News from the World of Skiing 

  FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping debuts in Slovenia ... more

  Nordic Combined youngsters in the footsteps of the top athletes

The FIS Youth Grand Prix Nordic Combination in Berchtesgaden (GER) ... more

 Inside FIS 

  All looking good for re 2007: Final Inspection ... more

  Oslo 2011 getting orientated ... more

  Solid program at the annual Leaders' Seminar ... more

  Making Skiing a global sport - FIS Aid & Promotion in action ... more

 In Depth 

  Athletes in Summer Training - Alpine Skiing

From Ushuaia to Slden ... more

 News from the World of Skiing 

FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping debuts in Slovenia
Simon Ammann (SUI)
Photo EQ Images
Kranj (SLO)

The FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping made its first-ever stop in Slovenia on Saturday, 2nd September. The competition held on the HS 109 hill in Kranj was won by Simon Ammann (SUI), double Olympic Champion from Salt Lake City in 2002, who thereby took his first victory in the summer series, to augment his so far only World Cup victory that dates back to March 2002!

The current Grand Prix standing is led by Adam Malysz (POL) who did not start in Kranj. As fourth in the tournament standings, Kranj winner Ammann, alongside Andreas Kofler (4th in Kranj, 3rd in the rankings), still have a shot at the overall victory. Four competitions remain on this year's Grand Prix schedule: two on the coming weekend in Hakuba (JPN), followed by Klingenthal (GER) on 30th September and the final in Oberhof (GER) on 3rd October.


Nordic Combined youngsters in the footsteps of the top athletes

The FIS Youth Grand Prix Nordic Combination in Berchtesgaden (GER)

Like in the previous years, this year's FIS Summer Grand Prix Nordic Combined provided an excellent setting for the FIS Youth Grand Prix. In Berchtesgaden (GER), the Youth Cup attracted 52 young athletes born in 1993 or 1994 from six different nations.

While the jumping part of the youth competition had taken place the previous evening, the inline skating portion was scheduled in between the main FIS Summer Grand Prix jumping and skating competitions. Racing in the center of Berchtesgaden, the inline skating youth were supported by the audience as enthusiastically as their more experienced role models.

With the victories of Michael Baumgrtl before David Welde in the 1994-age-group and of Manuel Feisst before Lukas Beyer in the 1993-age-group, the German team showed its strength despite the challenge posed by several international competitors.

"Once again, this was a great race and a wonderful opportunity for the young athletes to gain international competition experience at an early age. And again, the crowd here in Berchtesgaden showed that they care greatly about the future generations, making it a really special racing experience for the youngsters. Such experiences are what will motivate these young athletes. We hope that we will have these wonderful events also in the future," commented Horst Httel, Chief of Nordic Combined at the German Ski Association.

Contributed by Christina Fritz


 Inside FIS 

All looking good for re 2007: Final Inspection
President Kasper with Lasse Lindqvist & Olof Stenhammer
Photo Nisse Schmidt

The Swedish town of re hosted the Final Inspection for the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships on 5th-6th September 2006. The official meeting that reviewed all aspects of the organization and preparations took place on Wednesday, 6th September. Led by Olaf Stenhammer, Chairman of the Board of the Are Organizing Committee, other key meeting participants included re 2007 Managing Director Lasse Lindquist, Carl Eric Sthlberg, FIS Vice President and President of the Swedish Ski Association, the Mayor of re, local government representatives and Swedish television SVT. FIS President Gian Franco Kasper led the delegation from FIS together with the co-members of the Coordination Group: the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as the television and marketing rights holder and its marketing partner APF. On Tuesday, despite driving rain and high winds, a thorough technical inspection of the slopes was led by Nalle Hannson on behalf of the Organizing Committee, with the Technical Delegates Josef Zingerle (ITA) and Svein Mundal (NOR), and FIS Race Directors, Atle Skaardal and Jan Tischhauser for the ladies, and Gunter Hujara and Helmut Schmalzl for the men.

