News from the World of Skiing 

  Didier Cuche and Marco Bchel unveil Streif gondolas .... more

  FIS ISS in Tromso: Focus on injury prevention in skiing ... more

  Team Austria's first visit to Audi wind tunnel ... more

  Continental Cup Ski Jumping opens in Velenje (SLO) ... more

  Vonn, Bleiler and Jacobellis nominated for the ESPYs ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS World Cup Calendars: Applications for events until 2013 due by 1st August ... more

  Nominations for the FIS Court requested ... more

  New staff join FIS ... more

  Freestyle judges proctors relive the season 2007/08 ... more


 Member News 

  Tragic death of mogul coach Yoann Lizeroux ... more


 In Depth 

  Voices of New Committee Chairmen

Walter Vogel, Karen Korfanta ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Didier Cuche and Marco Bchel unveil Streif gondolas
Bchel and Cuche
Photo: KSC
Cuche testing the start house
Photo: KSC

On Friday, 27th June, two of the veteran ski stars from the FIS Alpine World Cup circuit were honored in Kitzbhel (AUT). As Streif champions, Didier Cuche und Marco Bchel were invited to unveil the Hahnenkammbahn gondolas newly inscribed in their honor. This is an extra bonus for the male Alpine racers, introduced following the gondola renovation in 1996.

Despite tearing a ligament in his knee while mountain biking the previous weekend, the two-time World Cup downhill champion from Switzerland was personally on site to unveil his gondola, as was the super-G winner Bchel. "My victory on the Hahnenkamm played a major role for winning the downhill title," he commented. The course record for the Streif is held by Fritz Strobl and dates back to 1987. Even with the new gondolas, that is at least one more goal remaining for Cuche and Bchel for next season.

For the Kitzbhel organizing committee there is no time to spare even in the summer. The preparations for the January event are already well in progress, and in close cooperation with the Bergbahn AG that is in charge of the snow-making and piste machinery for the race and organized the unveiling ceremony. "We are honored to receive visits from the athletes even in the summer. To us that is another indication that they appreciate the work we do," noted Michael Huber, President of the Kitzbhel organizing committee.

Includes contributions from Kitzbheler Ski Club

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FIS ISS in Tromso: Focus on injury prevention in skiing

The findings and lessons learned after the second season of the FIS Injury Surveillance System (FIS ISS) featured in an important role at the 2nd World Congress on Sports Injury Prevention held in Tromso (NOR) from 26th-28th June. Coinciding with the magical mid-summer time above the Arctic Circle, this important congress was organized by the Oslo Sport Trauma Research Center (www.ostrc.no) and included 81 international invited speakers from all over the world. More than 650 participants from close to 60 different countries came together to discuss ways to better protect the health of the athletes.

FIS ISS was initiated in 2006 to analyze injuries among elite skiers and is managed by the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre (OSTRC). 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 FIS ISS was recently confirmed for at least another two years, until the end of 2009.

Building on the success of the 1st World Congress staged by OSTRC in Oslo in June 2005, the 2nd Congress focused on presenting evidence-based information on sports injury prevention methods with a multidisciplinary perspective - including research on sports injury epidemiology, risk factors, injury mechanisms and pathophysiology. Led by Roald Bahr, one of the co-chairs of the FIS ISS Steering Board, the OSTRC staff including Tonje W†le Florenes, FIS ISS project manager, discussed in various presentations the initial findings of the ISS on the basis of data from two seasons.

For example, the data shows that there are great differences in the injury risk for the different FIS disciplines, ranging from 30% of the athletes at World Cup level in Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing missing at least one day during a season due to injury, compared with 6% for the Nordic disciplines. By identifying the trends in the body parts most subject to injury, the data from the first two seasons of the FIS ISS are also giving some indication of the opportunities for better injury prevention. Following further analysis during the summer, the OSTRC staff more detailed information will be available shortly.

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Team Austria's first visit to Audi wind tunnel
Hannes Reichelt in wind tunnel
Photo: GEPA

Audi, the title sponsor of the FIS Alpine World Cup and one of the key partners of at least nine FIS National Ski Associations, also cooperates with the national ski teams in areas other than vehicles. True to its motto `Vorsprung durch Technik,' or ahead through technology, Audi is also providing opportunities for the athletes to improve their technique and equipment further through the use of its ultramodern Audi wind tunnel.

In an effort to turn the benefit of the last hundredth of a second to their advantage, the Austrian national team most recently visited the Audi know-how center in Ingolstadt (GER) for the first time. The center is especially known for its technical capacities (speeds of up to 300 km/h can be simulated) and noise reduction technologies.

A total of eleven athletes took advantage of the training opportunity, five ladies and six men. Toni Giger, the Austria Ski men's coach commented: "I was surprised about the understanding of the Audi technicians of alpine ski racing. We received many good tips for aerodynamics." Herbert Mandl, the ladies coach, added: "For my team this was a great experience. We had some problems in the speed disciplines last season. Now we know why."

