The annual FIS Autumn Technical Committee Meetings took place last week from 28 September to 2 October, 2020, and for the first time in the history of the meetings, proceedings were conducted entirely online. And while participants certainly missed the sense of community and pre-season excitement that typically accompany our autumn gathering, the week’s slate of various subcommittees and the concluding FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski “Super-committee” meeting was a thorough success.
- One of the most important orders of business for the Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski committee is the approval of the upcoming season calendars, and you can now find the 2020/21 FIS Snowboard calendar HERE, and the Freestyle & Freeski calendar HERE.
- As well, it should be noted that preparations for the Zhangjiakou 2021 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski World Championships are well on track, with special visas, travel preparations and safety measures in the works for athletes, staff and officials.
- FIS Junior World Championships are soon to be confirmed for Moguls & Aerials, Freeski/Park & Pipe and Cross in Krasnoyarsk (RUS) in March, and for Alpine SB in Lachtal (AUT) in December.
- For the Moguls & Aerials and Park & Pipe events, great development has taken place in the area of judges education, with the construction of a FIS online education platform (fis-edu.com), which ensure that FIS has tools to educate, prepare and evaluate judges in a virtual, remote way. Furthermore, an online judging system was tested at the summer water ramp competition in Switzerland. Also, technical delegates education is slated to join the online service in the near future.
- Due to the ongoing changes in regards of travel bans and restrictions, quarantine measures, etc., a special World Cup participation rule will be implemented this season for all events. This rule stipulates that, for Cross, Freeski/Park & Pipe and Snowboard Alpine, 70% of the nations represented by the top 20 athletes of the World Cup starting list must be allowed to travel without restrictions to each respective World Cup venue. For Moguls & Aerials it will be 60% of the field able to attend the competition. The allowance is contingent on the measures outlined by the government of the respective athlete’s nation.
Below we’ve summarised the rest of the most important news and decisions from the Moguls & Aerials, Alpine Snowboard, Cross, and Park & Pipe subcommittees which were approved in Friday’s supercommittee meeting.
Moguls & Aerials
- The 2020/21 World Cup calendar looking very promising. The moguls tour will see 10 competitions in seven different locations spread across Europe, North America and Asia, while the aerials tour will also consist of 10 competitions visiting eight locations. Obviously, the pinnacle event of the season will be the 2021 FIS Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships in Zhangjiakou.
- First report from new Moguls & Aerials Race Director Andrea Rinaldi, who took over from long-time Director Joe Fitzgerald, who officially retired on May 31 after 23 years as the FIS Freestyle Skiing Race Director.
- 2020/21 season will see the addition of separate Nations Cups for moguls and aerials to be awarded to the best performing country in the respective disciplines.
- Sub Committee for Moguls & Aerials working to increase the number of moguls and aerials competitions at big events - after the aerials mixed team event has been included into Olympic Winter Games programme for 2022, the goal now is to add dual moguls for the subsequent Games in 2026. Also, the dual moguls team event has considered to be included into World Championships programme for 2023. The respective proposal has been sent by several nations to the FIS Congress.
- Great development in the area of judges education, with the raise of FIS online education platform (fis-edu.com), which ensure that FIS has tools to educate, prepare and evaluate judges in a virtual, remote way. Furthermore, an online judging system was tested at the summer water ramp competition in Switzerland. Also, the technical delegates education is planned to join the online service in the near future.
- Consideration for use of video replay for moguls judges - which could improve the quality of judging, in regard to progression of air tricks and grabs.
- No major rule changes - Moguls: Implementation of a 40-30-30 turn judge system including the elements of carving, absorption/extension and upper body; Aerials: Adding DD and jump code for back Tuck-Tuck and DD reduction for double jumps off a single kicker.
- Also promising calendars for the Europa Cup as well as Nor-Am Cup, despite all the difficulties that Local Organising Committees are facing at the moment.
- The 2020 FIS Snowboard Alpine Junior World Championships in Lachtal that have been initially scheduled for the last week of March 2020 and cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19, will now take place on December 17-21. The Organizing Committee and the Austrian Ski Federation are “ready to go” with all sponsors still on board and the TV production also available.
