News from the World of Skiing 

  Defago and Maze best in Verbier High Five ... more

  Continuing growth in Snowboard European Cup ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Val d'Isre 2009 shares its lessons learned with Garmisch 2011 ... more

  Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Committees meet in Zrich ... more

  Work on 4th FIS Tour de Ski begins ... more

  Registration for FIS World Cup Organizers' Seminar closes on 15th April ... more

  Natalia Matveeva (RUS) tests positive for rEPO ... more


 Member News 

  Passing of Andrea Mead Lawrence ... more


 In Depth 

  Season Review: Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined

With Walter Hofer and Uli Wehling ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Defago and Maze best in Verbier High Five
Tina Maze (SLO)
Photo: Agence Zoom
Verbier High Five by Carlsberg

The 10th edition of the Verbier High Five by Carlsberg represented another great conclusion of a fantastic ski season.. This year's event saw amateur participants and top professionals competing for overall victory. A total of 335 amateurs and 20 professional skiers participated in the 2009 High Five under bright sunshine in Verbier (SUI). This year's line-up included 5 Olympic or World champions, 6 silver medalists and 1 bronze medalist as well as 63 FIS World Cup victors and 192 podiums among the participants.

Switzerland's Didier Dfago, winner of 2009 Wengen and Kitzbuehel Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill races, managed to clinch the overall title largely thanks to his victory in the ski cross leg. He beat teammate and reigning super-G world champion Didier Cuche, who excelled in the GS run. Sweden's Mathias Hargin, one of the most promising young slalom racers on the World Cup tour, came in third - an excellent result for his first participation in this well-established end-of-season event.

The Verbier High Five by Carlsberg is composed of a series of competitions: a giant slalom, speed race, ski cross, triathlon and parallel slalom. Interestingly enough, Switzerland's retired former downhill star William Besse was the fastest in the speed event in which he beat the active specialists, such as Cuche.

For the ladies, Slovenia's Tina Maze her strong season with the overall win over reigning Olympic giant slalom Champion, Julia Mancuso (USA), whilst Great Britain's Chemmy Alcott took third thanks in particular to her success in ski cross.

In the final race, a team parallel slalom, the best amateurs partnered with a professional to race a double run. Fraenzi Auftenblatten (SUI) together with Aimee Oreiller enjoyed a victory over Germany's slalom world champion Maria Riesch, who was associated with Amanda Pirie. On the men's side, Didier Dfago was again unbeatable with partner Bastien Darballay as they overcame Switzerland's young talent Sandro Viletta who raced with Colin Morrison. In the snowboard parallel team event, Switzerland's Alex Coudray raced with Christoph Vouilloz and beat Mike Aeschbach and Philippe Piccolet to win their finals.

The action was seen by several hundred fans and spectators on site. One of the busiest athletes of the day was double world champion Lindsey Vonn (USA), who took advantage of the event's friendly and relaxing atmosphere to spend time with the fans between the races. She enjoyed a special success as she beat her ex-US Olympic teammate and now husband, Thomas, in the giant slalom by a few 10ths of a second.

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Continuing growth in Snowboard European Cup
SBX champions
Photo: Peter Krogoll
Isola PGS
Photo: Peter Krogoll

The past season in the FIS Snowboard European Cup consisted of 48 competitions at 32 venues in 12 nations. Altogether some 300 female riders from 31 nations and 750 male riders from 45 nations took part in the competitions.

In recent years, the European Cup has developed to a valuable and independent FIS competition series. More and more nations regularly participate with their junior or development teams. The winners of the various event rankings gain a personal starting place in the World Cup for the following season which has led to tough battles for the best positions and precious points. The competitions are seen as great preparation for successful World Cup participation.

"Our goal for the coming years must be to meet these growing expectations by the National Associations. This will surely mean a limit on the quantity of competitions in the various event rankingsto enable us to increase the quality standards of each individual event and guarantee a high level of competition every time. The calendar for the 2009/2010 will be reviewed in Dubrovnik at the FIS Calendar Conference with these goals in mind," commented FIS Snowboard European Cup Coordinator Peter Krogoll.

The winners of the various event rankings who will have a personal starting quota in 2009/10 season:

Parallel:
Ladies: Ina Meschik AUT
Men: Daniel Leitensdorfer AUT

SBX:
Ladies: Emilie Aubry SUI
Men: Luca Matteotti ITA

Half-pipe:
Ladies: Pia Meusburger AUT
Men: Tobias Aalderink NED

Big air:
Ladies: Anja Stefan CRO
Men: Lukas Jeromel SLO

Slopestyle:
Ladies: Anja Stefan CRO
Men: Jeremie Unterberger AUT

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 Inside FIS 

Val d'Isre 2009 shares its lessons learned with Garmisch 2011
Coordination group in Garmisch
Photo: GAP 2011

It has been seven weeks since the memorable FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2009 concluded in Val d'Isre (FRA). At the end of last week, key representatives of the Val d'Isre 2009 team and the host broadcaster TVRS (France Television) travelled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER), the host of the 2011 event, to share their experiences and lessons learned with the local team of the next hosts, the German Ski Association (DSV), representatives of the FIS, its TV and marketing partner EBU and the organizing committee of the 2013 championships in Schladming (AUT). This so-called Debrief is part of the FIS Knowledge Transfer project designed to make sure that the lessons learned, both good and bad, can be implemented and to ensure a continuous development in event organization.

