|News from the World of Skiing|
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Men's overall with NAC Chair Claude Savard|
Photo: Karen Korfanta
Photo: Karen Korfanta
The NorAm Cup for season 2007-08 ended with the finals in Lake Placid (USA) in mid-March. Both overall titles went to Canada this year, as Larissa Yurkiw won the ladies' standings whilst Julien Cousineau was best in the men's overall. All of the men's event titles went to US athletes with Cody Marshall taking the slalom, Jake Zamansky the giant slalom, Kevin Francis the super-G, Jeremy Transue the downhill, and Maximilian Hammer the super combined. In the ladies, Yurkiw shared the downhill title with Chelsea Marshall (USA) who finished 2nd overall and also captured the titles in the super-G and super combined. Another Canadian, Anna Goodman, took the slalom while Megan McJames (USA) was best in the giant slalom.
Overall, the NorAm Cup continues to focus on quality of competition for the participating athletes. This focus includes quality of the field, difficulty of terrain, snow surface preparation, course setting, compatibility with the calendar and a professionally operated race series. As before, the early season technical races in Colorado for both genders were very high quality both in terms of the sites and the field. Those races typically have many World Cup athletes present which provides a great opportunity for North American racers to evaluate themselves against the best in the world. The evaluation of high quality also applies to the traditional speed events in Lake Louise and Panorama (CAN).
The technical starts in early January were excellent with the ladies again in Mt. Ste. Anne (CAN) while the men were at Sunday River. A novelty in the calendar this year was to produce the USA speed events in January. The idea was sound, but very inclement weather set in at the site resulting in 4 feet of snow being reduced to mud in a period of 48 hours. Consequently all of the January speed starts were lost. Two slaloms for each gender followed in the Ontario Province of Canada, another premiere.
The finals at Lake Placid consisted of a full program for both genders. The organizers did an awesome job in producing these races, but also in building an atmosphere of celebration and acknowledgement of the athletes throughout the community. We are very excited to return there again in March 2009 for the NorAm Cup Finals.
Both USSA and ACA dedicate professional staff to operation of the NorAm Cup. Particular acknowledgement needs to go to our professional coordinators: Bruce Hamstead (CAN), Dan Gallaugher (CAN) and Tom Johnston (USA). Over the last 7 years, these individuals have really raised the bar for our NorAm Cup Race Organizing Committees. Special thank you also belongs to the wonderful partners who host and produce the NorAm Cup races for the athletes.
Contributed by Walt Evans (USA)
|Ivan Babikov (RUS)|
|Ingri Aunet Tyldum (NOR)|
The FIS Continental Cup series are some of the most important Cross-Country competitions. They provide the younger athletes with a chance to prepare themselves for the World Cup and to test their level against athletes from other countries. These different series - a total of nine different ones - are held in the different parts of the world where Cross-Country Skiing is a competitive sport. Some of those held during the Northern hemisphere winter are the OPA Cup in Central Europe, the Scandinavian Cup and the US Super Tour.
This season's OPA Cup was a great success. 20 events at 11 different venues in five countries took place, only the finals in Medvode (SLO) had to be rescheduled to Pokljuka (SLO). The winners of this Cup, and therefore holders of a fixed starting place during the first World Cup period next year, are the ski veteran Manuela Henkel from Germany and Florian Kostner (ITA). Henkel won the ladies' ranking 41 points ahead Karin Moroder (ITA) and 48 points ahead of Swiss, Doris Trachsel. Kostner managed his overall victory ahead of two Germans, Tom Reichelt and Kai Bochert.
In the Scandinavian Cup, 9 competitions were held at five different venues. The Norwegians dominated the series, having eight skiers in the men's top 10, and the complete top 8 on the ladies' side.. The World Cup skier Hans Petter Lykkja and 25-year-old Ingri Aunet Tyldum won the overall rankings clearly. The runner-up on the men's side, 81 points behind Lykkia, was Swede Frederik Oestberg whilst John Anders Gaustad (NOR) ranked third. In the ladies rankings, Sara Svendsen and Karianne Bjellaanes rounded out the all-Norwegian podium.
The US SuperTour completed last weekend in Fairbanks (Alaska, USA). The overall winners are Kristina Strandberg (SWE) and Ivan Babikov (RUS). The US SuperTour is a very attractive Continental Cup series, where also a significant number of foreign skiers participate and 130'000 US dollars in prize money were paid out.
