News from the World of Skiing 

  New season, new faces: Coach changes in Alpine Skiing ... more

  On the way to Vancouver ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Let's welcome the FIS SnowKidz: Launch of FIS SnowKidz Award and website ... more

  Four-Hills-Tournament: Working to stay ahead of the curve ... more

  2009 Calendar Conference underway in Croatia ... more


 Member News 

  Jana Gantnerov new President in Slovakia ... more

  Hansruedi Laich to leave Swiss-Ski ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

New season, new faces: Coach changes in Alpine Skiing
Patrice Morisod
Photo: Swiss Ski
Jesse Hunt
Photo: USSA

In contrast to the Nordic disciplines, there have been quite a few changes in the coaching ranks of the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup teams before the upcoming Olympic season. Please find below a summary of those that have come to the attention of the FIS Newsflash so far:

In the USA, Alpine Director Jesse Hunt is stepping down from his position at the end of May. He is moving on to become general manager and program director of the Park City Ski Education Foundation. Hunt's has worked for the USSA for sixteen years and during that time he has overseen 18 medals at World Championships. Another change in the US Alpine Ski Team was the retirement of coach Greg Needell after seven seasons for family reasons.

Another major piece of news comes from France that snatched Patrice Morisod, the long-time coach of the successful Swiss men's speed team with Didier Cuche and Didier Defago to take over the French men's speed team . Also in France, Frederic Perrin has taken over the men's slalom squad from Jacques Theolier, who has moved on to the Italian squad, and will oversee the assault on the World and European Cup.

Replacing Morisod, Mauro Pini, the personal coach of Swiss young star Lara Gut during 2008/09, will coach the Swiss speedsters. 44-year-old Pini, who was also former coach of Spain's no. 1 Maria Jose' Rienda-Contreras, will work directly reporting to men's Head Coach Martin Rufener. Pini's role with Lara Gut will be taken over by her father Pauli Gut with special counseling by veteran coach Karl Frehsner for the speed events. Other changes are in the Swiss ladies ranks include the departure of Beat Schur and Hans Ueli B敗ch, two assistant coaches.

In Austria, Christian Hoflehner has taken over as the coach for the men's technical events, whilst Andreas Evers will assist with the downhill team and Walter Hlebayna has made the switch back to the Austrians from the German team. A total of 17 changes were made to the coaching structure in Austria after the team did not enjoy relatively as much success as in the past, including the removal of three assistant coach positions.

Following the serious training accident of Christian Scholz last September, Karlheinz Waibel is leading the German men's team. He will be supported by Thomas Aschauer for the speed team, taking over from Walter Hlebayna. Replacement for Mario Weinhandl as coach for the technical events has not yet been decided.

Up North, Thomas Stauffer is the new Head Coach for the Swedish men's team, as his former position as Head Coach for both men and ladies will be filled by general manager for Alpine Skiing, Anders Sundqvist. Hans Ottosson has left his position as Head Coach for the ladies and is now responsible for the ladies' junior team and he has been replaced by Ulf Emilsson who earlier worked with World Cup speed teams. In Norway, Svein Erik Owesen has taken over the ladies team and will newly be supported by Jorgen Nordlund. There has been no change with the men's team coaching staff led by Marius Arnesen.

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On the way to Vancouver
Swiss team Inushuk
Photo: Swiss Ski
K》tel and his hill
Photo: Swiss Ski

Swiss Ski Jumpers including double Olympic champion Simon Ammann and world champion Andreas K》tel kicked off their summer training towards the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver with a special challenge. It was a challenge as the team covered the distance between the main two jumping hills in Switzerland, from Einsiedeln to Engelberg. And they did not travel by car as usual, no - they did it by biking, inline skating, swimming, jogging and finally biking again. "It was an exciting and challenging start for our new training group constitution! I will surely remember that day in the winter when we return here to Engelberg for the World Cup," stated Andreas K》tel.

Following the Olympic challenge, the team built their team Inushuk, the symbol used by Vancouver 2010, near Engelberg. Their team leader has already organized its transport to the hill at Einsiedeln, the main training base for the Swiss team. The hills in Einsiedeln were just last week baptized in honor of Andreas K》tel (large hill) and Simon Ammann (normal hill). Next to them, the Inushuk will find its new home and will provide the jumpers with the direction for the next several months.

