News from the World of Skiing 

  Ahonen bids farewell ... more

  Race for 2018 begins ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Bring Children to Snow Campaign update: Taking stock of current programs ... more

  FIS Training Center Gustav Thoeni in Sella Nevea enters second season ... more

  Introduction of new qualification standards for ski cross ... more


 Member News 

  Read steps down from head of Alpine Canada ... more


 In Depth 

  On the FIS Injury Surveillance System

Interview with Tonje Wle Florenes ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Ahonen bids farewell
Photo: NordicFocus

Some 11'000 fans wished farewell to Janne Ahonen in his home town of Lahti (FIN) last Thursday. The 15-strong starting field of the invitational Ski Jumping competition held at the Lahti ski stadium read like a who-is-who of the international Ski Jumping elite. As in high number of the other competitions in his 26-year-career, Ahonen won the last competition, held on the very same hill where it all started years ago. He posted the longest jumps in both rounds and received full 20 points from the five jumping judges, all his previous coaches from Kari Ylianttila to Kari Ptri, Mika Kojonkoski, Hannu Lepist and Tommi Nikunen. Ahonen triumphed 16 points ahead of his long-time challenger Adam Malysz who was followed by Georg Spth, Andreas Kttel and Martin Schmitt, just to mention a few.

Ahonen's mother Maarit Ahonen joined her son in the tower for the first time in his career. "It surely felt strange at the bar up there - for the last time," he commented.

The 31-year-old champion will be concentrating on spending time with his family, now with son Mico and a new-born, his sporting goods export business and working as the jumping suit expert for the Finnish Ski Jumping team.

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Race for 2018 begins
Photo: IOC

With 22 days until the start of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Summer Games on 8th August 2008 and 576 days until the 2010 Games in Vancouver, the race for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games is also starting to take form.

The first city to make its candidature for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games official, Munich (GER) is seeking to become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games after hosting the Summer edition in 1972. The application committee held its first official meeting on Tuesday, naming IOC Vice President Thomas Bach as its chair. Some of the other cities that are expected to compete with Munich for the 2018 Games include PyeongChang (KOR); a French candidate with Grenoble, Annecy and Gap in the running; Tromso (NOR) and several others sites who have expressed interest. The application process for 2018 will officially begin next year, in the autumn of 2009, after the campaign for the 2016 Summer Olympics comes to an end.

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 Inside FIS 

Bring Children to Snow Campaign update: Taking stock of current programs
Photo: iStock

The new FIS campaign entitled "Bring Children to the Snow" is making progress. This international marketing and activity campaign, the first of its kind in the Federation's history, was approved by the FIS Council in November 2007 and presented at the 2008 Congress in Cape Town. It is designed to generate passion for snow activities among the younger generations and specifically seeks to activate and enable children and youngsters to spend time with their families skiing, snowboarding or simply playing in the snow.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, the campaign will seek synergies with the many successful activities already underway in most of the 110 FIS member nations. Following an initial review of some examples, the project team conducted a structured survey among the National Ski Associations in June. This analysis is being supplemented by market research and numerous interviews with industry experts and stakeholder groups.

The campaign is foreseen to involve various partners and it will be implemented in a phased manner over the next years. More information about the concept, timescales and tool kits for national implementation will be available at the FIS autumn meetings.

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FIS Training Center Gustav Thoeni in Sella Nevea enters second season
Sella Nevea
Piste Canin

Sella Nevea, the first resort to be designated an official FIS training center last summer, is entering its second season. The center has now been dedicated in the honor of the Italian ski champion Gustav Thoeni and was made possible thanks to generous support by the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Located near Tarvisio in North Eastern Italy, Sella Nevea features the only designated training slope for Alpine Skiing in the Alps. The center is offering all inclusive packages available to all National Ski Associations at a special daily price. Besides exclusive availability of the slopes (equipped with snow-making), dedicated ski lift, timing facilities, technical support and safety equipment, the center provides video analysis, conference room and gym facilities.

In addition to slopes for the technical events, the Sella Nevea center offers fully prepared slopes for training speed events on the Canin/Bila Pec slope that is served by the Canin 2S cable car and has a vertical drop of 755m.

For more information and booking calendar, visithere.

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Introduction of new qualification standards for ski cross
Photo: Agence Zoom

Since its acceptance in the program of the Olympic Winter Games, the general interest in ski cross has been growing significantly. A total of 70 quota spots will be available for the first Olympic ski cross competitions at the Vancouver Games in February 2010, 35 for the ladies and 35 for men. In order to qualify for the 2010 Games, the athletes need to participate in ski cross events in the Freestyle FIS World Cup or the FIS Freestyle World Championships, and place within the top 30. Last season, 49 ladies and 60 men from 20 National Ski Associations scored ski cross FIS World Cup points awarded to the top 30 in each competition.

