News from the World of Skiing 

  Cross-country skiers test mid-summer shape at Tour de Trondelag ... more

  FIS Roller Skiing World Cup kicks off in Croatia ... more

  Infront takes full ownership of APF ... more

  Heavy snowfall in South America, FIS TD updates in progress ... more


 Inside FIS 

  Jumping Judges evaluate season in Garmisch ... more

  FIS Directory 2009 going to print: Deadline for updates 8th July ... more


 Member News 

  Huber takes charge in Kitzbhel ... more

  Balkan Ski Association intensifies cooperation ... more


 In Depth 

  Presenting FIS partners: Halti

Interview with Martti Uusitalo ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Cross-country skiers test mid-summer shape at Tour de Trondelag
Tour de Trondelag
Photo: Kjell-Erik Kristiansen

One of the summer highlights for the Cross-Country skiers is the so-called Tour de Trondelag, in Meraker (NOR). The three-day event again attracted many of the leading Cross-Country stars to test their mid-summer shape last weekend..

This summer˙Tour included two roller ski races (mass start and pursuit) and a cross-country race on snow. Racing on his home turf, the triple world champion from Liberec 2009, Petter Northug (NOR) again demonstrated his invincibility in the men's race. He prevailed after the third and last leg, a pursuit roller ski race in free technique, in strong fashion. Teammate Eldar Roenning finished 2nd ahead of World Cup overall champion Dario Cologna (SUI). Cologna won the second stage, a 12 km classical Cross-Country race up the Kirkeby Fell above Meraker ahead of the Norwegians who fought it out in a photo finish.

The ladies' Cross-Country stage was dominated by the Finnish team led by Aino Kaisa Saarinen ahead of Virpi Kuitunen and Pirjo Muranen. However, the ladies' three-day overall victory went to Maja Benedic of Slovenia.

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FIS Roller Skiing World Cup kicks off in Croatia
Roller Skiing World Cup starts
Photo: Newspower.it

The dry-land training and Roller Skiing season started in earnest already in May despite the relatively late arrival of summer in most of the Northern hemisphere. While some national races already took place, the FIS Roller Skiing World Cup 2009 will kick off from 3rd to 5th July in Oroslavje (CRO), host of the 2007 FIS Roller Skiing World Championships. Three competitions are on schedule in Croatia with a prologue, a pursuit and a sprint.

In total, this year's FIS Roller Skiing World Cup will consist of four World Cup weekends in four different countries and additionally the 2009 World Championships in the region of Piglio (ITA) at the beginning of September. After the season start in Croatia, the tour will continue in Markkleeberg (GER) with a sprint, a prologue and a pursuit competition on 17th-19th July. During the second competition period in August, races in Aure and Kristiansund (NOR) are on the schedule before the World Championships will take place from 8th-12th September. The World Cup season will conclude in Naousa and Thessaloniki in Greece. Please click here to see the detailed calendar.

The defending overall World Cup winners are Italians Emanuele Sbabo and Mateja Bogatec. Their toughest challengers in this year's World Cup will likely come from Russia and from among their own teammates.

Contributed by Sandra Spitz

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Infront takes full ownership of APF

Infront Sports & Media, the Switzerland-based sports marketing agency that partners with FIS and a great number of FIS Member National Ski Associations, has gained full control of its Austria-based subsidiary APF, and renamed the company Infront Austria.

To complete the purchase, Infront bought the˙remaining 25 percent shareholding held by the company's managing directors, Volker Schmid and Dr Stefan Seykora. Infront had bought its first, majority stake in the company four years ago. As part of the agreement, Seykora is to remain as managing director at the re-branded operation, while Schmid will step down from his position by the end of this year and join the advisory board.

Philippe Blatter, Infront's president and chief executive, said that the re-naming of APF is "the visible expression that the integration process is now complete and this will further strengthen the perception of Infront as one of the world's most respected sports marketing brands. Full ownership of APF is the key to the realisation of Infront's long-term strategy of building sports marketing leadership in winter sports." Until now, APF has been marketed as `an Infront Group company.'

