|News from the World of Skiing|
Hubert H”rterer, Marko Mustonen, Luke Bodensteiner ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
|Torsby Ski Tunnel|
With the masses heading to the beach, skiers and boarders are busy getting ready for the new season. Traditionally, dry-land training and glacier skiing have formed the foundation for skiers' summer training. Recently, indoor skiing opportunities have emerged as another opportunity for year-round, on-snow training in low altitude.
In June, two new indoor Cross-Country Skiing opportunities were opened in Sweden and Finland. With the opening of the Fortum Ski Tunnel in Torsby, Nordv„rmland, Sweden welcomed its first indoor skiing facility. The tunnel was born out of an initiative by Per-¸ke Ytterg†rd, currently Nordic Director at the Swedish Ski Association. At 1.3 km in length, the Torsby tunnel is also the world's longest indoor ski tunnel and has the only indoor biathlon arena in the world. The new tunnel's festive opening included various contests, including a duel between the one-time rivals Thomas Wassberg (SWE) and Juha Mieto (FIN), and a sprint race between Bj”rn Lind and Thobias Fredriksson for the honor of cutting the ribbon.
Also in mid-June, Finland's fifth and the Southernmost ski tunnel located in Paimio, near Turku, opened for training use. The DNA Ski Tunnel in Vuokatti/Sotkamo (FIN) that opened in the spring of 1998 was the first Cross-Country tunnel in the world. In addition to the ski tunnels in the North of Europe, a tunnel is being planned for Oberhof (GER), with the estimated completion date of June, 2008.
For alpine skiing, indoor skiing opportunities have existed for years. The world's first indoor snow center, 'Mt TheBarton' in Adelaide (AUS), opened its doors in 1987. While the Adelaide facility has since closed, indoor ski slopes can now be found in several countries including Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Great Britain, Spain, and New Zealand, to mention just a few. The longest indoor ski piste (640m, with an altitude drop of 57m) can be found in 'Alpincenter' near Bottrop (GER). Bottrop has served as host to several FIS Alpine European Cup events as has 'Snowworld' in Landgraaf (NED), which has also hosted FIS Snowboard World Cup events. Most recently, in December 2005, indoor skiing broke a new frontier as the world's third longest indoor ski slope at `Ski Dubai' opened as part of the world's largest shopping mall, the Mall of Arabia. Several other indoor ski areas are currently under construction or proposed, including 'Snowfunpark' in Wittenburg (GER) which shall also include the first indoor Half-Pipe.
On Tuesday, July 4th, the newly elected President of the Slovak Ski Association, Igor Rattaj, paid a first official visit to the FIS Office in Oberhofen (SUI), accompanied by Martin Benko, a member of the European Olympic Committee Executive Board. Mr. Rattaj discussed his plans for the Association, including organizational refinements and greatly increased investment in the ski sports infrastructure, programs and activities.
Originating from the High Tatra region, it is the ambition of the new President to develop and re-construct the facilities ranging from hotels and resorts to training centers around the country but especially in the High and Low Tatra regions. Apart from FIS Junior World Championships, Slovakia has not hosted FIS World Championships since 1970 when the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships were held in Strbske Pleso (Vysoke Tatry). Supported by the new activities, the Association hopes to soon be able to organize FIS Continental Cup, and eventually World Cup, events in all the different disciplines.
|FIS Academy module participants in Vilamoura|
FIS family members from around the world took part in the three FIS Academy Congress modules at the FIS Congress in Vilamoura in May.
In response to the modules, one participant stated that the classes "provided the basics for the National Associations which can be further developed. Typically National Associations do not have enough knowledge to do `brand connect' marketing. This program delivers the foundations which are important and the theory and basic skills that are needed."
Patrick Nally's Sponsorship Procurement module provoked much debate! The discussions and ideas encouraged one participant to "rethink (my) approach to the marketing of sport and events!'
David Murphy of Manchester Business School provided the tools for participants to develop their Finance and Budgeting and Governance Framework on return to their respective organizations.
For more information on the FIS Academy programs, visit http://www.fis-academy.org/.
|New boots to help Ahonen next year?|
The Finnish Ski Association is participating in a substantial technology research and product development project that is focused on˙using new technologies for measuring Ski Jumping. At the core of the project is `a new generation Ski Jumping boot.' The new boots entail a tiny, extra-light computer unit enabling real-time measurement of e.g. jumper's speed and flight projectile. The measurement unit also allows for a highly precise measurement of the jumping distance.
