From 26th to 30th May, 2008, the 46th International Ski Congress took place in Cape Town (RSA). Within Cross-Country, the members of eight different Technical Committees discussed the development and future of the discipline on the FIS level. One of the main topics was the Viessmann FIS World Cup calendar 2008/2009, which has now been approved by the FIS Council.
The Viessmann FIS World Cup Cross-Country 2008/2009 features a compact calendar with 35 races per gender including the third edition of the FIS Tour de Ski, the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE), and the 2nd edition of the World Cup Final. For the first time since 2002, the World Cup will not kick off in October. The Cross-Country athletes will have their first World Cup competition in the middle of November in Gällivare (SWE), the region where the new Swedish star Charlotte Kalla grew up. Afterwards, the Nordic Opening will take place traditionally at Kuusamo/Ruka (FIN) together will the other two FIS Nordic disciplines. With La Clusaz (FRA) and Davos (SUI), the World Cup will continue in Central Europe in December. As a premiere, the December schedule includes two city sprint competitions shortly before Christmas in Düsseldorf (GER).
The third edition of the FIS Tour de Ski from 27th December, 2008 to 4th January, 2009 will consist of seven competitions in nine days and three countries. The host of the Tour kick-off will be Oberhof (GER), a newcomer on the Cross-Country calendar. The town in Thuringia is already a very famous winter sport village and has organized several Nordic and Biathlon World Cups as well the Biathlon World Championships. From Oberhof, the Tour family will move to Prague (CZE) where a city sprint will take place. However, due to the limited space in front of the Castle, the event will not be held on the same course as last year. After a rest day, the Tour will continue in Nove Mesto (CZE) on 31st December, 2008 and 1st January, 2009. Traditionally the great final of the Tour de Ski will take place on 3rd and 4th January 2009 in Val di Fiemme (ITA) with the Final Climb on the last day.
After a competition break, the World Cup family will travel to North America and have their pre-Olympic test competitions at the Olympic site in the Whistler Nordic Park in the Callaghan Valley near Vancouver (CAN). Back in Europe, Otepää (EST), Rybinsk (RUS) and Val di Dentro (ITA) will provide the fine-tuning for the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec, which will take place from 19th February to 1st March, 2009.
The World Cup will conclude with the traditional Scandinavian Tour in Lahti (FIN), Trondheim (instead of Oslo, which will be preparing the venues for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2011), and the World Cup Final series in Stockholm and Falun (SWE).
“I’m very satisfied with the final version of the FIS World Cup calendar 2008/2009. We will have a compact schedule with minimized logistical efforts, including all the top Cross-Country nations and a good balance between distance races and sprint competitions. All in all, this calendar is good for the promotion of our sport,” said Jürg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country.