A large group of members of the GAP 2011 organizing team and the 2011 host broadcaster ARD-ZDF listened intently as Val d'Isre 2009 shared many important facts, figures and some suggestions from the experience that began with the election of the French resort in 2004 in Miami. For GAP 2011, the past season, acclaimed by mayor Thomas Schmidt as the best year ever for tourism in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, was already an important test season with the so-called "Big Event" consisting of mens and ladies FIS World Cup races the weekend immediately before the 2009 Worlds followed by the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships in early March. The ultimate series of test events will continue in 2010 when the team in GAP will stage the FIS Alpine World Cup Finals.

Peter Fischer, co-managing director of the GAP 2011 organizing committee commented: "The experiences from Val d'Isre are enormously important for us even if we will have to adjust to our local circumstances. Having attended Val d'Isre as part of the Study Group we are in a good position to integrate this information into our own planning."

Walter Vogel, co-managing director, added: "We greatly appreciated the openness of the 2009 organizers to share their lessons learned with us. For us it was also important to experience first hand the multi-faceted nature and dimensions of such a big event and to realize the importance of items to new visitors such as signage, spectator flows, ceremonies and many others."

The second day focused on reviewing the progress the GAP 2011 team and host broadcaster German television ARD-ZDF has made since the autumn. As the accommodation concept has already been defined down to great detail, focus has shifted to developing detailed plans in the other areas of the organization such as temporary infrastructure, TV production and transport. One area of focus that will be studied in the coming weeks with the organizing committee, host broadcaster ARD-ZDF and EBU on behalf of the television broadcasters is the race schedule which will be reviewed by the FIS Council at its next meeting in June.

Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General summarized: "The Debrief from Val d'Isre provided a real stimulus to the GAP 2011 project and served as a reminder that the opening ceremony is only 21 months away. There is a real drive in the organizing committee to advance to the next level of preparations, with much gained from the past season's packed program of events."

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Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Committees meet in Zrich
Meeting time in Zrich
Photo: Horst Nilgen

The five Sub-Committees for Ski Jumping and the Nordic Combined Executive Board and Committee as well as the Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Coordination Group held their traditional spring meetings at the Hilton Zrich Airport (SUI) last weekend. Based on the so-called "Funnel System," the proposals of the respective Sub-Committees have now been collected and circulated to the National Ski Associations for comment. These comments will then be reviewed by the Ski Jumping and Nordic Committees and the Committee for Competition Equipment at the FIS Calendar Conference in Dubrovnik (CRO) in May and submitted to approval by the FIS Council in its next meeting in Vancouver (CAN) in mid-June. The National Ski Associations are requested to comment on the proposals by 8th May.

Much of the discussion at the Committee meetings in Zrich focused on analyzing the past season and conducting a final review of the different calendars planned for the upcoming season, including the Summer Grand Prix and Continental Cup series. The main item being reviewed by the National Ski Associations in the Funnel System concerns an idea that would provide the competition management and the team coaches with more flexibility in determining the length of the inrun and adapting it, if necessary, even in the middle of the competition. Scoring fairness in such cases would be ensured with the help of a special mathematical formula specific to each hill. This idea is planned to be tested at the Summer Grand Prix competitions as of August.

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Work on 4th FIS Tour de Ski begins

`After the season is before the season' was the motto for more than 20 representatives of the four organizing committees and partners from Infront Sports and Media and the Italian Ski Association who conducted a debrief on the third edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear in Val di Fiemme on 3rd and 4th April.

A detailed review including results from surveys with different stakeholder groups and discussions in separate working groups focused on topics such as Marketing & Promotion; Logistics and The Ideal Tour Plan to make sure that improvements will be effected so that the next edition of the Tour will be even more successful than the last one.

"The Tour de Ski is going in the right direction. We can be proud of the TV ratings and the growing number of public on site but we also realize that we still have space to develop further. The Tour de Ski must become a strong brand in its own right, with a high value, and to that effect we will work together with the National Ski Associations on joint marketing packages for our premium product. At the same time, our FIS Cross-Country Committee and the Sub-Committees have the task to develop the Tour rules further and make a logistically easy and interesting Tour calendar," explained Jrg Capol, one of the Tour fathers and FIS Race Director Cross-Country.

