News from the World of Skiing 

  Austria also strong in FIS Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix ... more

  Changes to Alpine Skiing ANC Series ... more

  Kostelic and Teter up for Sportswoman of the Year Award ... more

  Skiing in Africa: Afri-Ski Leisure Kingdom in Lesotho ... more


 Member News 

  Sapporo 2007: Media accreditation now online ... more


 In Depth 

  Three Questions to Beckie Scott ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Austria also strong in FIS Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix
Top 3 at Bischofshofen SGP

The first two competitions in the FIS Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix took place under Austrian control. Last Friday, Christoph Bieler (AUT) claimed the victory before team mate Mario Stecher in Friday's individual Gundersen competition in Kandersteg (SUI), where he also set a new hill distance record of 100m. On Sunday, in the mass start competition in Bischofshofen (AUT), it was the turn of double Olympic Champion Felix Gottwald to triumph, again before Mario Stecher. After two events, there are now five Austrians in the top five of the tournament rankings! The FIS Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix will continue today, Wednesday 23rd August, in Berchtesgaden (GER) with a team sprint.

The first period in the men's FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping ended with the last two competitions held in Lillehammer (NOR) last weekend. The summer series overall ranking after eight competitions was won by Stefan Thurnbichler of Austria, followed by Rok Benkovic (SLO), the normal hill World Champion from Oberstdorf in 2005, and his team mate Primoz Pikl. With their successes, Thurnbichler and Benkovic have secured Austria and Slovenia an additional starting place in the 2nd World Cup period, starting on 24th November in Kuusamo (FIN). The star of the Lillehammer weekend, however, was 16-year-old Kenshiroh Itoh (JPN), who debuted in this year's Cup with a win on Saturday and a second place on Sunday. The men's Continental Cup Ski Jumping will continue in Harrachov (CZE) in the beginning of December.

The ladies' FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping summer series also came to an end last week. Despite the end spurt staged by Anette Sagen (NOR) with her victories in the last two competitions, she could not challenge the five-time winner, Juliane Seyfahrt of Germany, for the summer series victory. Behind Sagen and Seyfahrt, there were five other ladies from five countries claiming podium places. Altogether, 45 ladies representing ten countries scored points in the eight competitions. The ladies' Continental Cup Ski Jumping will continue in Vaaler (NOR) on 13th December, 2006.

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Changes to Alpine Skiing ANC Series
Sarah Jarvis (NZE)

The ski season in Australia and New Zealand could not be more different. In Australia, a combination of limited precipitation and warm weather has unfortunately meant that neither Mt Hotham nor Mt Buller have enough snow to stage the scheduled ANC technical events.

The situation is quite different in New Zealand, where the ski areas are experiencing their best season in many years. When the decision was made that the events in Australia could not proceed, rapid discussions resulted and with good cooperation between New Zealand and Australia, the Mt Hotham events were transferred to Coronet Peak (NZE) commencing on Saturday, August 26th 2006. The first races will be slalom, followed by giant slalom and with August 30th being the weather day. The additional two slalom races that had been scheduled at Mt Buller have been cancelled.

The ANC series then moves to Mt Hutt (NZE) where the super-G events commence on Wednesday, 13th September. For the first time in Australasia, a super combined series will be held in conjunction with the super-G events. A large number of entries are expected both from AUS and NZE as well as from a number of the overseas teams that are training in New Zealand.

The ANC series then moves on to Mt Ruapehu (NZE) where the technical finals commence on 18th September. The Whakapapa ski resort hosting the finals has just announced that the prize pool has been increased to NZD$25,000. That amount includes $11,000 cash prizes plus a number of other quality products donated by sponsors such as Nokia.

Contributed by David Howden

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Kostelic and Teter up for Sportswoman of the Year Award
Janica Kostelić (CRO)
Hannah Teter (USA)

Janica Kostelić (CRO) and Hannah Teter (USA) have been named finalists for the Sportswoman of the Year Award that is given by the Women's Sports Foundation to honor extraordinary performances in women's sports. Kostelić and Teter are competing against such outstanding female athletes as Annika Sorestam (SWE, golf), Amelie Mauresmo (FRA, tennis), Sanya Richards (USA, athletics) and Cindy Klassen (CAN, speed skating).

This winter, Janica Kostelić became the most successful female skier in the Olympic Winter Games with her total of four gold medals. She also won at least once in all the FIS Alpine World Cup disciplines- also known as the Alpine Grand Slam-within just 36 days and set the new World Cup overall point record (1970) as she won her third large Crystal Globe.

Hannah Teter became the second American to win Olympic half-pipe gold in Turin. The Olympic success compelled the 19-year-old Vermont native to launch a line of Grade A, Vermont Maple Syrup called "Hannah's Gold", with all profits donated to poverty stricken children in Africa through a partnership with World Vision.

