastein, Shaun Palmer finished second. Stian Sivertzen of Norway took 4th in a high class final but managed to keep his leader's jersey.

Just as in Chile, where the snowboard cross season began last September, the world's best riders provided a spectacular show with enthralling head-to-head duels despite challenging foggy conditions. The boarder crossers will next compete in Leysin (SUI) on 1st February.

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Great ski cross and half-pipe season start in France
Ski cross in Les Contamines (FRA)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Half-pipe season opening
Photo: Agence NUTS

The ski cross season started with a two-stop French tour in Les Contamines and Flaine in good snow conditions. After the first two events, the reigning World Champion Tomas Kraus (CZE) has established a solid lead in the World Cup standings. With victories in both events, he leads over Enak Gavaggio of France. Overall, experience proved to be gold-worth since a minimum of 32 years were required to make the podium in the first two men's races.

By contrast, on the ladies' side the yellow leader's jersey will now be worn by 19-year-old Meryl Boulangeat of France. Teammate and four-time FIS World Cup champion Ophelie David took her 8th World Cup victory in Les Contamines but finished only 30th in Flaine. Hedda Berndtsen of Norway, the slalom bronze medalist in the St. Anton Worlds in 2001, took second and 11th and is now ranked 2nd ahead. The Freestyle FIS World Cup in ski cross will continue in Kreischberg (AUT) on Sunday, 20th January..

In the Freestyle half-pipe season opening in Les Contamines-Montjoie (FRA) on Sunday, Team Canada had an excellent showing as it claimed half of the available podium places. Among the ladies, Sarah Burke (CAN) prevailed in the ladies final ahead of Jennifer Hudak (USA). On the men's side Matthew Hayward (CAN) beat home favourite Kevin Rolland (FRA) while Justin Dorey (CAN) completed the podium. The qualifications were held in beautifully sunny conditions in the afternoon and a great crowd gathered in the town center for the finals. The pipe was in excellent shape. Sarah Burke delivered a solid performance in both final runs to take the victory, and claim the leader's yellow jersey. In the men's very high level final, Matthew Hayward performed a perfect first run including backtwist/cork 900/Alley Oop 540.’

The half-pipe Freestyle FIS World Cup will continue in Inawashiro (JPN), the venue for the 2009 FIS Freestyle World Championships in mid-February.

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The challenge of the Streif, ladies in Cortina
The Streif
Photo: OC Kitzbuehel
View of Cortina

This weekend, the men's’Alpine World Cup will continue with the 68th Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbuehel (AUT). Weather permitting, the competition schedule includes a super-G on Friday, downhill on Saturday and slalom on Sunday. With a total prize money purse of 550,000 Euros and nearly 80,000 spectators expected during the weekend, the Hahnenkanmm races are by known as the most prestigious during the World Cup season.

After two days of training, the third training run set for Thursday was cancelled due to snow being expected down to 1300 metres, at the Alte Schneise section which is about a third of the way down the course. Guenter Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director for the men, explained, "We decided to cancel the training because the weather forecast for the upcoming night calls for precipitation. The course should not be stressed tomorrow because we want to have good races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After two training runs the skiers know what to expect. We want to have the best possible conditions for the athletes. The course is difficult and a big challenge but that is the 'Streif.'"

To take a look yourself, check out the Hahnenkamm webcam here.

The ladies' tour will continue with the traditional speed weekend in Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA). Besides the scheduled super-G and downhill races, Cortina is stepping up as replacement venue for the ladies' super-G that had to be cancelled in Aspen (USA) due to heavy snowfall. Also due to snowfall, the first training had to be cancelled today Wednesday but the Olympia delle Tofane slope is ready to host Thursday's training starting at 12:00 noon CET. Good weather is forecast from Thursday afternoon including the weekend. Cortina has hosted the FIS World Cup since 1993 and according to the organizer, races have never been cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

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Cross-Country returns to Canada with two years to go until Vancouver 2010
Canmore
The Nordic Centre

With just over two years remaining until the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the world's best cross-country skiers will cut their first Canadian tracks on the trail to Vancouver at the Alberta World Cup in Canmore, from 22nd-26th January, 2008. Four Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country races will be held at the recently renovated Canmore Nordic Centre. There the athletes will not only fight for points but will also have to contend with one of the most challenging courses on the World Cup circuit, rolling through Alberta's picturesque Rocky Mountains.

