News from the World of Skiing 

  Speed Skiing season finals underway in Verbier (SUI) ... more

  Alpine Masters Criterium on Reiteralm ... more


 Inside FIS 

  At full speed ahead in Liberec 2009 ... more

  Ski Jumping Sub-Committees meet in Salzburg (AUT) ... more

  International ski coaches gather to share experiences ... more

  FIS Congress 2008 update: Accreditation request, golf registration deadline ... more

  FIS book receives its Ullr award ... more


 Member News 

  Erich Demetz turns 70 ... more


 In Depth 

  Season Review Cross-Country Skiing ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Speed Skiing season finals underway in Verbier (SUI)

The finals in Speed Skiing, the only FIS World Cup circuit of the2007/08 season still in progress, are underway at Verbier (SUI). The ski run of the Mont-Fort there is as important to this discipline as the Streif in Kitzbhel is for Alpine Skiing, or Monaco for Formula 1: one of the most spectacular events of the season for the world's fastest skiers.

Unfortunately the second event scheduled in Sweden in early April had to be cancelled. Then, the following weekend, a lack of snow forced the rescheduling of the events planned for Cervinia (ITA)˙to Verbier yet still under the control of the Cervinia OC, which clearly demonstrates the high degree of cooperation on the Speed Skiing circuit.

As the finals are about to begin, on the top of the ranking for the Ladies events, Sanna Tidstrand (SWE) is just holding off Karine Debuchet (FRA), who has come back to the circuit after a number of years away. Sanna has been consistently stronger, but Karine is nearer her home territory, so all is left to play for. Of course, Tracey Sach's (USA) absence through knee injury also opens the competition.

In the men's event, the Origone brothers (ITA) are all-powerful, and Ivan has not only beaten his elder brother in every event, but has won every event outright! Short of a major calamity, Ivan looks set for the title, with Simone on the 2nd step. In 3rd place, Philippe May (SUI) is most likely, although in front of his home crowd, he might pull out the stops to take a higher place for the individual races, even if the overall globe is just out of his reach.

Finally, there is a keen competition among the downhill class skiers, with Marc Poncin (GBR) 15 points ahead of Jimmy Montes (FRA). Because of the lower points available to racers in this class, it is difficult for Jimmy to pull up, but he should be assured of the prize as the best-placed junior racer. Clearly, exciting times are ahead - the result will be known on 17th˙April. For more information, visit here.

Contributed by Dick Tapley

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Alpine Masters Criterium on Reiteralm
Masters medalists

The FIS Alpine Masters World Criterium 2008 was held on Reiteralm in Pichl (AUT) in early April. Some 600 competitors representing 24 nations, including Brazil, Chile, Japan, Russia and USA along with many European nations, participated. In addition to being known as one of the main training centers for the Austrian alpine national team, Reiteralm already hosted the FIS Masters World Cup finals in 2004 and is well-known for having staged FIS Alpine World Cup events during the past two seasons.

The Masters races were held on the Muldenlift and Gasselh”he slopes. Four events were carried out in four days, including the super-G, slalom and giant slalom world championship medals events, followed by the Masters World Cup giant slalom finals. The competitions were held in three groups, A, B and C. President of the organizing National Ski Association and FIS Council Member Peter Schr”cksnadel collected yet another medal by finishing third in his group.

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 Inside FIS 

At full speed ahead in Liberec 2009
Liberec (CZE)

This week it was time for the spring Coordination Group meeting for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec (CZE). The two day meeting provided the team led by Organizing Committee President Katerina Neumannova a chance to discuss the state of its preparations with the representatives of FIS, the TV and marketing rights holder EBU and its marketing partner APF. The focus of the discussions was on the lessons learned during the World Cup events for all three Nordic disciplines that served as the official test events and the next steps for the organizing committee as it transitions from the planning phase into operational mode. The challenging conditions that characterized the Cross-Country and Nordic Combined World Cup events in mid-February enabled the OC to collect many valuable experiences and clearly helped to move the preparedness onto another level.

"The members of the Coordination Group were very pleased to see the good work and very thorough preparations done by the growing and enthusiastic team in Liberec. While certain issues are still being tackled, most notably accommodation for the international TV crews and other media, as well as detailed planning on the sports side especially for snow production, work on finalizing the infrastructure is clearly making great strides. The renovation of the university that will serve as the first of its kind Athletes' Village is even ahead of schedule now that less than 10 months remain until the event," commented Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General, after the meetings. "We are now looking forward to seeing the city of Liberec unite behind the event which will be carried out for the first time ever in the Czech Republic to create a true championship spirit that will make the event an unforgettable experience for all the visitors and TV viewers from around the world."

