News from the World of Skiing 

  Snowfall challenges World Cups around Europe ... more

  Freestyle season takes off in Meribel (FRA) and Changchun (CHN) ... more

  Tour Countdown: 10 days to go ... more

  Innsbruck to host the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012 ... more

  Nordic Continental Cup season kicks off in Utah ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Liberec 2009 continues preparations at full speed ... more

  New: Online registration for FIS Calendar Conference 2009 ... more


 Member News 

  Ski-K”pfer also in Japan ... more


 In Depth 

  One month to go: Gangwon Province 2009 ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Snowfall challenges World Cups around Europe
Dario Cologna (SUI)
Photo: NordicFocus
Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Photo: NordicFocus

The˙Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup season continued at high altitude in Davos (SUI) with the second individual start classical race. In the ladies' race, Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) took already her fourth victory in Davos as she beat her teammate, World cup leader Aino-Kaisa Saarinen under blue skies and great winter conditions. In the men's competition, 28-year-old Johan Olsson (SWE) claimed his first World Cup victory. In Sunday's free technique sprints, Petra Majdic (SLO) and Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR) confirmed their great shape by also dominating the season's second events after victory in Kuusamo's classical sprints.

The men's overall Cup is led by Dario Cologna from Switzerland who is the only skier winning points in all World Cup races this season so far and who makes history by being the first Swiss to ever wear the yellow leader's jersey in the FIS Cross-Country World Cup. The last events before the Holidays and the FIS Tour de Ski will be next weekend's city sprints in Dsseldorf (GER).

In Ski Jumping, the FIS World Cup travelled to Pragelato (ITA) to return to the 2006 Olympic hill where Switzerland's Simon Ammann secured already his third victory of the season. He even set a new hill record of 144 m on Saturday. On Sunday, the second competition had to be decided after one round only due to heavy snowfall. Fumihisa Yumoto from Japan achieved his first World Cup victory and the first Japanese win in three years. Ammann leads the overall standings as the World Cup moves to his native hill in Engelberg (SUI).

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Carlo Janka (SUI)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Maria Riesch (GER)
Photo: Agence Zoom

Dress rehearsal for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Val d'Isere˙2009 was the theme of the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup as the men returned from North America to test the infamous Face de Bellevarde. Friday's super combined was added to replace the event cancelled in Beaver Creek. While Swiss newcomer Carlo Janka led after the super-G, it was Benjamin Raich (AUT) who collected the win with a strong slalom run. Janka came back in Saturday's giant slalom, taking his first career win. It is the 22-year-old's second career podium, launching him into third in the overall standings led by Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal. Boding well for the home team at the championships, Jean-Baptiste Grange finished 2nd in super combined and Gauthier De Tessieres came in third in giant slalom, after placing 30th and last to qualify from the first run. Sunday's slalom had to be cancelled due to storm winds and impending F”hn with heavy snowfall. The men's schedule continues with a four race set-up in Val Gardena and Alta Badia (ITA), the latter of which picked up the cancelled slalom now rescheduled for Monday.

The ladies' technical weekend at the first-time World Cup venue La Molina (SPA) was challenged by heavy snowfall, too. Finn Tanja Poutiainen collected her eighth career World Cup win in Saturday's giant slalom, giving her four podiums already this season.. In Sunday's slalom, German Maria Riesch scored her first World Cup slalom win in four plus years, and did so in impressive fashion. Riesch, the first run leader by more than a second, added to the margin to win by 1.48 seconds. Lindsey Vonn reclaimed the lead in the overall standings from Poutiainen. The ladies are in St Moritz (SUI) for three speed races this week.

In the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup, Doris Guenther (AUT) and Matthew Morison (CAN) were the top names in the season's first parallel giant slalom in Limone Piemonte (ITA), also held in heavy snowfall. The Austrian dominated the thrilling final against novice Kimiko Zakreski (CAN). Guenther, who also won the indoor parallel slalom in Landgraaf (NED), and Morison are the current leaders in the parallel World Cup as the series continues at the 2007 World Championship venue of Arosa (SUI) this week.

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Freestyle season takes off in Meribel (FRA) and Changchun (CHN)
Aerial take-offs ready in China
Meribel mogul course

12 nations, including newcomers to the aerial FIS Freestyle World Cup from the Hong Kong Ski Association and Kazakhstan Ski Federation have gathered in Changchun Jilin Province (CHN) to test the renovated and floodlit aerial site at the newly-renamed resort of Adventure Mountain. Defending aerial champions Jacqui Cooper (AUS) and Steve Omischl (CAN) are back to defend their yellow leaders bibs also after the first two competitions of the season to be held on Friday and Saturday. The host nation, China, is sure to test world's best athletes in the competitions on home snow.