The FIS President was positive about the status of the preparations for the coming season's premier Alpine Skiing event: "The Organizing Committee has shown its capacity to prepare the championships and has presented innovative ideas to stage a great sports festival in re. We are optimistic that re will be ready to deliver great championships, and that the work will continue diligently to finalize the remaining details over the coming months".

Additionally, as part of the FIS Transfer of Knowledge program to prepare the future championships and benefit from the experiences of past and current organizers, study groups comprising key personnel from the Organizing Committees of Val d'Isre and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, to-be hosts of the championships in 2009 and 2011, participated actively in all aspects of Final Inspection.


Oslo 2011 getting orientated

The first Orientation Meeting of the Coordination Group for the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships took place in Oslo on Monday, 4th September. Representatives gathered from the Norwegian Ski Association including its President and FIS Council Member Sverre Seeberg and Secretary General Kristin Felde, Lasse Johannessen from the City of Oslo, Bente Meisingseth Sjulstad and Dag Kaas from the Ski Foreningen (Organizing Committee for Holmenkol World Cups), Oyvind Lund, Head of Sport, and Odd Kaldefoss, Producer, from Norwegian Television NRK, as well as Ingo Hannesson, Winter sports Manager of the EBU, and Sarah Lewis and Christian Knauth from FIS.

Discussions focused on the structure foreseen for the Local Organizing Committee which will be created as a priority by mid-November to enable good collaboration between the parties in Oslo with FIS, EBU and its marketing partner over the next years. Plans for the construction of the new Holmenkol arena are well underway with the City of Oslo spearheading the project. Each of the disciplines will have their own working group as well as one for the arena and infrastructure. The complete project proposal will be submitted to the Oslo City Council by end of the year at the latest. Thereafter, the schedule for the construction plan will be agreed to enable the new venue to be operational for test events in the spring of 2010.


Solid program at the annual Leaders' Seminar
Riga, Latvia

The annual Leaders Seminar, organized under the FIS Aid & Promotion program, will this year take place in Riga (LAT) from 7th to 10th September 2006. The seminar will collect approximately thirty participants from 11 nations to discuss issues that specifically affect the small and developing ski nations. The highlights of the agenda include a presentations with the latest news from the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec and the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Champions in Are by Roman Kumpost and Titti Rodling, respectively. In addition, Gunter Hujara, FIS Race Director for men's Alpine Skiing, David Rose from Action Global Communications and Monica Borssato from FIS Partner Sufag snow vision, among others, will lead tailored sessions. A FIS update by Sarah Lewis, Secretary General will kick off the proceedings.

Honored guests at the opening reception to be held at the Radisson SAS Daugava Hotel will include Aldonis Vrublevskis, President of the Latvian Olympic Committee, Aivars Aksenoks, Mayor of Riga, and Edgars Sneps, Deputy Secretary of State for Sports Questions from the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science.


Making Skiing a global sport - FIS Aid & Promotion in action
Bakuriani, Georgia

As often reiterated by FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, one of FIS's key objectives is to make skiing a global sport, rather than a sport limited to the traditional skiing countries in the North of Europe and the Alps. Under the umbrella of the FIS Aid & Promotion program, various small projects form the foundation towards this ambitious goal. Excellent examples of such activities include the current projects in Georgia and Algeria.

The main ski areas in Georgia are located in Gudauri and Bakuriani. Gudauri is also well-known as an excellent helicopter skiing area. Both towns already offer attractive skiing opportunities even if some of the infrastructure dates back to the time that Georgia was still part of the Soviet Union. The key activities undertaken under the FIS & Promotion program in Bakuriani have recently included an evaluation of new snow-making facilities conducted together with FIS Partner Sufag, represented by Anders Rydelius. At the same time, Josef Zenhusern, Consultant for the FIS program, has been working together with the World Tourism Organization based in Madrid (SPA) to study the opportunities to better integrate ski sports into the tourism master plan for the country of Georgia.

