News from the World of Skiing 

  FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping 2008: Schlierenzauer takes it all ... more

  Snowboard parallel World Cup opens indoors with the world's best at start ... more

  Save the Date: FIS Forum Alpinum and FIS Forum Snowboard ... more

 Inside FIS 

  Update on FIS Zrich Autumn Meetings ... more

  Great exchanges of ideas at first FIS Seminar for World Championship organizers ... more

  Focus on alpine protectors and helmets: Brainstorming for new solutions ... more

  TV experts at work to guarantee high quality TV production for Cross-Country ... more

 In Depth 

  Voices of New Committee Chairmen

Reprint ... more

 News from the World of Skiing 

FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping 2008: Schlierenzauer takes it all
Photo: Andr‚ Wieland

18-year-old Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) crowned himself the king of the FIS Ski Jumping Grand Prix 2008. The Austrian young star won the last two competitions, in Klingenthal (GER) and Liberec (CZE) last Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th October, to claim the top spot in the overall final standing.

The battle for the summer title between Gregor Schlierenzauer and Simon Ammann (SUI) saw the Austrian as the clear winner. Ammann, who led the summer series before the last two competitions, lost his lead to Schlierenzauer due to a poor landing in the second round in Klingenthal in front of 12'800 spectators. In Liberec, Schlierenzauer took an undisputed victory as he increased his tally of wins to five out of the ten individual GP competitions this summer.

The FIS Ski Jumping Summer Grand Prix 2008 started in Hinterzarten on 27th July. The winner there was Georg Spaeth (GER). In ten competitions, five athletes from four nations jumped to victories. In the final overall standings, Gregor Schlierenzauer collected 670 points while Simon Ammann had 617 and Michael Uhrmann (GER) ended up with 346 points.

The FIS Ski Jumping World Cup season will begin at the FIS Nordic Opening in Kuusamo/Ruka (FIN) on 27th-28th November 2008.


Snowboard parallel World Cup opens indoors with the world's best at start

After the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup opening in half-pipe and in snowboard cross in the Southern hemisphere, it's now time for the alpine snowboarders to sharpen the edges and apply the right wax on their boards. On 10th October, 2008, the world's best carvers will meet in the Netherlands to battle for the first parallel World Cup points in the only indoor parallel slalom of the season. The race boarders take advantage of the secure snow conditions in SnowWorld Landgraaf for the fourth consecutive time. Overall, it is the sixth time the head-to-head duels take place on the approximately 250-meter-long slope in Landgraaf.

Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED), the defending parallel and overall World Cup champion, is returning home trying to set the cornerstone for another successful World Cup season. Last year, the 29-year-old took third in SnowWorld after being defeated by just 30 hundredths in the semi-finals by Amelie Kober (GER) who took her second back-to-back win. They will be challenged by the strong Austrian team, including Heidi Neururer, Claudia Riegler and Marion Kreiner.

On the men's side, the two-time Landgraaf winner Siegfried Grabner (AUT) will lead his teammates, 2008 overall World Cup champion Benjamin Karl and Andreas Prommegger, along with Rok Flander (SLO), Roland Haldi (SUI), Canada's Matthew Morison and Jasey Jay Anderson to start the season. The Landgraaf finals will be broadcast live both on Dutch TV channel RTL and on Eurosport 2.


Save the Date: FIS Forum Alpinum and FIS Forum Snowboard

The FIS Forum Alpinum - the Information Session for the Ski Journalists - will take place on Friday 24th October, the traditional day before the opening of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season 2008/09 in S”lden (AUT). The FIS management together with the leading FIS Alpine professionals will again provide an update on FIS's activities and stand ready for questions and answers with the international ski media. Presentations by the Organizing Committees of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2009 in Val d'IsŠre (FRA), the promotional event for the FIS Alpine World Cup in Moscow (RUS) and the premiere Audi FIS Alpine World Cup event in Bansko (BUL) are also on the schedule. For more information visit here.

The first-ever FIS Forum Snowboard is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 22nd October in˙London (GBR). The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup tour is making its debut in the British capital with a big air event on Saturday 25th November. This event coincides with one of the world's largest ski and snowboard trade fairs, the Metro Ski and Snowboard Show, which is held at London Olympia˙as of the 22nd October. The FIS Forum Snowboard will provide FIS with a chance to deliver the latest news within the sport of Snowboarding along with a chance for the media to interview some of the best riders participating in the historic London event. For more information visit here˙the World Cup home page˙and here for the Metro˙show page


 Inside FIS 

Update on FIS Zrich Autumn Meetings
Photo: NordicFocus

Cross-Country: Calendar planning principles, semi-professional TD assistants

The Cross-Country section had a busy schedule in Zurich. Besides the meetings of the FIS Sub-Committee for World and Continental Cups and the FIS Cross-Country Executive Board, an update for the World Cup Technical Delegates (TDs) and an Organizers' Seminar were held. In the seminar, the emphasis was on finding practical solutions for specific aspects of sports organization, logistics/media and spectator animation.