Contributed by Sandra Spitz

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 Inside FIS 

Let's welcome the FIS SnowKidz: Launch of FIS SnowKidz Award and website

The brand of the `Bring Children to the Snow' campaign is ready for primetime: Come and meet the FIS SnowKidz. The FIS SnowKidz are easily approachable super heroes who take care of children and youngsters anywhere in the snow, all around the world. The positive side effect of these super heroes is that they're not only great for identification and motivation but can also help reduce fears, anxieties or obstacles in children's minds connected with snow or snow activities. The SnowKidz are the figures to help reach the campaign's real targets, children aged 4-14, and their parents. To find out more about them, visit the campaign web site at www.fis-snowkidz.com

To recognize and promote the best examples of bringing children to the snow in varying national circumstances, FIS has launched a new award under the campaign: the FIS SnowKidz award. The FIS Member National Ski Associations (full and associate members) are invited to submit their projects to compete for the first award for the best examples of bringing children to the snow to be granted at the 47th International Ski Congress in Antalya (TUR) in 2010. The submissions are due by 31st January 2010. The award will be presented every second year during the International Ski Congress. For more information, click here.

For those participating in the FIS Calendar Conference in Dubrovnik (CRO) this week, there is a FIS SnowKidz information desk at the venue to answer any questions. Alternatively please send an e-mail to snowkidz[at]fisski.com.

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Four-Hills-Tournament: Working to stay ahead of the curve
Wolfgang Loitzl (AUT)
Photo: Agence Zoom

There were many satisfied faces at the traditional spring meeting of the international Jack Wolfskin Four-Hills-Tournament in M]chen last weekend. The representatives of the four organizing committees in Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen (both GER), Innsbruck and Bischofshofen (both AUT) met with their partners and suppliers.

Walter Hofer, FIS Ski Jumping Race Director, praised the team: "The 57th Jack Wolfskin Four-Hills-Tournament was again very well organized. We on the FIS side have very few improvement suggestions. The only things are minute details that might help to improve some nuances of the event."

The host broadcasters ARD, ZDF and ORF were also very satisfied. "We again saw some very impressive viewer figures. The Four-Hills-Tournament is an absolute premium product," stated ZDF Team Chief Peter Kaadtmann. Remarkably: The final of the 56th Four-Hills in January 2008 was ZDF's second most successful sports product after the Euro 2008 Football Championships in all of 2008.

The individual organizers are approaching the 58th edition of the event with great confidence and without organizational changes. "We are trying to work on finessing the details, and so ensure that we stay ahead of the curve in the international ski circus," said Tournament President Claus-Peter Horle (Oberstdorf).

Contributed by Ingo Jensen

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2009 Calendar Conference underway in Croatia
Cavtat-Dubrovnik (CRO)

The FIS Calendar Conference 2009 has begun in Cavtat-Dubrovnik (CRO) today, Wednesday, 20th May. For the latest schedule of the various FIS technical committees please click here.

For anyone who has not yet embarked on their travels to Cavtat-Dubrovnik. Cavtat (pronounced "TSOF-tot") is a town in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County of Croatia located on the Adriatic seacoast 15 km south of Dubrovnik and is the center of the Konavle municipality. And do not forget your ski suit - as sunny and summery weather up to 28C is in the store for the delegates (although pack your sunglasses and suncream too!)...

Please be reminded that given the national holiday in Switzerland on Thursday, the FIS Office in Oberhofen will be closed both on Thursday and Friday 21st-22nd May during the Calendar Conference. To contact FIS during those days, please note the following telephone numbers:

FIS Office Dubrovnik +385 20 475 358
FIS Travel Office Dubrovnik: +385 20 475 892

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 Member News 

Jana Gantnerov new President in Slovakia
Jana Gantnerov

The Slovak Ski Association held its Conference last weekend and elected a new President. Jana Gantnerov-Soltysov was chosen by the delegates to succeed Igor Rattaj in this role. Gantnerov is member of the Alpine Executive Board and a former top ski racer. Her accomplishments include 5th place in the Olympic downhill in Sarajevo in 1984 and several podium finishes including a World Cup victory in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee (AUT) in 1981.

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Hansruedi Laich to leave Swiss-Ski
Hansruedi Laich
Photo: Keystone

Swiss-Ski announced last week that Hansruedi Laich, its directorandthe highest administrative official in the Swiss National Ski Association, will be leaving the organization at the end of October after four years. Laich indicated that the timing is right for him to seek a new challenge, especially since the presidency and he had differing concepts for the future strategy and management of Swiss-Ski.

Urs Lehmann, President of Swiss-Ski explained: "Given the current circumstances with new presidency, the philosophy of the organization has changed. In order to meet our ambitious goals, everyone must be able to stand behind this new direction. We thank Hansruedi Laich for his engagement and contributions in the past four years during which he contributed greatly to our success."

Source: Swiss-Ski

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