News from the World of Skiing 

  Austrian double victory at alpine snowboard opening ... more

  Lackner (AUT) wins summer finals, leads Ski Jumping COC rankings ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS optimistic about Liberec 2009 ... more

  WADA IO report on Beijing Games published ... more

  The end of an era: Dismantling of the hill tower on Holmenkollen ... more

  50'000 invitations for Val d'IsŠre 2009 ... more

  Work starts for Schladming 2013 ... more

  Introducing new series: International Perspectives on Skiing, Part I ... more


 Member News 

  Tragic death of Alexei Prokurorov ... more


 In Depth 

  After the Final Inspection: Interview with Katerina Neumannova ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Austrian double victory at alpine snowboard opening
Doris Guenther (AUT)
Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS
Patrick Bussler (GER)
Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS

The Austrian alpine snowboarding squad could not have expected a better start: Both Doris Guenther and Benjamin Karl beat the competition from 22 nations in the season's first parallel slalom contest at SnowWorld Landgraaf (NED).. In the ladies' final, Guenther relegated her teammate Heidi Neururer to second spot. In the small final, reigning overall World Cup title champion Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) prevented a total podium sweep for the Austrians in claiming third. In the men's final, Karl crossed the finish line 35 hundredths ahead of Adam Smith (USA). In the battle for third, Patrick Bussler (GER) secured his career's first podium appearance by beating Rok Flander (SLO).

Contrary to the ladies competition, where the four fastest athletes of the qualification also dominated the knock-out finals, the men's final was a one-man-show by Karl who just sneaked into the k.o.-duels of the last 16. He secured the last spot by beating equal-timed Christopher Klug in the decisive run. Thereafter, Karl had to face the pairing with qualification winner Roland Fischnaller (ITA). Beating Fischnaller was key for Karl on his way to his third World Cup career triumph - just six days prior to his 23rd birthday. "Knocking out today's strongest man gave me fresh impetus. It pushed me and I knew I could do it. Especially after I thought that I was out when I saw the time in my first qualification run. But it seems that I have learned to snowboard indoors as well," commented Karl.

The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup will continue with the big air season opening at Battersea Station in London (GBR) on 25th October.

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Lackner (AUT) wins summer finals, leads Ski Jumping COC rankings
Daniel Lackner (AUT)
Source: www.schiclub.at

The summer finals in the men's Continental Cup Ski Jumping were held in Falun (SWE) last weekend. 21-year-old Austrian Daniel Lackner won both competitions on the HS 98 hill. He was accompanied on the podium by four different German jumpers: Severin Freund, Joerg Ritzerfeld, Danny Queck and Christian Ulmer.

After the summer season, which included 11 competitions, Lackner also leads the overall Continental Cup standings with 459 points, just two points ahead of another Austrian, Markus Eggenhofer. Severin Freund is ranked third with 393 points. The winter season for the men's Continental Cup will begin on 8th-9th December at Rovaniemi (FIN). The ladies series will continue on 12th-13th December 2008 in Park City (USA). After the summer events, the ladies' rankings are led by Germany's Ulrike Graessler, 155 points ahead of her teammate Magdalena Schnurr.

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 Inside FIS 

FIS optimistic about Liberec 2009
President Kasper
Photo: NordicFocus

The official Final Inspection for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec (CZE) took place on Monday, 13th October 2008. The organizing committee presided by Katerina Neumannova, former top Cross-Country skier and Olympic champion, delivered a six-hour presentation on the status of its preparations for the event 128 days prior to the opening ceremony. The Final Inspection was attended by FIS President Gian Franco Kasper and Secretary General Sarah Lewis as well as FIS Council Member Milan Jirasek, the Technical Delegates and FIS professional staff along with representatives of the TV and marketing rights holder European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and its marketing partner APF. The significance of these championships, the first ones to be held in the Czech Republic since it became an independent nation, was underlined by the personal participation in the Final Inspection of the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topol nek.

Detailed reports presented on the various aspects of event preparations included sports organization, TV broadcasting, ticketing, accommodation, accreditation and promotional plans, just to mention a few, and showed the hard work by many members of the organizing team. The updates provided specifically demonstrated the lessons learned from the test events held last season and the changes and improvements that have been implemented as a result. As an example, the organizing committee has put paramount importance on exploiting the latest snow production technologies and prepared back-up plans for snow depots in the mountains. In addition, the technical infrastructure has been thoroughly tested on several occasions, most recently during the FIS summer series competitions at the Jested Ski Jumping venue. The team is working hand in hand with the Czech government whose unequivocal support was underscored by Prime Minister Topol nek himself.