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Heavy snowfall in South America, FIS TD updates in progress
El Colorado End of June 2009

In a July snow update, reports from South America confirm excellent early season conditions and anticipate great skiing in the coming months: resorts such as El Colorado and La Parva in Chile received more than 1 meter of snow last weekend. Snowfall to date this season has already reached some 1.5m on average.

Over the border in Argentina, Las Lenas also reported big falls but remains closed. Catedral at Bariloche, the continent's largest ski area, has a 45cm base on upper runs.

The annual FIS Alpine Skiing Technical Delegate update program has also commenced. More than 30 persons attended the Chile update in Santiago de Chile on June 26th and the next update is scheduled in Bariloche (ARG) next Friday 3rd July.

In Australia &˙New Zealand, the FIS TD update for the region was held in Christchurch (NZE) on 19th-22nd June. The season there is well on its way: Most ski areas have seen temperatures hovering around zero for several days now and a few cm of fresh snow falling. Two more New Zealand ski areas opened last weekend. Cardrona Alpine Resort opened its gates to thousands of skiers and snowboarders on 26th June, with ideal snow and weather conditions. With more than a meter of snow on groomed trails, the 2009 ski season is off to a superb start. Meanwhile another kiwi resort, Whakapapa, opened for the season on Saturday 27th June.

Includes contributions by Stefano Pirola and www.skiinfo.com

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 Inside FIS 

Jumping Judges evaluate season in Garmisch
Jumping judges at new GAP hill
Photo: Horst Tielmann

The annual seminar for the FIS Jumping Judges took place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) on 25th-27th June. 68 participants from 11 countries met under the leadership of Ueli Forrer, Chairman of the FIS Sub-Committee for Officials and Rules, supported by Horst Tielmann, Coordinator of the men's Ski Jumping Continental Cup.

Traditionally, the seminar included a review of the past season and especially an evaluation of the performance of the judges. This included video analysis of selected jumps and their evaluation from the 2008/09 season. This year, an important discussion topic was the rule changes that were approved by the FIS Council for pilot testing during the FIS Grand Prix starting in Hinterzarten (GER) on 8th-9th August. The Jumping Judge candidates also attended additional training sessions and wrote an examination to test their knowledge.

A highlight of the seminar, organized excellently by the German Ski Jumping commissioner (or Obman as they are known within the FIS family) Franz Rappenglueck, was a visit to the new Olympic hill in Garmisch (see photo).

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FIS Directory 2009 going to print: Deadline for updates 8th July

The FIS Directory 2009 is on its way to the printer's and will be available by the FIS Autumn Meetings. The deadline for the contents is 8th July 2009. The National Ski Associations and FIS Committee Members are requested to check that their contact details are up-to-date. Each Committee Member can change their personal facts through their personal log-in on the FIS website. In case of any questions, please contact marketing(at)fisski.com.

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 Member News 

Huber takes charge in Kitzbhel
Drs Poley and Huber

The eagerly anticipated General Assembly of the Kitzbheler Ski Club (K.S.C.) took place last Friday 26th June 2009. With some 5'700 members, K.S.C. is the largest ski club in Tyrol and the organizer of the Hahnenkamm Races, obviously no small feat to manage.

The 78-year-old long-serving President Dr. Christian Poley had announced that he was stepping down after 18 years of service in this role so the members had an important choice to make at the 106th Assembly: the 322 members present unanimously elected 44-year-old Dr. Michael Huber as his successor. Known as a diplomatic leader, Dr Huber, formerly the managing director of the K.S.C, intends to continue to lead the club true to its 107 years of tradition but conscious of the current challenges and future developments. He will serve both as President of the K.S.C. and as Head of the Hahnenkamm World Cup organizing committee.

In recognition of his many contributions over decades, Dr. Christian Poley, a well-known leader in the alpine ski racing community and chairman of the FIS Alpine Sub-Committee for Rules and Control, was named as one of the few honorary members of the Kitzbheler Ski Club.