Both days' competitions will be aired live on CCTV 5 Sports (Chinese main sport channel) that has a long-term TV agreement with the Ski Association of China.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, 18 nations have gathered in the exclusive French resort of Meribel. The season's opening dual mogul course has been set on the 1992 Olympic ladies downhill and next to the Olympic Ice Hockey complex.

Defending world cup mogul champions, Dale Begg-Smith (AUS) and Japanese super hero Aiko Uemura may have their hands full responding to the strong challenges from returning 2006 Olympic champion Jennifer Heil (CAN) and home favorite Guilbaut Colas (FRA).

The teams have been very complementary of the organization by the 1st time World Cup organizer. The mogul action occurs on Thursday with finals live on Eurosport as of 13:30 CET.

Contributed by Joe Fitzgerald

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Tour Countdown: 10 days to go

In just 10 days, the third edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear will kick off in Oberhof (GER). The famous winter sports center in the middle of Germany and home of several German top athletes is ready to host the 76 men and 64 women from 19 different nations. The snow situation in Oberhof is excellent and the weather forecast predicts more snow and cold weather. The Tour will kick off on 27th December with a prologue followed by a handicap start race on 28th December. Thereafter the Tour will move to Prague for a sprint and to Nove Mesto for two distance races. The Tour will conclude on 3rd-4th January 2009 in Val di Fiemme (ITA), with the spectacular final climb to Alpe Cermis.

To increase your excitement and bring you into Tour spirit, advance information from inside the Tour family will be communicated through the Tour blogs. Joining Tour Father Vegard Ulvang, blogger already last year, is Pierre Mignerey - head coach of the French Team - along with Charlotte Kalla and Pietro Piller Cottrer, who are going to report regularly during the event. Please click here to read Pierre's first Tour Blog.

What's more, North American Ski Magazine SkiTrax has started a Fantasy Tour de Ski 2008/09 Contest. It is the inaugural Tour contest with various prizes. Make sure to register your team online by 26th December by clicking here.

For more information on the Tour, visit www.tour-de-ski.com ˙

Contributed by Sandra Spitz

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Innsbruck to host the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012
IOC President Rogge announces winner
Photo: IOC/R. Juilliart

Following the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, Innsbruck (AUT) will be responsible for staging the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games. The competition schedule will be based on the seven sports included in the Vancouver 2010 program (biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing) with a limited number of disciplines and events.

Innsbruck beat Kuopio (FIN) in the vote by the IOC Members with 84 votes to 15 announced IOC President Jacques Rogge at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne last Friday. As a next step, a Coordination Commission will be designated by the IOC President to accompany Innsbruck throughout the three years of preparation.

The Youth Olympic Games are the flagship of the IOC's determination to reach out to young people. These Games are expected to serve as the platform through which youngsters will learn about the Olympic values and the benefits of sport, and share their experiences with other communities around the globe.

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Nordic Continental Cup season kicks off in Utah
Nordic Combined COC at Soldier Hollow
Photo: U.S. Ski Team/Tom Kelly

Todd Lodwick (USA) made it two wins in a row to open the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup season which started on Sunday in Park City (USA), contrary to the erratic information in last week's FIS Newsflash. In the opening event, Lodwick, returning after a two-year absence, led a podium sweep of U.S. Nordic combined skiers at the 2002 Olympic venue in Soldier Hollow. In the second competition, Lodwick won over countryman Brett Camerota while defending Continental Cup champion Marco Pichlmayer (AUT) was third. The Nordic Combined Continental Cup, formerly known as World Cup B, will continue with a pair of midweek events this week at the Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley (CAN). The Nordic Combined events in Park City, and in Whistler, coincide with the ladies' Continental Cup snow season start at these two locations. Germany's Anna Haefele recorded the first two wins to her merit at Park City, in front of Lindsey Van (USA) and Nata de Leeuw (CAN), respectively.

The third stage in the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup will be held this weekend in Ramsau am Dachstein (AUT), after the competitions scheduled in Liberec (CZE) were cancelled without replacement last weekend. Ramsau, the host of the 1999 Nordic World Ski Championships, will be carrying out the Nordic Combined World Cup in mid-December for the fourth time in a row.

