News from the World of Skiing 

  LG Snowboard FIS World Cup kicks off in New Zealand ... more

  Ammann and Edelmann best in first part of Summer Grand Prix ... more

  Cross-Country skiers test summer shape ... more

  Aerials athletes flipping and twisting ... more

  Premiere New Zealand Winter Games to open ... more

  ォ year to go until 2010 Vancouver Games ... more


 In Depth 

  Introducing Members of FIS Athletes' Commission: Andreas K》tel (SUI) ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

LG Snowboard FIS World Cup kicks off in New Zealand
Cardrona (NZE)
Photo: FIS/Oliver Kraus
Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI)
Photo: FIS/Oliver Kraus

The 2009/2010 season of the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup will begin next weekend with a half-pipe competition `down under'. For the third consecutive time, the world's top freestylers open the winter in the Cardrona superpipe. 130 riders from more than 20 nations are expected to vie for the first FIS World Cup points and podium places in New Zealand. The Cardrona opening will be one of four half-pipe FIS World Cups contests counting for the qualification to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. No wonder that a top international starting field is ready to drop in the half-pipe on 25th August 2009, for the qualifiers. The semi-finals and finals are on the program a day later.

The entry list for the season's first World Cup reads like the `who is who' of Snowboarding. Led by the 2009 World Cup champions Jiayu Lu (CHN) and Ryoh Aono (JPN) the field will include 2002 Olympic champion Kelly Clark along with her fellow US-team riders Hannah Teter and Gretchen Bleiler who took 1-2 at the 2006 Games in Torino. Other top contenders include Liu's teammate Zhifeng Sun and 2009 Worlds runner-up Holly Crawford (AUS), to mention a few.

In the men's competition, it seems that an armada from the land of the rising sun is ready to dominate the superpipe. 2009 World Champion Ryoh Aono and last year's Cardrona winner Kohhei Kudoh will spin and style against Finnish rippers Markku Koski, 2006 Olympic bronze medalist, Antti Autti, Peetu Piiroinen, Janne Korpi and Risto Mattila. They will be challenged by Mathieu Crepel (FRA), Christophe Schmidt (GER), Nathan Johnstone (AUS) and Canada's 2009 World Championship silver medalist Jeff Batchelor as well as Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov, among others.

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Ammann and Edelmann best in first part of Summer Grand Prix
Simon Ammann (SUI)
Photo: NordicFocus
Einsiedeln NC podium
Photo: NordicFocus

The so-called Four-Nations-Tournament as part of the FIS Grand Prix in Ski Jumping, and the Nordic Combined summer series both ended on Sunday in Einsiedeln (SUI).

After Switzerland's Simon Ammann claimed victory in the first three individual competitions - Hinterzarten, Pragelato and Courchevel - it was time for Bj排n Einar Romoeren of Norway to return to the top of the podium in Einsiedeln, for the first time since February 2008. Romoeren however could not challenge Ammann for the overall victory of the Four-Nations-Tournament. Despite an eighth place finish on his home hill, the Swiss star received a motorcycle as a special prize. Second in the overall ranking was the Polish veteran Adam Malysz ahead of Denis Kornilov of Russia.

As the traditional powerhouse nations Austria and Germany have struggled somewhat at the beginning of the summer season, countries such as Poland, Slovenia and Czech Republic can be happy with their showing so far. The Austrian superstars Gregor Schlierenzauer and Wolfgang Loitzl are expected to join the tour next weekend when the Grand Prix continues in Zakopane (POL) with two competitions.

In Nordic Combined, the top spot in the overall summer series rankings was collected by Tino Edelmann. Despite not winning a single competition, the German collected 260 points which was sufficient to secure the honors ahead of Jonathan Felisaz (FRA, 218) and two-time winner Ronny Heer (SUI, 216). Ronny Heer did not compete in Val di Fiemme which might have just cost him the overall triumph in the rankings since he won both the first and last competitions in Hinterzarten and Einsiedeln, respectively. The DKB Nordic Combined World Cup season will commence at Ruka, Kuusamo (FIN) at the traditional FIS Nordic Opening.

