Report of the Freestyle Coordinator Dubrovnik (CRO) 2009

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Report of the Freestyle Coordinator Dubrovnik (CRO) 2009

It was a long and busy season. We had lots of competitions, lots of different and new competitors, nations and podiums and lots of traveling for the teams and officials. In Freestyle, there is a real global view and we seek to develop skiing in many different areas of the world and consequently we get a diverse number of persons on the podium and many different winter cultural experiences.

This season’s achievements can perhaps be looked at as further development of Freestyle into a positive promotion for the expansion of skiing in the world. Collectively the discipline, again set new freestyle records, for the number of participants (over 500 with 181 ladies / 324 men) and entries (some 2350 starts), number of nations (34 nations from 5 continents), number of spectators, TV Audiences and TV hours.

The Freestyle committee’s goal of ‘adding value’ to the TV production standards provided some positive results. The cooperation and coordination with the InFront and the different TV producers allowed for higher quality TV productions and which resulted in better images and now an improved status in the market place.

Since our tour was out of Europe for most of January and early February, we missed all of the snow but we did endure some cool temperatures in North America and then a little bit of a snow droughts in Japan for the 2009 Inawashiro World Championships.

We again invested in working with 4 new organizers, in central Europe and Scandinavia. This complemented the stable group well experienced organizers in Japan, China, Russia and in North America.

The greatest and most rewarding aspect is the phenomenon that is created when it contains a competitor(s) from the host nation. Their achievements make it all worthwhile for the local audience and the organiser. There were some great emotional moments this winter. We witnessed what happened in the World Championships with the double mogul win by Aiko UEMURA (JPN); the results from the Branaes (SWE) Ski Cross with Lars LEWEN (SWE), and the Canadian of ladies and men’s in Ski Cross at the test Olympic event in Cypress (CAN) and the win by Ophelie DAVID (FRA) and Kevin ROLLAND (FRA) in La Plagne (FRA) at the World Cup Final. These are real emotional memories to be savored for all of those that were there.

The 2009 Inawashiro FIS World Championships were also very special, our biggest ever. They were very well organized and they had new record international attendance (36 nations, up 6 from 2007) and entries (258, up 62 from 2007).

There were some dominate champions at the end of the season, but generally by a small margin. There were very close battles with uncertain outcomes till the end. Those that have dominated in the past were certainly challenged.

After 7 seasons, the Freestyle Ski Cross FIS World Cup, we saw that it has matured into a very special ski event. The investments into the teams by the National Ski Associations are now providing some returns and we had very competitive battles at every race.

Halfpipe skiing took a big step this season, with all of the competitions having excellent technical standards which allowed great performances. Moguls and Aerials tours are in a much more stable environment, which allowed for great shows with large crowds attending watching the best in the world. The highlights were the World Cup Finals. The Aerial Final was attended by 35,400 Muscovites who witnessed a great night time air show. During the La Plagne (FRA) Final, we had great spring like weather in the Tarentaise Mountains and we had great performances and it all came down to the final runs, in Moguls, Halfpipe and Ski Cross competitions.

We are experiencing a growth phase and certain systems need to be strengthened to meet these increasing demands. Officials training, course and slope preparation are key development areas, if we are to provide exciting and interesting competitions. Course preparation principles and work by the organizers needs to be well planned and carried out far in advance of the competitions to ensure everything is set and prepared for the live TV situations.

The World Cup has grown in terms of number of entries and this makes it difficult to produce the competitions and the preparation of the slopes. The total number of entries needs to be reduced by 15 to 20% so we can successfully run both the ladies and men’s on the same day. At the same time we maintain the international aspect of the World Cup.

Ski Cross will make its Winter Olympic Games début and there are few rules and regulations that need adjustments in order to make sure this event is totally ready for ‘prime time’.

Joseph T. Fitzgerald Freestyle Coordinator

Return to FIS Committee for Freestyle Skiing in Dubrovnik (CRO), May 20th - 25, 2009 or Freestyle Skiing

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