News from the World of Skiing 

  Japan strong in Snowboard World Cup opener, Argentinean World Cup premiere ... more

  FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping continues in Hakuba ... more

  Optimizing the Olympic legacy: A brief look at the 2010 Nordic venue ... more

  2nd Call for Papers: Mammoth Lakes International Ski History Congress 2009 ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS highly satisfied with Final Inspection for Val d'Isere 2009 ... more

  FIS Member Section now with online application for Season Accreditation 2008/09 ... more


 In Depth 

  After the Final Inspection: Interview with Jean Luc Fabre ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Japan strong in Snowboard World Cup opener, Argentinean World Cup premiere
Happy winners
Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS
Shiho Nakashima
Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup season kicked off in New Zealand last weekend. In the Cardrona super-pipe, Team Japan showed its half-pipe strength. In a remarkable starter field, Shiho Nakashima (ladies) and Kohhei Kudoh (men) both celebrated victory. In the men's competition, Kudoh edged his teammate and 2007 half-pipe World Cup winner Ryoh Aono by 1.3 points as he threw an almost perfect run deservedly earning 48.9 of possible 50 points. Altogether 32 ladies and 53 men from 20 nations had travelled ‘downunder' for the start of the season in ideal conditions. 

Moving onto South America this week, the FIS World Cup tour will continue in Chapelco, Argentina, this Friday and Saturday, 12th-13th September. The men's and ladies' snowboard cross season opening will also represent the first ever FIS Snowboard World Cup competitions in Argentina. The field in South America features strong teams from France, Switzerland, USA, and Canada, among others, including the reigning World Cup winners Maelle Ricker (CAN) and Pierre Vaultier (FRA). Exciting duels are in store in great snow conditions as Argentina enjoys one of the best snow seasons ever. 

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FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping continues in Hakuba
Hakuba hills
Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT)
Photo: NordicFocus
The FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping continues in Asia this week. The traditional Japanese stop on the summer tour will again take place in Hakuba (JPN) where the ski jumpers will compete in two competitions on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September. Hakuba has already hosted the FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping 6 times in the past.

With four competitions remaining, the reigning FIS Ski Flying world champion Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) leads the overall rankings clearly ahead of teammate Andreas Kofler who has 315 points and Michael Uhrmann of Germany, who is ranked third with 287 points. The last two Ski Jumping summer competitions will be held in Klingenthal (GER) on 3rd October and in Liberec (CZE) on 4th October.

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Optimizing the Olympic legacy: A brief look at the 2010 Nordic venue
Legacy skiers in Whistler Olympic Park
Photo: VANOC
The requirements for the design of the Olympic venues are  well-documented, and their planning and development closely watched by the IOC and the International Federations (IFs). The IOC and IFs also provide detailed lists of requirements for each of their target groups. However, there is often much less direction for how to provide for successful post-Games venues, possibly because every venue and local community situation is so unique

When planning and building the Nordic venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver, legacy and post-Games success have been a permanent agenda item. From the very beginning, VANOC and the federal and provincial governments have been strongly committed to a successful legacy. A "Trust Fund" was set up early, where over $100 million have already collected interest for several years. These funds will go towards the future operations of four 2010 venues; the Speed Skating Oval, the Sliding venue, the Athletes' Village (a portion that remains as an Athletes' Training Center) and the Nordic venue.  

Specifically for the brand new Nordic venue, the so-called Whistler Olympic Park, the initial layout already included not only the Games requirements, but also additional components that might be critical for successful operations in the future.  These steps included gathering written feedback from each of the Canadian administrative bodies for the Nordic disciplines outlining their legacy wishes as well as obtaining a commitment from VANOC to build and operate the venue as early as possible to maximize operational experiences and the marketing effect of the Games. To maximize recreational use, additional 35 km of easy and scenic recreational ski trails were built.

VANOC also decided to operate the venue with its own staff (over 40 persons) pre-Games to be able to seamlessly transfer experienced staff, equipment and knowledge to the legacy organization. To market the whole Valley as a "Nordic Mecca" to international and national skiers, a close cooperation with adjacent ski touring operators has been established. Moreover, state-of-the-art equipment was purchased to be left at the venue, such as large grooming machines, permanent refrigeration system for the Ski Jump in-run, electronic biathlon target system, Paralympic shooting and range system.  Already during the planning phase, a recreational consultant helped determine public activities for post-Games use, such as show shoe trails, tobogganing/tubing areas and a tree-climbing park, Some staff are already working on planning post-Games operations and business models, and piloting some activities in pre-Games use. 

