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World Cup season kick-off in Zürich

Mon, Oct  5, 2009 - By Vegard Ulvang

Vegard UlvangA large part of the Cross-Country family met in Zurich last weekend. Organisers, committee members, TD s and TV experts all came together to share the latest information and discuss future visions and possibilities for the sport of Cross-Country.

FIS Race Director Jürg Capol kicked off  the season around what must have been the first ever fire outside Hotel Hilton Zurich Airport Thursday evening. At the Calendar Conference in Dubrovnik in June, the Race Director presented many new ideas for a more active promotion of Cross-Country Skiing.

The first step is a new FIS Cross-Country website which will be ready to be launched together with the first World Cup races in November. Cross-Country fans all over the world are asked to participate in making this the main meeting place for sharing all Cross-Country news, be it your personal video or latest information from the World Cup organizers and TDs or FIS. FIS Cross-Country is also already on Facebook and Twitter for those who want to share their daily short notes.

The committee meetings were mostly occupied with the calendar frames for the next years. New organisers from Poland and Italy presented plans for new World Cups sites that the Committee will have to deal with next spring. The newcomer on this year's World Cup calendar Rogla, Slovenia also presented their latest plans showing that they are well prepared to take care of the Cross-Country stars arriving in just a few months.

The window for new organisers to get into the World Cup Calendar is small since the main principle is that World Cup organizers should be on the calendar at least every second year in order to maintain the necessary experience, although traditional sites are also kept under pressure by evaluation  through our new semi-professional  TD system. Current information related to the plans for a multi-stage World Championship was also provided. The process is underway and will go to the FIS Council and FIS Congress for approval.

Former athlete Tor Arne Hetland, now Germany's sprint coach and Enzo Macor, TD and serviceman from Italy, gave very interesting speeches on their latest experiences from the sprint courses and waxing cabins at the World Cup TD update seminar. Videos and case studies from last winter were also discussed in order to ensure even more consistency in jury decisions. As last year, the athletes asked the TDs for tougher sanctioning of unsportsmanlike behavior in sprint races.

The Cross-Country TV Seminar was again a big success. The in-depth exchanges and cooperation with the TV experts is bringing our discipline forward and helps improve the TV production standard which is one of the key points for our sport.

While writing this the first snow has fallen down to 800 meters in the Norwegian mountains. Promising... see you all on skis in just a short time!

Yours Vegard Ulvang