Many are not aware that ski sports have a long history in Algeria. In Chrea, just 60km from Algier, one could practice skiing already in the 1930's. Unfortunately, the war in the past 25 years has also had a devastating impact on most of the country's winter sports infrastructure, including many lifts, hotels and such. On request of the Algerian Ski Association, FIS has been working together with FIS Partner Doppelmayr-Garaventa, specifically Claude Parel, to assess the current state and possibilities for future use of the existing facilities, as well as drafting suggestions for future development of ski sports in Algeria.


 In Depth 

Athletes in Summer Training - Alpine Skiing
Cerro Castor, Ushuaia (ARG)
Team Italy, men

From Ushuaia to Slden

The sixth and last one in the series, this week's "Athletes in Summer Training" piece provides some insight into how the various Alpine Skiing national teams are preparing for the new competition season.

With the AUDI FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom season opening in Slden (AUT) just some 50 days away, the national teams are busily getting ready for the new season. One of the favorite on-snow camp destinations this year has been Ushuaia at the Southern tip of Argentina, along with other resorts there and in Chile. Ushuaia alone has seen at least the men's teams from Canada, France, Italy and Switzerland, and the ladies' teams from Canada, Croatia, Finland, France, Italy and Slovenia. The high season for the South American training camps includes the month of August and early September, with some teams staying until late September. Other teams, such as the U.S. Ski Team and part of the Austrian men's team, have chosen to travel to New Zealand which has enjoyed one of the best snow seasons in years. Yet other teams have been training on the glaciers in Zermatt and Saas Fee (SUI). A somewhat different plan was adopted by the German ladies' technical team, which traveled to Dubai to train in the newly-opened indoor arena there which offers the only indoor black piste in the world so far.

With a large number of athletes having changed their ski brands, a major focus during the camps in the South has inevitably been material testing. Some of the most famous transfers have been the move of Bode Miller (USA) from Atomic to Head, that of Olympic Champion Ted Ligety (USA) from Vlkl to Rossignol, and of Kalle Palander (FIN) from Atomic to Fischer, just to mention a few. Still recovering from his knee injury inflicted in Are in March, Palander has spent most of his summer at a rehab clinic on the Croatian coast rather than in on-snow training and will need the early season to develop a sense of feeling for his new equipment.

For the Italian men's team, last season was a divided lot. In the early season, Giorgio Rocca won five back-to-back slaloms, equaling the legendary Ingemar Stenmark and Marc Girardelli, and went on to win the small crystal globe in slalom. However, unlike the highly successful home Alpine World Ski Championships in Bormio, the home Olympics in Turin were disappointing for Team Italy. Consequently, the team went through some changes at the onset of the new season. For 200/2007, new Alpine chef Flavio Roda divided the A-team athletes into three training groups, discontinued the B-team, and grouped the younger athletes into a C-team. Massimiliano Blardone, Giorgio Rocca, Davide Simoncelli and Peter Fill now form the A1 All-round group, trained by Claudio Ravetto, while the A2 training group for giant slalom and super-G counts ten racers including Manfred Mlgg, Alberto Schiepatti and Arnold Rieder, and the A3 group another nine athletes.

Though the overall number of athletes on the Italian national team has decreased following the restructuring, the improved cooperation and increased challenge in day-to-day training routine seem to be bearing fruit rapidly. "We have set our goals high for the coming season, including 2-3 medals from Are, but many on the team are in a really good shape already," commented Arnold Rieder, and added: "The inclusion of mental training into our regular training plan is also new, as is a definite focus on delivering top performances at the main event of the season. We also want to do well in the super combined. A good indication of what is to come will be our camp in Ushuaia in early September. There we will get an idea of who will be strong in Slden and beyond. We're looking good, and especially Rocca is skiing sensationally."