News from the World of Skiing 

  A weekend of action ... more

  Alpine Skiing: Mid-season in European Cup ... more

  IOC launches 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games bid process ... more

  Telemark season well on its way ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS Injury Surveillance System (ISS) confirmed for another two years ... more

  Check out the 2012/2013 World Championship Candidate portraits ... more

  Kids in the Snow: Submit your examples and ideas ... more


 In Depth 

  One month to go: FIS Ski Flying World Championships Oberstdorf 2008 ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

A weekend of action
Didier Cuche (SUI)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Eric Frenzel (GER)
Photo: NordicFocus

In the season's first Ski Flying event. Janne Ahonen (FIN) won the one-round competition in Harrachov (CZE). He flew 199.5 meters, 6.5 meters further than second-place-ranked Tom Hilde (NOR).Throughout the weekend, difficult conditions including rain, wind and fog, wrought havoc with the schedule, including forcing the rescheduling of Saturday's competition for Sunday morning. The second competition on Sunday had to be cancelled.

Austrian Thomas Morgenstern continues in a clear lead in the overall e.on Ruhrgas World Cup Ski Jumping standings. The jumpers will next compete in Zakopane (POL) in two night competitions on Friday and Saturday.

In Klingenthal (GER), 15'000 spectators gathered to witness the local heroes take two double victories in the back-to-back Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined competitions. 19-year-old Eric Frenzel, the sprint Junior World Champion 2007, took his maiden World Cup victory in the mass start event on Sunday morning ahead of Ronny Ackermann. Just hours later, in the sprint competition, they switched places as Ackermann took the victory with Frenzel in 2nd. The mass start Cross-Country Skiing competition was staged on Saturday while the jumping had to be rescheduled to Sunday morning due to difficult weather conditions.
Ackermann (GER) now leads the overall World Cup with 851 points. The next competition (sprint) will be in Seefeld (AUT) on 26th January.

The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup had a powerhouse long weekend. With the Kitzbuehel-Schladming (AUT) combination, the men visited two of the most prominent sites while the ladies raced in Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA), another classic.

The men's five events had five winners from five different countries: after Marco Buechel (LIE) took the super-G, Didier Cuche (SUI) claimed the downhill crown on the Streif and in Sunday's slalom, Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA)˙made if three wins in a row. In the traditional Kitzbuehel combined, Bode Miller (USA) combined 14th in slalom and second in downhill to win the true Kitzbuehel trophy. The win also gave Miller the U.S. all-time record with 28 FIS World Cup victories. In the season's last World Cup race scheduled in Austria, Mario Matt gave the 50'000 home fans a reason to celebrate with a much-longed for victory. In the overall, Benni Raich (AUT) retained his lead, now 61 points ahead of Miller.

In Cortina, Lindsey Vonn (USA) recorded one of the biggest victories of her career Saturday, winning the most prestigious downhill of the women's World Cup circuit by a large margin. In the two super-Gs on Sunday and Monday, Maria Holaus of Austria picked up her first World Cup victory with the starting number #1 while German Maria Riesch won her first race in more than a year on Monday. After 21 of 38 events, Nicole Hosp (AUT) continues to hold on to her overall World Cup lead over Vonn by 26 points with Riesch now in 3rd, another 20 points behind Vonn.

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Dale Begg-Smith (AUS)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Heidi Neururer (AUT)

It was a busy weekend in the Freestyle FIS World Cup. In the two moguls events in Lake Placid (USA), Team USA did well on home soil capturing five podium places of the twelve possible. Emiko Torito (USA) won her first World Cup event on Friday as Warren Tanner of Canada edged Olympic and defending World Cup champion Dale Begg-Smith (AUS). On Sunday, the ladies' win again went to the USA, this time to Michelle Roark. In the men's contest, Begg-Smith won with rookie Pat Deneen (USA) picking up his second podium in 48 hours, finishing third again. Begg-Smith and Roark also lead the moguls World Cup standings.

In the season's third aerials event, reigning aerials FIS World Cup champion Jacqui Cooper of Australia remained unbeaten after three events while Steve Omischl of Canada won the men's competition to fatten his margin as the men's aerials leader. The Belarusian team continued its strong performances with Anton Kurshnir in 2nd and Dmitri Dashinski in 5th place.