The World Broadcasters Meeting, including the participation of most major television networks covering Nordic ski sports, was held immediately following the Coordination Group meeting in Liberec. This gathering serves as an important opportunity for the host broadcaster Czech TV to discuss details of their vision for the TV broadcasting with their peers and finalize production plans and infrastructure requirements.

Following some minor changes, the final competition schedule for the entire championships will be subject to confirmation by FIS Council in its spring meeting in May. The Final Inspection in Liberec is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the FIS Day at the Forum Nordicum on 12th-13th October.

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Ski Jumping Sub-Committees meet in Salzburg (AUT)
Salzburg Sub-Committee meetings
Photo: Horst Nilgen

The five Sub-Committees for Ski Jumping as well as the Coordination Group held their traditional spring meetings at the Advena Point Hotel˙in Salzburg (AUT)˙at the end of last week. Based on the so-called "Funnel System," the proposals of the respective Sub-Committees have now been collected and circulated by the Coordination Group to the National Ski Associations for comment before being reviewed by the Ski Jumping Committee, the Committee for Competition Equipment and thereafter submitted to the FIS Council in Cape Town (RSA) in May. The National Ski Associations are requested to comment on the proposals by 16th May.

Some of the highlights of the proposals include the planned four World Cup Ski Flying events which is a premiere in FIS history, including the introduction of a small crystal globe in Ski Flying. One of the proposed Ski Flying events is Vikersund which is planned to replace Oslo as part of the Nordic Tournament since the Holmenkollen Ski Festival will not take place next year due to the reconstruction of the stadium.

In addition, an important test event is planned to be staged on the normal hill in Liberec in early October as the ladies' COC˙will be carried out there together with the men's Summer Grand Prix event on the large hill. Overall, the proposed calendar foresees a real enhancement for the ladies' Continental Cup series which will be staged whenever possible with the men's same series.

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International ski coaches gather to share experiences
Coaches' Forum participants

The FIS International Coaches' Forum, which took place in Naousa (GRE) from 5th-8th April 2008, turned out to be an absolute success with numerous participants. Entitled "Advances in coaching winter sports," the seminar was organized on the initiative of the Hellenic Ski Federation, endorsed by FIS and financially supported by the FIS Aid & Promotion program. The seminar was targeted at all countries supported by the program focused on developing ski nations.

More than 100 participants from 18 National Ski Associations included many head coaches for Alpine Skiing, Cross Country and Snowboarding, and even some from distant countries such as Argentina and India. The event was characterized by the participants' active presence and excellent content enriching their knowledge in the coaching field.

For four days, high level technical advisors and executives representing FIS and all three disciplines transported know-how and ideas for the organization of modern training. At the same time, high level foreign and Greek specialized academic speakers analyzed modern approaches in sports medicine as well as psychological and philosophical issues in coaching. Within the program, visits were organized to archaeological sites such as the famous Aristotelis Faculty.

Feedback on the seminar has been very positive, with the participants wishing to maintain the initiative in the future and make it a permanent feature in the calendar of events.

Contributed by Achilleas Mitoudis and Paul Michaelides

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FIS Congress 2008 update: Accreditation request, golf registration deadline
The Congress Hotel

Less than six weeks remain until the 46th International Ski Congress takes place in Cape Town (RSA). Some 950 participants have already been accredited for the Congress Week from 26th-30th May 2008. Please note that entry into the Congress hotels, any official meeting spaces or participation in social events and activities (welcome cocktail, excursion, closing dinner) is only possible with valid Congress accreditation which is included in the FIS Congress travel and accommodation package arrangements by FIS Travel Service. For participants who have made own travel or hotel arrangements, please contact Caroline Ris from FIS Travel Service at ris@fisski.ch for Congress accreditation (at CHF 500).

As communicated earlier, the 2nd FIS Golf Tournament 2008 is planned to be staged just before the start of the Congress Week on Sunday, 25th May 2008, at the Steenberg Golf Club, approximately 25-minute drive from the FIS Hotel. To sign up, please access the registration form here or contact ris@fisski.ch for more information. Please note, to date only 14 entries have been received and the Tournament will be cancelled unless additional 15 registrations are received by 20th April, 2008!

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FIS book receives its Ullr award
Hank Tauber with ISHA Chairman Barry Stone

Hank Tauber, former FIS Council member, received the Ullr Award from the International Skiing History Association (ISHA) on behalf of FIS for the book "Skisport in den bildenden Kunst". The book was published with the aid of FIS and the Marc Hodler Foundation to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the German Ski Association (Deutscher Ski Verband).

