Thursday, August 20, 2020

FIS Cancels North American Alpine World Cup Races

The International Federation of Skiing (FIS) announced that the North American races of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup have been canceled for the upcoming ski season. After discussions among FIS, the National Ski Associations and the Local Organising Committees in Canada and the USA together with their stakeholders, all parties have together decided that the Alpine World Cup tours will not travel to North America in late November for their traditional two-weeks of competitions.
For the Women, this schedule shift impacts the Killington (USA) Giant Slalom and Slalom events on 28th-29th November and the speed week in Lake Louise (CAN) on 1st-6th December.
For the men, this impacts the speed weekend in Lake Louise, 25th-29th November and both speed and tech events at Vail/Beaver Creek (USA), 1st-6th December.

Canceled Races:

Lake Louise (CAN)
November 28th Downhill / Men
December 29th Super-G / Men

Killington (USA)
November 28th Giant Slalom / Ladies
November 29th Slalom / Ladies

Lake Louise (CAN)
December 4th Downhill / Ladies
December 5th Downhill / Ladies
December 6th Super G / Ladies

Beaver Creek (USA)
December 4th Super G / Men
December 5th Downhill / Men
December 6th Giant Slalom / Men

The objective of FIS is to carry out a full World Cup competition programme, protecting the health and welfare of all participants to the best extent possible. The temporary re-alignment of the FIS Alpine World Cup Calendar caters to this goal by focusing on athlete safety, reducing travel, and providing competitors with a detailed competition calendar. 
"The desire and motivation to hold these races as scheduled for all parties were strong", said Markus Waldner, FIS men’s Chief Race Director. "The training set-up and races in USA and Canada are very much appreciated by the teams. But ultimately, the unique logistics and situation for the early season alpine races have current travel restrictions and corresponding quarantine regulations in both directions, which led to this joint decision".
"The Organisers and National Ski Associations provided us with excellent health and safety plans to stage the events and were fully prepared to host the races", echoed Peter Gerdol, FIS women’s Chief Race Director. "But ultimately, the logistics involved with the travel from Europe and between the two countries, and the quarantines involved, made it too unpredictable to ensure that athletes could participate in the competitions".

The adapted calendars, to be approved in late September, involve the rescheduling of the Alpine North American competitions at existing locations later in the season.
These preliminarily include events in December, with Val d’Isere (FRA) taking on an additional weekend for the Men. The planned Giant Slalom races will be moved up one weekend to 5th-6th December making room for an added Downhill and Super-G on 12th-13th December to replace one of the North American weekends.
The Women’s tour will add a Downhill to its traditional weekend in St. Moritz (SUI) on 5th-6th December. The Swiss resort has picked up a Downhill as part of its race weekend to compensate for the Lake Louise race. Additionally, Courchevel (FRA) will host a two-race technical weekend in December.

The revised calendars with the latest adaptations will be approved following the FIS Technical Meetings from 30th September to 2nd October for ratification by the FIS Council on 3rd October and will be published on the FIS website at that time.

Although the North American alpine skiing competitions will be missed this season, all parties look forward to the FIS Alpine World Cup’s return to the USA and Canada for the 2021-22 season.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Calendar Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup 2020-2021

This is the calendar for the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup 2020-2021.

Sölden (AUT)
October 24th Giant Slalom / Ladies
October 25th Giant Slalom / Men

Lech Zurs (AUT)
November 13th Parallel / Ladies
November 14th Parallel / Men
November 15th Mixed Team Parallel 

Levi (FIN)
November 21st Slalom / Ladies
November 22nd Slalom / Men

Lake Louise (CAN)
November 28th Downhill / Men
December 29th Super-G / Men

Killington (USA)
November 28th Giant Slalom / Ladies
November 29th Slalom / Ladies

Lake Louise (CAN)
December 4th Downhill / Ladies
December 5th Downhill / Ladies
December 6th Super G / Ladies

Beaver Creek (USA)
December 4th Super G / Men
December 5th Downhill / Men
December 6th Giant Slalom / Men