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 Inside FIS 

Liberec 2009 continues preparations at full speed

The long-planned December meeting between FIS representatives and the Organizing Committee of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec took place on Tuesday. Sarah Lewis, Secretary General and Niklas Carlsson, Event and Sponsor Manager met with the President of the Organizing Committee Katerina Neumannova and other key members of the OC team. The specific areas under review were promotional activities notably the branding and identification of the championships, media campaign, ceremonies and social events as well as the accreditation system. Additionally an inspection took place of the team village at the university compound, where the entire complex has been renovated. At the end of January the students will leave and the Organizing Committee will take over the premises one week later to install the championships decoration and prepare for the arrival of the teams in mid-February.

The Organizing Committee is continuing to work diligently with their preparations for the championships. An Alpen Cup Ski Jumping competition will be held this weekend, enabling a final test of procedures and infrastructure at the Jested site. There is presently a lack of snow at the Cross-Country Vesec site, but the organizers are ready for the expected cold temperatures from Christmas time in order to prepare the courses.

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New: Online registration for FIS Calendar Conference 2009

Registration is now open for the FIS Calendar Conference that will be held in Cavtat-Dubrovnik (CRO) from 20-24th May 2009. The meetings will take place in Hotel Croatia, Cavtat located 6 km from the Dubrovnik International Airport and 18 km from Dubrovnik. It is considered one of the most beautiful locations on the Croatian Adriatic coast.

The provisional meeting timetable can be reviewed here. Convenient online hotel booking is available directly on the conference hotel's website. For complete registration information and actual registration˙for the 2009 Calendar Conference, visit the FIS website here.

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 Member News 

Ski K”pfer also in Japan
Founding meeting Ski K”pfer Nagai

International cooperation in promotion of skiing has reached another high point. In Japanese Nagai, a town located 400 km north of Tokyo, the local ski club was renamed Nagai Ski K”pfer in honor of Ernst K”pfer, the creator of the historical ski brand "Marke Feldberg" from the German Black Forest region. Grandson of Ernst K”pfer (1878-1954), Walter Strohmeier, attended the festive ceremony in Nagai, held on 7th December. Nagai is located at the foot of the Zao mountain range where there are both alpine and cross-country skiing trails as well as a ski jump.

"It was a great honor for me to represent my grandfather in this way in Japan where the sport of skiing has an equally high standing in society as in Europe, " commented Walter Strohmeier, a great fan of Japanese culture and history, to Badische Zeitung.

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 In Depth 

One month to go: Gangwon Province 2009
Sungwoo Resort December 2008

In just a month's time, from 16th - 25th January, the FIS Snowboard World Championships 2009˙will take place in the Gangwon Province, Korea. Altogether, a total 27 FIS championship medals will be awarded in four ladies and five men's events to be carried out at Hyundai Sungwoo Resort. These will be the 8th FIS Snowboard World Championships and the first ones ever held in Asia. Sungwoo, Gangwon Province, has already hosted FIS Snowboard World Cup competitions on three occasions, in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Located a few hours' drive from Seoul in the scenic region of Gangwon, Sungwoo is a summer and winter resort in a gorgeous natural setting. It is one of Korea's most comprehensive ski resorts, with a great range of facilities and activities to provide ultimate convenience and endless entertainment.

For more information, visit www.gangwon2009.or.kr

How to get there: Sungwoo resort's proximity to Seoul makes it easily accessible to foreign visitors who fly into Seoul's Incheon International Airport. The journey to the resort takes roughly 2 hours via road transportation, depending on traffic and weather conditions. Shuttle buses run regularly from Seoul to the resort or alternatively visitors can hire a car in the city and drive themselves to resort. Self-drive is the easiest and most convenient way to reach Sungwoo. The quickest road route to the resort is via the Yeongdong highway.

The reigning 2007 World Champions from Arosa (SUI)

Men
Parallel Slalom: Simon Schoch (SUI)
Parallel Giant Slalom: Rok Flander (SLO)
Snowboard cross: Xavier Delerue (FRA)
Half-pipe: Mathieu Crepel (FRA)
Big air: Mathieu Crepel (FRA)

Ladies
Parallel Slalom: Heidi Neururer (AUT)
Parallel Giant Slalom: Ekaterina Tudigescheva (RUS)
Snowboard cross: Lindsey Jacobellis (USA)
Half-pipe: Manuela Laura Pesko (SUI)

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