News from the World of Skiing 

  Snowboard Freestylers to open season with new Big Air format in Stockholm ... more

  Spanish gold medalist Fernandez Ochoa dies at 56 ... more

  Setting skiing records: Three years of daily skiing - Rainer Hertrich ... more

  Madshus celebrates 100th Anniversary ... more


 Inside FIS 

  NordicFocus to provide action photos from FIS Nordic World Cups on FIS web site ... more

  World leaders in sport to present at FIS Academy program in December ... more


 In Depth 

  Season Preview with FIS President ... more


 News from the World of Skiing 

Snowboard Freestylers to open season with new Big Air format in Stockholm
Alessandro Boyens (GER)

After the alpine snowboarders opened their 2006/2007 NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup season in Landgraaf (NED) and S”lden (AUT) in October, the freestylers will launch their World Cup winter in Stockholm (SWE) next Saturday. The kings of the air will be showing their tricks at the Big Air premiere in the Swedish capital in the evening of November 11th, 2006. The top 16 qualifiers among the jump aces will also debut a new knock-out system format in the night finals. In the one-on-one duels consisting of two jumps per competitor, only the winners advance to the next round. The winners of the two semi-finals will then jump for the World Cup victory, while the losers compete for the places 3 and 4.

The strong field of athletes at start is led by two-time World Champion Antti Autti (FIN), together with his team mate Risto Mattila as well as Mathieu Crepel (FRA), Hampus Mosesson (SWE), Giacomo Kratter (ITA) and Stefan Gimpl (AUT). Gimpl, the defending Big Air World Cup champion, commented: "I'm looking forward to competing in Stockholm. The strong starter field guarantees snowboarding at its best. And the new knock-out-format will make the finals more enthralling for the spectators."

After Stockholm, the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup will continue with two half-pipe competitions in Saas Fee (SUI) on November 24th - 25th, 2006. These will be the only World Cup-level half-pipe contests prior to the 2007 FIS Snowboard World Championships in Arosa in January.

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Spanish gold medalist Fernandez Ochoa dies at 56
Francisco Fernandez Ochoa

Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, the first Spaniard to win a gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games and FIS Council member from 1990-2000, died on Monday 6th November after a long battle with cancer. He was 56.

The Spanish skier, also known by his nickname "Paquito", won an Olympic gold medal in the men's slalom at the 1972 Sapporo Games. His sister Blanca is Spain's only other Winter Olympic medalist. She won bronze in the slalom at the 1992 Albertville Games.

In 1974, Francisco Fernandez Ochoa clinched bronze in slalom at the St Moritz FIS World Championships. He also achieved three World Cup podiums in slalom and in combined as well as ten Top 10 finishes between 1968-1980. His best placement in the overall World Cup was his 9th place in 1975.

In his last public appearance a week ago, Spanish Princesses Cristina and Elena unveiled a statue of the skier in his hometown of Cercedilla, in the mountains near Madrid.

Fernandez Ochoa was also known as trainer of King Juan Carlos, who is an avid sportsman. He is survived by his wife Maria Jesus Vargas and two daughters, Barbara and Paula.

With contributions by Patrick Lang

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Setting skiing records: Three years of daily skiing - Rainer Hertrich
Rainer Hertrich ready to hit the slopes in Chillan (CHI)

You might think you are a hard-core skier yourself. Well, have you ever skied every single day for a year straight? Probably not, let alone for three years. But someone has: Rainer Hertrich, a Copper Mountain, Colorado (USA) native, just set a new record for having skied every single day for three years in a row on 31st October, 2006.

Initially just a very avid skier, Hertricht once stumbled upon an elite ski club for skiers who skied more than 6 million vertical feet (almost 2 million vertical meters) a year. Since that turned out to be no problem for him, given that he easily hit 7 million vertical feet a year, he began to think in record terms. The actual record in the Guinness Book of World Records was then held by British skier Arnie Wilson who had skied 365 consecutive days in 1994. Hertrich passed his mark on November 1st, 2004, and went on to hit the mark of 1000 consecutive days of skiing on July 27th.

But for him, it is not just a question of skiing daily. With a help of a top-notch wrist computer, Hertrich keeps a detailed diary of his Telemark runs and aims at covering about 1'000'000 vertical feet a month or some 33'000 vertical feet (10'000 vertical meters) a day. To keep up with his schedule, he skis in his native Colorado all winter, moves to Oregon for the summer skiing season and then travels down to South America to cover the dry-land spell in North American in September and October.

Triumphant about his latest milestone on Halloween, Hertrich commented: "I passed 36.6 million vertical feet of descent on my last run down Copper. I then took off to Loveland Basin and did about six runs there, then over the pass to Arapahoe Basin to finish out the day. What a fun way to finish year #3. With this much snow already this season, I'm now looking forward to continuing through year #4."