St. Moritz (SUI)
December 12th Super G/ Ladies
December 13th Parallel / Ladies

Val d'Isere (FRA)
December 12th Giant Slalom / Men
December 13th Slalom / Men

Courchevel (FRA)
December 15th Giant Slalom / Ladies

December 18th Super G / Men
December 19th Downhill / Men

Val d'Isere (FRA)
December 19th Downhill / Ladies
December 20th Super G / Ladies
December 20th Alpine Combined / Ladies

Alta Badia (ITA)
December 20th Giant Slalom / Men
December 21st Parallel / Men

December 22nd Slalom / Men

Bormio (ITA)
December 28th Downhill / Men
December 29th Super-G / Men
December 29th Alpine Combined / Men

December 28th Giant Slalom / Ladies
December 29th Slalom / Ladies

Davos (SUI)
January 1st Parallel /Men
January 1st Parallel /Ladies

Zagreb / Sljeme (CRO)
January 3rd Slalom / Ladies

Zagreb / Sljeme (CRO)
January 6th Slalom / Men

St. Anton (AUT)
January 9th Downhill / Ladies
January 10th Super-G / Ladies
January 10th Alpine Combined / Ladies

Adelboden (SUI)
January 9th Giant Slalom / Men
January 10th Slalom / Men

Flachau (AUT)
January 12th Slalom / Ladies

Wengen (SUI)
January 15th Alpine Combined / Men
January 16th Downhill / Men
January 17th Slalom / Men

Maribor (SLO)
January 16th Giant Slalom / Ladies
January 17th  Slalom / Ladies

Kitzbuehel (AUT)
January 22nd Super G / Men
January 23rd Downhill / Men
January 24th Slalom / Men

Crans Montana (SUI)
January 23rd Downhill / Ladies
January 24th Alpine Combined / Ladies

Schladming (AUT)
January 26th Slalom / Men

Kronplatz (ITA)
January 26th Slalom / Ladies

Garmisch Partenkirchen  (GER)
January 30th Downhill / Ladies
January 31st Super-G / Ladies

Chamonix (FRA)
January 30th Downhill / Men
January 31st Parallel / Ladies

Garmisch Partenkirchen (GER)
February 5th  Downhill / Men
February 6th Giant Slalom / Men

Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA)
7th - 21st February

Yanqing (CHN)
February 27th Downhill / Ladies
February 128th Super-G / Ladies

Bansko (BUL)
February 27th Alpine Combined / Ladies
February 27th Super G / Ladies
February 28th Giant Slalom / Ladies

March 6th Downhill / Men
March 7th Super G / Men

Jasna (SVK)
March 6th Giant Slalom / Ladies
March 7th Slalom / Ladies

Are (SWE)
March 12th Giant Slalom / Ladies
March 13th Slalom / Ladies

Kranjska Gora (SLO)
March 13th Giant Slalom / Men
March 14th Slalom / Men

March 17th Downhill / Ladies - Men
March 18th Super G / Ladies - Men
March 19th Team Event / Mixed
March 20th Giant Slalom / Ladies
March 20th Slalom / Men
March 21st Giant Slalom  / Men
March 21st Slalom / Ladies

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Anna Veith Retires. Thank You For All The Great Moments You Have Given Us

Last Saturday Olympic champion and overall World Cup winner Anna Veith announced her retirement from professional skiing. She has won everything there is to win in skiing.
The 30-year-old officially put an end to a career that included 15 World Cup wins, three world titles, and three Olympic medals, including women's Super-G gold at Sochi 2014. Some former Alpine Ski stars paid their own tribute to the Austrian skier.
"I have lived my childhood dream and now is the right time for me to take a step back (...) I am delighted to be able to end my career in a happy and successful place", said Anna Veith, who currently holds the title as Austria’s most successful ski racer.
"Until now I was able to call ski racing my job. I have never done anything else or loved anything as much. The smell of fresh snow. Early mornings spent on the glacier. The Team. These are all things I will miss dearly. I don’t know what’s next yet, but I look forward to finding out", she said.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Relive Hirscher Outstanding Victory at 2015 Garmisch Giant Slalom