- Solid 2020/21 World Cup calendar including seven PGS races, five PSL competitions and three PSL Team events. Unfortunately given the overall situation, particularly in regard to the Corona measurements and restrictions and regulations in North America, Canada Snowboard and the FIS have agreed mutually to not conduct the 2020/2021 versions of the Canadian World Cups. This not only in order to minimize inter-continental travel in the lead to the World Championships in China in February, but to focus efforts on a European/Asian block of World Cups instead.
- Task agreement to add another parallel event (preferably a team event) into OWG programme for 2026 as well as integration of snowboard alpine events into 2024 YOG in Korea
Ski and Snowboard Cross
- Klaus Waldner has joined the FIS family as the new Race Director Cross with a focus on the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup, taking over from the outgoing JP Baralo
- The calendar for the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup season 2020/21 looks very promising with 14 races in 9 resorts confirmed so far across the globe. As for the calendar of the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup, at this stage there are 10 competitions at 7 resorts confirmed, including 3 team events.
- The new joint FIS Cross Race Directors Uwe Beier and Klaus Waldner are both happy to report that LOCs seem to be very motivated to host their events, despite the challenges facing this season.
- An important step has been made with the confirmation by the OC of Bakuriani (GEO) to hold their first World Cup test event for the FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships 2023, including one individual as well as the first-ever ski cross mixed team competition on Feb 6-7 2021. While the format is TBD, it will likely mirror that of SBX team competition seen at the Utah 2019 world championships
- The previously suggested discussion to drop the clothing measurement rule will be postponed until after the Olympic Winter Games, in order to not change too many details about the equipment ahead of this major event, especially also with the Zhangjiakou 2021 FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships upcoming this February. After that, it is most likely that one-piece as well as two-piece race suits should be allowed for ski cross competitions. Until now, only two-piece race suits are the rule.
- The rule for athletes only to be allowed two pairs of skis for the finals remains as in the previous years and will be tested randomly by the competition staff. The request to delete this rule was postponed by the Cross subcommittee until after the 2022 OWG.
Park & Pipe
- 14 Freeski (seven slopestyle, four halfpipe, three big air) and 13 Snowboard Park & Pipe (five slopestyle, five halfpipe, three big air) competitions have either been confirmed or are in the process of confirmation for the 2020/21 season
- Krasnoyarsk (RUS) confirmed as host for 2021 Junior World Championships, running from 13-22 March, 2021.
- Cooperation with local organizers across the board has been exceptional, with several venues stepping up with offers to host multiple competitions in order to make up for other organisers forced to withdraw over the off-season.
- Park & Pipe Classification Advisory Group commended for huge amount of work undertaken in revising the FIS Points list to provide a better representation of the world’s top athletes in the slopestyle, halfpipe and big air events. Implementation of their efforts remains ongoing, with some crucial votes on the collaboration by the World Snowboard Federation currently delayed.
- It’s important to note that the variable point scale (in proposal 180b) does not impact the World Cup points fixed value for all World Cups towards the overall WC titles OR the Olympic qualification quota points and pathway through World Cup competitions. These remain as key areas of value for World Cup events, and are more critical than ever under the constantly changing competition landscape in Park & Pipe.
We’ll wrap things up with some words from FIS Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski Committee Chair Dean Gosper:
“In the months leading up to our meetings, considerable work has gone into establishing a bridge for our sport through a season like no other. Our priority is the health and welfare of our athletes. Our goal is to ensure continuity and the delivery of a sustainable calendar, in each event-group, through to the 2021 World Championships in Zhangjiakou, China. This takes on special significance in an Olympic Qualification season.
Our goal of continuity can only be achieved through a combination of two, parallel strategies. First, event protocols to ensure a safe Bubble, or “Snowflake,” around the athletes and supporting staff, throughout the season. And secondly, adjustments to our Calendars that simplify movements between national borders and continents.
Ironically, the highly valued “Global Footprint” of our SB-FS-FK Events carries additional complexities here. To date, much of the planning has focused on keeping options open. However, as we get closer to the season, we will have greater certainty with regard to quarantining, border restrictions and the impact of national social regulations on resort activity.
Our response must be driven by a whole-of-port philosophy. This will require flexibility and compromise to ensure our priority of safety and our goal of continuity.
Collaboration is one of the great strengths of the FIS Family and we will be drawing on that, to even greater levels, in the months ahead.”