News from the World of Skiing 

  Strong performances at 2006 SAC ... more

  ANC season completes ... more

 Inside FIS 

  FIS Autumn 2006 Technical Meetings in Zurich ... more

  IOC Seminar underlines the importance of autonomy of the sports movement ... more

  Register now - FIS Season Accreditation registration deadline extended until Oct 8th ... more

  FIS Tour de Ski web site online ... more

  TDs and organizers of popular Cross-Country races get together in Oberammergau ... more

 In Depth 

  NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup kicks off in Landgraaf (NED)

Debut of the newly-structured Swiss team ... more

 News from the World of Skiing 

Strong performances at 2006 SAC
Maui Gayme (CHI)
Photo: Revista RGVSPORTS
Antoine Deneriaz (FRA) in Chillan
Photo: Revista RGVSPORTS

The 2006 South American Cup came to an end last week, with the giant slalom and slalom finals held at Cerro Catedral (ARG). The Simari Birkner siblings (ARG) again dominated the competitions: while Maria Belen was the strongest in both of the ladies' races, her brother Cristian Javier took the men's trophies.

In the overall SAC rankings, Cristian Javier Simari Birkner claimed the overall men's crown, as well as the discipline rankings in slalom and giant slalom. Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin (FRA) became the men's SAC super-G champion, while Jorge Mandru (CHI) was the best regional athlete. In men's downhill, there were two ex-aequo winners: Eric Holmer (USA) and Adrien Theaux (FRA), with Maui Gayme (CHI) being the best `local' skier.

In the ladies' standings, Maria Belen Simari Birkner won before her sister Macarena. She also conquered the discipline rankings in slalom and giant slalom, and was the best regional athlete in the downhill standings which were won by Genevieve Simard of Canada. In ladies' super-G, the discipline title went to Noelle Barahona of Chile.

This year's SAC also included the first-ever super combined races staged in South America, held in Termas de Chillan (CHI) on 13th September. The Chillan speed races saw strong participation from numerous nations such as the entire French national A team including Turin Olympic Champion Antoine Deneriaz. The races also served as a serious test for the local organizers in Chillan who are highly motivated and currently applying to organize the Alpine Junior World Championships in 2010.


ANC season completes
ANC Technical Finals at Mt Ruapehu

The Australia-New Zealand Continental Cup (ANC) series was completed at Whakapapa Ski Area on Mt Ruapehu (NZE) last week. Unfortunately, only the final slalom races could be held as the mountain was subject to unseasonably warm temperatures and high winds in the latter part of the week, preventing the running of the giant slalom finals.

The two slalom events were both won by Jono Brauer (AUS) and Claire Dautherives (FRA). Brauer also won the overall ANC ranking in a supreme fashion, followed by Demian Franzen (AUS) and Tim Caf‚ (NZE) in second and third places, respectively. In addition, Brauer took all the discipline rankings, with the exception of giant slalom where he still finished as the best regional skier while Thomas Lanning (USA) won the discipline standings. The ANC ladies' overall ranking was won by Pauline-Flor Socquet-Clerc of France before her team mate Claire Dautherives and the best `local', Sarah Jarvis (NZE). Socquet-Clerc also won all the discipline rankings.

The Mt Ruapehu˙races completed the highly successful ANC series of 2006, including the first super combined races. In fact, this season was the first time that ANC series winners have been announced in four disciplines during the Southern winter.


 Inside FIS 

FIS Autumn 2006 Technical Meetings in Zurich
Hotel Hilton Zurich

Some 300 members of the extended FIS family will again come together for the FIS Autumn Meetings from Wednesday 27th September until Sunday 1st October, 2006. Traditionally held at Hotel Hilton Zurich (SUI), over 200 hours of meetings will take place as the FIS Technical Committees convene to discuss the status of final season preparations, assess the summer season, and plan for the medium term.

The main discipline committees will largely be focusing on refining the World Cup calendars for 2007/2008 and discussing minor rules changes following the more significant agendas that were dealt with at the FIS Congress in Vilamoura (POR) in May.

In Alpine Skiing, the Autumn Meetings also traditionally present an opportunity for holding an Alpine Technical Delegate (TD) seminar where the lessons learnt from the past season are assessed in detail. The seminar participants, specifically the regional commissioners, will then stage further international TD education sessions in their respective geographical areas between mid-October and mid-November.

Similarly, a Cross-Country World Cup TD Seminar will be held in Zurich, with the aim of ensuring an even higher consistency in jury decisions in the future. The Cross-Country Committee, too, will finalize the World Cup rules for the upcoming season and discuss the calendar options for the following two seasons.

Unlike the other main committees meeting in Zurich, as a one-off gathering in association with celebrations recognizing the reunification of Germany, the Ski Jumping Committee will be convening at Sch”neck near Klingenthal (GER) where also the second-to-last FIS Grand Prix Ski Jumping event will be held on Saturday, September 30th. The Committee meeting will focus on medium-term calendar planning as well as assessing the 2006 Grand Prix and Continental Cup summer seasons.

In Zurich, the Nordic Combined Executive Board will be mainly discussing preparation for the upcoming season, including hearing reports from the summer and autumn site inspections as well as planning the Summer Grand Prix 2007 and the overall schedule for the 2007/2008 season.

The FIS Freestyle Skiing Committee finds itself in the midst of a post-Olympic Winter Games analysis and is in the process of determining the goals for the discipline leading up to 2010. This includes a review of the performance evaluation system with the goal of refining the sports criteria to make it more measurement-based.

