News from the World of Skiing 

  Levi is ready ... more

  20 nations to race the 3rd Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski ... more

  Indoor facilities help promote the sport ... more

  Season start marks launch of joint FIS / Right To Play campaign ... more


 Inside FIS 

  FIS Council to meet at Levi ... more

  GAP 2011 in plan ... more

  New staff join FIS Nordic Administration ... more

  Updated rules for organization of FIS World Championships ... more

  New ICR and online TD report focus for Alpine TDs ... more

  International Perspectives on Skiing, Part IV ... more


 Member News 

  Holkeri re-elected in Finland ... more


 In Depth 

  Season Preview with FIS President ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Levi is ready
World Cup at Levi

The Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup is poised for the 2008/09 slalom opening at Levi (FIN), which will take place this weekend. Following the positive snow control last Thursday, the organizers up North have been busy preparing the race and training slopes. Several teams have already been training at Levi since the beginning of the week. After a few days of temperatures at or slightly above freezing, true winter weather is forecast for the weekend with approximately -10C and some snowfall.

More than 20'000 spectators are expected at the two races on the weekend, when the ladies compete on Saturday 15th November and the men on Sunday 16th November and the organizers have put great emphasis on involving local schools and youngsters to bring them to the events. Both races as well as Friday's and Saturday's bib draws can be viewed through live streaming on the new FIS Alpine World Cup website at www.fisalpineworldcup.com.

Levi is one of the largest, if not the largest, ski resorts in Finnish Lapland. The Levi fell reaches 531 meters above sea level, boasting 48 slopes (15 of which are lit) and 26 lifts including the only gondola lift in Finland. This year's events are the fourth time that the resort serves as a FIS World Cup host since February 2004.

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20 nations to race the 3rd Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski

Only 45 days remain until the 3rd Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear and the preparations and promotion for the unique event are at full speed.20 nations have registered their participation for this year's edition. Beside many traditional Cross-Country nations, some small nations including South Africa, Greece, Andorra and Denmark have sent entries for the Tour 2008/2009. A total of about 130- 140 athletes are expected to take part in the competition series staged in three countries. The final entries for the teams are due at the beginning of December.

Yesterday, Tuesday 11th November in Milan (ITA), the Italian organizers of the Tour Finale in Val di Fiemme presented the FIS Tour de Ski 2008/2009 to the media with a special talk show "Tour de Ski and Tour de France: face to face" led by famous RAI sport journalist Ivana Vaccari.

The elated podium discussion featured experts such as Davide Cassani (former cyclist), Gabriella Paruzzi (Olympic gold medalist), Orlando Pizzolato (winner of New York Marathon 1984,1985), Magda Genuin (Cross-Country Team Italy) and Marco Selle (Coach of Italian men's Cross-Country Team) along with FIS Council Member, FISI President Giovanni Morzenti, OC President Pietro De Godenz, and FIS Race Director Cross-Country Jrg Capol.

The organizers in Val di Fiemme also have something new in store for all spectators. Under the slogan "Salita Del Gusto" (Climb of tasting - with typical food, drinks & music from the region), they will provide specialties from the region alongside the course on the way up to the Alpe Cermis where the racers climb up to the finish of the Tour. For more information, please visit www.tour-de-ski.com

Contributed by Sandra Spitz

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Indoor facilities help promote the sport
Ski Dubai

The so-called indoor cup, held as part of the FIS Alpine Skiing European Cup series, was carried out last week in three different indoor ski facilities in Central Europe. The cup winners - on the basis of two three-run slaloms staged in Amnville (FRA), Landgraaf (NED) and Neuss (GER) - were Katharina Drr of Germany, who won both the ladies races, and Kjetil Jansrud of Norway, who took the ranks one and four in the two men's races.

The indoor races in the European Cup in the early season fill a gap in the calendar between the glacier ski season and the official winter opening at most resorts, whilst offering the added benefit of taking place near large population centers which helps market the sport of skiing to sizeable prospective audiences. Along with numerous facilities in Asia, there are currently a number of indoor ski areas around Europe; some 24 are in use with another seven reported to be under construction. In the UK, the world's first indoor winter sports resort called SnOasis received approval last week and 30 months of work will now commence on the 350 acre, 350 million, privately funded development that is planned to house Europe's largest indoor ski slope. The world's largest indoor ski areas so far is in Dubai and a new project is being developed in nearby Bahrain where pistes up to 1500 m in length and a jumping hill are planned. The FIS Snowboard World Cup stages an annual event in the facility at Landgraaf (NED) and the emergence of a World Cup champion from the Netherland, Nicolien Sauerbreij, is clearly no coincidence. While the existing indoor facilities do not presently meet the requirements for FIS AlpineWorld Cup events, they clearly play an important role in promoting the sport and provide excellent training opportunities.

