Message from the FIS President

04 October 2017 15:01
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper -

Dear Ski Friends and Family,

With the turn of the calendar to October along with the conclusion of the Southern Hemisphere season and the autumn chill in the air, it can only mean that it is time for us to turn our attention to the slopes and the start of the FIS Nordic and Alpine Ski World Cup seasons.

This week, the entire FIS family will meet in Zurich for the annual Technical Committee Meetings. This is where the finishing touches for the upcoming season will be put in place after a full summer of preparations. It is clear that the focus of these meetings and the upcoming season will be the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. After extensive technical inspections, numerous test events and coordination commission visits, I am confident that the 2018 edition of the Games will put on a spectacular show for the entire winter sports family, especially skiing and snowboard.

I have been asked several times in the last weeks about the safety of the Games and while I cannot look into a crystal ball to see what will ensue in the upcoming months, I can assure you that the Korean Authorities and the PyeongChang Organising Committee, as well as the IOC are doing everything to ensure the safety of their Games.

We spent a lot of time in the off season continuing to work on projects so that all of our disciplines continue to evolve and attract new fans. For this, the Olympics are especially important, but it is crucial to continue to keep a focus on the presentation of our FIS World Cup events. This is the product that we present to the world year-in and year-out and is the visiting card of our organisation. After celebrating the 50th anniversary of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup last season, it struck me how much our sport has evolved since its introduction. I can only hope that 50 years from now, people are equally impressed with the continued evolution of all of our disciplines.

The Olympics are sure to be a catalyst that attracts new fans to our disciplines, but once they arrive, we have to be prepared to provide them with an engaging and exciting product to keep them involved and interested in our sport through the four-year Olympic cycle.

While the FIS family is gathering for what we consider the traditional start of the season, we must also remember that our sport is a year round affair as every discipline now offers a full calendar of events during the off-season. There was much action in the Southern Hemisphere during their winter months. Our Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard FIS World Cups are already underway after a dream start to the season in New Zealand and Argentina. Meanwhile, Alpine was busy with the Continental Cup series competitions in South America (SAC), Australia and New Zealand (ANC). Our Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined athletes took part in another successful Summer Grand Prix, which continues to grow with new competitions in new locations added to the calendar. And naturally our Cross Country athletes trade their snow skis in for roller skis during the summer months with multiple events to keep them in top shape.

It is a continual cycle and I would like to express my gratitude to those that dedicate their lives to our sport regardless of what month the calendar says it is.

Nevertheless, I hope everyone had a chance to recharge their batteries during the off-season and is fully prepared for the upcoming 2017-2018 season. An Olympic season is always special and it will create a new generation of heroes to inspire the next generation of athletes, which is ultimately the reason that we are all here.

Gian Franco Kasper