The third Freestyle FIS World Cup ski cross took place on Sunday in Kreischberg (AUT). In the men's race, Tomas Kraus of the Czech Republic made it three wins in as many World Cup events. In the ladies, Ophelie David (FRA) returned to her winning ways. Behind her, Karin Huttary of Austria made a comeback to the podium after a serious injury kept her from competing all last season. In the ladies' standings, Meryl Boulangeat (FRA) continues to lead before David.

The Freestyle FIS World Cup will now head to Mont Gabriel, outside Montreal, Canada, for its next stop during its annual visit to North America.

The NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup continued in La Molina (SPA), the host of the FIS Snowboard World Championships in 2010, with two parallel races. On Saturday, in the third parallel giant slalom of the season, Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) prevented a three-fold victory of the strong Austrian ladies' team. On the men's side, Austria went 1-2 as Andreas Prommegger celebrated his career-first victory in before Anton Unterkofler. In the season's last parallel slalom on Sunday, Heidi Neururer (AUT) and Rok Flander (SLO) collected the honors. Neururer also took the lead both in the overall and parallel World Cups. The men's leader's jersey will continue to be worn by France's Mathieu Bozzetto.

The World Cup in parallel events will continue in mid-February in Sungwoo (KOR) while next up is a half-pipe in Bardonecchia (ITA) this Saturday.

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Alpine Skiing: Mid-season in European Cup
Jukka Leino (FIN)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Lara Gut (SUI)

It is mid-season in the FIS European Cup. For the ladies, 20 of the planned 40 events have been carried out while for the men, 20 of the total of 39 races are over. After today's downhill in Sarntal (ITA), the rankings are led by Jukka Leino of Finland with 430 points, ahead of Marcel Hirscher (AUT), two-time medallist at the 2007 Junior Worlds, in 2nd place, 51 points behind. Stefan Thanei of Italy is currently ranked 3rd. With the ladies tour continuing with a downhill race in St. Moritz (SUI) today, the ranking is headed by two young Swiss: Lara Gut, the 16-year-old super talent from the Tessin and her 21-year-old teammate Nadja Kamer. Monika Springl of Germany who has had a strong season especially in the technical events is now 3rd with 650 points, 30 behind Kamer and 89 behind Gut.

After the start indoors with the successful test of the three-run slalom, especially the men's season has had some challenges due to weather and snow conditions. The races from Aal were rescheduled in Geilo (both NOR) and in Are (SWE), despite the excellent organization that deserves a special recognition, a snowstorm cancelled the second slalom race. The races in St.Vigil und Obereggen (ITA) were held in challenging conditions but included participation from World Cup racers and were at a high level with above-average prize money.
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,In the men's European Cup, we have seen the need to provide opportunities for the downhillers to get training and racing experience on courses that represent the World Cup level in terms of their technical elements and level of difficulty. We had our first attempt in this direction in Zauchensee and have received much feedback. We believe that this is the right way and count on everyone's support in the future," commented Markus Waldner, FIS Coordinator for the men's European Cup. "In other races, such as in Hinterstoder and Crans Montana, we have successfully provided the opportunity for the organizers to test their new World Cup courses and organization with our tour."

"On the ladies' side, we have been fortunate with the weather and finding solutions where there have been challenges. For the most part, the elements have cooperated. Athletically we are pleased to see so many teams taking top positions and of course, the emergence of some outstanding young talents such as Lara Gut. The situation with the ladies is very different from the men, given the younger age of the competitors. Our focus on the ladies' side is to provide them with as many great training opportunities as possible in conditions that are at the highest possible level. We have been able to work with many World Cup-level organizers which has enabled us to do precisely this during the current season," added Janez Flere, FIS Coordinator for the ladies' European Cup.

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IOC launches 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games bid process
Photo: Swiss-Ski

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched the bidding process to host the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012. The deadline for the National Olympic Committees to submit the names of candidate cities is 6th March 2008, with the candidature files due in June. The shortlist of cities will be selected in August while the IOC members will vote on the Host City in November 2008. The winner will be announced in December 2008.