Contributed by Sandra Spitz

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Registration for FIS World Cup Organizers' Seminar closes on 15th April
Dubrovnik Cavtat (CRO)

The deadline for registration for the FIS Seminar for the World Cup Organizers is approaching. The seminar will be organized in Dubrovnik (CRO) from 23rd-24th May 2009. Please make sure to confirm your attendance by 15th April by contacting Sarah Fussek at fussek@fisski.com. Please note: Separate registration for the OC Seminar is required by everyone including all those already planning to attend the FIS Calendar Conference held in Dubrovnik earlier the same week. For planning reasons (size of meeting rooms, materials), only those with advance registration will be able to attend. For more information, click here

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Natalia Matveeva (RUS) tests positive for rEPO

Russian Cross-Country skier, Natalia Matveeva has tested positive for the use of the prohibited substance recombinant Erythropoietin (rEPO), identified on the WADA Prohibited List 2009 in Class S2. Hormones and related Substances.

The urine sample was submitted at an in-competition doping control on 16th January 2009, in Whistler (CAN). The athlete is provisionally suspended from competition forthwith following the receipt of the confirmation B analysis from the WADA accredited laboratory in Quebec (CAN).

The case of Natalia Matveeva will be reviewed and adjudicated by the FIS Doping Panel, chaired by Justice Patrick Smith (CAN).

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 Member News 

Passing of Andrea Mead Lawrence
Andrea Mead Lawrence

FIS sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Andrea Mead Lawrence, who died of cancer on 30th March at her home near Mammoth Mountain, CA at the age of 76. A three-time Olympian, Mead Lawrence won two gold medals, in slalom and giant slalom, in the 1952 Olympic Winter Games in Oslo (NOR). Andrea Mead Lawrence was the only American female to have won two skiing gold medals at the same Olympic Winter Games. She is generally credited as having ushered in the modern era of alpine skiing in the Olympic Winter Games.

Lawrence took her 1952 slalom gold by winning the second run by remarkable two seconds - after she had fallen in the first. Her effort later earned her recognition by noted Olympic film producer Bud Greenspan as "Greatest Winter Olympian of All Time".

Throughout her life, Andrea Mead Lawrence remained one of America's most foremost spokespersons for her sport and the Olympics. She was inducted in the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1958 and was recently nominated by the USSA for consideration for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. She was the founder of the non-profit Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers.

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 In Depth 

Season Review: Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined
Walter Hofer
Photo: Horst Nilgen

With Walter Hofer and Uli Wehling

Walter Hofer, Head of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, and Ulrich Wehling, FIS Race Director Nordic Combined, reflected on the 2008/2009 season in the FIS Ski Jumping and DKB Nordic Combined World Cups.

Walter Hofer: "The first World Cup period, with the exception of Kuusamo (FIN), was facilitated by generally quite stable weather conditions. This helped to steer the focus on the athletic performances as we had a really nice atmosphere and exciting competitions on the whole. During the second half of the season we faced big challenges through the external conditions. The main stakeholders, athletes and coaches and the organizers and officials, were all forced to work really hard. Thanks to everyone's great efforts, only one competition had to be cancelled despite the long season and a very tight calendar.

However, during the season analysis, we have realized that in certain situations the competition jury would have required some more flexibility. Regardless, we know the final outcome will be dependent on not just the jury's experience but also on some luck. But with some new ideas we hope to open up some additional options in this area.

With Gregor Schlierenzauer, we saw a more than deserving FIS Ski Jumping World Cup overall winner. Through his very extraordinary performances - including many records - the sport of Ski Jumping grew its popularity beyond the normal level of public interest.. With his results he has already now established a solid basis for becoming one of the very best in the history of this sport and is well on his way to becoming a true ambassador for his own discipline.

In Nordic Combined, the athletes adjusted to the completely new competition format very successfully. Otherwise, too, we can say that the new format has proven itself in reality. This applies even though some events, especially in early season, were impacted by difficult weather. At the same time, we are still in the middle of a consolidation phase which will surely require another season. This is what the organizers and TV producers will need to attain a certain level of standardization both for calendar planning and preparation for staging the competitions. From a sports perspective, we anticipate seeing the emergence of a true combined athlete. The expectations for the best athletes will focus on achieving an optimal jump during the one competition round and delivering their very best performance in the 10 km cross-country race. This will end up requiring methodical adjustments in training as well. And here, just as in Ski Jumping, the competition management will require some more flexibility to be able to better steer the competitions in the current circumstances."

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Uli Wehling
Photo: Egon Theiner

Uli Wehling: "First of all, the 2008/2009 DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup season set a record in terms of the number of competitions during one season. The new competition format with the provisional competition round clearly helped us complete four events despite quite adverse weather conditions. The overall season impression was positive and we feel that the sport of Nordic Combined took a big step forward.

The new format with one jump and a 10 km Gundersen race had a dramatic impact; a new era of Nordic Combined was launched. But it is wrong to think that the competitions were easier than in the years before. Because of the large number of competitors and since all events with the exception of the Liberec weekend planned for December were held, this season's Nordic Combined World Cup was a big challenge for everybody.

It was commonly expected that Finland would play a minor role following Hannu Manninen's retirement. But then Anssi Koivuranta emerged. We should not forget that he already won medals at the 2007 World Championships in Sapporo, therefore he is surely no rookie. However, his consistency in jumping and skiing during the entire season was really impressive."

Contributed by Horst Nilgen & Egon Theiner

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