FIS President Gian Franco Kasper summarized his view of the preparations by the Liberec 2009 team: "The organizing committee continues the preparations with great enthusiasm and presented us with various good initiatives. Significant work still remains in the upcoming four months, which is usual for all organizing committees, but provided the same motivation we have seen until now, we can optimistically look forward to very good FIS World Championships here in Liberec."

He added: "In our experience, all organizers of major events - from our championships up to the Olympic Summer Games - undergo difficulties in the course of their preparations. Liberec has been no exception. However, we have full confidence that the organizing committee will meet our expectations and deliver a true Nordic ski festival in February 2009."

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WADA IO report on Beijing Games published

The 50-page report prepared by the WADA Independent Observer (IO) program from the 2008 Summer Olympic Games is now available. The 11-member IO Group in Beijing was led by FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis. "It was a privilege to be asked to lead this important assignment, which acknowledged the leading role played by FIS in anti-doping work within the sporting community and was a great opportunity to contribute to the global effort."

The IO program helps enhance athlete and public confidence at major events by randomly monitoring and reporting on all phases of the doping control and results management processes in a neutral and unbiased manner. The program was launched at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, at the invitation of the International Olympic Committee. This successful mission resulted in growing interest among the IFs and major event organizers who began to invite the program to monitor their events' doping control. Since 2000, WADA IO teams have participated in more than twenty major events besides the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including IAAF World Championships, the Tour de France, and the 2003 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships

To view a copy of the Beijing report, click here.

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The end of an era: Dismantling of the hill tower on Holmenkollen
Holmenkollen
Photo: Skiforeningen

A major part of the preparations for the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo (NOR) is the rebuilding of the ski stadium at Holmenkollen. Key to this modernization process is the reconstruction of the large jumping hill which, as well as the construction of a new normal hill at Midtstuen, is scheduled to be completed in time for the test events in 2010..

The tower of the jumping hill at Holmenkollen, the 56-meter-high landmark of Oslo, will be dismantled on Thursday, 16th October as of˙16:30 CET. There will be no explosion however. Instead, the plan calls for a controlled piece by piece `peeling off' of the different parts of the high-standing tower construction. The Ski Museum, located at the bottom of the hill facility, will not be impacted. The deconstruction of the lower part started already in September, with taking to pieces of the tribunes and judges' tower.

Deconstruction of the tower will begin with the start house, the so-called diamond, on Thursday. By December, the entire tower will have been dismantled. To get a glimpse of the different phases of the complex operation, click here to view a computer animation.

The start of the deconstruction on 16th October will be a press and public event, and it is expected that the construction site will be a public attraction in itself.Thursday's event as well as progress of the construction can also be followed on a webcam here.

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50'000 invitations for Val d'IsŠre 2009

During the first month of operation, already 50'000 people have requested an invitation to attend the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in February in Val d'IsŠre (FRA). This is an encouraging start for the unique concept that allows individuals, families and groups interested in attending the event to reserve their place in one of the special regional express trains, chartered by the Rh“ne-Alpes regional council, from the region's major towns and cities (for 1 Euro for return trip), as well as free transfer buses organized by Savoy County Council from Bourg St Maurice to Val d'IsŠre. A call center for requesting invitations was opened last week and can be reached in France at 0800 02 2009. The invitations, provided by Savoie Mont Blanc tourism, are also available on the event's website at www.valdisere2009.org.

Another piece of good news from Val d'IsŠre 2009 concerns the new sports center. The main structural works on the center, which is to be used as the World Alpine Ski Championships press center, were completed last week. Located at the foot of Bellevarde slope, work is now concentrated on covering the roof of the building which is partially subterranean, under the run-out of the slope. The center will be handed over to the organizing committee on 1st November for completing the interior fittings for the 2009 event.

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Work starts for Schladming 2013
The Night Race
Photo: OC Schladming

The first coordination group meeting with the newly-elected organizers of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2013 in Schladming (AUT) was held last Friday, 10th October. In order to be ready for test events scheduled over the upcoming years, detailed planning for the bigger construction projects needs to start now, four and a half years before the championships. The core team in Schladming has already developed plans for enhancing the infrastructure especially in the finish area where the goal is to be able to welcome all guests in perfect conditions. The plans feature a new parking garage for 500 cars just 100 meters from the finish area, scheduled to be ready for the current season. During the 2013 Championships, the garage will serve as the International Broadcasting Center. Additional changes planned in the finish area for the 2013 event include new service areas and hospitality facilities that will benefit visitors both at the WSC and the future classic World Cup Night Races. The organizing team is also planning a new media center about 10 minute walk from the finish area, in the new "WM Halle", at the location of the current 'Dachsteinhalle', which will be a top modern facility suitable for big congresses.