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Balkan Ski Association intensifies cooperation
Istanbul

On invitation of the Turkish Ski Federation, the official representatives of the National Ski Associations from the Balkan region, met last weekend in Istanbul. The participants included representatives of Turkey, Greece, Rumania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Serbia and Slovenia. Turkey will not only host the 2010 International Ski Congress in Antalya, but also the next Winter Universiade in Erzurum˙ in 2011.

The Balkan Ski Association seeks to promote skiing in the Balkan region and most importantly, find synergies through joint programs and projects. At the Istanbul meeting they agreed to organize Balkan Ski Championships every two years in Cross-Country Skiing, Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding. The first championships are planned take place in Rumania in 2012 and also serve as test events for the European Youth Olympic Festival 2013 that The 11th European Winter Youth Olympic Festival, a sports event for youngsters aged 13-18, will take place in Brasov in the Southern Carpathian Mountains, in the region of Transylvania, from 17th-22nd February 2013.

As a further area of collaboration, the Balkan region NSAs agreed to enhance the exchange of experience and knowledge among their technical staff through joint meetings. The first of those will be held in Sarajevo (BIH) in mid-September 2009. Similarly joint training camps and seminars will be staged and competition calendars will be prepared in close cooperation in the future. ™zkan Koyuncu, who is also chairman of the FIS Sub-Committee for Roller Skiing was named as the Balkan Coordinator for all disciplines.

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 In Depth 

Presenting FIS partners: Halti
Martti Uusitalo

Interview with Martti Uusitalo

Continuing the series of interviews with some of the most important FIS partners, this week features Halti (www.halti.com) that has been the official FIS Official Clothing Supplier since 2007. Martti Uusitalo, Vice President of Halti, discussed his company's long-term engagement in support of ski sports.

FIS Newsflash:˙How does sponsoring help Halti meet its marketing and communication goals?

Martti Uusitalo: For Halti, ski sponsoring is an essential part of our brand building and even our brand's core message. Being part of the top level alpine ski racing circuit and the major ski events greatly enhances our credibility in the marketplace. At the same time, we consider sport sponsoring one of the most effective and affordable ways to gain global visibility.

FIS Newsflash:˙Please describe the different ways that you are directly involved in ski racing.

Martti Uusitalo: Among our ski engagements, we have sponsorship or partnership relationships with organizations such as FIS or the Finnish Olympic Committee, national teams such as the Finnish and Bulgarian Alpine Teams and the Canadian Cross-Country National Team, and individual athletes such as Denise Karbon (ITA). And we have just finalized the agreement to be the Official Clothing Supplier of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2011 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER), which will be our third consecutive Alpine Worlds since Are 2007. The specific goals of each partnership differ somewhat but are based on visibility and attractiveness to our target markets and market segments.

FIS Newsflash:˙What is it that makes the FIS partnership special for Halti?

Martti Uusitalo: For Halti, the product testing conducted by FIS race professionals plays an especially valuable role for the FIS Official Clothing Supplier partnership. Several of the FIS staff put our products to great use in often highly demanding conditions for dozens of weeks a season. Being an official FIS partner also helps build our status in the market, in particular among the purchasers of the major winter retailer chains and the core alpine ski racing fans, who know that the FIS professionals appreciate the high quality and technical details of our products. This partnership also helps us differentiate ourselves from the other premium products in our market. We really think FIS is an optimal partner for us in many ways.

FIS Newsflash:˙What was your personal skiing highlight in the past season and what do you expect from the upcoming season?

Martti Uusitalo: For me personally, a very memorable highlight was the exciting fight for the ladies' giant slalom World Cup crystal globe in which Halti skier Tanja Poutiainen (FIN) prevailed in the end. Overall, I enjoyed the long and snow-rich winter which really helped bring winter sport back on the big public's radar screen. We look forward to another good winter with plentiful snow but are also excited to see Kalle Palander, a Halti shareholder, return to the slopes after 1.5 years of injury-related absence.

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