The Winter Youth Olympic Games will bring together approximately 1,000 athletes and 500 officials. The sports program will include the seven Winter Olympic sports on the program of the 2014 Games in Sochi, with a limited number of disciplines and events by sport which are of particular interest to the younger generation. For more information, view a new brochure on the Winter Youth Olympic Games Brochure here.

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Telemark season well on its way
Daniel Halnes (NOR)
Photo: Kjetil Sovik
Ladies podium in Dolni Morava (CZE)
Photo: Kjetil Sovik

The Telemark FIS World Cup kicked off in France in early January. Since then, Slovenia, Austria, and the Czech Republic have also hosted their races, with the experienced organizers in Kobla (SLO) and Kreischberg (AUT), in addition to Dolni Morava (CZE) that made its debut on the calendar. After the Central European tour, the Cup will head North, to Norway and Finland as of the coming weekend.

Eirik Rykhus (NOR) who dominated last season is not competing this winter due to personal reasons including education and family. This provides his opponents a chance, and in the first seven races, we have seen seven different men on the podium, three on top. Borge Sovik (NOR) started with a DSQ in La Plagne but has then collected five wins, and is currently leading the FIS World Cup. Other winners have included Phillip Lau (FRA) on home soil in La Plagne and Mattias Wagenius (SWE) in Montchavin (FRA).

Notably for the Telemark family, Denmark earned its second FIS World Cup podium in Montchavin (FRA and the third in Dolni Morava (CZE) as Troels Tore Larsen finished impressive #2. In total, thirteen nations have competed in the men's Cup so far.

For the ladies, the podium places have been shared among four athletes, the top spots among three of them. Norwegian Katinka Knudsen has recorded four wins, Swiss Amelie Reymond two and Norwegian Sigrid Rykhus one. Reymond was new to the World Cup last year, but has established herself on the top together with the two Norwegians, who together have more than 100 World Cup starts and more than 75 podium finishes. Knudsen currently leads the World Cup rankings.

The events in Kreischberg (AUT) were of special significance since the venue is preparing to host the FIS Telemark World Championships in 2009. The Telemark family hopes that this is the start of many years and races to come and looks forward to a great rest of the season.

Contributed by Trond Gunleiksrud

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 Inside FIS 

FIS Injury Surveillance System (ISS) confirmed for another two years

FIS is pleased to announce that thanks to generous financial support from DJO (www.djo.eu), a global specialist in rehabilitation and regeneration products for the non-operative orthopaedic, spine and vascular markets, the ground-breaking surveillance project called FIS ISS will continue for at least another two years, until the end of 2009. FIS ISS was initiated in 2006 to analyze injuries among elite skiers and is managed by the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre (OSTRC).

"We remain concerned by the number of injuries to both our top athletes and too many young talents. The initial findings of the Injury Surveillance System project have already provided us with great insight into the prevalence and types of injuries suffered. We thank DJO for its continuing support and look forward to obtaining an even more in-depth understanding through additional data and analysis during the coming two years so that we can begin to address the causes and implement prevention problems," comments FIS President Gian Franco Kasper.

"We are delighted by the announcement of the continued support of DJO to this project. Their involvement in the FIS ISS is a reflection of DJO's unrelenting commitment to protect the health of the athletes. This project continues to inspire us and also other research groups to search for methods to prevent skiing and snowboarding injuries," says Professor Roald Bahr, chair of OSTRC.

The ISS project is the first time that information on all injuries from official training and competitions in World Cup events and World Ski Championships has been collated to create a picture of the overall injury frequency to World Cup athletes, notably during the winter season. The research during the project's first two years has concentrated on finding out what types of injuries occur. During last season, a total of 902 World Cup athletes were interviewed and 296 injuries reported. As a next step, further data will be collected while work will also begin to identify the injury mechanisms and to suggest possible prevention tactics.

The long-term objective of the FIS ISS is to reduce the number of injuries sustained by elite skiers and snowboarders. On the basis of current and reliable data on injury trends in international skiing and snowboarding at the elite level, FIS ISS hopes to impact the injury rates through suggested changes for example in rules and regulations, equipment or coaching techniques.