"It was impressive to see advanced plans for the 2013 event at this early stage," commented Niklas Carlsson, FIS Event Manager. "At the same time, we have to emphasize the importance of starting work already now since the planned investments and construction work will require considerable time. At this point, we feel very comfortable that all the improvements will be done in time especially if the team in place continues to work with the same professional attitude."

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Introducing new series: International Perspectives on Skiing, Part I
Cape Town (RSA)
Photo: SA Tourism

Several representatives of the international ski family shared their thoughts on various aspects of our sport in short video interviews on the occasion of the 46th International Ski Congress in Cape Town (RSA). The FIS Newsflash is pleased to feature the first three interviews in this series entitled "International Perspectives on Skiing." These interviews present Harald Aarhus, Chairman of the FIS Nordic Combined Committee, Howard Peterson, Chairman of the FIS Advertising Matters Committee and Vedran Pavlek, member of the FIS Alpine Executive Board and Alpine Director of the Croatian Ski Association. Click here to view these first˙videos.

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 Member News 

Tragic death of Alexei Prokurorov
Alexei Prokurorov

FIS sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Alexei Prokurorov (44) who died in a tragic traffic accident in his home town of Vladimir (RUS), 150 km east of Moscow, last Friday, 10th October. Mr. Prokurorov was 1988 Olympic champion, five-time Olympian, 1997 world champion and winner of a total of six medals at FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. After retiring following the 2001/2002 season he has served as Head Coach of the Russian ladies national team since 2006. Mr Prokurorov was also a member of the FIS Sub-Committee for Cross-Country World and Continental Cups.

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 In Depth 

After the Final Inspection: Interview with Katerina Neumannova
Katerina Neumannova
Photo: OC Liberec 2009

Katerina Neumannova, President of the Liberec 2009 organizing committee took the time to answer the following 10 questions after the official Final Inspection conducted on Monday 13th October.

1) In your view, just after the FIS Final Inspection, is everything on track?

In principle, yes. We started pretty much from zero last summer but are nevertheless progressing according to plan. We still expect a lot of work during the autumn, but we will manage everything.

2) How does your autumn look like - where is the most remaining work?

We will have to evaluate tenders for suppliers of temporary infrastructure, grandstands, large video screens, containers and their installation. We still also need to solve details for the ceremonies and related events. And there will be a series of training sessions for the volunteers and staff, for example.

3) What is the status of the competition facilities?

The Cross-Country venue Vesec is ready; we are waiting only for the pre-built stands and facilities for the teams in mobile containers. Work on the jumping hill in Jested - primarily on the surrounding areas and access road - will be completed in the autumn.

4) What are you most nervous about?

The weather. It can facilitate our work in Liberec, but it can also make it difficult for us.

5) How are you prepared to respond to milder than expected weather?

In addition to producing snow directly in Liberec, which will begin as soon as we have the first frosts, we have prepared two other places in the mountains where we will produce snow reserves in case we need to bring snow to Liberec.

6) The teams will stay in the renovated university buildings. What kind of accommodation and services can they expect?

They can expect comfortable living in single rooms, where two rooms share a bathroom. Services will be at a 3 * hotel level and a cafeteria will be open continuously from morning till late evening. An advantage is additional facilities such as opportunities for leisure activities, a gym and meeting rooms, all of which can be used by the teams.

7) How will you solve the accommodation situation for the rest of the participants, especially the media and spectators?

Accommodation for the media is planned partly in Hotel Babylon in Liberec, partly in the new flats in Green Valley and in some other hotels in the vicinity. Visitors will stay in Liberec and its surrounding area or in Prague, from where they will reach Liberec in approximately an hour.

8) How is it with the volunteers - are you fully booked or do you need more people to sign up?

We have more than a thousand volunteers at this time. We need around 800.. New volunteers are still registering which makes us happy. We would like to have some reserve. Of course we welcome especially those who have experience from last year's test events and volunteers from among athletes and recreational skiers.

9) How many spectators do you expect?

This is difficult to estimate now. We believe that in the days with especially interesting competitions where the Czech competitors are challenging for medals there will be up to 30'000 spectators a day. In addition, the Liberec region will have their spring holiday, so we want to attract schoolchildren and their families.

10) What is the role of the Czech team for your event and how do you work with them to promote the event?

The best advertising for us are the results of the Czech skiers. A lot of fans are especially looking forward to great performances by Lukas Bauer (editor - winner of 2007/08 overall FIS Cross-Country World Cup and Tour de Ski). The summer season went well for the Czech ski jumpers as well. We do not want to disturb them, but Lukas Bauer just attended a dinner during the Forum Nordicum and the Czech teams will participate in some events that we organize to promote the championships.

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