After the first part of the Grand Prix, the trial of new rules consisting of a `wind score' and more flexible inrun lengths has received mostly positive feedback. Walter Hofer, Head of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined at FIS, commented to the media: "I am surprised about the acceptance and would have expected more opposition. But I cannot help but think that we might suddenly realize having forgotten to consider something." The rule pilot will continue throughout the FIS Grand Prix.

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Cross-Country skiers test summer shape
Fit in summer: Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)
Photo: Saku Suverull
Petter Northug (NOR) at Suverull
Photo: Saku Suverull

In the southern hemisphere, the winter competition season is in full swing. Last weekend, the FIS Australia-New Zealand Cup (ANC) moved to Perisher Valley. While Australian Ben Sim put up a tough fight, Thomas Diezig from Switzerland was the dominant male athlete, winning both of the two competitions. In the ladies' events Katherine Calder (NZE) cleaned up and has now joined Diezig in the lead in the overall ANC standings.

Besides on-snow competitions, Cross-Country skiers tend to leverage various performance tests in the summer for getting an idea of where they stand. In the past two weeks, several top athletes competed in interesting dryland events. In Aure and Kristiansand (NOR), the famous Toppidrettsveka show race took place from 6th-8th August. Pirjo Muranen (FIN) and Oystein Pettersen (NOR) showed the best overall performances in roller skiing, mountain biking and running among an elite starter field. Muranen captured the four-stage competition clearly with 100 points ahead of Charlotte Kalla (SWE), whilst Anna Olsson (SWE) and Evi Sachenbacher (GER) tied for third. On the men's side it was a close fight but in the end the local hero Oystein Pettersen held his lead and finished 19 points ahead of Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA) and 32 points ahead of Jesper Modin (SWE). For detailed results, click here.

The traditional Saku Suverull races were held in the World Cup town of Otepт (EST) last weekend. With Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and Petter Northug (NOR) two top class athletes signed in on the winner list. The reigning World Cup champion, Justyna Kowalczyk, dominated both roller ski races - the prologue and distance - and finished 1:20 min ahead of Russian Anastasia Kasukul. In the men's race, it was tight. After the victory by local hero Aivar Rehemaa (EST) in the prologue, Petter Northug attacked in the pursuit race to win just 5.2 seconds ahead of Sami Jauhojвvi (FIN). 2009 world champion from Liberec Andrus Veerpalu (EST) finished third. For more details, click here.

Includes contributions by Sandra Spitz and Finn Marsland

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Aerials athletes flipping and twisting
Jumpin in Mettmenstetten (SUI)
Summer Sun Splash ladies podium

Multiple flips, twists and slashes happen all summer long in the major aerial water ramp training facilities in the world as the world's best aerialists train and prepare for the coming season's FIS Freestyle World Cup and Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Several FIS competitions have been held in the past three weekends at facilities around the world: The `Summer Sun Splash' was held at the Utah Olympic Park, near Park City (USA) including competitors from USA, AUS and ARG. A great turn-out of international teams was seen at the `Le 5e Mondial Acrobatx' in Lac Beauport (PQ) CAN with teams from CHN, CAN, JPN, SLO and USA. The European Masters was staged in Mettmenstetten (SUI) at the `Jumpin' complex, where the Swiss teams hosted, skiers from AUT, GBR, FRA, BLR, RUS and CZE.

With these competitions now finished, perhaps the rankings foreshadow the 2010 aerial World Cup standings or event the podiums at Cypress Mountain during the 2010 Games?

At the Acrobatx Mondial it was a Chinese sweep, with the men's and ladies' teams capturing the top four spots in a head-to-head water ramp competition. At the Utah Olympic Park, US Ski Team members Jana Lindsey and Jeret Peterson finished on top while local athletes Evelyne Leu and Renato Ulrich triumphed at Jumpin. Aerials team competitions were also held both in Canada and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the `King of Spin' is scheduled to take place at the Viking water ramp in Oberaudorf (GER) on 29th-30th August. This competition will not test the skiers' ability to perform non-inverted jumps, but rather to evaluate who can do the best off-axis or spinning jumps. Visit www.wsv-oberaudorf.de for more information.