In presenting its Ullr award, ISHA praised the book's "delightful, beautiful illustrations," superbly reproduced in four-color. "The striking feature of this coffee-table book is the refreshingly far-ranging selection that goes from the conservative classics of the 19th century through to a veritable rainbow of modern schools. The illustrations include sculpture, paintings, even some cartoons, but almost no posters, since these have been comparatively amply covered in many other publications. The works presented here are in loose chronological order that trace the development of skiing from the point in the 1880s when it began to rise as a popular European recreation and including its arrival as a worldwide competitive sport. And within its hundred illustrations, the book manages to include a wide range of artists from little-known practitioners to towering figures in the history of art such as Joan Mir˘, Andrew Wyeth and Edvard Munch. If a library has only one book of the depiction of the sport of skiing in fine art, it should be this one."

The text of "Skisport in den bildenden Kunst" is in German, English and French. Copies can be purchased for _25˙here.

Contributed by John Fry


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 Member News 

Erich Demetz turns 70
Erich Demetz

Erich Demetz, the ski and tourism pioneer, celebrated his 70th birthday on 10th April, 2008. A native of Val Gardena/Gr”den (ITA), he has held several different official roles on local, national and international levels over the last four decades. Erich Demetz was a member of the FIS Council for 19 years and Vice President of the Italian Winter Sports Association (FISI) for 22 years. Furthermore, he has served as Chairman of the FIS Sub-Committee for Alpine World Cup since 1986..

In his earlier career, Erich Demetz coached FISI athletes as well as the Ski Club Team of Gardena/Gr”den in the 1960's, before leading the Alpine division of the Italian Ski Team in the late-70s. His name reached prominence when he founded the Alpine World Ski Championship Candidacy Committee in the mid-'60s, becoming the Vice President of the Executive Committee and Race Director for all events for the 1970 championships in Val Gardena/Gr”den. Erich Demetz has been the technical chief of the World Cup races in Val Gardena/Gr”den for over 30 years. Moreover, he was President of the local Tourism Association from 1966 to 1970 and member of the municipal council of Selva/Wolkenstein for two legislature periods. In 2005, he was named Honorary Citizen in 2005, and has also been bestowed with the Tyrolean "Verdienstkreuz" (Order of Merit) as well as awarded the highest possible commendation by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) for his decades of serving as Sports Director. Last but not least, Erich Demetz is a renowned artist.

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 In Depth 

Season Review Cross-Country Skiing
Jrg Capol

The FIS Newsflash had a chance to ask Jrg Capol, FIS Race Director for Cross-Country Skiing to share some of his observations from 2007/2008 Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country season.

Jrg Capol: "It was a very exciting season. We carried out all the scheduled events. We did have some difficulties with the weather especially in February but thanks to great efforts by the Organizing Committees, all planned competitions took place.

From the sports perspective, we saw both old and new faces - with Charlotte Kalla (SWE) and Astrid Jacobsen (NOR), two young ladies who established themselves in the overall World Cup elite in their first year in the open category. 19 nations made it to the podium this season - a new record - which shows us that Cross-Country Skiing has a high value in many countries where they work in a very professional manner for the sport.

Our highlight this season was surely the 2nd edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear. For the first time, we carried out eight competitions in ten days and reached an additional 25 % of TV viewers during the event compared to the first edition.

At the end of the season, we introduced the three-event World Cup Final which created excitement until the end of the World Cup season. Although the athletes had to work hard to finish the entire mini-series to get the points and prize money, it was a plus that the sprinters and distance racers had their final on the same weekend and could conclude the season together.

For the future, there are several tasks on my "to do list". First of all, we need to continue to work to develop and improve the quality of TV production from our World Cup events. Our main goal is to ensure that all events have the same standard and viewers at home will always benefit from one TV "look and feel". We will be organizing a TV seminar to evaluate the season this spring and come up with some really practical next steps in this area. Second, I would like to create clear focus in the World Cup calendar. Compact events - fewer sites with several competitions at each - are an advantage for the athletes as well as for the fans, TV viewers and sponsors. The cooperation in marketing issues among the World Cup Organizers is also an important development project as well improvements in the rights situation so that we can execute more effective cross-border projects.

From the more overall perspective, there are two areas on which more empahsis is required in the future. Currently, there is little overall cooperation and coordination among the industry, the organizers of the popular races and the National Ski Associations. I believe that together, perhaps though common campaigns and activities under the umbrella of FIS, we have a great opportunity to get more people interested in Cross-Country Skiing as an excellent way to keep fit. Call it a "Bring the people onto the tracks" campaign if you will. The other area where we are still in the starting blocks is allowing spectators to get to know the athletes better. There are probably several ways we could allow more contact between the fans and the racers at the venues before and after the competitions."

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