"As with many other Games legacy topics, it is hard to predict the future. The challenges of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be overcome in time for 2010, but it will take many years before we will know how great the 2010 Games were for the Canadian sports and local communities," comments John Aalberg, Director, Whistler Olympic Park and of Nordic Sports and adds: "In fact, we already know that building and organizing a venue purely for an edition of the Olympic Games seem much easier than determining how to best operate the venue post-Games."

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2nd Call for Papers: Mammoth Lakes International Ski History Congress 2009
The organizers of the 2009 International Ski History Congress at Mammoth Lakes, California, USA, have issued the 2nd call for papers. The Congress, entitled  "The Spirit of Skiing - From Skiing to Snowports:  Cultures, Images & Adventures" will be held from 29th March-3rd April, 2009. 

The abstracts are due on 1st October, 2008.  The Congress website is up and running at www.2009InternationalSkiHistoryCongress.org. So far the congress is stirring up a lot of interest in the ski historian world and it is growing into one of the must-attend events of the year for ski history.

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 Inside FIS 

FIS highly satisfied with Final Inspection for Val d'Isere 2009
With 142 days remaining until the opening ceremony, the official FIS Final Inspection for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2009 in Val d'Isere took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, 9th-10th September. During a day of competition site inspections followed by an all-day review session, a large group led by FIS President Gian Franco Kasper and Secretary General Sarah Lewis that also included FIS professionals and representatives of the FIS TV partner European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and its marketing partner APF reviewed the status of event organization for the fourth FIS Alpine World Ski Championships ever held in France. On behalf of the organizing committee, presided over by Val d'Isere Mayor Marc Bauer, Jean Luc Fabre, Director General guided discussion of the details of current preparations in all areas of the event, from sports organization to marketing and promotion to security, transport, accommodation and accreditation.˙

"It is clear to us that the organizing committee has put in enormous efforts and we were pleased to see the high level of their preparation in all areas. After the crisis year of 2007, with several structural and organizational changes, we now have a very motivated organizing team with substantial expertise and ˙highly experienced people. We at FIS are 100% sure that it will be an excellent event that will serve to promote the sport of skiing worldwide, from exciting competitions on excellent courses to all-round celebration of our sport," commented FIS President Kasper after the 7-hour meeting. "Clearly there is still much to do, such as completing the Main Press Center construction, but with four months remaining, we are extremely optimistic that we will see truly extraordinary championships here in Val d'Isere."˙Watch an interview with FIS President here.

Sarah Lewis added: "I can speak for all the FIS professionals in saying that we are very positively attuned to see the great evolution of the work here. We have supported the team here through all the ups and downs in the last year and the organizing committee will have our full confidence and assistance until the last day of the championships in February 2009."˙

The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships will take place from 2nd-15th February 2009. The event will be broadcast live by at least 25 TV stations and will be watched by tens of millions of TV viewers daily. The key pillars of the championships include the face-to-face concept, or the two racing slopes directly opposite each other; great consideration for the environment; a winter festival; and for the first time, free access and transportation to all visitors to the competitions and side events. The Val d'Isere 2009 organizing committee, supported by regional and provincial governments, is launching a unique concept of an online invitation that allows the spectators to also travel to Val d'Isere for free by public transportation from within the region. The invitation will be launched in the area of Savoie by Jean-Claude Killy, one the event's ambassadors, on 13th September.˙ The organizers expect 200'000 total on-site spectators during the 13 days of competitions.˙

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FIS Member Section now with online application for Season Accreditation 2008/09

Information concerning the 2008/2009 edition of the FIS Season Accreditation is now online on the FIS web site here. Since the beginning of September, FIS Committee Members and FIS Technical Delegates can request their FIS Season Accreditation through the FIS Member Section using their email address and password on record, or request to be provided with access details. The FIS member National Ski Associations have been requested to nominate a person-in-charge to submit all the applications on behalf of their NSA including those for FIS Council Members and administrative staff, as well as team coaches, doctors and team servicemen. A valid FIS Season Accreditation is considered a prerequisite for any additional permission card issued by FIS on a seasonal basis such as restricted coach corridor, course access etc. cards. ˙

The incorporation of the FIS Season Accreditation into the FIS IT infrastructure is yet another step toward the future integration of all FIS systems using one and the same login. This is planned to include additional services in the future, such as registration for FIS World Cup events.