Contributed by Joseph T Fitzgerald

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Premiere New Zealand Winter Games to open

It's just few days to go - the excitement is reaching fever pitch as inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games kick off on Friday, 21st August with the spectacular Opening at Earnslaw Park in downtown Queenstown. The games will be officially declared open along with skydivers, traditional powhiri welcome by members of Kai Tahu and other special programs.

The sports competitions will take place at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Farm, Naseby and Dunedin from 21st-30th August 2009. The schedule will feature the disciplines of Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding, Curling, Ice Skating and adaptive snow sports as well as the demonstration sports of winter Triathlon and natural Luge. The action-packed program includes 24 events, and has been designed to give athletes the chance to get valuable competition experience in top environment before the 2010 Olympic Winter Games next February.

Many disciplines boast star-heavy fields, from Alpine Skiing where Anja Paerson (SWE) is leading a line-up also including Fabienne Suter of Switzerland, and on the men's side, Paerson's teammates Markus Larsson, Andre Myhrer and Matts Olsson. Other nations competing in the three alpine events include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States. Along with a who's who of Snowboarding (see the above article) entered for the half-pipe event, the starters in Freestyle half-pipe competitions include Kevin Rolland, Xavier Bertoni, and Anais Caradeux of France and Megan Gunning of Canada.

For more information visit www.wintergamesnz.com

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ォ year to go until 2010 Vancouver Games

August 12th marked the six month milestone until the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010 on 12th February 2010. The first FIS medal events will take place on 13th February, including the men's downhill in Alpine Skiing, men's normal hill competition in Ski Jumping and ladies' moguls in Freestyle Skiing.

The next few weeks will see the beginning of the `Olympic overlay' process of installing temporary structures for the Games. Nearly 1'000 temporary buildings and trailers and 90'000 square meters of tents will be installed in the city of Vancouver and in the mountain venues at Cypress and Whistler. The work also includes the construction of temporary stands and installation of the Olympic venue dressing.

The Olympic flame will be lit at Olympia in Greece on 22nd October and will be handed over to VANOC a week later in Athens, from where it will be flown to Victoria in British Columbia for the start of the 30'000 km, 105-day torch relay through Canada.

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 In Depth 

Introducing Members of FIS Athletes' Commission: Andreas K》tel (SUI)
Andreas K》tel
Photo: NordicFocus
Testing the 2010 Olympic venue
Photo: NordicFocus

Andreas K》tel (SUI) is the Ski Jumping representative on the FIS Athletes' Commission. The 30-year-old native of Einsiedeln is the reigning world champion on the large hill from Liberec 2009. In the course of his 14-year World Cup career, Andi has collected 5 World Cup victories and a total of 15 podium finishes. He is currently preparing for his third Olympic Winter Games.

FIS Newsflash: What does it mean to you to have been elected as a member of the FIS Athletes Commission?

Andreas K》tel: On one hand, it's an honor to have been elected by my peers, who are normally my opponents in the competition. On the other hand, it is a great chance for us athletes to influence the future of our sport and participate in the decision-making process.

FIS Newsflash: What are your goals with the Athletes Commission?

Andreas K》tel: I was elected as representative for Ski Jumping so my goal is to focus on our sport with all its complex rules, measurements and different modes. But it is equally important for me to exchange opinions, problems and strategies with the other athletes from all FIS disciplines in fields such as anti-doping and competition standards.

FIS Newsflash: What was your first impression from the first meeting of the Commission and the FIS Committee Meetings in Dubrovnik?

Andreas K》tel: My impression of the FIS Calendar Conference was: it is a big thing! So many people having so many meetings! Within our Commission, our discussions took much longer than scheduled, but we met for the first time and there were many topics on the agenda. For sure everybody's highly motivated and we had a good start into the future

FIS Newsflash: Some fundamental rule changes are being piloted in Ski Jumping. What do you personally think about the proposed changes on the basis of the initial Grand Prix competitions and how do you plan to work with your peers to collect their feedback on the test?

Andreas K》tel: Ski Jumping will go into a new direction with the new wind rules and the possibility of changing the inrun length. The discussions must not only be held on the coaches' and officials' side, but also among us athletes. We have created a page called www.democraski.com where athletes can express their opinions about different topics. I will collect these voices and bring them directly to one of the Jumping Sub-Committees. Power to the athletes!

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