The first 2008/09 Continental Cup series will kick off in July/August with start of the Southern hemisphere winter season downunder.
Contributed by Sandra Spitz
With the end of the FIS World Cup season for all disciplines other than Speed Skiing, it is a busy time for national championships around the world: While the Swiss alpine racers competed last week in Splgen and the Cross-Country skiers in Lac Retaud/Col du Pillon, the Austrian alpine nationals in the speed events were staged in Haus im Ennstal. The US Alpine national champs were also held last week at Sugarloaf ski resort in Maine while the US Cross-Country skiers competed in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the freestylers in Utah. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Ski Association, the Finns held joint nationals for all the disciplines at the resort of Ruka/Kuusamo last weekend. The Swedish Cross-Country skiers completed their season in Orna while the French alpine skiers raced in Isola 2000/Auron with the Nordics in Saisies.
Some nationals are also scheduled this week: The Spaniards will race in Candanch£, the Swiss in Arosa,’the Brits in Meribel (FRA), and the Swedes on the 2007 World Championship courses in Are, just to mention a few. The national championship season will continue for another two weeks still as according to the FIS calendar, the last nationals are the Finnish giant slalom title events currently scheduled for 18th-19th April at Pyhtunturi (FIN).
The World Criterium for Alpine citizen racers was held in Austria this year. The responsible persons in the Austrian Ski Association, Dr. Hermann Gruber und Claus Bretschneider, managed to win Haus im Ennstal as the host venue, together with its World Cup experienced organizing committee. No wonder that the numerous participants from 17 nations could enjoy a top level organization throughout, beginning with the opening ceremony that was also attended by the Austrian secretary for sport, Dr. Reinhold Lopatka, and the Styrian minister for sport, Manfred Wegscheider, along with FIS Council Member and President of the Austrian Ski Association, Peter Schrcksnadel.
The demanding courses were in a great condition despite the warm temperatures and high numbers of athletes as, for example, 81 ladies and 133 men competed in the giant slalom. The fact that there were no accidents speaks volumes about the excellent preparation of the pistes and proper safety measures. Of course, the high standard of athletic performances at the FIS-CIT races should not be forgotten. This is underlined by the fact that the participants from outside of the Alpine region also included racers with European Cup or NorAm Cup experience from countries such as Norway and USA. In fact, the Committee for Alpine Citizen Racers will need to consider in its next meeting whether the participation limits on the Alpine countries (the so-called OPA countries) should be maintained. The FIS-CIT races have clearly become an important opportunity for racers from many countries to collect competition experience and FIS points. Below the World Cup, European Cup and FIS races, they form yet another channel to develop the sport of Alpine ski racing on a broad basis and across several regions.
The festive winner ceremonies and a reception organized under the musical theme of "Vienna welcomes the world" were some of the other highlights. The technical delegate, Dr. Elmar Gipperich, who is a native of Vienna, impressed with his musical talent. No wonder that Chairman of the Alpine Citizen Racers' Committee, Urs Dietrich, characterized the World Criterium 2008 as a strong demonstration of the strength of Alpine citizen racing and a hard act to beat for any future organizers. For results and more information, visit www.fiscit.de under the topic of News.
Contributed by Dr. Hermann Gruber
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper attended the meeting of the Board of the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) in Bled (SLO) last weekend of which he is a member.
Following six previous editions of the World Masters Games starting in 1985 in Toronto (CAN), the first-ever World Winter Masters Games will be held in Bled from 25th-31st January 2010. The sports that will be included are Cross-Country Skiing, Alpine Skiing and Ski Jumping along with Biathlon, Ice Hockey and Indoor Football/Futsal. Over the recent years Bled and the surrounding area has hosted many high level winter events, including annual FIS World Cup events in Planica for Ski Jumping and Kranjska Gora for Alpine Skiing. The Biathlon World Championships were held in Pokljuka in 2003, the site where the Cross-Country events are planned in 2010.
No other multi-sport event in the world attracts as many participants as the World Masters Games. Some 35'000 participants are expected in the next summer edition in Sydney in 2009. The Masters Games' aim is to promote the philosophy of `sport for life.' Notably, the term `Masters' does not denote a level of proficiency or a particular achievement since the competitors are only required to meet the age criteria specific for each discipline. For more information, visit www.2010mastersgames.com ’
The 5th World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Forum with International Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs) took place at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (SUI) on 1st and 2nd April 2008. FIS was represented by Secretary General, Sarah Lewis and Anti-Doping Administrator, Madeleine Erb during the Forum which focused on the new World Anti-Doping Code that comes into force on 1st January 2009.
