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Recent FIS News
Below you will find a listing of recent FIS News
Season Review: Freestyle Skiing
FIS Freestyle Coordinator Joseph T Fitzgerald took the time to assess the past season of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup and share some of his thoughts about the way forward for Freestyle Skiing.
Q: How was the season 2010/2011 in your view?
Joe Fitzgerald: We had a good season with no competitions lost to cancellation, no rescheduling necessary and with only minor weather-related delays. In general, the 2010/11 season marked the passing of an old generation and the appearance of a whole new group of young people. We were able to maintain and even slightly increase the number of participating athletes (423 in 2010 to 427 in 2011) and nations (33 in 2010 and 34 in 2011). These are interesting times for Freestyle Skiing.
We had 64 World Cup competitions at 22 venue locations in 14 different nations. From a sports perspective, it was an exciting season with tough fights for some individual event titles that were not decided until the very end. It came down to the last race in the ladies' ski cross World Cup for example. These battles created a lot of interest among the fans.
The work to develop three new organizers paid off. The first mogul event in Beida Lake, China was added to the calendar as well as an aerial competition in Minsk, Belarus and ski cross in Grasgehren, Germany. The new venues nicely complemented the stable group of existing organizers. Thanks to collaboration amongst all stakeholders, we were able to present compelling contests with emotional content in all of our events. It is great to see that Freestyle is becoming increasingly global with a diverse group of athletes and venues.
Ski cross continued to benefit from its Olympic debut this season. This resulted in growing TV exposure and distribution. We reached higher audience ratings and also enjoyed enhanced TV quality with the camera teams gaining more experience.
Q: What will be the focus for next season?
Joe Fitzgerald: We are working hard on the marketing and communication side and promoting the sport with the help of social media but at the same time keeping an eye on injury prevention and safety issues. Based on the results of the FISS ISS study, we will take action steps for the upcoming season.
Given the rapid growth in the Freestyle Skiing entry numbers over the past 10 years, we need to examine how we can meet increasing demands and simultaneously maintain the high quality of competition. Official trainings as well as course and slope preparation are key development areas. Course preparation principles and work by organizers needs to be well-planned and carried out in advance of the competitions to ensure everything is set and prepared for adequate TV coverage.
The 2011 season did not see any major changes in terms of formats but for 2012 some rules and systems are being changed, such as the ski cross courses. We are therefore working together with recently retired World Cup champions who serve as test pilots testing the courses once they are completed.
In addition, we must ensure that our own rules, regulations and formats allow for ways to complete competitions under different weather conditions and in different countries. This is especially important because the Freestyle group is an eclectic mix of people; in fact it is the most diverse World Cup group of nations including all continents except Africa.
Contributed by Sandra Kühni