To vote for the 2006 Sportswoman of the Year Awards, click here by midnight, August 31, 2006. The winners will be announced on Monday, October 16, 2006, and honored at the 27th Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Dinner at the Waldorf =Astoria in New York City.

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Skiing in Africa: Afri-Ski Leisure Kingdom in Lesotho
Slopes village and snow guns
Afri-Ski Leisure Kingdom

It is now possible to ski in the heart of Africa: Afri-Ski Leisure Kingdom, the first ski resort in the kingdom of Lesotho, was officially opened by the country's Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment on Saturday, 12th August. Situated at Mahlasela, in the heart of Lesotho Maluti Drakensberg on the "Roof of Africa" (3322 m above sea level), the Afri-Ski resort is located only 4«-hour- drive by paved road from Johannesburg, South Africa, and 2 hours from Maseru, the capital of Lesotho.

The site of Afri-Ski historically receives 10cm of natural snow every third day in June, July and August. With an artificial snowmaking system also in place, sufficient snow can be guaranteed for the whole of the ski season, which runs from 1st June until the end of August. Afri-Ski currently boasts a 1km ski slope and a ski lift, while a second ski slope and double chairlift of 1.5 km will be added soon. In the dry-land season, the resort offers golf, trout fishing and hiking. A health spa, 4 X 4 and adventure sports as well as a high altitude training center are also being planned. For more information, click here.

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 Member News 

Sapporo 2007: Media accreditation now online

The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2007 will begin with the official opening ceremony at the famous Sapporo Dome on 22nd February, 2007.

The Sapporo 2007 Organizing Committee is looking forward to welcoming numerous media representatives from all over the world and kindly asks them to request their accreditation by 30th September, 2006. To access the online accreditation form, please click here˙and for the online form for accommodation, here.

For questions or additional information, please contact Julia Hoch, Press Co-coordinator for the Sapporo 2007 Organizing Committee, at julia.hoch@sapporo2007.com. During the Championships, Hiroshi Takeuchi (takeuchi.hiroshi@kyodonews.jp ) will function as Chief of National Press and Head of Press Centers, and Kurt Henauer (henauer@fisski.ch) will be International Press Chief.

For general information on the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2007, please consult the official website.

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 In Depth 

Three Questions to Beckie Scott
Beckie Scott (CAN)
Beckie visiting Right To Play in Ethiopia

Beckie Scott (CAN), 2002 Olympic Champion in the pursuit and 2006 Olympic Silver Medalist in the sprint relay, finished second in the overall Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country 2005/06 standings. After ten World Cup seasons and her third Olympics, Beckie retired at the end of last season. However, in her case retirement has not meant leaving the sports world - quite the opposite! FIS Newsflash recently had a chance to interview Beckie.

FIS Newsflash: How have you kept busy since the end of your last season?

Beckie Scott: I think that I have been more on the road since I retired than while I was training and competing although, as an overseas team, we Canadians are well-known for our heavy traveling schedules.

My new responsibilities as Member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, as Board Member of the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee, and as Ambassador for Right To Play have kept me quite busy. In addition, I am Member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Athletes' Commission and serve on the Board of the WADA Foundation, the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport, and the TransCanada Trail.

FIS Newsflash: Which of these activities are taking most of your time?

Beckie Scott: Since my election to the IOC Athletes' Commission in Turin, I have spent quite some time learning about the IOC and my role as an ex-athlete within the Olympic Movement. It is a task I take very seriously and am excited about - so far my IOC experience, for example at our first meeting in Lausanne, has been very positive.

For VANOC, I've had several meetings around Canada, including a recent tour of the Vancouver 2010 venues. I am looking forward to providing them with feedback from an athlete's perspective. Overall, I am thrilled to help prepare the next Olympics in my home country because my career really started at the 1988 Calgary Olympics where I realized that skiing was what I would like to do, too. So in a way, I started as an Olympian, competed in three Olympics, and am now closing the circle through my work for VANOC.

I am also very proud of my engagement for Right To Play. I recently traveled to Ethiopia with six other athletes to visit their project there. It was great to see how the organization works on the ground and the difference their work can make.

Finally, I am very passionate about my role in the anti-doping fight. We have a great group of fifteen highly committed, international athletes on the WADA's Athletes' Commission working for fairer and cleaner sport. For me personally, it is very important to ensure that young athletes can continue to believe in their chances to compete and win clean.

FIS Newsflash: Do you miss Cross-Country Skiing?

Beckie Scott: For me, it was time to move on from competitive skiing. I am still keeping active because I find it important to be fit. And I do miss the team and the˙closeness of that environment. That is why I am really hoping to be able to visit the 2007 Championships in Sapporo! Next season will be an interesting season otherwise, too: with the introduction of the Tour de Ski, the schedule will feature a very different, demanding race early in the season. With so many competitions in a short period of time, recovery will play a key role. At the same time, I think I could have done quite well on the Tour as I always seemed to get better, the more we raced!

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