The main topics on the Snowboard Committee's agenda include the World Cup calendar for 2007-2008, the nomination of the FIS competition officials for this World Cup season and small refinements in the rules.


IOC Seminar underlines the importance of autonomy of the sports movement
President Kasper

FIS President Gian Franco Kasper took part in the First Seminar on Autonomy of the Olympic and Sports Movement, held in Lausanne under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee on 21st and 22nd September.

The seminar participants, which included representatives of the IOC including President Jacques Rogge, representatives of the International Olympic Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees from around the˙world, and International Paralympic Committee, among others, issued a series of resolutions at the close of the meeting. Most importantly, the participants agreed that autonomy of the Olympic and sports movement is essential to the development of sport in the future. They underscored the need for a systematic exchange of information among the members of the movement which is especially needed to assist in conflict situations. The seminar participants further highlighted the importance of good governance and transparency for the sports governing bodies. The Second Seminar on Autonomy of Sport, yet to be scheduled, has been assigned the task to focus on defining the basic universal principles for governance within the Olympic and sports movement.


Register now - FIS Season Accreditation registration deadline extended until Oct 8th

Online registration for the FIS Season Accreditation 2006-2008 opened on 1st September, 2006. Due to the FIS Technical Committee Meetings taking place in ZRH as of today, the registration deadline has been extended until October 8th. The FIS Season Accreditation is meant for regular visitors to FIS World Cups, such as the staff of the Member Associations, international media and the equipment industry. For more information and to register, please click here.


FIS Tour de Ski web site online, the main information source for the FIS Tour de Ski is now online. Including a welcome by FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, profiles of the Tour favorites and challengers, the competition schedule and rules for the new event, latest information on the progress of the preparations and other news, the Tour's web site is a must-visit address for all friends of Cross-Country Skiing. Make sure to stop by regularly in the 93 days that remain until the start of the first FIS Tour de Ski!


TDs and organizers of popular Cross-Country races get together in Oberammergau
Oberammergau Seminar participants

13 FIS Technical Delegates and representatives of organizing committees for popular Cross-Country races from nine countries came together for a FIS Seminar in Oberammergau (GER) last weekend. The main objective of the seminar included enabling existing TDs to renew their qualification and allowing new TDs to gain a specialist qualification to officiate at popular races. The agenda also included an update on recent rules changes and sharing of insights into the work of the FIS Sub-Committee for Popular Cross-Country. The seminar was led by Paddy Field (GBR), former Chairman of the Sub-Committee for Popular Cross-Country, supported by Karl-Heinz Lickert (GER), Chairman of the Sub-Committee for Rules & Control, Georgy Kadykov (RUS), member of the Sub-Committee for Popular Cross-Country and Thomas Nowak (GER), Vice-Chairman of the Koenig-Ludwig-Lauf.


 In Depth 

NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup kicks off in Landgraaf (NED)
Christian Rufer, SUI SB Alpine Head Coach

Debut of the newly-structured Swiss team

By Oliver Kraus

The frame is set, riders ready to go! The world's best alpine snowboarders will celebrate the opening of the 2006/2007 NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup in SnowWorld Landgraaf, the Netherlands, on October 13th, 2006. Part of the World Cup since 2003, this indoor event will set off a multi-faceted Snowboard winter that will consist of 20 stops with 31 contests in 12 countries.

As the stars of the scene reconvene in Landgraaf, two outstanding carvers who dominated the parallel World Cup over the last years will no longer be there: Daniela Meuli of Switzerland, the Olympic Gold medalist from Turin, and her team mate Ursula Bruhin have both retired from active competition, leaving a gap in the team that will be hard to bridge.

"Of course, Daniela's and Ursula's retirement is a big loss for us. The two best ladies are missing from the team," said Christian Rufer, Alpine Head Coach for the Swiss team. "We now have to wait and see if Fraenzi Kohli is ready to step in their footsteps as a leader for the younger girls on the team."

It comes as no surprise that Rufer sees an important task for himself in helping Kohli "to be mentally very strong so as to withstand the pressures of the upcoming season. I know that she is technically strong since she already ranked fourth in the parallel World Cup twice so far. But it will be a new challenge for her." Kohli is one of a handful of female athletes including Doris Guenther and Doresia Krings (both AUT), Amelie Kober (GER) and Julie Pomagalski (FRA) who are expected to follow the retired top guns on the slopes.

On the men's side, the 38-year-old coach is faced with a different set-up. The Swiss national team was extended to include eight men (among them, the Olympic Gold and Silver medalists Philipp and Simon Schoch), all of whom have the capacity to win a parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom at the World Cup level. Rufer summarizes his season objectives simply: "Our goal is to dominate the World Cup again." In addition, compared with the Olympic Winter Games, the season's highlight, the FIS Snowboard World Championships 2007 in Arosa in January, features two parallel races which should help the Swiss team to reduce the internal fight for starting spots.

Overall the Swiss team is looking good: "Despite the changes on the team, we have trained as we did in the past years. In the summer, everybody was training individually. The last week in August we started our snow training in Saas-Fee which lasted until mid-September. Before the beginning of October we will also spend two weeks on the glacier in Zermatt." Unfortunately, however, almost exactly one year after he broke his wrist, Urs Eiselin recently suffered from a broken thumb but will be able to compete in Landgraaf.

While the riders are looking forward to opening the season in the Netherlands, whether there will be a Swiss snowboarder on the podium is an easy question to answer for Rufer: "I reckon that we will see the same athletes in the semi-finals as in the years before. Landgraaf is a track you either like or can handle, or not. If not - you'll never get it!"