|News from the World of Skiing|
With brown bears in Kamtschatka ... more
|News from the World of Skiing|
The organizing committee of the 2007 FIS Nordic World Championships in Sapporo has designated Masahiko Harada as Ambassador for the Championships. Harada, an Olympic Champion at the 1996 Olympic Winter Games, a four-time World Championships medalist and nine-time World Cup winner, retired from Ski Jumping in March 2006.
At the nomination ceremony, held at the City Hall of Sapporo, Harada said: "I'm happy for being designated as Ambassador for the WSC Sapporo 2007. When I retired from Ski Jumping, I thought that I would like to support the WSC in some way. I hope that I can pay back to the people who took care of me."
Harada's debut as Sapporo 2007 Ambassador was a promotion activity at the center of Sapporo to announce the opening of ticket sales, which started on June 17th. He also attended the opening of the official Championships shop at "Norkey Plaza" in Sapporo. In addition to his new role as Ambassador, Harada is currently also serving as Club Trainer for Snow Brand, his employer that is the sponsor and owner of several sports teams.
Five ski and snowboard athletes were nominated for the 2006 Annual ESPY Awards which celebrate sports top moments and best performances in the past year.
Snowboard Olympic Champion in half-pipe Hannah Teter was nominated in the prestigious "Best Female Athlete" category, challenging the seven-time ESPY Winner Annika Sorenstam, among others. Teter was also nominated in the "Best Female Action Sports Athlete" along with another Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler. Shaun White, Snowboard Olympic Champion in half-pipe, was nominated in two categories, "Best Breakthrough Athlete" and "Best Male Action Sports Athlete." Teter, White and Olympic skiers Julia Mancuso and Ted Ligety were all nominated in the category "Best U.S. Olympian."
The winners of the 14th annual ESPY Awards are determined by popular vote for the third consecutive time. The online voting closed at midnight on July 8th.
The 2006 ESPY Awards, hosted by Lance Armstrong - the first athlete to host the ESPYs - air Sunday, July 16th at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN, the US sports TV channel. The award ceremony will gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year's best sports stories at Hollywood's Kodak Theater. Awards will be given in 20 "Best in Sport" categories along with 17 individual sport categories and two sponsored awards. Recognizing individuals whose contributions transcend sports, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award will be presented to a group of young female athletes who play in organized football leagues in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
|Mt. Hutt (NZE)|
Photo: Miles Holden
Several national ski teams, mostly from Europe but also from North America, are planning to travel to the Southern hemisphere for training camps as of late July. The camps will go on until September.
As of now, FIS Travel has helped nearly 600 team members with their travel arrangements. Over 300 travelers will be heading to Argentina, either to San Carlos de Bariloche, known for its Cerro Catedral resort in the Andes, Las Le¤as in the Cuyo region of Central-Western Argentina that is also home to Aconcagua, the world's highest peak outside of Asia, or to Ushuaia, the Southernmost city of Argentina - if not of the world - and capital of Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia. Another large group will be traveling to Chile to train in Valle Nevado, Portillo and Termas de Chillan. Yet others are planning trips and training camps in Australia and New Zealand, in the resorts of the Southern Alps located near Queenstown and Wanaka, such as Mount Hutt, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone.
There are currently great snow conditions across New Zealand with some new snow over the weekend and great packed powder conditions on-piste. Cardrona (35/100cm) has great on-piste conditions and variable off-piste as do Coronet Peak (60/80cm) and Treble Cone (42/95cm) on the South Island. There is a bit of wind at Mount Hutt (160/160cm). Conditions are slowly but surely improving in Australia as further dustings of snow fell over the weekend and the lower temperatures have enabled the snow guns to start firing again.
