International Ski Congress Moves Alpine Skiing Forward

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This year’s International Ski Congress in Antalya, Turkey was an usually eventful one. Coming off of the wildly successful 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, delegates looked to take stock of their success while coming up with ways to move their sport forward. Many view this as a crucial moment for the sport of alpine skiing. Skiing in general has taken a hit due to the economy, and many slopes have had to shut down in recent years, but organizers hope that the popularity of the Olympics will have more young people clamoring to get involved in the coming years.

While alpine skiing will by and large remain the same, there are some interesting developments we can look forward to in the near future. Some of them are tentative, but they still provide an interesting window into what we can expect from alpine skiing in as it moves into the 21st century. Here are just a few of the developments discussed at this year’s congress:

• Women’s ski jumping: In the skiing community, nothing gets people quite as animated as the issue of women’s ski jumping, particularly the fact that it has so far never been included in a Winter Olympics, which many consider to be a grave injustice. At this year’s conference, delegates voted to resubmit the event to the International Olympic Committee, which is a first step at least.

• City-based skiing events: Until now, the vast majority of skiing events have taken place in mountain communities far away from the major population centers. This is now set to change, with delegates at the conference voting to hold the parallel skiing in Munich for next year’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup to be hosted by Germany. It may turn into a one-time thing, however, as the parallel skiing event will return to the country the following year when the World Cup is hosted by Austria.

• Finally, delegates at the conference voted to make some crucial rule changes to the Slalom and Giant Slalom World Cup. The new rules put a cap on the number of starters allowed to compete in the first post-qualification run. After the qualification, only 60 will be allowed to go into the second round.

For now, the international skiing offseason will continue a few more months before getting started this fall. The 2010/11 World Cup is set to kick off at the end of December.

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