Includes contributions by OeSV

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Continental Cup Ski Jumping opens in Velenje (SLO)
Velenje hill

The men's Continental Cup Ski Jumping will begin this weekend in Velenje (SLO). It is the eighth time in a row that Velenje stages the first two of a total of 11 summer competitions in the men's `second level' series. The opening competition - the so-called Gorenje Cup - is carried out on a national holiday on Friday followed by a second competition on Saturday. The summer series will then continue in nearby Kranj on Sunday with a third normal hill competition.

After a two-month break the men's Continental Cup will continue together with the ladies in Lillehammer (NOR) on 12th-13th September. Overall, this season will see several events where the men's and ladies' Continental Cup circuits for Ski Jumping are carried out simultaneously. This will help leverage organizational synergies and generally enhance the level of the event organization. After the men's double event in Villach (AUT), this will again be the case in Oberstdorf (GER) on 26th-27th September. The men's summer series will end in Falun (SWE) which will mark the return of the Swedish site to the calendar after a break of six years.

Last season's men's Continental Cup Ski Jumping was won by Stefan Thurnbichler of Austria ahead of his teammate Bastian Kaltenboeck and Lars Bystoel of Norway.

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Vonn, Bleiler and Jacobellis nominated for the ESPYs
Lindsey Vonn
The ESPY Award

FIS Alpine World Cup ladies' overall champion Lindsey Vonn, together with Gretchen Bleiler, 2006 Olympic silver medalist in snowboarding half-pipe, and Lindsey Jacobellis, 2007 ski cross FIS World Cup champion and 2008 vice-champion, have all been nominated for a 2008 ESPY Award. In its 16th year, the ESPY Awards will commemorate the most exciting moments, greatest achievements and top performances in sports around the globe. In only its fifth year of doing so, the ESPY Awards will be determined solely by the fans who can either vote online at www.espys.tv,˙or through text message. Voting began 1st July and runs through 12th July.

Vonn is nominated in the category for Best Female Athlete, while snowboarders Bleiler and Jacobellis will go head to head for the Best Female Action Sport Athlete. With five downhill wins, Lindsay Vonn became only the second American to win the World Cup downhill title. Clinching the 2008 World Cup overall title, she became the first female to win the World Cup overall since Tamara McKinney in 1983, in 25 years.

The 2008 ESPYs will be hosted by pop star Justin Timberlake and will air 20th July at 21:00 EST on ESPN.

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 Inside FIS 

FIS World Cup Calendars: Applications for events until 2013 due by 1st August

In Cape Town, the FIS Council decided that the framework for all the FIS World Cup calendars should be based on four year advanced planning, with key dates and events such as the Opening, Finals and classic events firmly set. The possibility to include new developing sites in certain pre-defined periods in the calendar should be left open until latest the spring 18 months before the season in question. The calendars for the seasons 2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 will be proposed to the FIS Council by the Technical Committees for review at the Council Meeting in November 2008.

The National Ski Associations are requested to submit their applications for World Cup events for the upcoming four seasons to the respective technical departments of FIS in time for the preparation of the documentation for the autumn Technical Committee meetings in Zurich (SUI) - in principle by 1st August 2008.

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Nominations for the FIS Court requested

The number of members nominated to the FIS Court has presently dwindled to 8, with three open places following the retirement of members from Germany, Japan and USA. New applications for membership are encouraged by the National Ski Associations and will be reviewed by the Council in November. The Court has had very few cases (one which was subsequently withdrawn in 2007/08), thanks to the professional work of the juries and very few cases that reached the appeals commissions, and hopefully this will continue to be the case in the future. It is nevertheless necessary to have a pool of judges that comprise the FIS Court ,in case an appeal is submitted for adjudication, in order that the complaint can be judged fairly.

Criteria for membership is somewhat different to the FIS Committee Members, in so far as the judges may not be directly involved in the activities of the National Ski Association and there are no official "committee" meetings of the FIS Court. Nominated judges should possess a good knowledge and interest about skiing and be able to communicate in English orally and in writing.

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New staff join FIS
FIS Office in Oberhofen

As of this week, two new members of staff have joined the FIS administration. Sarah Fussek has taken over from Madeleine Erb as assistant for Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General, and administrator for the FIS Anti-Doping and Aid&Promotion programs. She can be reached by e-mail on fussek@fisski.ch. Madeleine will be joining Swiss-Ski in August after a well-deserved holiday in July.

Replacing Sonja Reichen as the FIS World and Continental Cup assistant in the FIS Alpine administration, Anja Joerg can be contacted by e-mail on joerg@fisski.ch. After 21 years with FIS, Sonja has left big shoes to fill having played a major role in the administration of the Alpine World Cup in the course of its development into the major series it is today. FIS extends its best wishes to Sonja and her family for the future.

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Freestyle judges proctors relive the season 2007/08

While the outside temperatures were hot and humid with 28 degree Celsius, 12 freestyle officials from seven nations were sweating over re-evaluating 150 competition runs and jumps from last season's Freestyle FIS World Cup. This four-day FIS Freestyle Judges' Proctors meeting was held in Albany (USA) from June 25th to 28th 2008.

