It's necessary to get Adobe Flash Player to see this page correctly.
Recent FIS News
Below you will find a listing of recent FIS News
Season Review Freestyle Skiing with Joe Fitzgerald
Joseph T Fitzgerald, FIS Freestyle Coordinator took a moment to reflect on the past 2011/12 season.
Looking back, what is your overall evaluation of the past 2011/12 World Cup season?
Joe Fitzgerald: With no major title events on the schedule, this was a big World Cup season. We had 75 competitions on three continents. Regarding the number of athletes, too, it was our biggest season ever and with a total of over 650 World Cup athletes, we recorded a 40% increase over the 2010/11 season. Just for comparison, the Freestyle Ski World Cup has grown 250% over ten years, from 250 athletes in 2002 to 650 in 2012. This shows the demand for our events and interest by athletes in competing at the highest level. We have almost doubled the number of participating National Ski Association at the same time.
This season also saw Freestyle Skiing cover a lot of ground. From the beautiful mountain settings in Grindelwald and Megeve to city events in Calgary and Moscow and from exotic locations such as Beida Lake in China to popular night events at St Johann in Tirol and Deer Valley in Utah, Freestyle Skiing showed its vast flexibility and scope.
We were also able to develop the new Olympic events with the support of the USSA and Ski Sport Finland who came forward with competitions in last fall.
From the athletic perspective, we witnessed both the absolute dominance by Hannah Kearney (USA) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) in moguls and good fights for the World Cup titles in ski cross (Marielle Thompson (CAN) and Filip Flisar (SLO), and in the men's aerials Olivier Rochon (CAN). Meanwhile the Chinese ladies had a solid hold on the ladies' aerials standings.
We also made some preliminary testing of new formats that were developed to make our events even easier and more spectacular for the spectators to follow. The so-called Super Final format for moguls and aerials tested this season will now be further refined for the upcoming seasons' title events.
With Audi as the new ski cross World Cup title sponsor, it was excellent to see the professional implementation of the new look and feel which really helped to further solidify this exciting series. We now just hope for the same involvement by a premium partner especially for rest of the events, especially in halfpipe and slopestyle in the build-up to their debut at the Sochi Games.
You are already far along in planning - how is the coming season turning out?
Joe Fitzgerald: The scope of our FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup is set to further increase. We are likely to grow by some 25%, from 75 competitions to close to 100 in 2012/13. We are looking to have a solid schedule for the established events moguls and aerials, some growth in ski cross and a very good calendar for both of the new Olympic events of ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle. We set a good base for development with this season's World Cup events and will see substantial growth in these two events next season.
We will also have a major Olympic test event in Sochi, together with Snowboarding, where all the 2014 Olympic events will get their first chance to test the new venues at the highest level. The World Cup Final, again carried out jointly with Snowboarding, will be in Sierra Nevada (SPA), which is a great location to end the season.
Are there any areas of focus that you will be putting some emphasis on in the near future?
Joe Fitzgerald: It goes without saying that the 2011/12 season will be sadly remembered by the two tragic fatal accidents, the first by Sarah Burke in a non-competition situation and by Nik Zoricic during a ski cross competition. It is natural that such incidents cause everyone to deeply reflect on the very nature, progression and future of our discipline and the events themselves.
On the sport presentation side, we also still have some work on refining the format for super finals in aerials and moguls and will continue to work on integrating more technology into our sport. This season already we experimented transponders for section times in ski cross and will look for other similar opportunities.
Furthermore, we saw a lot more live TV production and availability of Freestyle Skiing footage in mass media in general. This is why we will need to continue to work on enhancing the quality of our TV rundowns and production and with our social marketing activities. This especially applies to the new events of ski halfpipe and slopestyle to be ready for primetime at the Games in 2014.
If all of the plans work out with the World Cup Organizers and National Ski Associations, it looks like we will be in 5 continents next season, so that will be another premiere for the discipline.