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Plenty of "action" off the course in Soelden

Not all of the action in Soelden took place on the Rettenbach glacier. First and foremost in terms of the economic health of the village, the streets, restaurants and bars were overflowing despite inclement weather.

In terms of the sport a number of changes were also announced surrounding the World Cup.

For example, the city events, one in Munich on New Years Day and another in Moscow at the end of January, will not only count for overall World Cup points, as they did last season, but will also count for the slalom standings. That will give racers 11 chances this season to accumulate slalom points. With the FIS eyeing additional host cities (Rome was recently paid a preliminary visit and officials have mentioned New York City as a possibility) is it possible parallel racing could overshadow slalom? The top 12 slalom skiers, plus the top four overall skiers will be invited to participate this season.

Swiss time keeper Longines announced  it has inked an agreement with Kitzbuehel and will now b e the official timekeeper for 100 percent of the World Cup tour. In addition, and following a Longines tradition in tennis, the company will give a check and a trophy to the youngest top scoring male and female World Cup racers. Longines will also time all World Cup races this season, having added Kitzbuehel to it’s list of race sites.

A minute camera that attaches to the goggle strap is being tested with the idea of having video from the viewpoint of the top 15 skiers in any given race and this camera could debut as early as this season’s World Championship in Schladming. If the final few hurdles are not cleared in time for a Schladming debut, officials indicated it was expected we will get the racers view in races next season.

Audi has re-upped to be presenting sponsors of the 2015 and 2017 World Ski Championships and has pushed its sponsorship of the World Cup through the 2018 season.

Combined will not be a title event this season on the World Cup with just two being held per gender. In addition, this will be the final season of the traditional combined being held at Kitzbuehel, though the site does plan on holding super combineds in the future. Combined will stay on the World Cup schedule. “Combined as a  medal event could disappear as an Olympic event so we must make sure two remain on the schedule,” explained FIS men’s director Guenther Hujara.

Course setting may change some with the new ski dimensions, but it will not mean a change in course setting rules. The object is still to control speed and make the best use of terrain.

Hank McKee

Senior Editor

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