Marcel Hirscher’s runs were all anyone could talk about after the 2015 Giant Slalom race on the Kandahar. After dominating the first run and clocking a time 1.99 seconds faster than everyone else’s, Hirscher was far from done for the day. He entered the second run as if the massive gap didn’t exist, attacking every turn of the rutty course and won his 30th World Cup race with a massive 3.28 seconds advantage. The 3.28 seconds margin turned out to be the third biggest in World Cup history, the first two belong to the legendary Ingemar Stenmark. Marcel Hirscher won the race in front of Felix Neureuther and Benjamin Raich.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

COVID-19 and Ski Resorts (V). Lessons from Mad Men

In my marketing classes at university, my students really like it when I use videos from TV-shows (from South Park to Yes Minister) as teaching resources.
Now, during the COVID-19 lockdown, I am re-watching one of my favorites, Mad Men, looking for inspiration for my next article and I was really surprised by how relevant this series actually is for what I’m currently working on.
Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. Mad Men is set in '60 America at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. The series' main character is advertising Creative Director Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm).

In the last episode of the first season, we find one of the greatest pitches ever shown on TV.
"In Greek, ‘nostalgia’ literally means ‘the pain from an old wound (...) This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again", Don Draper: (Mad Men S1: E13).

Having our customers at the center of our destination marketing strategy requires an understanding of the main phases of the Tourist Life Cycle – from the beginning of the inspiration process until after the return.
The life cycle of the tourist trip consists of three phases.
  • Before the trip. This is the inspiration phase, but also the decision and purchase phase. Tourists look for information about the places they would like to go to. In this phase, destination marketing teams are the key to easing the start of the process keeping the consumer inspired to choose our destination.
  • During the trip. This is the experiential moment by nature. It runs from the moment the physical journey begins until the moment one returns to one’s usual place of residence. Tourists’ perception of a destination is made up of all the services consumed and each of the experiences. To a great extent, this is what determines the final degree of satisfaction related to the trip.
  • After the trip. This phase is becoming increasingly important. Communication with tourists must be maintained in order to get their opinion on the trip.
I wrote in my previous article that, under the current circumstances, we must focus our efforts on the inspiration phase of the customer journey. People are dreaming about their future trips to our ski resorts (#dreamnowtravellater) so we must keep them inspired with good memories. It is time to keep our guests emotionally linked to our destinations.
And in the 21st century, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram have entirely changed the way marketers reach their audiences. If you’re a social media marketing professional, you’re well aware that selecting a social media platform is all about understanding where your audience is and which one is the most impactful platform to achieve your destination goals.
Instagram is now an integral part of the social media landscape. It is the fastest growing platform in the history of social media.

"Instagram marketing is no longer something to consider — it’s just something to do. It comes with the job now. Those who understand this are no longer asking themselves WHY they should do it, but rather HOW they should do it correctly in order to get the results they want", Iconosquore. Instagram Marketing Trends & Benchmarks Report 2019.

Instagram is a visual platform where people come to share moments, find passions, and most importantly, get inspired.
Instagram is producing higher engagement rates for destinations compared to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
Instagram is the new "Carousel", a time machine taking our customers to a place where they want to go again and our prescriptors/influencers are the ones to help us play the show.
Nich-Influencers in the 10k-100k follower range offers the best combination of engagement and broad reach, that exceed influencers with higher followers. When choosing to collaborate with this influencer segment, you are looking also for the quality of interactions.

Why Nich-influencers?
  • Cost-efficient: Nich-influencers come at a much lower cost.
  • Better than word of mouth: Consumers have higher chances of listening to recommendations from this kind of influencers than an average person.
  • More authentic: They are seen as more credible sources in the eyes of followers, compared to other sources.
  • Higher engagement rate: Due to their niche focus, these influencers tend to have higher engagement rates on their posts.
So, gather your team of influencers, and keep your guests on the loop. Because the "show must go on"...

The Ski Racing Podcast: 2020 Season Review Part 1