Alpine Report #2: from the FIS Congress to the skiers preparation
Brice Roger and Blaise Giezendanner coming back on their skis in Les Deux Alpes | Photo: Blaise Giezendanner

The FIS congress took place in Cancun a few days ago. The sub-committee for the Alpine World Cup and the Alpine committee discussed of important issues happening next season. Here are some important decisions the delegates confirmed on June 11th, you can find them all on the FIS official website.

The calendar

One of the most burning issues with next year World Cup calendar is the cancellation of the historical Alpine Combined in Kitzbühel. The World Cup doesn’t want to organize the discipline in their resort anymore. The Austrian organizers gave an explanation to this decision: in their opinion, this year Combined may have been the source of many injuries during the Downhill. The station of Santa Caterina volunteered to recover the Super Combined from Kitzbühel, a proposal the Council adopted.

Four new venues are going to host the Women's World Cup next season: Killington (USA), Kronplatz (ITA), Jeongseon (KOR) a test event for the upcoming Olympic Games, Squaw Valley (USA).

Starting order in speed disciplines:

The Austrian proposal about the starting order of speed races has been adopted by the FIS council. These new rules will be established from next season on:

Athletes 1 to 10 WCSL are choosing between bibs 1 and 19 (odd numbers)
Athletes 11 to 20 WCSL are drawn between bibs 2 to 20 (even numbers)
Athletes 21 to 30 WCSL are drawn between bibs 21 to 30

Men's GS skis

From now on, the men competing on the World Cup Giant Slaloms have to respect the following measures on their skis:

Minimum ski length: 193 cm (- 5 cm tolerance only in FIS level competitions)
Minimum radius: 30 m
Maximum width under binding: < 65 mm
Maximum width at the top: < 103 mm

World Championships

The FIS Congress officialized the 2021 Alpine Skiing World Championships taking place in Cortina d'Ampezzo. The Italian resort was the only one in the race.

Squaw Valley, the comeback

A few days before the 2017 World Cup finals taking place in Aspen, the ladies will ski two races in Squaw Valley, California. The Alpine Skiing tour is coming back to the west cost for the first time in 19 years, a huge accomplishment for the resort. The USSA president and CEO Tiger Shaw is delighted with the idea to watch the best skiers in the world give their best in four different American venues as he stated to the website Ski Racing: "Bringing the FIS Alpine World Cup to four different sites this season will continue to grow the visibility of alpine ski racing in America. Squaw Valley has partnered with the USSA to host many events and, with a strong Olympic legacy and a world-class venue, they are a welcome addition to the World Cup circuit. It’s a great opportunity for our stars, including Squaw Valley local Julia Mancuso, to race in front of their hometown crowd ahead of the World Cup finals.”

Squaw Valley was built on the bases of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games where the ladies raced the Slalom and Giant Slalom. The resort then hosted the Alpine Skiing World Championships in 1969.

Julia Mancuso, native of Squaw Valley, is more than happy to see the World Cup coming back to California as she stated to Ski Racing: "Growing up at Squaw Valley, I have been hoping for the return of the World Cup for a long time, and now we have the chance to show the world that our Olympic legacy is very much alive. The terrain at Squaw Valley is what raised me as a skier, and I know that when my peers stand on top of the course on Red Dog they will see what competitors saw in 1960 and 1969: one of the most challenging courses in the world. So many of today’s racers have trained and competed on Red Dog in the past, and now we can see this legendary venue re-emerge onto the world stage.”

The famous Red Dog slope is seen as very demanding but also very enjoyable to ski. Mikaela Shiffrin described the track to Ski Racing: "The middle section has a lot of terrain variation: a break over, fall-aways, side hills, and bank turns. You have to be able to really attack the course."

Squaw Valley race venue | Photo: Ski Racing
Squaw Valley race venue | Photo: Ski Racing

"By the time you hit the pitch, which is one of the longest sustained pitches on the World Cup besides Soelden, you are already 45 seconds into the run and your legs are burning. Then you come over the break over and you can see the finish and your thinking, ‘Oh man, I’m not even close! Okay, here we go!’ I feel incredibly thankful to have trained a few days on Red Dog this spring to get a feel for the terrain. Red Dog is the kind of hill where the more you ski it the better you can balance being tactically smart and attacking at the same time, so while knowing what to expect won’t make it any easier, it will help me find that balance.”

A huge crowd, including many kids, is already expected to watch the best skiers in the world compete on the Red Dog. With Sölden, Squaw Valley will probably host one of the most difficult Giant Slalom of the upcoming season. The atmosphere combined to the difficulty of the track promise an exciting and thrilling race to all the Alpine Skiing lovers.

Lindsey Vonn wants to have a race with men

As in 2012, Lindsey Vonn expressed again her will of racing a Downhill with the men in her very last season. It has been three years Vonn thinks about this challenge and does everything to complete it in a near future.

“In my final season, I would like to race against the men in one race. We’ve started the process of trying to figure out how (racing against men) can be accomplished. It’s going to be definitely a hard thing to get done with all the ski federations and everything involved, but that’s my goal. … I’m hoping by like three years I could probably figure out how to accomplish that, fingers crossed.”

One of the problems this challenge raises is the track where this special Downhill will take place. Indeed, women and men don't race the same slopes on the World Cup, especially in the speed disciplines. Lake Louise seems to be one of the most probable stations where the challenge could happen since both world cups land there every December. Lindsey Vonn also has a successful past in Lake Louise with 18 victories and a total of 25 podiums. This would make the Canadian World Cup a special place for Vonn to take this huge challenge.

The preparation for next season has started

After deserved holidays, the skiers came back to sports halls. But not only. Some racers did their come back on the skis this week, like the French Team. The glacier of Les Deux Alpes hosted the professionals a few days ago before the full opening. The speed specialists could find their marks again and start the preparation for snow, for their own pleasure. Besides the bad weather with huge summer snowstorms, the quality of the track is great enough for the teams to train and it is going to continue since snow is expected in the incoming days.  

Mathieu Faivre on the shooting Range | photo: Mathieu Faivre
Mathieu Faivre on the shooting Range | photo: Mathieu Faivre

As Cross Country Skiers, Alpine Skiing athletes also practice wheel skiing as training and preparation. The technical men from the French Team spent a couple of time in La Féclaz (FRA) to train in the biathlon stadium. Alexis Pinturault, Victor Muffat-Jeandet, Mathieu Faivre, Julien Lizeroux and Robin Buffet could ski but also test themselves on the shooting range in a friendly atmosphere.

Team Valoche strikes again

Shot at the end of last April, the second video of the Team Valoche "One Of Those Nordic Days 2" does not leave indifferent. The clip shows acrobatics on freestyle skiing skis but also on nordic ones with many guests like Martin Fourade, Maurice Manificat, Ben Valentin or Julien Lizeroux. A delight to watch and rewatch here without moderation!