Some background from the FIS Cross Country Ski Homologation Manual 5th Edition:
Homologation represents a “system of evaluation” that is designed to guide the development and upgrading of Cross-Country competition courses. It is not just a set of numbers and standards, but is a process for certification that provides a forum for constructive discussion between Organizers, FIS and Inspectors.
The homologation evaluation includes more than just the course design. The stadium layout and the infrastructure installations are also part of the overall evaluation. The resulting certification represents a FIS stamp of approval indicating that the site is physically capable of accommodating international FIS competitions.
A FIS Cross-Country homologation seminar led by Hermod Bjørkestøl (NOR) took place in Val di Fiemme (ITA), the host of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2013, from 3rd - 5th September 2009. The goal of the seminar was to create a better understanding among FIS homologation inspectors from all over the world on how the venue should be designed in order to make Cross-Country Skiing more attractive for a wider range of spectators. Thanks to the Val di Fiemme OC, the participants had fruitful days with a lot of input and excellent practical sessions on the established field of play at the established venue in Tesero.
Karl Heinz Lickert, Chairman of the FIS Sub-Committee for Cross-Country Rules and Control summarized the successful seminar: “The many presentations and conversations during and alongside the seminar displayed the rapid pace of development in Cross-Country Skiing. The venue and courses that formed the basis for excellent Worlds in 2003 now have to be adapted to match present standards. However, we need not to worry given the harmonious cooperation of all parties here in the Fiemme valley and can look forward to great FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2013.”
Lickert underlined the challenges for homologation inspectors’ work: “Today’s Cross-Country presents spectacular competition formats and more action and emotion along the courses. At the same time there is a growing interest and influence by the media (especially TV) on the sport, whilst the importance of the development of the valley as a center of tourism cannot be ignored. These are the driving forces in the process that demands higher standards at our competition sites. But stadium and course designers also have to cope with limits to expansion, such as scarce financial resources and ‘natural’ restrictions, i.e. ecological and environmental impact and rights of the landowners.”
Contributed by Sandra Spitz