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Madshus celebrates 100th Anniversary

Approximately 400 guests attended the centennial anniversary celebration of Madshus Skis in Lillehammer (NOR) last weekend. Coming off from its best Olympic season with 50 medals won in the Cross-Country and Biathlon events at the Turin Olympic Winter Games, Madshus - boasting to be the World's Oldest Ski Company - can look back to an extraordinary history in ski sport. Founded as a one-man undertaking by Martin Madshus in a barn in Vardal, Norway in 1906, Madshus may take credit for example for the first glued sandwich skis and many other technological firsts, as well as many of the successes of such Nordic stars as Thomas Alsgaard (NOR) and Katerina Neumannova (CZE). Today the second largest Cross-Country ski manufacturer in the world, Madshus has been owned by K2 Corp since 1988.

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 Inside FIS 

NordicFocus to provide action photos from FIS Nordic World Cups on FIS web site

To ensure regular availability of high quality images from all FIS Nordic World Cups, FIS is pleased to introduce a new partnership with NordicFocus, an international photo agency. This new partnership will complement our long-existing and well-established partnership with Agence Zoom to provide action photos from all the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup races. NordicFocus specializes in the FIS Nordic disciplines of Cross-Country Skiing, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined. With an almost complete coverage of the Nordic season, NordicFocus will make action, feature and podium pictures from the FIS Nordic World Cup races available for purchase through the FIS web site.

NordicFocus is a photo agency consisting of several highly experienced photographers led by Alois Furtner, Arnd Hemmersbach and Christian Manzoni. For more on Nordic Focus, please visit www.nordicfocus.com. This website contains an online database of images from FIS World Cup events; there will also be a link on the FIS Web Site from each race covered to the agency's Internet portal.

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World leaders in sport to present at FIS Academy program in December

A number of leaders in world sport will present during the FIS Academy's five-day Intensive Executive Administration Program in Manchester (GBR) from 4th-8th December 2006, including Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary-General.

From her wealth of experience gained while working at FIS and in various working groups of SportAccord and WADA, Sarah will discuss the inner workings of an International Federation, its interactions with National Associations and organizing committees. She will also present the collaboration and processes used for planning and staging the FIS World Ski Championships.

Anyone bidding for or hosting a major event can learn from this key topic area as well as from lectures by a host of other sport industry leaders, such as Patrick Nally and Richard Bunn, discussing event acquisition and delivery; sponsorship; broadcasting; and volunteer management, to name a few.

Places on the program are limited and early booking is recommended. For more information about the program and the speakers please view the detailed program brochure , visit www.fis-academy.org or email exec@fis-academy.org.

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 In Depth 

Season Preview with FIS President
Gian Franco Kasper

On the occasion of the 100th edition of the FIS Newsflash, we had a chance to quiz FIS President Gian Franco Kasper about his thoughts and expectations for the upcoming season.

"After the Olympic season, we are entering a winter of FIS World Championships. Timewise, we have a very long period of title competitions ahead of us. In addition, some 330 FIS World Cup competitions will be held from the middle of November until the end of March, most of which will also be broadcast on TV. On top of these, more than 500 international competitions will be staged under FIS's oversight. That means that we will have day and night activity for the next five months. And this does not even include at least twice as many national competitions that are taking place at the same time," President Kasper commented and added: "The highlights of the winter include the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in ¸re (SWE), the first independent FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Asia in Sapporo (JPN) and the FIS World Snowboard Championships in Arosa (SUI). I am quite pleased with the geographic distribution of our championships this season and personally also look forward to an equally balanced distribution of medals in all disciplines."

Concerning his more specific expectations for the season, President Kasper noted: "Our sports obviously need snow, and unfortunately we can only speculate about how the season will be and hope for the best. What I also hope for is the emergence of new charismatic stars - I think we would greatly benefit from having a few new interesting personalities and `leader figures' in our sport."

Regarding the novelties of the season, President Kasper highlighted the introduction of an official World Cup ranking for the super combined in Alpine Skiing and the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski in Cross-Country Skiing. He added: "FIS is investing more than CHF 1 million in an enhanced doping testing program, in addition to any WADA or national testing programs and separate from any in-competition testing done by the organizers of FIS World Championships this season."

In terms of the biggest challenges for ski sport this season and in general, President Kasper underlined his worry about the increasingly passive youth that spend too much time in front of TV or computer screens, under the `tyranny of the screen', rather than participating in sports, including winter sports. FIS, too, is concerned that ever more children are growing up without a relationship to snow and ski sport even in the countries with long traditions such as the Alpine countries and Scandinavia. He called for long-term thinking on the part of leading ski resorts for their pricing practices, along with other family-friendly offers. Finally he noted: "We are well aware of the abundance of sport on offer on TV, especially in the summer. But while we are working to refine our own offering to ensure that we remain in the public interest, we are also fortunate to have established long-term relationships for the FIS World Ski Championships with our TV partner, EBU, and many sponsors. This enables us to guarantee certain level of stability to our organizers and take the time necessary to make the right changes to our sports."

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