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Recent FIS News
Below you will find a listing of recent FIS News
Q&A with Atle Skaardal, FIS Chief Race Director for the ladies' Audi FIS Ski World Cup
Q: Looking back, how was the ladies season?
Atle Skaardal: On the ladies' tour, the 2010/2011 season was a true rollercoaster season. After a good opening and early season, we ran into some issues with the weather and all in all, ended up losing a total of five competitions. This is definitely more than what we would like to lose but despite the heroic efforts by our Local Organizers, there was just nothing to be done in these cases with very difficult weather conditions.
We also saw some positive signs from the safety and injury perspective with few very severe injuries amongst the ladies, meaning that the adjustments we have implemented are starting to show some results. I think we have achieved this by working on reducing the average speed without decreasing the attractiveness of our sport which is something we will continue to work on in the future, too.
Q: What were the season highlights for you?
Atle Skaardal: The Garmisch World Championships were a real season highlight for us. Although we had some challenges, we were also extremely lucky with the weather during the speed week and witnessed very high level sport. A lot of effort was put in by the Organizers to making attractive courses on the available terrain. In the end, winning medals at GAP was very difficult which served to deliver a great show.
Unfortunately the 2nd season highlight at the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide was compromised by losing two races per gender. Clearly this was not ideal, but also shows the enormity of the challenge for an Organizer to stage the Finals program with nine events in just five days. The concept of the Finals is good but it is also a great challenge which we need to keep in mind for the future. Despite the poor weather, Lenzerheide created an impressive atmosphere for the Finals week.
Other highlights included the slaloms in Courchevel, a new organizer, and Flachau, both of which did a great job with their events. The City Event in Munich also brought some fresh air into the season. I believe we need to continue to work on including these events, possibly more than one annually, into the future calendars.
Q: Looking into the future, what are the key parameters and focus areas?
Atle Skaardal: We will definitely continue to focus on safety and injury reduction. We need to achieve a position where skiing no longer counts as a ‘dangerous' sport in many people's minds. We also need to find new and interesting ways of making ski racing more exciting and popular, and work on creating even bigger stars out of our athletes.
We have our highlights but we all have to work together to increase interest and grow media coverage even further. I do not think there is much more to be done in the sport-technical part of the event organization but we should be able to uncover new opportunities in bringing the fans in closer contact with their heros and delivering them special experiences on site.