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Season start marks launch of joint FIS / Right To Play campaign
Right To Play in Slden
Photo: Right To Play

The traditional Alpine season opener in Slden (AUT) also marked the opening of the joint Right To Play / FIS campaign designed draw attention to the work of the humanitarian organization with which FIS has partnered since 2005. Featuring many of Right To Play's most profiled skiing Athlete Ambassadors, the campaign encourages on-site spectators to send SMS text messages to donate money to Right To Play. The campaign films are shown with regular intervals on the giant screens around the finish area.

The gist of the campaign is made up by short film clips which feature Right To Play's Athlete Ambassadors introducing the organization. The ones taking part are Aksel Lund Svindal, Julia Mancuso, Michaela Dorfmeister, Marco Bchel, Andreas Kttel, Emily Brydon, Anders Aukland, Daniela Meuli and Anja Paerson. The campaign will be shown on the video wall at FIS Alpine and Nordic World Cup races, the FIS Alpine and Nordic World Ski Championships as well as on the Tour de Ski.

To follow the progress of this year's campaign make sure to frequent www.righttoplay-ski.com

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 Inside FIS 

FIS Council to meet at Levi
Sunset at Levi
Photo: Chris Warham

On invitation of the Finnish Ski Association which is celebrating its centennial this year, the FIS Council will be holding its autumn meeting in conjunction with the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup races in Levi (FIN) this Friday, 14th November 2008. Levi, located about 150 km north of the Polar Circle, is the northern-most location where the FIS Council has ever met.

The FIS Council's agenda will include, among other things, review of the long-term World Cup calendars (until the 2012/2013 season) prepared by the respective Technical Committees, setting of the World Cup prize money amounts for the 2009/2010 season, and selection of the host of the 48th International Ski Congress in 2012. The Council will also review a variety of rule proposals by the Technical Committees, including the revised rules for Nordic Combined, and receive progress reports on the preparation of various FIS World Championships and on ongoing projects such as the FIS Campaign "Bring Children to the Snow" and the FIS Alpine World Cup optimization project. The decisions of the Council will be communicated after the conclusion of the meeting.

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GAP 2011 in plan

The autumn meeting of the Coordination Group for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2011 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) was held on Monday, 10th November. The meeting agenda especially focused on progress in the areas of logistics including course construction, traffic and environmental concept, accreditation, security and marketing.

The organizing committee, led by President Alfons Hrmann, was pleased to report on completion of several important milestones for the Kandahar race course. The remodeled course will be first used at the end of January 2009 when both the ladies' and men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup races are staged as the first of several planned test events. The second test for the GAP 2011 team will be in March as the 2009 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships are held there.

Walter Vogel, Managing Director of the organizing committee summed up the feedback from the Coordination Group: "We are progressing according to the plan but we do have to stay on the ball to meet our goals and be able to take full advantage of the upcoming events to promote the 2011 Championships."

The FIS representatives in the Coordination Group, Sarah Lewis, Christian Knauth and Niklas Carlsson, agreed. FIS Secretary General, Sarah Lewis added: "With both a men's and ladies FIS Alpine World Cup as well as the FIS Junior Alpine World Championships this season followed by the FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in 2010, the organizing committee has given themselves the best possible opportunity to test all aspects of their preparations for 2011."

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New staff join FIS Nordic Administration
Judith Lessing
Geertje Richter

Judith Lessing (35) joined FIS on Monday 10th November, as Nordic Administrative Assistant. Judith previously worked for Swiss Ski as Cross-Country/Biathlon Assistant for 8 years and recently also at the Swiss Swimming Association. A native of Winterthur, she is currently living in Spiez, near Thun (SUI). Judith is an avid outdoor enthusiast who likes to spend her time in the mountains biking, running and Cross-Country Skiing. She will be able to assist with inquiries in German, French, Italian, Spanish or English.

Judith replaces Geertje Richter, who will leave FIS after seven years of service at the end of November. Geertje who joined FIS immediately after concluding her studies has decided to explore new opportunities, initially in the canton of Grisons during the ski season where she hopes to fine-tune her snowboarding skills. FIS would like to take this opportunity to thank Geertje for her contribution to FIS over the years and wish her all the best for the future.

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Updated rules for organization of FIS World Championships

Following the publication of the updated Conditions and Procedures for the 2015 candidates for the FIS World Championships, the updated Rules for the Organization of the Championships is also now available on the FIS web site by clicking here. The prospective candidates for the 2014/2015 events are requested to review these rules in preparation for submitting their candidature by the bidding deadline of 1st May 2009.

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New ICR and online TD report focus for Alpine Skiing TDs
Far East TD Update in Seoul (KOR)
Photo: Stefano Pirola
Swiss TDs at IOC
Photo: Swiss Ski

This weekend will see the last two of the total of sixteen annual regional seminars for FIS Alpine Skiing Technical Delegates to take place in Edinburgh and Andorra for the British and Spanish-speaking TDs, respectively. Attending such an update is a requirement for all 413 active FIS TDs and the 22 TD candidates.

