FIS Congress Special 

  Cape Town Congress underway ... more

  Stoneham / Quebec (CAN): Candidate for the 2013 Snowboard World Championships ... more

  Reminder: Live streaming from the World Championships election ... more

  Ski season starts in South Africa ... more

  First FIS Ladies Seminar makes its mark ... more

  The Taste of FIS ... more

  FIS Meet & Play in Steenberg Golf Club ... more


 FIS Congress Special  

Cape Town Congress underway
Cape Town (RSA)
Gian Franco Kasper, Sarah Lewis &
the delegation from City of Cape Town

The 46th International Ski Congress kicked-off Sunday night in Cape Town (RSA) with the official welcome reception at the Hotel Westin Grand hosted by the City of Cape Town. More than 1150 Congress participants arrived safely in South Africa, a full member association of the International Ski Federation. The members will participate in the several dozens of official meetings of the FIS Council, Technical Committees and Working Groups along with countless unofficial gatherings that traditionally take place during the Congress Week - all with the focus on developing skiing around the world.

The FIS Council has been meeting since Monday, considering various proposals submitted by the Technical Committees after their meetings earlier in the week. One of most important items on the Council's Agenda includes the confirmation of the FIS World Cup schedules for the 2008/2009 season, expected on Thursday. For the Council's first decisions, please see here.

Make sure to check back frequently on the FIS website about news and developments in Cape Town!

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Stoneham / Quebec (CAN): Candidate for the 2013 Snowboard World Championships
Stoneham (CAN)

Just in time before the election of the organizers of the 2012/2013 FIS World Championships by the FIS Council, the Canadian Ski and Snowsports Association with Stoneham, Quebec has come forward with their candidature for the 2013 FIS Snowboard World Championships.

The candidate venue, the Stoneham Ski Resort, where most events are planned to take place, is located 20 minutes from downtown Quebec City, where Opening Ceremonies, big air and athletes' official hotel is located. The Quebec region has hosted successful FIS Snowboard World Cup events every winter since 1997 (except 2005).

These World Cups appear amongst the "top favorites" from the international athletes' standpoint. Quebec has successfully welcomed 18 UCI Mountain World Cup stages, 11 FIS Snowboard World Cup stages, 2 FIS Junior Ski World Championships, FIS Ski World Cups, UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, and very recently (last weekend!) hugely successful IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships.

Canada hosted the 2005 FIS Snowboard World Championships in Whistler, British Columbia, and many successful FIS Snowboard World Cups in Whistler and Calgary over the past few years. Quebec is the so-called "World Snow Capital" with its internationally renowned Winter Carnival, and welcoming a FIS Snowboard World Championships is a natural for this winter city.

After the 2010 Olympics, Canada will be eager to host another FIS Snowboard World Championships... in Quebec this time! Canada, Quebec and Stoneham are more than thrilled to welcome the 2013 Worlds!

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Reminder: Live streaming from the World Championships election
Live streaming from the congress hotel

On Thursday, 29th May, the candidates of the FIS World Championships 2012/2013 will deliver their final presentations to the members of the FIS Council that will elect the different host cities of the 2013 Alpine, Nordic, Freestyle, Snowboard and 2012 Ski Flying World Championships.

For the first time in FIS' history, the announcement of the elected organizers for the 2012/2013 FIS World Championships will be available through live web streaming (live TV on the Internet) on several sites including the FIS website www.fis-ski.com. The direct feed, available as of approximately 18:30 CET (the same as local time in Cape Town) on Thursday 29th May, will show the FIS president announcing the results of the FIS Council's election of the organizers at approximately 19:00 CET as well as the celebrations by the winners. After all the announcements, interviews with the elected hosts of the FIS World Championships 2012/2013 will be relayed.

For the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships there are four candidates: Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA), Schladming (AUT), St. Moritz (SUI) and Vail/Beaver Creek (USA). Five candidates are applying to be the successor of Oslo that will stage the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships: Falun (SWE), Lahti (FIN), Oberstdorf (GER), Val di Fiemme (ITA) and Zakopane (POL). For the 2013 FIS Freestyle World Championships, the Norwegian town of Voss is the only candidate as is Stoneham, Quebec (CAN) for the 2013 FIS Snowboard World Championships, while for the 2012 FIS Ski Flying World Ski Championships Harrachov (CZE) and Vikersund (NOR) are both applying to be the host city.

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Ski season starts in South Africa
Tiffindell Ski Resort

The ski season in South Africa is starting at the same time as the 2008 FIS Congress is convening at the southern tip of the African continent. Deep in the heart of the Southern Drakensberg, Eastern Cape, cradled in the shadow of the majestic Ben McDhui Peak at 3001m and above the historic town Rodes, lies Tiffindell Ski Resort, South Africa's only ski resort. Tiffindell is located 1177 km from Cape Town and 817 km from Johannesburg. This nature-sensitive escape lures local and international visitors to the freedom and exhilaration of its slopes.

Tiffindell guarantees over three months of skiing each year with natural and artificial snow, starting from the end of May. The resort hosts the annual South Africa Ski Championships and the South African Freestyle Ski & Snowboard Championships. Junior skiers and encouraged to join the junior development club at Tiffindell Xtreme Zone.

The resort offers his guest besides 10 km new ski slopes as well cozy accommodation in chalets, restaurants, caf‚s and shops. But not only in the winter the Tiffindell area is an attraction for the visitors, also in summer the tourist are coming to enjoy the nature there. For further information please click here.

