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FIS focuses on growing cross country skiing

Mon, Jun  2, 2008 - By US Ski Team

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (May 30) - Growing the sport worldwide was one of the key topics at the International Ski Federation's biennial FIS Congress which ended May 30 in Cape Town. Over 1,100 delegates from more than 100 winter sports nations took part in the weeklong meetings.

The FIS unveiled "Bring Children to the Snow," a marketing concept that will employ projects designed to generate passion for snow activities among the younger generations. The initiative was begun under the leadership of FIS President Gian Franco Kasper to grow participation in skiing and snowboarding worldwide in partnership with national associations.

Projects will be developed to focus on such elements as activity and fitness, family participation, accessibility, integration into school curriculums and snow safety education. The FIS, working together with global promotional agencies CNC and Heye,Group in Germany, will roll out pilot projects over the next year along with a toolkit to help national associations integrate projects and messages in their nations.

The FIS Congress also reviewed FIS's activities in relation to the environment and its plan for the long-term sustainability of its winter sports.

Vancouver Olympics Sport Director Tim Gayda presented a strong report on preparation for the 2010 Games after a successful first alpine skiing test event this past season. This winter, Vancouver will conduct final test events in freestyle, snowboarding and each of the nordic sports. The Congress also marked the first formal report from the newly selected 2014 Olympic organizers in Sochi, Russia, who updated progress on venue construction and validated a test event schedule that will begin in 2010.

U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt was re-elected to the 17-member FIS Council, which saw no change in the nations represented on the governance board.

The FIS reiterated its position on doping, unanimously accepting updates to the World Anti Doping Agency Code. An update to FIS rules regarding television rights was also developed to recognize "new media," including Internet and other means of transmission. The new media updates were accepted on a two-year trial period during which time the FIS Council will establish a working group to monitor changes and work closely with the national associations and secondary rights holders.

World Championship sites, where the best athletes from around the globe are showcased, were also selected. U.S. candidate for the 2013 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships, Beaver Creek/Vail, finished second among four sites to Schladming, Austria. Val di Fiemme, Italy won the 2013 nordic bid, while snowboarding went to Stoneham, QUE and freestyle to Voss, Norway. Vikersund, Norway was chosen to organize the 2012 Ski Flying World Championship. A record 12 different sites were involved in selections for the 2012 and 2013 Championships. Over 43,000 computers in 38 nations watched a live Webcast of the bid announcement.

Among the reports were previews of the upcoming World Championships this season. The FIS Alpine Ski World Championships will be held in Val d'Isere, France, with the Nordic World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic, where women's ski jumping will make its medal debut. Snowboarding will be held in Korea's Gangwon province, with freestyle at Inawashiro, Japan.

Deer Valley Resort President Bob Wheaton presented a report on the 2011 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships, which will be held in Park City, Utah. Wheaton emphasized the great success of the inaugural ski cross event this past season at the Visa Freestyle International and also introduced the ski halfpipe event for 2011, which will be held at neighboring Park City Mountain Resort.

Sport and technical committees also acted on rules and other legislation, as well as approving World Cup and additional competition calendars for the coming season. The FIS confirmed U.S. World Cup sites in the USA for 2008-09 including Beaver Creek and Aspen, CO in alpine, Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, UT and Lake Placid, NY for freestyle and Sunday River, ME for snowboarding.