News from the World of Skiing 

  Early January FIS World Cups see the highest viewer figures ... more

  Two million spectators attend FIS World Cups this season ... more

  Record number of nations score points in FIS-CIT Arnold Lunn World Cup ... more

  FIS Campaign Bring Children to the Snow in focus at PROWINTER ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Tell us what you think about the FIS Newsflash! ... more


 Member News 

  2009 Matteo Baumgarten Prize awarded to Liene Fimbauere ... more


 In Depth 

  Season Review: Alpine Skiing

with Gnter Hujara & Atle Skaardal ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Early January FIS World Cups see the highest viewer figures
Dario Cologna (SUI)
Photo: NordicFocus
Zagreb ambiance
Photo: Agence Zoom

As part of the analysis of the past World Cup season FIS, together with its market research partner IFM Research GmbH from Karlsruhe (GER), has been reviewing the TV audience figures in the main ski markets. The initial evaluation, based on live and delayed coverage of the FIS World Cup tours in the 2008/09 season, has revealed some interesting facts.

For example, for the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, the channel with the most viewers in the course of the season was ARD of Germany with a total of more than 85 million viewers. The channel with the highest market share was Austrian ORF 1 which averaged 50.2% for more than 105 hours of coverage.

The ladies World Cup competition with the highest number of viewers on a single channel was the ladies' slalom competition in Zagreb (CRO) on 4th January which saw 4.76 million viewers on Germany's ZDF. Similarly, the men's slalom in Zagreb (CRO) on 6th January found a single-channel season record of 4.67 million viewers on ZDF.

For Ski Jumping, the channel with the most viewers for live and delayed coverage in the course of last season was Poland's TVP 1 which recorded impressive 260 million viewers. The channel with the highest Ski Jumping market share was Norway's NRK 1, with an average of 52.8%. The most viewers for a single competition on a single channel was achieved by ARD of Germany which had 5.8 million viewers for the traditional New Year's competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as part of the Four-Hills-Tournament on 1st January 2009.

The comparable figures for Cross-Country show that the channel with most viewers last season was Eurosport on which 73.5 million people watched the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup. The channel with the highest market share was Norway's NRK with 54.4% average for more than 47 hours of live and delayed coverage. The one competition that reached the largest audience on a single channel was the men's Final Climb on the Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme (ITA) on 4th January as 4.76 million people watched on Germany's ZDF as Dario Cologna (SUI) claimed his first big title.

ZDF is also the channel where Nordic Combined found the largest number of viewers as 49 million people followed the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup 2008/09 season. The highest market share was again recorded by Norway NRK with 45.5%. The greatest number of viewers for one competition on a single channel was the ski jumping portion of the World Cup competition in Val di Fiemme (ITA) on 10th January during which a TV audience of 4.87 million followed the competition.

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Two million spectators attend FIS World Cups this season
Kitzhel crowd
Photo: Agence Zoom

In the course of the 2008/09 season, just short of 2 million (1'970'000) spectators attended the FIS World Cup events in the six FIS Olympic disciplines.

From October 2008 to March 2009, the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup had more than 460,000 spectators at 28 sites in 13 nations across Europe and North America.
In the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup, almost 450,000 fans enjoyed the performances of their favorite skiers on site during competitions in 11 nations. In ten nations, the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup was visited by almost 670,000 people this season. The DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup travelled to seven nations and was seen by over 100,000 spectators.

The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup circuit, visiting 20 sites in 14 nations on four continents, had some 120,000 spectators at the venue while the Freestyle FIS World Cup was watched by more than 170,000 local on-site visitors in nine nations.

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Record number of nations score points in FIS-CIT Arnold Lunn World Cup

The 2008/09 season in the FIS-CIT Arnold Lunn World Cup for citizen racers concluded in the Italian resort of Limone Piemonte (ITA) with a perfectly organized season finale on 21st March 2009. Beginning in December in Bormio (ITA), 34 competitions in seven countries were carried out in four events during the past season.

The win in the ladies' overall classification went to Lisa Breckner of Germany over Francesca Zerman of Italy. Pia Vesztergom and Maria Mahringer (both AUT) tied for third. A total of 319 ladies scored points. In the men's overall standings, Gianmarco Menin (ITA) took a clear win over Sebastien Hamadou (FRA) whilst Iason Abramashvili of Georgia finished third. The final ranking list features 381 men. In the course of the season, a record number of 40 nations placed skiers in the FIS-CIT World Cup points (points are awarded from 1st to 20th from 50 to 1 point).

Citadin racing is for those who enjoy skiing and the thrill of racing but live in towns or lowland areas, so that they can only visit the mountains at weekends or holiday times. In 1937 Arnold Lunn worked out rules for these townsmen and set a first race for them in Murren (SUI).

For the individual event rankings and more information on the FIS-CIT Arnold Lunn World Cup, visit www.fiscit.de ˙

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FIS Campaign Bring Children to the Snow in focus at PROWINTER
Round table
Photo: PROWINTER 2009

The international FIS campaign entitled "Bring Children to the Snow" featured as one of the program centerpieces on the opening day of the PROWINTER 2009 trade fair in Bolzen-Bolzano (ITA) on Wednesday. In a round table discussion, representatives of the ski industry, South Tyrolean tourism, Dolomiti Superski ski resort consortium and FIS presented various perspectives on this multi-faceted theme addressed by the FIS campaign. To see a recent video of the FIS President discussing the campaign, click here (German with English subtitles).

