|News from the World of Skiing|
Interview with Toni Roponen ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Simon Ammann (SUI)|
|Ronny Heer (SUI)|
The FIS Grand Prix in Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined kicked off in Hinterzarten (GER) last weekend with an individual competition in Nordic Combined, and both a team and individual competition in Ski Jumping. The busy competition schedule then saw the teams travel to Italy where another event followed in Val di Fiemme for Nordic Combined and in Pragelato for Ski Jumping before the third competitions in Oberstdorf (GER) and Courchevel (FRA), respectively.
For many athletes the summer events serve as a great fitness check for the upcoming season. At least based on claiming two victories in the two individual events so far, Switzerland's Simon Ammann seems to be heading towards a highly successful Olympic season. After winning with a new hill record in the second round in Hinterzarten, Ammann delivered two consistent jumps on the 2006 Olympic hill in Pragelato.
Besides winning two new mountain bikes that were given as special prizes for the individual event winners, Ammann now leads the overall GP ranking with 200 points. He is followed by Adam Malysz who finished 2nd in Pragelato. Anders Jacobsen of Norway, 2nd in Hinterzarten, is third in the standings.
In Nordic Combined, the rankings are led by Jonathan Felisaz of France ahead of Ronny Heer (SUI) and Christoph Bieler (AUT), the winners of the˙two competitions, who are tied for second place. As the Nordic Combined summer series does not count for points and quota places during the first World Cup period, and the Cross-Country portion is competed on inline skates (not roller skis), several athletes and teams are opting for individually tailored schedules rather than completing the entire program with four competitions.
The Summer Grand Prix is also serving as a pilot for testing proposed new rules in Ski Jumping. "So far so good," commented FIS Race Director Walter Hofer after the very first competitions in Hinterzarten. "I have to say I am pleasantly disappointed with the lack of heavy criticism and negative feedback. But, of course, we will take advantage of all Grand Prix competitions for testing the suggested rule changes before drawing any conclusions."
Photo: Skiclub Bischofsgrn
The ladies` FIS Continental Cup in Ski Jumping summer series got underway in Bischofsgrn (GER) last weekend. And it was the third time in a row that the German ladies' team presented the winner there. After the victories by Jenna Mohr and Magdalena Schnurr last year, it was time for Ulrike Graessler to take the honors in both of the competitions.
The silver medalist in the historical first FIS World Championships in ladies Ski Jumping last winter in Liberec, Graessler beat Swiss Bigna Windmueller and French Carolin Espiau on Saturday and Ayumi Watase of Japan and teammate Magdalena Schnurr on Sunday. Sunday's competition was challenged by heavy winds and had to be interrupted several times. "I am happy to have won here. I think I was one of the favorites because of my medal in Liberec and since I won the German nationals recently. The atmosphere and crowd are great here so it is easy to perform at your best," commented Graessler
The summer series continued in Poehla (GER) on Wednesday 12th August with another solid performance by the German ladies' team. Whilst the victory there went to Magdalena Schnurr, she was joined on the podium by Melanie Faisst along with Watase, and followed by Graessler in 4th place. The great team results were completed by Ramona Strauss tied with Windmller for fifth.
The summer series will continue with double events both in Oberwiesenthal (GER) and Lillehammer (NOR).
Photo: Maurer/Badische Zeitung
|Notschrei under construction|
Photo: Sandra Spitz
In conjunction with the opening FIS Summer Grand Prix events, a sizable delegation led by Race Directors Uli Wehling and Jrg Capol had a chance to inspect the current construction work and other preparations for the 2010 FIS Nordic Junior & U-23 Cross-Country World Championships in Hinterzarten (GER).
For the first time since Schonach 2002, the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships will return to Germany and to the Black Forest from 24th to 31st January 2010. The town and region around Hinterzarten have now reached the phase of detailed preparations and plan to present the Black Forest in the best possible way. Mayor of Hinterzarten, Hansjrg Eckert, plans to put the event motto - `The world as guest in the Black Forest' - in action together with some 800 volunteers: "We would like to be a great host for all the teams and visitors."
Altogether, 14 Cross-Country competitions will take place at the venue named Notschrei, situated about 35 km to the south-west of Hinterzarten which is currently undergoing heavy reconstruction, With a new trail concept and rebuilding of the stadium at Notschrei, a relatively snow-secure mountain at 1100m altitude and a well-known recreational area not far from Freiburg, the site seeks to make a great showing for the Cross-Country world. "The courses here are very challenging and will guarantee that the best athletes will win," stated Jrg Capol.
The three Nordic Combined and three Ski Jumping competitions will be held directly in Hinterzarten in the traditional Adler stadium, where a new 2.5 km Cross-Country course was homologated for the Nordic Combined competitions.
The Organizing Committee is led by Detlef Braun and Hermann Wehrle, and has a budget of Euro 680'000 to deliver a great ski festival for the youth, also including several side events and memorable prize-giving ceremonies in appropriate surroundings.
"We can definitively see that the OC is prepared for a great week for our youth, "said Uli Wehling and Jrg Capol added: "Chapeau: what the OC is doing for the up-and-coming Nordic stars is truly exemplary."
For more information on the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships please visit: www.jwm-2010.de (currently in German, English coming up!)
Contributed by Sandra Spitz
FIS ski experts are not only working when there is snow. In fact the summer is the main season for important planning and rule review sessions. In Kelchsau, Tyrol (AUT), it was time last week for one of the main working meetings of a working group under the FIS Sub-Committee for Alpine Rules and Control.