Long-term calendar planning for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup for the upcoming five seasons was probably the most important subject in the Sub-Committee for World and Continental Cups and the Executive Board.

Both bodies agreed on the principal criteria of the World Cup calendar. These are to establish venues that return year after year; deliver high quality in sports organization and marketing and good general standard of organization; invest in Cross-Country Skiing; might represent a new country or market; and can secure high level TV production. All members supported including four "season highlights" in a single season. As an example, from 2009/2010 on, these will be the second Cross-Country weekend as a three-day-event in Kuusamo/Ruka (FIN) including the so-called "Ruka up and down" competition, the FIS Tour de Ski, the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships or the Olympic Winter Games and, last but not least, the World Cup Final.

The four semi-professional Technical Delegate Assistants, who will share the position of the FIS TD Assistant at all World Cup events this winter and provide more extensive support to the local Organizing Committees were also announced. Welcome on board Georgy Kadikov (RUS), Uros Ponikvar (SLO), Jussi Pryk„ri (FIN) and Georg Zipfel (GER)!


Photo: NordicFocus

Ski Jumping: Small globe for the best ski flyer

Calendar planning was also an important topic in the meeting of the FIS Ski Jumping Committee and its Sub-Committee for Calendar Planning which debated the framework calendars until the 2013/2014 season. In addition, the details of the coming season's calendar were finalized, including the rules for awarding the small World Cup crystal globe for the winner of the Ski Flying ranking and the introduction of the FIS Team Tour in Germany.

For hill construction, several major projects were reviewed including the building of new hills at Sochi and Vancouver for the elected hosts of the Olympic Winter Games, as well as the projects underway in Kazakhstan and Korea (Pyeongchang). Significant emphasis was also put on the possible protection measures for the hills against external influences especially the wind.

Overall there were no significant rules changes. The Sub-Committee for Rules and Control made nominations for the jury positions until the Olympic Winter Games in 2010 and the plans for upcoming TD seminars in Europe and North America were approved.

In terms of materials, the consolidation phase has been completed and the focus has shifted to the safety of the jumping helmets. The Ski Jumping Committee forwarded its remarks to the FIS Medical Committee for further study.


Photo: NordicFocus

Nordic Combined: Revision moves ahead

On the basis of the so-called Funnel System, a structured consultative process that engages the National Ski Associations in the decision-making, the Zurich meeting of the Nordic Combined Committee was able to focus on the additional feedback received on the proposals for the planned significant changes in the competition format. Upon review of all comments, the Committee unanimously supported the changes that foresee the simplification of the competition format to just one jump followed by a 10 km Cross-Country race. The compact rules are expected to benefit the discipline and the Committee sees the year 2008 as a milestone for Nordic Combined before entering the World Cup season 2008/09 with modernized rules and a historical opportunity to return to a leading position inside the world of winter sports. These changes are subject to confirmation by the FIS Council in its Levi (FIN) meeting in November 2008.

At the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec 2009, there will be four medals events in Nordic Combined. The mass start event will be staged as a 10km Cross-Country race followed by two jumps on the normal hill. In addition there will be two Gundersen competitions consisting of a jump on the normal and large hill each followed by 10 km Cross-Country race both times. The team competition will also be jumped on the large hill and will entail a relay of 4x5km.


Photo: Agence Zoom

Alpine Skiing: Focus on calendar planning

The main topic on the agenda for the meetings of the Alpine Skiing Executive Board and the Alpine Committee as well as its Sub-Committees was the long-term calendar planning mandated by the FIS Council at its last meeting in Cape Town (RSA).

All FIS disciplines were requested to prepare framework calendars for the next four seasons until 2012/2013. For the organizers of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, as well as the organizers of the Continental Cup events and all the teams and National Ski Associations, this is intended to allow for better marketing and planning opportunities alongside opportunities for cost-savings and further event development. The future draft calendars approved by the Sub-Committee for Alpine World Cup and the Alpine Committee will be submitted to the FIS Council for approval at its next meeting in Levi (FIN) in November. Furthermore, an adjustment to the ladies World Cup calendar for the current season regarding the dates of the ladies' Aspen (USA) events was made - please click here for the updated version.