The updates are conducted by the regional TD inspectors and coordinated by Janez Flere from the FIS Office. He commented: "Much of this year's update is focused on reviewing the 2008 edition of the International Competition Rules (ICR) which have just been published and now include all the new rules and precisions approved since 2004. We also review different practical cases submitted by the TDs after last season. These especially focus on frequent issues encountered during the 1500 annual FIS races which is where the TDs play a critically important role in ensuring our rules are implemented properly."

A new item discussed in this year's updates is the online TD report, including the FIS Injury Surveillance System report, which is available on the FIS web site through each TD's personal profile. The online TD report will greatly speed up the administration and validity of FIS points and is just one step for further developing the working environment for the TDs. Additional ideas to leverage modern technology are also being considered for use in future TD updates.

A novelty in this year's Alpine TD program was the participation of four observers from China at the TD seminar for the Far East region held in Seoul (KOR). The retiring Far East Inspector Hitonari Maruyama was also honored for his long service for skiing in Asia. Meanwhile, the Swiss TDs were treated to a special honor as they were invited by Urs Lacotte, IOC General Director and FIS TD, to attend their seminar in the new facilities of the IOC in Lausanne and also to visit the Olympic Museum.

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International Perspectives on Skiing, Part IV
Stellenbosch winelands (RSA)
Photo: SA Tourism

In the fourth part of the "International Perspectives on Skiing" series, another three video interviews are now available. Recorded on the occasion of the 46th International Ski Congress in Cape Town (RSA), these feature Kristin Felde (NOR), Secretary General of the Norwegian Ski Association, Satu Kalajainen (FIN), Chairman of the Sub-Committee for Cross-Country Youth & Children's Questions and Peter Pilz (RSA), President of Snow Sports South Africa, all of whom shared their thoughts on various aspects of our sport. Click here to view the videos.

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 Member News 

Holkeri re-elected in Finland
Jaakko Holkeri

FIS Council Member Jaakko Holkeri was re-elected last weekend as head of the Finnish Ski Association for a further two-year period until the end of 2010. He beat his challenger Matti Sundberg by one vote. Holkeri (61) was first elected in 2004.

Meeting on Saturday, The council of the Finnish Ski Association made several decisions. It, among other items, approved a deficitary budget for the current year with an approximately equal surplus expected for 2009. The board of the Association that met the day earlier had approved a re-organization of the Association which called for separate discipline organizations and immediately reduced the headcount of the central organization by nine. Alpine and Freestyle Skiing will already operate under the name of Skisport Finland as of the beginning of next year. The Finnish Ski Association will remain the Finnish member of FIS.

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 In Depth 

Season Preview with FIS President
Gian Franco Kasper
Photo: AFP

FIS President Gian Franco Kasper again shared his thoughts and expectations for the upcoming season with the FIS Newsflash.

"We are again entering a long winter of FIS World Championships. Beginning with Sungwoo (KOR), we will have the first-ever FIS Snowboard World Championships in Asia in January. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Val d'Isere will mark a break of 41 years since we were in France last. The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE) are the first time the Czech Republic hosts the Nordic events after becoming an independent nation. And in March, the FIS Freestyle World Championships will return to freestyle-crazy Japan, where Inawashiro will surely stage a great event. "

"On top of these major events, there are for the second time more than 6'000 competitions in the international FIS calendar. This is quite amazing as we have typically seen fewer event entries in the World Championship years. "

Referring to the all impervious topic of the weather, he remarked: "Snow-wise we are obviously hoping for a good winter. Statistically seen, a snow-rich winter in the Southern hemisphere is often followed by an equally snowy winter in the Northern hemisphere." He added: "So far we have not seen major implications from the global financial crisis on our operations and also hope that this will not have a negative impact on ski tourism this season."

"Additional highlights of this winter include the respective FIS Junior World Ski Championships along with the introduction of the so-called FIS Team Tour in Ski Jumping. The third edition of the FIS Tour de Ski for Cross-Country and the return at the Alpine Finals to the racing slopes that hosted the highly successful FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are (SWE) two years ago must be mentioned here, too. We should also not forget the promotional event for the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup planned in downtown Moscow (RUS) right after New Year. This event has the potential to possibly spearhead a series of future city events closely followed by a FIS World Cup event in near-by mountain resorts. Regarding the Olympic Winter Games, there will be the final test events for five of the six FIS disciplines at the 2010 Olympic venues; other than for Alpine Skiing where the test events were held last season, this will be an important opportunity for VANOC to refine their planning and operations. And the IOC will announce the host of first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012 in approximately a month's time."

Concerning the rule and sport management side, President Kasper commented: "We have hardly any major rule changes for this season. Noteworthy is only the reorganization of Nordic Combined for which the specific rule changes will be reviewed by the Council this weekend. This season serves in a certain respect as a test for the increased cooperation and evaluation of synergies derived from the combination of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined. Finally, this season will see the continuation of implementation of ongoing FIS projects such as the Alpine World Cup optimization and our international campaign "Bring Children to the Snow."

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