At the recent FIS Committee Meetings, the FIS Freestyle Committee introduced new qualification standards for entry into the ski cross World Cup valid from the 2008/09 season To be entered into the FIS World Cup ski cross events, competitors can either use their Freestyle FIS points or Alpine FIS points. A competitor with 100 Alpine FIS Points or less in any alpine event is qualified to participate in the FIS ski cross World Cup. The ski cross Freestyle FIS point level is set at 20 - 40 Freestyle FIS points for the basic quota and more than 40 FIS points for additional quota spots.

For the Freestyle FIS World Championships 2009, there are no Freestyle or Alpine FIS point standards required for entry of competitors by their National Ski Associations within the team quota.

To participate in FIS ski cross competitions all competitors must be registered by their National Ski Association with FIS and will receive a Freestyle FIS code. Details in regard to quotas for each gender and total team size are available on the FIS Website.

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 Member News 

Read steps down from head of Alpine Canada
Ken Read

Ken Read has announced that he will step down as chief executive officer of Alpine Canada Alpin at the beginning of August. The former Crazy Canuck has 2002 played an important role in the resurgence of Canadian ski racing since June. The Canadian Alpine Ski Team has moved from 12th position in the Nations Cup rankings in 2002 to 6th in 2008, with a record 14 World Cup podiums during the 2006/07 season. Ken Read will return to the private sector and reactivate his business of sport and management consulting which he left in 2002. In addition he will continue his engagement with FIS as member of the FIS Alpine Executive Board and Chair of both the FIS Alpine Youth & Children sub-committee and FIS Co-ordination Group for Youth & Children.

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 In Depth 

On the FIS Injury Surveillance System
Tonje Wle Florenes
ISS in action

Interview with Tonje Wle Florenes

Tonje Wle Florenes, project manager, is the only full-time employee on the FIS Injury Surveillance System (FIS ISS) project at the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center. The FIS ISS was recently confirmed for at least two more years 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.

Hi Tonje, can you tell us what the FIS ISS is?

The FIS ISS project began in the 06/07 season; it is based on cooperation between the FIS and Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center with financial support from DJO. Essentially, it is a tool to register data for injuries in the sport of skiing. Based on specially-designed reports submitted by the FIS Technical Delegates for all FIS competitions, we analyze the injuries sustained and how they happen in order to assess trends for injuries. Until now we have had no systematic data available to monitor the injury risks and patterns for World Cup-level skiers and snowboarders.

Why the FIS ISS?

FIS is concerned about the number of injuries for top athletes in skiing and snowboarding, and wish to protect their health. The main objective is to provide current and reliable data on injury risks and patterns in international skiing and snowboarding at the elite level. The ultimate aim is to reduce injury rates.

The ISS has been portrayed as"groundbreaking" - hasn't there been any research like this before?

In general, there has been very little systematic research on elite athletes, only a handful of studies usually based on limited data from a single event or competition or on a national basis only. We have not really known much about what happens, what types of injuries occur, and what should be done about it.

Which is the most common body part/injury reported?

The most common injury is to the knee; more specifically to the knee ligaments. The second most common injury site is the head; mostly these are concussions.

What is the most common risk factor?

It is too early to say. We are currently working on a strategy to study the injury mechanisms. The fact is that there are distressingly many injuries as almost 1/3 of the top athletes suffer an injury which puts them out of commission for at least parts of the season. The highest risk is seen in Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding. Everyone's goal with this project is to find out what we can do to reduce the number of injuries.

How can athletes prevent injuries?

It depends on what we find out when we have analyzed the data. So far the research has clarified which injuries are most frequently reported. When we know how they occur we can start looking at recommendations to the experts for training, but also regarding the preparation of the slopes, snow conditions and so on.

Before last season FIS changed the rules for the Alpine equipment - did that have an impact on injuries?

It is too early to say if there was an impact, but there is unfortunately no sign of a reduction in injury rates when compared to the previous season. The most important thing is that we continue to collect reports from season to season. With long-term data it is possible to see if such changes in rules, equipment and snow conditions etc. impact the number of injuries sustained.

What is the next step in your research?

We now know what types of injuries are most common. We still need to know more about why, how and in what conditions these injuries occur.

Will you change anything for 08/09 season; are there data missing?

The TDs will continue to report injuries to the ISS. Right now, almost half of all injuries are not reported so we are hoping for more support from the local organizers, race doctors and for more engagement from the teams so that they voluntarily report all injuries to the TDs. This is critical.

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