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First FIS Ladies Seminar makes its mark
Jana Gantnerova

Engaging children, building a ladies brand and growing sport were among the topics presented to a passionate group of sport leaders at the first FIS Ladies Seminar on Wednesday in Cape Town. International marketing experts delivered a host of case studies that educated and motivated in what many said was one of the best educational programs ever offered by the FIS.

"Women's sport is a business," said keynote speaker Tania Fourie, who started the Women's World Cup of Golf in South Africa. "You should be proud to make a difference!"

Infront's Winter Sports Director Bruno Marty highlighted statistics that showed almost no difference in TV ratings between men's and ladies' events in comparable venues and times. The big discrepancy, he said, comes in marketing value. Marty presented a case study of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour. "Where the WTA Tour has been successful is in building a brand - a female brand!" he said. Marty advocated a FIS World Cup brand and building stars through lifestyle marketing as role models and social concerns.

Norwegian Secretary General Kristin Marie Felde, the only female to head a major National Ski Association, focused on the need to provide more opportunities for ladies in leadership. "We all need to work together to make sport an attractive career to our former athletes," she said.

Former Swiss and American ladies' coach Markus Murmann presented a fascinating case study of Crans-Montana's return to World Cup racing after a 10 year hiatus this past March, drawing nearly 10'000 spectators each day. He built the event's success with school kids, bringing them to the races and providing opportunities to meet elite racers like World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn. "Athletes have to understand that they can make a difference in whether a youngster wants to ski," he said. "And it has to come from the heart."

The seminar was developed by Jana Gantnerova, retiring chair of the FIS Alpine Ladies Sub-Committee, and Dr. Josef Zenhaeusern, FIS Aid & Promotion Consultant. More than 30 attendees included several heads of national associations and FIS committee leaders.

"This was a great program for understanding how we can work together to build a women's brand," said FIS PR and Mass Media Committee Chair Tom Kelly. "But it was also a lesson in marketing our sport overall."

"This isn't just about the athletes," said Fourie. "Every single one of you here today is vital to making your sport work."

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The Taste of FIS

Cape Town took on an international atmosphere as bid cities greeted delegates and shared stories of their candidacies, bringing local culture and cuisine to the FIS Congress. Town mayors and Olympic medalists greeted the packed crowds at a dozen booths displaying their candidacies. In the Westin Grand kitchen, international chefs battled for space trying to out-do each other with culinary delights.

Voss Mayor Gunn Berit Lunde Aarvik helped serve salmon and shots of Smalahoveahevitt. Or, if you had a busy meeting schedule, you could opt for a bottle of Voss water (the same one Madonna prefers). At nearby Vikersund, Inger served salmon and meats flown in from Norway, plus Linie Aquavit - officially certified as having crossed the equator twice (actually, three times now, reminded Tore).

Schladming was a favorite of all with mini schnitzels (von kalb) and Linzerzerschnitte. And when Hedy from nearby St. Moritz set out the Aufschnittplatte, the plate was emptied in minutes.

Beaver Creek/Vail's chef Tim McCaw served up fabulous scallops and shrimp with a somewhat mysterious (but tasty) white bean ragu. But the FIS member's favorite had to be the rib sliders washed down with a cold Budweiser and a chocolate brownie, not to mention the Vail smoothie that became a legend in just hours.

One of the classiest operations was Cortina, who brought in 95 Keerom chef Giorgio Nava (a Milano native) serving a delicate butternut squash ravioli with butter and sage, complemented perfectly by the Villa Antinori Toscana wine. Fellow Italian bidders Val di'Fiemme brought even more of a touch of Italy to the packed middle aisle with a pesto penne and a wheel of Grana Padano.

In the battle of the 2013 Scandinavian sites, both Lahti and Falun served up salmon (yes, Lahti had Finnish salmon). Aija from Lahti served reindeer while Mona said Falun's favorite were cinnamon buns.

One of the most impressive shows, though, was from Zakopane whose Polish chef worked up plates of Bigos (pork, cabbage and potatoes). "It's like Polish National Day," said Aneta, who was sure that the warm food would make a difference in the vote - as would ski jumping great Adam Malysz, who was on hand. Neighboring Harrachov was a great place to relax with a Pilsner Urquell at the end of the day.

There's no question - the FIS family ate well in Cape Town!

Contributed by Tom Kelly and Patrick Lang

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FIS Meet & Play in Steenberg Golf Club
Steenberg Golf Club (RSA)

The Steenberg Golf Club, located approximately a 25-minute drive from the FIS Hotel, welcomed the `FIS Golf Meet & Play' participants on Sunday for an unofficial get-together before the business of Congress got underway in earnest.

Initially planned as a FIS Golf Tournament on the Sunday before the Congress Week, the differing travel plans of the Congress participants facilitated a successful adjustment of the program. 30 FIS family members representing some 10 countries gathered for a very enjoyable morning gold experience, a so-called friendly game, in beautiful sunny weather. Toni Kaegi, the tournament coordinator, commented: "This opportunity to spend quality time with other Congress participants has really proven to be a great addition to the Congress activity offering. Great thanks belong to the Steenberg Golf Club for their excellent cooperation and flexibility." He added further: "In 2010, at the next FIS Congress in Antalya, Turkey, we would like to continue the tradition of "Meet & Play," where the flights can be set up at will to allow ski friends to learn to know each other in a different environment."

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