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  • Italian and Chinese Organizers Seek to Confirm Bids at FIS Congress


    (ATR) The famed Italian ski resort of Cortina is the lone candidate for the 2021 Alpine ski world championships, while Zhangjiakou, China holds the same distinction for the 2021 freestyle ski/snowboard world championships.
    Hotel Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa in Cancun (FIS)

    Both resort areas will aim to validate their bids when the 50th International Ski Federation Congress convenes in Cancun, Mexico, June 5-11. Candidate presentations will be made to FIS on Tuesday, June 7 and the announcement of the world championship host cities coming on June 9.

    For the first time ever, the bi-annual FIS Congress will be held in Mexico, with meetings and presentations taking place at the Hotel Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa.

    Prior to the official FIS Congress opening on June 10, more than 100 FIS committees will meet discussing rules, regulations, event calendars and also nominating various officials.

    Fifth Time a Charm?

    The Cortina racecourse (ATR)
    Following four previously unsuccessful bids, Cortina d’Ampezzo organizers believe that 2021 is finally their opportunity to once again showcase the Italian Dolomite resort’s beauty and storied winter sports history through hosting the championships.

    Cortina has not hosted a world championship since 1956, when the Winter Olympics doubled as the FIS flagship event.

    The bid is being guided by Foundations Cortina 2021, led by president Riccardo Donadon, an Italian internet entrepreneur, and CEO Paolo Nicoletti.

    “This is the right time because of the stakeholders management that are directly involved in the bid,” Nicoletti told Around the Rings. “This is the bid and future world championships of Cortina, but this is going to be Italy and Veneto's event.”

    According to Cortina 2021 organizers, the bid is focused on improving the ski resort’s aging infrastructure, including the slopes and race finish areas.

    The developments include a new modern ski arena at “Rumerlo” where all the speed disciplines will be contested. Secondly, a new slalom finish named “Sailer” after the 1956 Olympic champion and cable car are also in the works.

    FIS Alpine race director Markus Waldner said the bid has made enormous strides with the combined efforts of the various stakeholders cooperating.

    The Olympia della Tofane piste in Cortina (ATR)
    “Cortina is a classic World Cup organizer on the ladies' tour situated in one of the most beautiful mountain panoramas of the Dolomites, but in the past 20 years there was no evolution of lifts, slopes and old hotels,” Waldner said.

    “However things changed in a tremendous way in the last months, since last fall with Mr. Donadon as new president,” Waldner said. “From a political point of view this new group has all the necessary contacts in order to guarantee the realization of the big projects on the table.”

    According to Cortina 2012 spokesperson Enrico Albertini, the bid committee is committed to present FIS the best solutions in terms of legacy, sustainability, feasibility, TV and media.

    Nicoletti summed up why Cortina should host the 2021 marquee alpine event.

    “Cortina has a story of impressive records in terms of sport results and events, is famous for incredible beauty, is an international ski resort and we will be capable to innovate and involve all the positive energy of Cortina and its region.”

    The Italian winter sports resort hopes to join future organizers of the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships – St. Moritz in 2017 and Are, Sweden in 2019.

    Winter Sports Growth in China

    Zhangjiakou, situated 180 kilometers north of Beijing, is aiming to host the FIS freestyle ski and snowboard world championships for the first time in China’s history.

    Genting Ski Resort in March 2015 (ATR)
    The championships in Zhangjiakou could also play a role in preparation for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. All competitions would take place on the slopes of Genting Resort, which will also host the same events in 2022.

    “We are very familiar with this location since we did the Olympic inspection in November 2014 and had walked the slopes and received some official presentations,” said FIS freestyle skiing race director Joe Fitzgerald. “We were very impressed with the layout of the land and the aspect of the courses.”

    “The organizing committee has a new sport director in place who will be coming to Cancun – we look forward to meeting with him and having our first Olympic inspection at the same venue towards the end of June 2016,” he said.

    Fitzgerald noted that FIS has been hosting freestyle skiing competitions in China since 2003 and snowboarding contested a world cup event five years in addition to the junior world championships in China in 2015.

    One potential concern about hosting the championships in Zhangjiakou is lack of natural snow. The region averages only eight inches of natural snow per year, so it is likely that all competitions will need to be contested on artificial snow.

    In the IOC’s 137-page evaluation of the Beijing Olympic bid it noted that while using artificial snow shouldn't affect the competition, it could make for an odd viewing experience.

    "Due to the lack of natural snow the look of the venue may not be aesthetically pleasing,” the IOC report read.

    “Getting the competitions in the right time frame would be important because I understand that there are some low temperatures in January and perhaps the beginning of March is a better time frame,” Fitzgerald said, alluding to the best time for producing artificial snow and holding the championship.

    “I've seen some phenomenal growth and changes in China since we've been there for the past 15 years and I expect things to continue on perhaps a little bit of a slower rate, but the opportunities to do promotions for skiing there are overwhelming.”

    Written by Brian Pinelli

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