Moderated by former ski racer and local ski legend Erwin Stricker, the round table discussion highlighted the importance of the young generations for the future of the entire ski industry including related tourism fields. The discussion sought to identify measures, both tried & tested and new ones, able to ensure that youngsters learn to love the snow from an early age. The relatively high costs of family ski outings were identified as one of the main obstacles. As urged by the FIS Campaign, the participants agreed to continue to discuss the practicalities of implementing free skiing for children up to a certain age in all ski resorts in South Tyrol, along with possible contributions by hoteliers, ski schools, ski clubs and the ski industry to enable children to experience the joy of snow sports.

PROWINTER is the only international trade fair˙devoted to ski rental and service provides in winter sports. It allows experts to obtain a comprehensive overview of the newest technologies and trends for the next winter season immediately after the previous one. For the first time at PROWINTER, the exhibitioners had the chance to demonstrate their products in an interactive way with the new on-the-grounds skiing slope "Skimagic". For more information on PROWINTER, click here.

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 Inside FIS 

Tell us what you think about the FIS Newsflash!

Your feedback is important to us and will help us develop the FIS Newsflash to keep you informed about events in the FIS World! We would like to know what you think of the FIS Newsflash: Please click here to take a brief FIS Newsflash Reader Survey - it will take you less than five minutes to complete and your responses are anonymous. Please respond by 30th April - all survey participants will be included in a draw to win a framed Audi FIS Alpine World Cup leader's jersey signed by this season's globe winners.

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 Member News 

2009 Matteo Baumgarten Prize awarded to Liene Fimbauere
Bormio award ceremony
Photo: Family Baumgarten

The winner of the 2009 Premio Internazionale Matteo Baumgarten Liene Fimbauere was honored at a ceremony in Bormio (ITA) on 5th April. The 19-year-old native of Riga, Lithuania is a first-year university student who has excelled both in her academic and athletic careers. The International Matteo Baumgarten Prize is awarded annually by the late ski racer's family to recognize young skiers who follow the path of excellence exemplified by Matteo. The prize is supported by FIS and the Italian Ski Association as well as Sondrio Lions Club and Commune of Alta Valtelina and Pro Valtellina Foundation. Liene Fimbauere joins other award winners including Tanja Poutiainen (FIN) and Tina Maze (SLO).

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 In Depth 

Season Review: Alpine Skiing
Gnter Hujara
Photo: Agence Zoom

with Gnter Hujara & Atle Skaardal

Gnter Hujara and Atle Skaardal, FIS Chief Race Directors for the men's and ladies Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tours provided their evaluations of the 2008/2009 season

Gnter Hujara: "Our goal before the season was to deliver the best ever season in terms of standards for safety, course preparation and general organization and I feel that we reached that goal. The work done with the organizing committees last summer to evaluate and rework the safety aspects of most every course delivered a very high standard which is now also well-documented.

It was a season with many athletic highlights and we saw great new records for on-site spectator numbers at a number of events. We also saw many different winners from a large number of countries. The fact that the overall World Cup trophy was won by the lowest score total ever speaks for the fact that many racers were in a position to fight for the top spots. That is what kept this year's series very exciting and in the end, we celebrated very deserving winners. Especially in the technical events, the competition for the top 30 places in the second run is truly brutal.

Another positive development I would like to mention was the improved communication with the athletes. We held a number of sessions of an athletes' working group to discuss areas of concern to both sides which clearly helped to open the channels and build mutual trust.

On the flip side, the negative highlight of the season was the severe crash by Daniel Albrecht. We wish him all the best on his further way to recovery and hope to see him back soon! Unfortunately such crashes can never be fully avoided by whatever we as organizers do. The athletes themselves do play a decisive role here. However, we can say that there were just a few very serious crashes and overall the number of injuries remained within limits this season.

Looking forward, we do have to evaluate the status of the Nations' Team Event. While its place at championships is not being questioned, the teams' level of support is very different within the World Cup. With just five teams competing at the Are Finals, we clearly seem to have an issue to address.

We also need to keep working to implement innovative marketing and promotional strategies to support our product. The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues to be the best organized and established international competition series in the sport of skiing. We should keep staging events such as the promotional event held in Moscow this season in metropolitan environments. But we also need to be clear about making sure all such events work towards one and the same goal: promoting our flagship product, the World Cup tour. It is our task as FIS to set the rules of the games and direction for its future development."

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Atle Skaardal

Atle Skaardal: "My general impression is that it was basically a positive season. From the sports point of view, it was very challenging, because of too much snow. Overall it is of course positive for skiing to have a winter with so much snow everywhere. But on the race day when there is a lot of snow on the race course, this means a lot of work. However, thanks to the immense efforts by the organizers, we only lost a single race all season (Lake Louise downhill).

In terms of the results, there were indications rather early in the season of who will be fighting for the overall title. But for the event titles, we saw some really interesting and tight battles which made it an exciting season. It was also remarkable that it was a female skier - Lindsey Vonn - collecting the most prize money of all Alpine ski racers this season.

From the marketing perspective, our so-called big events were a great success, both in terms of on-site spectators and TV viewers. At the same time, this seems to also be an area where we continue to have to critically assess the situation and evaluate for development opportunities. This is probably closely linked to us continuing the good and fruitful discussions on refining the World Cup calendar. We will have to consider some newer markets with high development potential for our sport, such as Bansko (BUL) and La Molina (SPA), and help them grow further while continuing to support the established events such as Zagreb. Based on an initial analysis of the viewer figures, we will also need to question some other events and their place/timing on the calendar. Our goal in the future must be to attract as many spectators, both on site and in front of TV, as possible. A related issue of course is that we do not know the impact of the global financial crisis on our sport yet. So far it seems that most events fared relatively well, even if the good results are likely the result of a lot of hard work on the part of the organizing committees.

Finally, on the topic of safety and injuries, it appears that we could keep the number of injuries at a constant level. There is no question that this level is too high but at least it is not growing any more. Our goal for the future must be to find ways to reduce this level on a long-term basis."

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