While the FIS Congress originally slated to take place in Royal Cliff, Thailand from May 17-23, 2020 was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and tentatively rescheduled to take place in Zurich from September 28-Oct 4, 2020 the committee meetings scheduled for last week’s dates did indeed take place, with committee members and other parties gathering in a series of highly-productive online conferences.
Throughout the week the Park & Pipe, Cross, Moguls & Aerials, and Alpine Snowboard subcommittees all met in online forums, before the entire group came together on Friday for the FIS Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski Committee meeting.
As would be expected, the main concern of FIS and of all the World Cup stakeholders through the week was the organisation of the 2020/21 World Cup season in the face of the global pandemic, and several different plans, contingencies, and variables were discussed throughout the week.
Through the necessary precautions and a solution-oriented approach, there is optimism and a strong willingness from all parties to stage a World Cup season, though the priority of FIS as always is to ensure that any form the World Cup takes in the 2020/21 season is one that puts the highest priority on a safe and fair competition environment. Addressing challenges and finding solutions with extreme flexibility will be a necessity.
The Council will therefore establish a task force composed of members of the NSAs, organisers, rights holders, FIS Officials and other stakeholders with the goal of working on contingency plans, should travel restrictions and sport event organisation measures make it impossible to stage a “typical” World Cup season. The group will also define minimum requirements for a number of variables with the intent of allowing World Cup events to take place in an adjusted manner that remains fair for competitors and nations.
Therefore the 2020/21 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Cup calendars will be finalized at a later date.
Below, we’ll summarize some of the key points discussed within the various subcommittee meetings, but first some of the general points pertaining to all events under the SB/FS/FK umbrella.
- The FIS World Cup Calendars for the upcoming 2020/21 season submitted by the Technical Committees were all approved and will be published on the FIS website from 25th May. However, due to the ongoing covid-19 situation, adjustments may be necessary
- Heading into the 2020/21 season, the main stated goal for Cross subcommittee was to finalize the new harmonized SB/FS/FK World Cup Rule Book and new Harmonized SBFSFK Continental Cup Rule Book, and work on that front is finally complete.
- A request has been put forward to the national ski associations by Committee chair Dean Gospar, in agreement with FIS President Gian Franco Kaspar, to adjust future broadcast rights agreements moving forward to modified non-exclusive agreements, opening the potential for multiplatform simulcasting and livestreaming in key markets.
- under current WADA sanctions, the nomination of Krasnoyarsk (RUS as the host of the 2025 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski World Championships would not be allowed. As RUSADA has submitted an appeal to WADA, the Krasnoyarsk 2025 bid nomination has been postponed.
- Fluorocarbon-based waxes will be banned beginning with the 2020/21 season, with more information on implementation and testing to come
FK & SB PARK & PIPE:
- An improved and more accessible system for judges education through online platforms is currently in the works, with the goal of sharing top-level judging expertise and training with a far greater number of current and potential judges around the world
- Partnership with the WSF moves towards confirmation, likely in the fall. Agreement reached on how to adjust the WSPL once confirmed, with a provision that adjustment will not affect WC quotas for the 2021/22 season. Variable points scale approved for World Cup events, though this variable scale does not impact World Cup standings fixed value for titles or Olympic qualification pathways. Independent events will be included under the new points list under a set of guidelines to be defined. Freeski points list will be developed under same criteria as one in works with WSF. Ultimately, a more accurate rankings list for the sports at no extra cost to the nations should be the end result of this amalgamation.
- reevaluation of the World Cup quotas coming before 2022/23 season
- JP Baralo will be stepping down as ski cross race director after two years at the helm. His successor has not been appointed yet, but will be communicated in the very near future.
- Equipment control as pertaining to ski cross race suits will no longer be executed as of next season; suits must be two pieces (top and bottom), but tightness/looseness will no longer be subject to control measures. As well, the random control measures as pertaining to number of pairs of skis an athlete has on hand will no longer take place.
- Debate on format and calendar placing of Cross Alps Tour set for the future, though priority of this has been lowered as the covid-19 crisis remains ongoing.
- A joint working group of both the Alpine and Snowboard Freestyle Freeski Committees and the FIS Competition Management has been established to finalise the details of the terms of reference. There is broad agreement that the technical aspects of ski cross relate to Alpine Skiing, whilst the calendars and competition organisation including the FIS World Championships and Olympic Winter Games are carried out in a shared Freestyle Snowboard Venue. Consequently the Ski Cross Sub-Committee may have a dual reporting system to the Alpine Committee and Snowboard Freestyle Freeski Committee to deal with their respective tasks. This is a similar structure to Nordic Combined and other shared discipline Committees, such as the Equipment Committee.
- FIS Points Base List: The FIS Points for the Base Point List should be recalculated according to the loss of many competitions in March and April.
- It is the wish to review the FIS Point system in the next few years. The goal is to do so at Congress 2022, where after the Olympic Winter Games a new sportive-based calculation for the distribution of FIS points should be implemented.
- Intentional Contact Guidelines will be reviewed until the autumn meetings and sent out as information to the teams in advance as soon as possible
- Despite low numbers of races, quality of competition up significantly from 2018/19 to 2019/20. For both SX and SBX collecting data on course construction a priority in order to lower build costs while maintaining high entertainment value key to increasing potential venues and competition quality at the same time.
MOGULS & AERIALS
- After 23 years as the Race Director and Freestyle Coordinator for FIS Freestyle Skiing, Joe Fitzgerald has retired from the organization, with Andrea Rinaldi now fully assuming the position of Race Director for Moguls & Aerials after occupying the role of assistant last season
- Proposals for dual moguls team competition to be added to the world championships programme, and for the addition of of dual moguls to the Olympic programme for Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo 2026 tabled, with both motions set to go before Congress
- Addition of an additional crystal globe for top women’s and men’s DM athlete to be discussed
- Aerials artificial intelligence performance measurement and analysis technology presented. While work on the project is currently stalled due to the ongoing pandemic, further investment and development of the technology may lead to a future without judges for aerials competition and, potentially other judged sports.
- Following a meeting with coaches from Belarus (BLR), Canada (CAN) and Switzerland (SUI), dates have been proposed for the Summer Water Ramp Tour. If possible, an intended overall ranking would also be put in place, but with the current coronavirus pandemic, it’s not clear if these competitions will take place at all. Nonetheless, the date are as follows:
SUI Freestyle Masters Mettmenstetten 16.08.2020
BLR Freestyle Open Minsk 22.08.2020
CAN Mondial Quebec 29.08.2020
CHN no Information Qinhuangdao
USA no Information Park City
CZE no Information Štíty
- Proposal to include alpine SB events in the Youth Olympic Games programme. The 2024 YOG will take place in Korea, which has a long history in alpine SB and strong fan interest, with an silver Olympic medallist in Lee Sang-ho and history written in PyeongChang by Ester Ledecka (CZE)
- Discussion regarding adding another alpine competition, preferably the team event, to the programme for Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo 2026 Olympic Winter Games
- Strong positivity from organizers in ability to run the World Cup calendar as currently constructed
- Strong progress on Europa Cup front, regarding quality of competition and expansion into new venues
- Proposal regarding rescheduling last season’s cancelled Lachtal 2020 Junior World Championships for this upcoming December will be table this fall at Congress