Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Deer Valley gets 2011 World Freestyle finals

Utah resort tabbed a second time

Utah's Deer Valley must be doing something right in freestyle skiing.

Thursday night, the International Ski Federation (FIS) awarded the 2011 World Freestyle Ski Championships to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and Deer Valley.

It makes the Utah resort the first to host the world freestyle championships for a second time. Deer Valley also hosted the 2002 Olympic freestyle events (and alpine slalom races) plus the 2003 freestyle worlds.

Other world championship sites for 2011 announced Thursday at the FIS meeting in Vilamoura, Portugal were Alpine to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (last hosted in 1978) and Nordic to Oslo, Norway (last hosted in 1982) and snowboarding to first-time La Molina, Spain.

World Cup sites for 2006-07 were determined during the FIS biennial Congress. The U.S. gained 22 Alpine, freestyle and snowboard World Cup events. Broken down, they were six alpine races, 12 freestyle events and four snowboarding competitions.

Alpine events are Nov. 25-26 at Aspen, Colo. (women's GS/SL) and Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at Beaver Creek, Colo. (men's super combined, Dh/GS/SL). The relatively new super combined is a one-day event that will be the first World Cup combined of any format held for men in the U.S. in the 41-year Cup annals.

Stateside freestyle races are Jan. 11-13, 2007 at Deer Valley and Jan. 18-20 at Lake Placid, N.Y. Snowboarding (halfpipe for men and women, snowboardcross) is March 10-11 at Lake Placid.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association reported in the aftermath of the FIS Congress that this country was successful on key initiatives last week—including its bid for the 2011 World Freestyle Championships.

USSA led an auspicious lobbying effort to introduce women's ski jumping into the 2009 FIS Nordic World Championships. USSA also pushed for future introduction of new ski and snowboard disciplines and formats—and the FIS Council ratified minimum criteria for new disciplines.

The FIS will also consider four new ski events for the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Those events include alpine team event and freestyle ski cross (both of which were included in the 2005 FIS World Championships), as well as Nordic combined mass start and women's ski jumping.

One more note: At last week's meeting, the FIS Congress approved an FIS Council proposal to prohibit athletes and officials from gambling on events in which they are involved.

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