The Finnish Ski Jumping team recently received its new boots. From a training perspective, one of the main benefits of the project is the rapid feedback cycle. Unlike in the past, the athletes can benefit from actual data immediately following their performance, in addition to audio-visual, trainer and personal feedback. Also, real data will be available for the entire jumping performance rather than only at specific spots where a measurement unit, such as a speed meter, is located. "This project represents one of the largest investments in sports research in recent years. It is also one of the greatest innovations in Ski Jumping in decades," noted Janne Marvaila, Director Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined at the Finnish Ski Association.
Launched 18 months ago, the project recently received funding for another three years. In total, the project's budget amounts to _ 500'000. Led by Professor Lauri Kettunen, the main partners of the project include the Technical University of Tampere, University of Jyv„skyl„, Jalas (Urho Viljanmaa Oy), VTI Technologies, Suunto and Nokia.
|Dr. Hubert H”rterer|
In the second part of the series, the FIS Newsflash is proud to present the thoughts of another three new Committee Chairmen following their appointment˙in Vilamoura (POR):
Dr. Hubert H”rterer (GER) - New Chairman of the FIS Medical Committee
"It is a great honor for me to be appointed Chairman of the FIS Medical Committee. Following my 30 years of experience as Chief Doctor for the German Ski Association und some 18 years of involvement in the FIS Medical Committee, I am very much looking forward to this task.
I have already worked together with a number of the Committee members, especially with Vice-Chairman Inggard Lereim (NOR), on many, intense projects. This is why I am convinced that we will be able to further develop our Committee while taking advantage of the well-structured basis set by Bengt Saltin during his tenure. We will continue to have distinct working groups that will meet regularly to discuss the various topics and prepare recommendations for the Committee's decision-making.
In my view, our most important tasks are as follows:
Finally, I would like to thank my predecessor Bengt Saltin for his wonderful, mutually respectful work. We look forward to seeing him in our future meetings so that we can continue to benefit from his advice and experience."
Marko Mustonen (FIN) - New Chairman of the Sub-Committee for Freestyle Rules and Officials
"For me, the appointment as Chairman is both a challenge and an opportunity to work with the various Committee members on a global basis. We have a lot to do as Freestyle Skiing is a youthful and very dynamic discipline that continues to develop rapidly. The Sub-Committee for Freestyle Rules and Officials currently comprises many experts, all with substantial experience, representing the different areas of our discipline. As such, I know that we are well-prepared to respond to any future challenge.
The Committee's mission is to ensure that all Freestyle Skiing events (AE, HP, MO, DM, SX) develop in the right direction. There are changes, refinements, and even new elements year after year. It is therefore our task both to assess the current state of each event, and to anticipate how each will develop in the medium-term. In practice, the sporting rules will remain our most effective tool for ensuring that the sport stays current and that we serve the best interests of both the athletes and spectators. But we also work to ensure that our officials (judges, TDs) are well-trained, have access to the latest information and receive sufficient education.
What we will need to consider in detail in the future are opportunities provided by new technologies. Using already available tools, we could obtain much greater amounts of factual information about the sporting performance. For example, in moguls, aerials and half pipe, we can measure the airtime, jump height and length in great detail. By combining the data delivered by such technologies with the skills of our judges we could greatly increase the objectivity of our sport. This would benefit not only the athletes but also the spectators who could better evaluate the various performances and their differences."
Luke Bodensteiner (USA) - New Chairman of the FIS Sub-Committee for Popular Cross-Country
"The Council was kind to appoint me to this chairmanship after a period of growth in the organization of popular races, and in particular, the biggest marathons. The former chairman Paddy Field did a hero's job in initiating and growing the FIS Marathon Cup-we'll miss his services as Chairman!
However, the development of the FIS Marathon Cup has also highlighted the challenges associated with further raising the profile of these races. Each major marathon is well-organized individually, as well as collectively as the Worldloppet. But, despite large national interest in each race, there's little value in the overall Cup, and little to differentiate the FIS Marathon Cup from the Worldloppet ranking.
As a result, national team participation in the FIS Marathon Cup has been limited, and only few top athletes take part in the races outside of their own nations. And despite the initial vision of developing the FIS Marathon Cup into a World Cup for marathon skiing, it's now clear that having a second World Cup in Cross-Country is counterproductive.
Therefore, the Sub-Committee will shift its focus to driving international interest in the most important popular competitions, to ensuring consistent top-level participation, and to increasing the number of popular competitions and competitors.
To get there, we'll nurture the evolution of the FIS Marathon Cup, including increased interaction between the popular marathons and World Cup races of similar distance. As we do now for sprinters and all-around skiers, we'll organize this sector such that the results from the most meaningful marathon races provide an alternative way to identify the best long-distance skier of the season. Given the unique nature of the most famous popular races, we'll then begin to view the popular marathon format as its own format. This positioning will give us an opportunity to examine, within the Cross-Country Committee, the values that the popular format can bring not only to the World Cup - as is the case today - but also to the World Championships in the future."