"As the second of our three-event commitment leading to Vancouver 2010, the 2008 races in Canmore mark the beginning of two exciting years before the world's best Cross-Country skiers battle for Olympic gold on Canadian snow," said Robert Hogg, chief of competition in Canmore. In 2005, more than 20,000 spectators came to see the first series of races held in Canmore and Vernon, British Columbia. Overall it is only the third time since the 1988 Olympic Winter Games that the Olympic venue in Canmore has hosted a World Cup Cross-Country race - the first time was in 1989.

Beside the top level sports program, the Canmore Organizing Committee has created a nice social program. The kick-off will be on 19th January with a kids' race called the World Cup Festival Youth Ski Tournament, which is a part of the Bow Corridor Regional Race Series. This series is a supporter of Right To Play, an international organization dedicated to creating a "healthier and safer world for kids through the power of sport and play" of which FIS is also a partner organization.

Contributed by Cross-Country Canada

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 Inside FIS 

Peruvian visitors at FIS
Visitors in Oberhofen

On Monday, 14th January 2008, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper received guests from the Winter Sports Federation of Peru. President Sandro Garcia and Sophie Bordet, Head of International Cooperation and Coordination, paid a visit to the FIS Office in Oberhofen (SUI). Initially founded in 1992, the Peruvian Ski Association has recently gone through a complete restructuring and has received recognition both from the Government of Peru and the National Olympic Committee as an independent association governing winter sports. While much of the Association's activity currently involves sand or dune skiing, the main future goal is to develop a new young team to participate in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Programs are underway in Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowboarding. The association has also launched a new web site at www.fepadi.org.’

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Contribute your thoughts: IOC launches Virtual Olympic Congress

Now it is the time tell the IOC what you think! The International Olympic Committee is getting ready for the next Olympic Congress, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October 2009. The title of the 13th Olympic Congress will be "The Olympic Movement in Society." In order to integrate the public-at-large in its proceedings on the future of the Olympic Movement, the IOC has officially launched a public consultation process. This is the first time in the history of Olympic Congresses that the general public can submit their views on the topics under consideration.

Through the online platform available at www.2009congress.olympic.org, the general public can comment on the five main themes of the Congress. These are: the athletes, the Olympic Games, the structure of the Olympic Movement, Olympism and Youth, and the Digital Revolution. Each of the five main themes has three sub-themes. Some of these include the social and professional life of athletes during and after elite competition, youth sports events and communication with stakeholders in the digital age.

Many of the themes closely relate to the extended FIS family. This is an extraordinary chance to provide feedback to the IOC and thereby contribute to the future of the Olympic Movement. The deadline for submissions is 31st December, 2008. A submission can be up to 1000 words in length, together with a 150 word summary. Registration on the website www.2009congress.olympic.org is required.

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 Member News 

Opening of the K-90 hill in Otep„„ (EST)
The new hill
Photo: Margus Ansu/Postimees

This Friday, 18th January, at 14:30 local time, the brand-new K90 Ski Jumping hill will be officially opened in the Tehvandi Sport Centre in Otep„„ (EST). The best Estonian jumpers - Jaan Jris, Jens Salum„e, Illimar P„rn and Mats Piho - will be the first jumpers during the opening ceremony. The opening competition will also be held on Friday night, starting at 18:30 local time.

"Besides the K90 hill, the new complex also includes an observation platform that was opened in December, and a 33-meter-high outdoor climbing wall with six tracks, which is the highest in Estonia. All these together now make Tehvandi an extraordinary sports and tourism destination in the Nordic countries," said Alar Arukuusk, Board Member of Tehvandi Sport Centre.

In addition to development and training possibilities, the new facility opens up opportunities for organizing international Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping contests in Estonia. The first international contest on the new hill will be the Junior Championships of the Nordic Countries which will take place from 1st to 3rd February. The hill is equipped with a ceramic downhill track and an artificial runway. There's also a snow-making system and a chairlift. The climbing wall will be opened in spring 2008 and was built for competitive climbers and visitors alike.

The Tehvandi K70 hill opened exactly 40 years ago, on 14th January 1968. In 2001, the thought of a new larger hill still seemed unrealistic until some 75'000 EEK were donated by a private person at a charity concert known as "The King Arthur's Gala". This was the first and biggest donation from a private individual. The donation ended up financing the lighting and speed and wind meters at the complex. Otherwise, the project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the EAS Regional Competitiveness-encouragement Program and supported by EAS Federal Tourism Investment Program.

Contributed by Kristiina M„nna

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