Other proposals discussed include the recommendation for a test of Alpine slalom races using single poles only (no "outside" poles) in FIS races. As approved in the spring, the importance of winning a Continental Cup overall ranking will be highlighted by entitling the winner to a personal starting quota in the World Cup for the following season, beginning with the successful athletes in the upcoming Continental Cup 2008/09 standings

The FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships 2010 will be held in the Chamonix/Mont Blanc region in France, instead of in Chile (La Parva/El Portillo), subject to confirmation by the FIS Council following the request of the Chilean Ski Association to postpone the championships for organizational reasons. According to the current plans, Megeve will host the speed events while the technical events will be held in Chamonix and St Gervais will serve as the training resort. FIS continues to be interested in staging the Alpine Junior World Ski Championships in South America as soon as the technical requirements for the sports organization there are available.


Photo: Mike Ridewood

Freestyle: Working together to continue to add value

The autumn meetings in Freestyle Skiing focused on the different aspects of adding value to the discipline and to FIS. Based on an analysis of the achievements in the last several years, there is significant momentum in many areas, such as developing Freestyle Skiing in Asia especially in China and building on the success of ski cross in half-pipe, while further opportunities for improvement could be identified in specific topics. For example, TV production standards will be re-defined to optimize the quality and production procedures to gain additional relevance and meet the needs for immediate information flow. This specifically applies to the FIS Freestyle World Championships and World Cups, since it has shown for example at the Olympic Games that the Freestyle TV or internet media property is of great commercial value.

The Freestyle Committee also spent time on defining its vision for children who have multiple opportunities to play in the snow. The focus was set on developing freestyle as more play than serious sport in the early years with the long-term goal of attracting young children to the sport both as participants and as fans.


Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS

Snowboard: Short and long term perspectives

At the Zurich meetings for Snowboard, various important items for the short and long term were discussed.

The chairmen for both the Technical Delegates and Judges Working Groups presented positive results from the various clinics organized. For the upcoming season, all TDs and judges were proposed and largely agreed.

The 2009/2010 calendar was discussed and mostly agreed although the final calendar will only be confirmed in May 2009. Furthermore, the participants agreed with the contents of a long-term calendar strategy which will serve as a guideline to determine the World Cup calendars from 2010/2011 until 2013/2014.

Representatives of the FIS Snowboard World Championships 2009 in Sungwon (KOR), the Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver 2010 and FIS Snowboard World Championships 2011 in La Molina (SPA) presented their current status of preparations which, for all of them, are right on track.

Last but not least, new future events were discussed within the Snowboard Task Force. Snowboard sees that there is a great future for new events such as the snowboard cross team event and slopestyle. Both appeal to the young target group and are relatively easy to organize since most of the needed infrastructure already exists.


Great exchanges of ideas at first FIS Seminar for World Championship organizers

The first seminar for the FIS World Championships organizers took place at the end of the FIS Autumn Meetings week on Sunday and Monday at the Hotel Hilton Zurich Airport. The goal of the seminar was to give new ideas to the elected organizers of FIS World Ski Championships from 2009 to 2013. Despite the differences among the FIS disciplines, the principle of the seminar was based on the belief that the organizers have a lot to learn from each other, both from other OCs in their own discipline, but also across the FIS disciplines. The seminar was launched with a keynote given by Martin Kallen, the man in charge of the previous two UEFA Euro tournaments in Portugal in 2004 and Austria/Switzerland in 2008. His overall management approach to ensuring a successful sports event was followed by various presentations by different organizers themselves on the importance of event strategy, the role of communications, the opportunities for side events and marketing & communications activities.

More than 40 representatives of the future FIS World Championship organizers participated in the two day seminar. After the event, Asne Havnelid, CEO of Oslo 2011 commented: "The seminar was very useful. It was interesting to hear about different subjects from the other organizers, and also nice to get to know them. Group discussions and plenary presentations mixed together was a good combination for the seminar format."

Patrice Drouin, General Manager of the FIS Snowboard World Championships 2013 in Quebec (CAN) added: "Thanks to FIS for taking the initiative to organize this first WCS Seminar. It was a pleasure to participate and have an opportunity to exchange ideas with the other organizing committees."


Focus on protectors and helmets: Brainstorming for new solutions

On the initiative of Gnter Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director for the men's Alpine World Cup, a special brainstorming session for the equipment industry was included in the schedule of the FIS Autumn Meetings. The two-hour workshop was entitled "Safety for athletes - status and development of competition equipment worn by the athletes" and included the participation of most firms involved in helping the athletes to protect themselves during their performance. A special emphasis was put on protectors worn on the body as well as helmets, their current state and possible future development.

"The idea of this brainstorming meeting was to begin a dialogue with the industry to further develop the possibilities for the athletes to protect themselves both in training and in competition. Our hope is that we can offer some new state-of-the art solutions for the Olympic season 2009/2010," commented Hujara.