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Check out the 2012/2013 World Championship Candidate portraits

Just a little over four months remain until the 46th International Ski Congress in Cape Town (RSA). One of the highlights of the FIS Congress will be the election of the organizers of the FIS World Championships in 2012 and 2013 by the FIS Council on Thursday 29th May. As the FIS Inspection Group finalizes its report on the basis of the visits to all candidate sites and the detailed documentation provided by them, the candidates have prepared short summaries of their candidacies highlighting their main strengths. Click here to review these short descriptions and visit the candidates' own pages for more information.

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Kids in the Snow: Submit your examples and ideas
Photo: Finnish Ski Association

As the FIS continues to prepare to launch a world-wide campaign, known as Bring the Kids back to the Snow, to promote activities in the snow as the number one outdoor activity choice for kids and the youth in winter, the National Ski Associations are requested to contribute their ideas and specifically, examples of current projects. A great many nations are already in the process of running excellent programs designed to generate passion for snow activities within the younger generations. In order to prepare as complete a pool of existing resources as possible, the Member Associations are asked to submit their examples of any ongoing programs, activities, tool kits, templates or new ideas. Photos and other materials are equally welcome. Please contact Riikka Rakic at rakic@fisski.ch by March 31st, 2008.

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 In Depth 

One month to go: FIS Ski Flying World Championships Oberstdorf 2008

Ski Flying has had an exceptional allure for decades. When the bravest of all the winter athletes hurl themselves off the world's flying hills, millions of skiing fans are glued to their TV screens. The competition is particularly spine-tingling for those who are watching hillside. The whoosh of air when the jumper flies down, the cries of encouragement from tens of thousands of fans in the stadium below, the thud of the skis as they hit the snow and finally the cheers when someone manages to fly over the 200-metre mark - Ski Flying is without doubt one of the most exhilarating sports.

Fans can look forward to a particular highlight this winter: the 20th FIS Ski Flying World Championships will be held in Oberstdorf from 21st to 24th February 2008. The Oberstdorf organizers estimate that a total of just under 100'000 spectators will attend the four days of qualification and competition.

"The 2008 Ski Flying World Championships will also celebrate a premiere: It will be the first time that the FIS Ski Flying Championships will be held at night! The new floodlight installation was installed in mid-January and consists of six masts with a height of up to 40 m. This new facility guarantees optimal light conditions for the athletes, TV viewers and spectators alike," said Claus-Peter Horle, President of the Organizing Committee. "Altogether, _1.3 million has been invested by the German Ski Association (DSV) together with Skisport- und Veranstaltungs GmbH Oberstdorf to prepare the Ski Flying arena for the championships. We all are looking forward to a great event," he concludes.

This is the fifth time that Oberstdorf, Germany's southernmost community, will hold the Ski Flying World Championships after playing host in 1973, 1981, 1988 and 1998. Levels of competition have skyrocketed over the past decades; the furthest distance jumped at the first World Championships in Oberstdorf was 169 metres (Heinz Wosipiwo/DDR) and in 1981, the Austrian Armin Kogler sailed 180 metres. Currently, the record for the Heini-Klopfer Hill belongs to the Norwegian Roar Ljoekelsoey, who jumped 223 meters during the FIS Ski Flying World Cup event in February 2004.

More information is available at www.skifliegen-oberstdorf.com

How to get there: Oberstdorf (815 - 2.224m above the sea level) is located in the southernmost part of Germany, in the so-called Allg„u region of the Bavarian Alps. Three bigger airports are located within the same distance from Oberstdorf: Munich (220km), Stuttgart (200km) and Zurich (210km). The nearest airports are the regional airports in Memmingen (75km) and Friedrichshafen (120km). Travelling by car from Munich in direction of Bregenz, initially follow signs towards Kempten and then take the B19 in direction of Oberstdorf. Oberstdorf can also be easily reached by train from all bigger cities and airports.

The reigning 2006 World Champions from Bad Mitterndorf/Tauplitz (AUT)
Individual: Roar Ljoekelsoey (NOR)
Team: Norway (Romoeren, Bystoel, Ingebrigtsen, Ljoekelsoey)

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