The various sessions and presentations from members of WADA's staff included a detailed analysis of the new elements in the revised World Anti-Doping Code including the roles and responsibilities of the IFs and their National Associations. Additional practical information and instructions about the International Standards for Testing (IST) were a main part of the first day's program. IST define the regulations that directly affect the athletes and teams about whereabouts information and conducting doping control tests. Other presentations included the status of the review of the regulations for therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs).
Day 2 involved a joint seminar with the IFs and NADOs and included sessions about the crucial collaboration between the IFs and NADOs. The participants also received updates about the status of the Anti-Doping Administration System, ADAMS and the Regional Anti-Doping Agencies (RADOs) that are expanding anti-doping work into new regions. The education duties of Anti-Doping Organizations and the code compliance assessment rounded off the comprehensive program.
FIS member National Ski Associations will be informed about the changes as a result of the revised World Anti-Doping Code at the FIS Congress in Cape Town (RSA) and then a specific information session about the practical work, specifically relating to whereabouts, TUEs and an ADAMs update amongst other topics will take place during the FIS autumn meetings in early October in Zurich - please note!
After 21 years in the role of FIS World and Continental Cup Assistant, Sonja Reichen has decided to leave FIS at the end of June 2008. She is presently on sick leave and the on-going duties have been divided amongst Tatjana Luessy (correspondence, calendar, etc.), Madeleine Erb (general) and Janez Flere (Committees, rules etc.). Sonja's successor will be confirmed in due course.
Photo: Sandro Pertile
A very fruitful FIS Seminar on snow preparation was held last weekend in Pragelato (ITA), the venue for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined during the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Fifty-two experts including FIS Technical Delegates, Chiefs of Competition and Chiefs of Hill from 25 different World Cup organizing committees for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined along with FIS Race Directors for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, Walter Hofer and Uli Wehling, gathered to share their experiences from the past winter season.
The seminar was coordinated by Chairman of FIS Ski Jumping Sub-Committee for Officials, Rules and Development, Ueli Forrer. Two of the four `semi-professional' FIS World Cup TD Assistants, Berni Schoedler and Sandro Sambugaro, kicked off the discussion with a presentation on the current status and possible improvements for hill preparation, followed by discussion with FIS partner SUFAG on snow-making.
Six working groups tackled the topics of hill preparation equipment, hill preparation procedure and hill marking. The theory was then put into practice during an afternoon session at the hills of Pragelato (in-run and landing area) where various types of snow preparation were analyzed and tested.
In the face of the recent weather challenges that have given many organizers a tough test, the seminar received highly positive feedback. The information and experiences will now be collected and will serve as the basis for future FIS guidelines as well as being included as main topics in the upcoming FIS TD seminars.’
Contributed by Sandro Pertile
|Dr. Josef Zenhusern on the right|
The 5th World Snow and Mountain Tourism Conference took place in the principality of Andorra from 27th-29th March. The main topic for the congress attended by specialists, technical experts and professionals in the mountain and snow tourism sector was the impact of climate change on snow and mountain tourism. The participants agreed that temperature increases will lead to inevitable changes in the global tourist map in the short term.
FIS was represented by Dr. Mila Andreeva from the Bulgarian Ski Association. She discussed the potential for ski resorts in Bulgaria and their development in a sustainable manner using the example of Bansko. Dr. Josef Zenhusern, FIS Consultant on Aid&Promotion and expert for the United Nations World Tourism Organization presented on the future of the FIS World Cup races in the face of global warming
Dozens of Freestyle veterans from the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's are gathering this weekend in Geilo (NOR) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Freestyle Skiing in Norway. The first ever Norway Open was organized in Geilo in 1978.
Some of the participants this weekend will include such names as Kari Traa, the three-time Olympic medalist in mogul skiing, Rune Kristiansen, the absolute dominator of the acro World Cup in the late-1980's and early 1990's and four-time medalist in the title events, Hans Engelsen Eide, 14-time World Cup podium winner, and Hans Stub, the driving force behind the candidacy of Voss for the 2013 FIS Freestyle World Championship, just to mention a few. For more information on the reminiscences about to transpire this weekend, visit www.hotdog30.com.