The meeting also included a presentation on the findings after two seasons by the FIS Injury Surveillance System (FIS ISS). The FIS ISS is a system for continuous monitoring of injuries at the elite level of the FIS sports, generously supported by DJO. For more information on the FIS ISS click here.


TV experts at work to guarantee high quality TV production for Cross-Country
Photo: NordicFocus

The autumn FIS Cross-Country TV seminar was held in the form of a workshop in Zurich this Tuesday and Wednesday. The session featured open and productive discussions among the five FIS Cross-Country TV experts - Ola Fagerheim (NOR), Steffen Lunkenheimer (GER), Odd Kaldefoss (NOR), Tapani Parm (FIN) and Johan Bernhagen (SWE) - and the representatives of the rights holder Infront along with FIS staff.

The goals of the workshop were to revise the FIS World Cup Cross-Country TV production guidelines, to discuss the different levels of support needed for specific TV productions to guarantee continuously high standards and to identify common principles for TV production and promotion of the FIS Tour de Ski.

The group debated the various perspectives and agreed on common ground to be articulated in specific production guidelines for the different event formats such as sprint, mass start and so forth. The basic principles were defined, to be articulated in a first draft of the new guidelines, and those will be tested during the upcoming season. Thereafter they will be refined on the basis of the newest experiences by next summer. The main focus of the discussions on guidelines was on individual start races where the most challenges have been encountered in the past. For the Tour de Ski, common elements such as˙interviews with the current leader and the importance of relaying the story of the entire event series were discussed.

"It was pleasing to see such active and constructive discussions among all the experts. They are clearly great fans of Cross-Country Skiing and we highly appreciate their willingness to participate in further developing the product," commented Jrg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country.


 In Depth 

Voices of New Committee Chairmen
Alfons Schranz (AUT)

Reprint: Alfons Schranz and Reto Nadig

Due to technical problems only a part of the readership received this article in its entirety. We apologize for the inconvenience and republish it below.

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 fourth and final part of the series, the FIS Newsflash is pleased to present the initial thoughts by the last two of the eight new chairmen as they embark on their new task for the 2008-2010 period

Alfons Schranz (AUT), new Chairman of the Sub-Committee for the Classification of the Alpine Competitors

"I became a member of the Sub-Committee for Classification of Alpine Competitors at the FIS Congress in Christchurch (NZE) in 1996. At the Congress 2008 in Cape Town (RSA) I was elected Chairman.

I commit myself to the implementation of our jointly developed propositions and decisions and any recommendations. Following in the footsteps of Helmut Adams, I too would like to keep up the good working atmosphere in the Sub-Committee.
The Sub-Committee will continue to concentrate on its main task, which primarily is the evaluation and approval of any requests sent to us relating to the classification of Alpine races.

In order to allow the Sub-Committee members to evaluate the relevant topics, I would like to distribute the requests sent to us in time before the meetings. Moreover, working sessions should continue to be staged as required. The communication flow with the FIS Technical Delegates should be improved to provide them with all the relevant information."

Footnote: Regrettably Alfons was unable to chair his first meeting last week due to a recent injury - FIS sends best wishes for a speedy return to fitness.


Reto Nadig (SUI)

Reto Nadig (SUI), new Chairman of the FIS Court

"To begin with, I would like to say that my nomination is a great honor for me and I am looking forward to contributing to the ski sport in this new capacity.

The collaboration with an international team of judges has captivated me in the past. My judge colleagues are strong characters and we have had many fascinating encounters, both professional and personal. During the previous cases it was very interesting to witness how three judges of different nationalities and jurisdictions would lead a profound discussion in order to work out a solution. It was impressive how quickly they agreed on the fundamental questions. There seems to be a rather large consensus on the practice of a fair proceeding amongst the participating international judges. I regard it as my task to establish an efficient court organization and, in a team with the involved judges, to deliver correct decisions.

The basis of our work is the rules which are there to be observed and every competitor is entitled to that. With rules we mostly refer to the FIS rules, from ski-technical (e.g. equipment rules), to organizational (e.g. awarding of World Cup points) or procedural (e.g. appealing a decision). The rules could further include national laws whereby FIS is an association under the Swiss law, or international regulations. It is the FIS Court's duty to ensure these rules are abided by.

The benefit of an association-intern yet independent court is that the FIS Judges are professional judges, professors or attorneys who are in close contact with the ski sport. Through the combination of judicial professionalism and their understanding of the ski sport, they seek to find legally correct and feasible solutions given the sports environment. In addition, the association-internal courts are typically faster and more cost-efficient than external ones."