The pre-meeting work made great use of video technology, and was the result of a cooperative approach between every aspect of the discipline, including input from the NSA coaches, to the preparation of material by the different Rules and Officials working groups as well as FIS coordination. The detailed material will be used at the series of annual continental judges' clinics this coming autumn. The A level judges' clinics will be held in Beijing (CHN), Moscow (RUS), Park City (USA), Murten (SUI) and Helsinki (FIN) while some B level clinics will be held in North America, Europe and Asia.

Jay Simson, FIS Sub Committee Rules and Officials Vice Chairman, who coordinated the clinic, stated: "The quality of the video material and the detailed analysis will increase the level of training we can provide this season at the different clinics. This will improve the judges' ability to much better assess the athletic performance. The fact that the National Association officials take up to 6 days of their personal 'summer time' is a testament to their and their National Association's commitment to the discipline."

By the end of the seminar, 20 hours of clinic material, with 85 mogul runs, 37 half-pipe runs and 55 aerial jumps had been detailed and a total 70 gigabits of video data produced. The video material will be available from www.fot.ch, the Freestyle online training web site, by early September 2008.

Contributed by Joe Fitzgerald

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 Member News 

Tragic death of mogul coach Yoann Lizeroux
Yoann Lizeroux

FIS sends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Yoann Lizeroux, 32-year-old French national team mogul coach and brother of World Cup skier, Julien Lizeroux. Yoann died in a tragic accident while base jumping during an outdoor sports event near Interlaken (SUI), jumping from a site known as Melchstuhl west of the Jungfrau in the Bernese Alps.

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 In Depth 

Voices of New Committee Chairmen
Walter Vogel

Walter Vogel, Karen Korfanta

As reported earlier, the newly-elected FIS Council appointed several new Committee Chairmen in its first meeting following the FIS Congress in Cape Town (RSA). In this first part of the series, the FIS Newsflash is proud to present the initial thoughts by two of them as they embark on their new task for the 2008-2010 period:

Walter Vogel (GER), new Chairman of the Sub-Committee for Alpine Technical Delegates

"Of course I am very pleased that the FIS Council appointed me to the role of the chair of the Sub-Committee for Alpine Technical Delegates (TDs) after the retirement of Stig-Ove Gustafsson (SWE). I look forward to this honorable task and will try to continue the great job that Stig-Ove did for many years. With the support of all the TD Commissioners and of Tatjana Luessy and Janez Flere in the FIS office, the Alpine TDs can be sure that their concerns are well-represented.

The FIS Alpine Technical Delegates are one of the main pillars of quality management in alpine ski racing. They guarantee fair sport worldwide. Together with the organizers and the jury they ensure the safety of the racers. Therefore the development and permanent education of the TDs will be one of our main topics. In the future, I believe, the FIS TDs will not only control the compliance with the rules, they will also support the efforts of FIS to ensure that alpine ski racing remains a healthy sport. That is why the TDs need to seriously and accurately support the FIS Injury Surveillance System, especially on FIS level, as that is where the young athletes are concerned. Competence is a prerequisite for all activities by a TD. So our Sub-Committee and the team of the experienced TD Commissioners will assure that the Alpine TDs receive correct and well-prepared information. I see my personal role as a connector between the Sub-Committee and the Alpine Committee along with its Executive Board ensuring that the general direction of the work is correct and that all the right themes flow into our work.

Recruiting new TDs is becoming more and more difficult, but it is important for the future of our sport. We have to discuss possibilities of inspiring new people for this task. People with ski sport experience are best-suited for the role of a TD. Moreover, the past years have showed us that we have to be prepared for postponements and relocations due to difficult weather conditions. This requires flexible solutions from our Commissioners and TDs alike."

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Karen Korfanta as active skier

Karen Korfanta (USA), new Chair of the Sub-Committee for Ladies Alpine:

"Firstly, I am very much looking forward to the challenge and the collaboration with the other members of the Sub-Committee. The Ladies Alpine Sub-Committee has members who are very passionate about skiing and specifically ladies' Alpine Skiing. One of my first tasks will be to take an inventory of the number of ladies involved within each Association at management levels, volunteer levels, athletic programs and within FIS. This will give us a good perspective of where ladies are involved within the Alpine sports community.

We need to continue the work the Sub-Committee has been doing in past years. The success of the Ladies Seminar at the recent FIS Congress is indicative of the interest and concern of ladies in snow sports. We need to continue to support and enhance the ladies seminars. Our strong interest in the Ladies Alpine World Cup will always be a topic to discuss. We need to broaden our concern to include the challenges and opportunities at all other levels of racing, such as COC, FIS level and even younger athletes.

It is important that we encourage our members to either become a sitting member on other FIS Committees or, at the least, attend the other Committee meetings to become knowledgeable and contribute from a ladies' perspective. We should work closely with the Ladies Sub-Committee for Cross-Country Skiing and collaborate on issues and proposals where we find common ground.

There are other challenges our Sub-Committee needs to have good discussion on within the area of equipment, medical, doping, professional opportunities etc. We need to move forward over the next several years, one step at a time, discussing and meeting the challenges of ladies in snowsport."

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