The online request for FIS Seaso Accreditation is also available to the ski industry and media

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 In Depth 

After the Final Inspection: Interview with Jean Luc Fabre
Jean Luc Fabre

Q. In your view, just after the FIS Final Inspection today, is everything on track?

A. Today, we are 142 days away from the World Championships. Although this is a very short time period, there are no major concerns any more. Our working schedule is tight, but we are in no doubt regarding our capability to deliver.

Q. What is the status of the new Sport Center, to be used as the MPC?

A. The new sports center will be property of the municipality of Val d'IsŠre, who will place it at the disposal of the organizing committee from November 2008 to February 2009. The Organizing Committee will start with the interior installations on 1st November. Shortly thereafter, during the month of December, we will settle into the new facilities. Throughout the World Championships, this future sports center - equipped with the latest communication technologies - will serve both as the Main Press Center and host the staff of the organizing committee.

Q. You have made some small changes to the slopes, what specifically?

A. Some modifications to the slopes have been carried out. As regards the Solaise ladies side, the downhill course Rh“ne-Alps has been broadened in two places. A new course has been created to stage the ladies' combined slalom. As for the Bellevarde Massif (the men's downhill slope), the Ancolie passage and the one at the bottom of the big wall have been improved and secured. Start platforms have been built for giant slalom and slalom.

Q. How will you solve the accommodation situation?

A. We have resolved the accommodation problem by means of a specialized team: Two young and efficient ladies have striven to respond to all requests. We have now reserved accommodation to meet all the needs of the teams and the VIPs. This team will also help the representatives of the media (press, TV/radio, photo) and other groups to find hotel rooms or apartments according to their needs.

Q. What will you be focused on in the autumn?

A. It is still late summer now. It is therefore premature to make predictions for the autumn. We can only hope that the season during which the marmots return to their burrows will be beautiful. This would allow us to accomplish the constructions more easily. Primarily, there is work to be done in the snow department: power lines, water pipes, telephone lines, fiber optics, stage construction, and setting up the cabins for the commentators. It would also help when it comes to the interior installations in the MPC.

Q. What kinds of side events can the participants look forward to?

A. The ski races will not be the only attractions of these championships. Every day will be marked with strong cultural highlights: classical or jazz music concerts, a seminar by a scientist (Nicolas Vannier will be talking about the environment with his sledge dogs), a ski museum, snow and ice sculptures and photo exhibitions. There will also be street activities, fireworks, parachute jumping, Jean-Claude Killy's special soup, and much more.

Q. How many volunteers are there going to be in total in Val d'Isere during these two weeks and are you still looking for some more?

A. The volunteer program does not worry us at all. We have received more than 1'300 applications, though we only need 900. We will complete the selection and proceed with assignments in September and October.

Q. This is a free event - how many spectators do you expect?

A. It is truly the first time in the history of large sports events that there are no tickets sold. The access will be free of charge. We hope to attract around 20'000 people per day in Val d'IsŠre (10`000 Val d'IsŠre locals and 10 000 daily visitors). The number of 20'000 people corresponds to the number of spectators that attended the downhill race during the 1992 Olympic Games.

Q. What are you most nervous about?

A. The only issue we do not yet master is the weather. The success of the championships will largely depend on the sun. The very sophisticated weather forecast system at our disposal should allow us to plan for this.

Q. How will you work with the French team for your event?

A. We are partnering with the French ski team to promote this great sports event. It's members have been interviewed about the World Championships by the TV stations. The athletes will all, to a certain extent, act as the ambassadors of these championships through a media campaign beginning in early November. We will also participate in the traditional ceremony of presenting the French team to the media on 6th October in Paris, just to give another example of our partnership.
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