It is forecast to snow across Argentina this week. Chile is having a much better time than Argentina with all open resorts in Chile˙receiving fresh snow over the weekend. Portillo (70/120cm), for example, received 65cm of fresh snow creating excellent conditions. Valle Nevado (55/80cm), too, already has very good conditions that will further improve with more snow falling. In Argentina, the best conditions are at Las Le¤as (50/160cm) where there is a good packed base.
|Side program: Shooting training|
|Uli Wehling with Jrg Frey, |
Andreas Hallweger and Jrg Brmel
The three local organizing committees of the FIS Warsteiner Grand Prix Germany (Oberhof, Ruhpolding and Schonach), together with Horst Httel, as representative of the German Ski Association, and Uli Wehling, FIS Race Director Nordic Combined, came together in Ruhpolding (GER) from Friday, 7th July to Sunday 9th July to plan the 2006/07 Warsteiner Grand Prix Germany. The next edition of the "Three Hills, Three Tracks"-tournament will take place from 30th December 2006 until 6th January 2007 as part of the Warsteiner FIS World Cup Nordic Combined.
The goal of the organizing committees is to impress all participants in next year's Grand Prix with a unique, high quality event, in addition to the extra prize money amounting to a total of _ 25'000. To that effect, the agenda included thorough discussions on several marketing and logistical issues, the timetable, a review of the last season's Grand Prix as well as information about the new Nordic Combined rules. "The Warsteiner Grand Prix Germany is a very important event in our World Cup schedule - we are happy to have such dedicated organizing committees as our partners", said Uli, who also celebrated his 54th birthday on 8th July: Happy belated birthday, Uli, and all the best!
|Felix Gottwald in Kamtschatka (RUS)|
With brown bears in Kamtschatka
The third one in the series, this week's "Athletes in Summer Training" piece provides some insight into how the various Nordic Combined national teams are preparing for the new competition season.
By Christina Fritz
After the focus on the Olympic Games last season, several Nordic Combined teams are trying to find challenge and motivation in new training methods and visit new places this summer.
Following some well-earned holidays, the normal training period started early on. The most teams have not just been staying on home soil, but are especially trying to take advantage of the different jumping facilities around. The Norwegians went to Zakopane (POL) in June for a training camp. Unfortunately, Haavard Klemetsen twisted his ankle while there and could not finish the camp as planned. The Swiss team tried to gain as many on-snow kilometers as possible before starting with the jumping training, visiting the Kaunertal in Austria for several skiing sessions. To keep the "fun-factor" high, some team members (Heer, Vonlanthen, Gerber, Klsi & Hug) participated in the so-called "Teamathlon" near Zurich (SUI). Here, the team members start in different events such as mountain biking, running, orienteering, and their results are added up. In the end, the Swiss team ranked 6th out of 40 teams.
The Finnish and French teams chose to stay at home during the first training period (training camps in Ruka and Vuokatti for FIN, in Courchevel and Prmanon for FRA). The same goes for the American team which mostly trains in Park City and Steamboat Springs. The first real challenge for the Finns will be the traditional "Mkikarnevaalit" (Summer Jumping Carnival) in Vuokatti from 26th-29th July where they will not only compete but also coach young talents from all over Finland. Like the Finnish team, the Japanese will skip the Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix in order to train at the future venues of their home FIS Nordic World Championships in Sapporo in February 2007. By contrast, the biggest adventure for the Germans still lies ahead: The team will be traveling to New Zealand for an on-snow training camp in August.
The most unusual preparation for the new season so far has been that of the double Olympic Champion from Torino, Felix Gottwald (AUT). In June, Felix traveled to Kamtschatka, Russia, together with Gregor Dietachmayr, Michael Grosegger (both from Fischer skis) and the Russian biathlete Pavel Rostovtsev. For 10 days, the group enjoyed the wild, almost untouched nature while skiing down a volcano and enjoying authentic local food at their rudimentary camp (no electricity, no phones, no hot water, etc). They also had several encounters with brown bears on their rides, all harmless however.
"It has always been my dream to travel to that place in Russia and I am so happy that it worked out. The nature there is unbelievably beautiful. It was also a great experience to jump into the icy Pacific Ocean and then go enjoy the hot springs at our camp," said the Austrian. But he also made sure that the expedition was not only about having fun. "I went Cross-Country Skiing every morning, accompanied by two dogs that were there to make sure that no wild animals would come too close. It was an experience that I will never forget!"