Nine experts representing six countries gathered under the leadership of Christian Poley - who chaired his 19th Sub-Committee meeting - for three days to discuss and review the International Competition Rules for Alpine Skiing. The working group's recommendations will be submitted for discussion and consideration by the Sub-Committee during the FIS Autumn Meetings in Zurich (SUI) at the end of September. This type of intensive˙workshops are key for making sure that the rules remain current and meet the needs of today's ski racing.
Contributed by Barbara Thaler
|Youth cup racer|
|Successful Grass Ski youth talents|
The FIS Youth Grass Skiing Camp has become a traditional meeting point for international Grass Skiing talents. The 2009 camp took place from 4th-9th August in Birkenau (GER) on the Schnorrenbach course. The organizer was the ski department of SV Unter-Flockenbach. The main focus of the camp was on enjoying Grass Skiing together which˙was facilitated by the beautiful weather and ideal training conditions throughout the camp.
The various training sessions were supervised by coaches from the participating nations. The intensive week culminated in a competition in slalom and giant slalom for all participating 22 girls and 27 boys from Japan, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany. This competition also represented the finals of the FIS Youth Cup competition series which included events in Forni die Sopra (ITA) und Ceske Petrovice (CZE). In the overall ranking, four of the victories went to the Czech Republic, one to Austria and one to Germany.
Contributed by Heiko Eckermann
|SAS booth at the exhibition|
The Ski Association of Serbia has taken advantage of the summer time to promote the sport of skiing to the youth in Serbia. On Saturday, 25th July 2009, it was one of 50 sports associations who participated in an exhibition called "What's your sport"..
The event was held in the Ada Ciganlija area, well-known as "Belgrade's sea side", on the initiative of the Serbian Ministry for Youth and Sport and sponsored by Coca-Cola. The goal of the event was to attract children and youth in order to encourage them to become˙involved in a sports activity, help them find the most suitable sport for their needs as well as promote healthy ways of living. For more information on the event,˙click here.
Interview with Toni Roponen
Continuing the series of interviews with some of the most important FIS partners, this week features Polar (www.polar.fi) that features as the "Official FIS Timing Partner for Cross-Country Skiing" and the "Official Heart Rate Training Computer Partner for the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup." Toni Roponen, Sports Marketing Manager, elaborated on his company's involvement in sports, and Nordic Skiing in particular.
Q. How does sponsoring help Polar meet its marketing and communication goals?
Toni Roponen: Our sponsoring engagements help Polar primarily in two areas: to increase the brand's general visibility and to grow our brand awareness in key markets. We feel that it is essential for us to be seen as partner of some of the leading endurance sports because our customers are fundamentally people who appreciate such sports, are interested in fitness and themselves exercise regularly. At the same time, we are using sport sponsoring to educate our target market about our broad range of products. While our origins are in heart rate measurement - we continue to be the world leader in that field - Polar today provides training technology and tools for anyone who seeks to improve their fitness or performance, no matter in what sport, even team sports.
Q. Please describe the different ways that you are directly involved in sport sponsoring?
Toni Roponen: Polar has served as the FIS Timing Partner for Cross-Country Skiing for two seasons and also stepped in as the "Official Heart Rate Training Computer Partner for the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup" at the start of last season. The engagement in Nordic Combined is noteworthy given the role of our telemetry solutions in helping improve the presentation of the sport for TV viewers. For us, sponsoring skiing at the highest level is a relatively new engagement. By comparison, we have been involved in the Tour de France for six years and currently partner with 11 professional cycling teams. Moreover, Polar cooperates with Tennis Europe and sponsors many one day events such as the city marathons in Boston, Paris, Frankfurt and London, to mention a few.
Q: What is it that makes a partnership with skiing and FIS the right fit for Polar?
Toni Roponen: For Polar, the connection to top level Nordic Skiing is obvious. At least 80% of the top athletes use our products in their training. But we are interested in the entire package: we feel that skiing today offers a positive TV image thanks to several changes in the competition formats in recent years and also provides sustained high level visibility during the long winter season from November to March. From a selling perspective this includes significant visibility during the challenging post-Christmas period in several of our key markets in Central and Northern Europe.
Q. From a sponsor's perspective, do you have any special message to FIS?
Toni Roponen: So far we at Polar have been very pleased with the FIS partnership: everything has been very easy, professionally managed and positive. We are proud to work with FIS to further develop Nordic Skiing and can see natural ways to grow this cooperation for mutual benefit. Some areas of enhanced collaboration might, for example, involve new ways to help active ski enthusiasts to better use the available tools to improve their fitness.
Q. What was your personal skiing highlight in the past season and what do you expect from the upcoming season?
Toni Roponen: There were two season highlights last season: the first was the World Cup weekend in Oberhof with the opening of the Tour de Ski and two competitions in the Nordic Combined World Cup. We were very pleased with the viewership figures and also very happy with the technical execution of our partnership. The second highlight came at the Lahti Ski Games where we had a highly successful activation program with side events on-site in addition to the World Cup competition program.
For the coming season, we are especially looking forward to the 4th edition of the Tour de Ski which will be the first time that the event takes place fully in the new year, from 1st-10th January 2010. We are also expecting positive visibility during the Vancouver Olympic Games where our products will be used by so many top athletes that we are bound to have a strong showing even if we are not an official Olympic sponsor.