Sunday, February 15, 2009

Val d'Isere FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Ends Today

Today, under beautiful sunny skies and with an extraordinary atmosphere in the Bellevarde "Face" finish area, the 2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Val d’Isère conclude with the Men's Slalom event. Never before has Val d'Isère seen so many people at a ski race.
The Alpine World Ski Championships 40th edition, currently taking place in Val d'Isère is France's third World Cup event following Chamonix in 1937 and 1962. The very first World Championships took place in 1931 in the Swiss resort of Murren. Originally the International Skiing Federation (FIS) organized these championships on a yearly basis. The event was suspended in 1939 due to the Second World War and when it was reinstated in 1948 it took place every four years. However World Cup titles were awarded every two years based on the results of the Olympic Games until 1982. In 1985, the FIS decided to organize the event every odd-numbered year.
On the numbers' side, it is worth noticing that the UERB (European Union Radio-Broadcasting) broadcasts Val d'Isère's programs ( live, interviews...) to 34 televisions around Europe, North America and Asia. A total of 804 accredited people "Right possessors" were present in Val d'Isère, representing 22 countries and 57 medias (TV+Radio). Served by the Host Radio-Broadcaster, TVRS: 190 accredited people of 12 different countries. In the Press Centre, 600 journalists (written press, photographers, radios and web) followed the races in a room containing 420 work stations spread out in 2500m². In the basement, 200 lockers enabled the photographs to deposit skis and cameras with the luxury of ski-shoe electric heaters, in order to see the journalists working in optimum conditions. The television delegated 900 technicians and commentators during the two weeks. On Bellevarde, TVRS' (the service broadcasting the Championships) device spread 26 cameras along Bellevarde slope and 22 on Rhône Alp's slope. In the control room area, situated next to the arrival area, 48 lorries installed to broadcast the television images of the whole world linked to the commentator's cabin and to the mixed zone of the arrival area by 35 km of image transport cables. A novelty put in place in the occasion of the World Championships is the SMS alert service which permits 850 journalists to be informed instantly about the possible race postponements or other important information. The Web-Centre, specially created for the World Championships, can count 19 people of which 4 share the information in French, 4 for the English version and finally 9 for the videos. The success over passed all expectations as the high point of the first week was at 415 618 different visitors for a total of 1 592 878 consulted pages. In base of comparison, the high point for the last Are World Championships was situated around 140 000 visitors.
Finally we must say the Championships would never have been possible without the help of 1070 volunteers.