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FIS Newsflash articles 2012-2013
FIS SnowKidz in Gothenburg and Lahti
Besides the FIS World Championships 2011, the FIS SnowKidz have made an appearance in various cities this season. In an attempt to facilitate access to snow for children in the area in and around Gothenburg (SWE), the local ski association invited children and families to a snow festival and park in the middle of the city over two weeks in February.
The Gothenburg Ski Association, in cooperation with other organizers, wanted to give as many children as possible the opportunity to get in contact with winter sports. With support from the Swedish Ski Association, the organizers realized this pilot project, which had its opening 5th February 2011.
Children and youth, aged 6-12 years, tried cross-country skiing on a nearly 300 meter track. On the 2 meter high and 20 meter long alpine slope, they were able to try out alpine, cross country or freestyle skiing. Even ski jumping, ice skating and floor hockey were possible sports on offer and everything for free!
In Lahti, Finland, the FIS SnowKidz started the Lahti Ski Games in downtown Lahti a month before the big event from 11th - 13th March 2011 in Lahti. For the Lahti SnowKidz project, launched on 13th February 2011, a cross-country track, ski jumping hills and an ice rink were built for the children at the heart of the city. HS 5 and HS 2 ski jumping hills attracted a great number of children to try ski jumping, some of them did it for the first time. Hundreds of spectators cheered for the brave ski jumpers, ages 2-12 years. This was the first part of the Lahti SnowKidz project lasting for a whole week with every day having a different theme. The ice hockey for example took place with the Pelicans, the local league team.
The second SnowKidz event including the 16th Lahti Children Winter Olympics and the 48th Lahti Ski Jumping Day was held on the 20th of February at the Lahti Sports Center; which happens to be the same location where the Lahti Ski Games events are always staged. This made the event even more memorable for the children as they skied and jumped at the same venue where their heroes will compete a few weeks later.
Over 600 hundred children with their parents and "service teams" gathered for the grand Winter Festival. The 16th Lahti Children Winter Olympics were free and open to everyone, regardless of age. "Race" distances were between 200m to 800m, including the ages younger than 4 years to over 9 years. At the finish, everyone got a medal for a magnificent performance. There were other very popular additional events such as horseback riding, skidoo and jumping hill (HS 2) testing.
For the Lahti Ski Games 2011, a SnowKidz park with sliding hills, "snowbiathlon", KidsCorner, face painting and drawing contests among other things was put in place. The SnowKidz got to attend athlete presentations and prize giving ceremonies. This past Saturday, a group of 100 SnowKidz performed a dance at the ski jumping stadium in front of 30.000 spectators.
Next year on 21st of January 2012, the official date of the World Snow Day, the three above mentioned projects - Children´s Winter Olympics, City Center SnowKidz and Lahti Ski Jumping Day - will all be carried out together on the same day.
Contributed by Sandra Kühni