This press release originally appeared on fis-ski.com on Wednesday, March 18, 2022.
May marks the month of the FIS Committee meetings, debriefing the season and setting up task and changes for the upcoming ones.
All proposals that were elaborated by Sub-Committees and working groups members came on the table of the Cross-Country Committee (CCC) on Wednesday, 18th May. The Committee discussed them and forwarded the confirmed proposals on to the highest authority in FIS, the FIS Council.
All proposals, including the extract of the major proposals presented below, are therefore subject to the approval of the FIS Council which will meet on 26th May.
Decisions of the FIS Cross-Country Committee
Equal Distances for Women and Men
The question, if women and men are to race equal distances has been a very important topic for years and a prominent discussion building up to this year’s Cross-Country Committee meetings as the decision was on the agenda.
With 57%, the CCC voted for equal distances for women and men.
A historical decision.
The implementation will be effective from the upcoming World Cup season on the World Cup level as well as on Junior and U23 World Ski Championships (JWSC/U23 WSC) and Youth Olympic Games (YOG) level for now. The decision whether to implement it on World Ski Championships level will be discussed with all stakeholders and decided in May 2023.
In a second step, the voting members decided about the formats that will be in place and voted to use the following standard distances
For World Cup: Sprint | 10km | 20km | 50km with Skiathlon being 20km (10km + 10km)
For U23 WSC and JWSC: Interval 10km | Sprint | Mixed Relay 4x5km | Mst 20km
For YOG: Interval 7.5km | Sprint | Mixed Relay 4x5km
The National Ski Federations, of which the voting members consist, did not go into a long discussion but came with a clear opinion. All up front, the main argument to vote for equal distances was that there should not be any question whether women were capable of racing the same distances as men, as they prove that they physically are capable of doing so already.
The main argument against was the time that women need to cover the same distance as men and the effective TV time.
FIS Cross-Country Calendar
The updated version of the calendar will be uploaded once approved by the FIS Council.
Starting out with the traditional Nordic weekend at Ruka (FIN) from 25th to 27th November, the FIS Cross-Country family will stay in Scandinavia and move to Norway for two event weekends in Lillehammer and Beitostølen before going to altitude in central Europe with the famous Davos Nordic weekend in Switzerland, which will take place on 17th and 18th December.
The Tour de Ski is set from 31st December to 8th January with stages in Val Müstair (SUI), Oberstdorf (GER) and Val di Fiemme (ITA).
After a competition-free weekend, the World Cup family remains in Italy for the City Sprint in Milano, a three-day event in Les Rousses (FRA) and Toblach (ITA) as the final preparation before the World Ski Championships in Planica that is scheduled for 22nd February to 5th March 2023.
The final period of the Cross-Country World Cup starts in Norway with Oslo and Drammen before heading to Falun (SWE), Tallin (EST) and Lahti (FIN) for the World Cup Finals.
World Cup Points
A dedicated working group compiled a new World Cup point table that is set to decrease the gaps between athletes in the overall standings without devaluing top results. The table that was approved by the CCC gives the opportunity to a wider range of athletes to score World Cup points and gives a higher value for Distance athletes to participate in Sprint races and vice versa.
The new World Cup Point table will be uploaded in the World Cup Rules once approved by the FIS Council.
Course bibs dedicated to female staff
US Ski & Snowboard had submitted a proposal to add a number of course access bibs per team for female service staff only, with the wish to therewith encourage more National Ski Federations to invest into the education of female staff in the ski service field in cross-country skiing. The proposal was accepted by the CCC.
Quota for Team competitions
Small nation’s quota
To give more nations the possibility to join Team competitions, the CCC approved that every nation with a basic quota of less than four athletes has the right to start with four athletes per gender also in all individual competitions if there is a Relay or Team Sprint during the same World Cup stage.
Mixed Relay starting order
For the future Mixed Relay competitions, each nation will have the right to enter 2 teams per nation. The starting order will alternate between the order Woman | Man | Woman | Man and Man | Woman | Man | Woman.
The CCC approved that nations can enter mixed nations teams (athletes from max. two different nations), if they do not have enough athletes to form their own team.
The Chairman says goodbye
For Vegard Ulvang, Chairman of the Cross-Country Committee this was the last meeting after well 20 years in position as he announced to step back. His replacement will be elected via the FIS Council.
The FIS Cross-Country family has gone through significant changes under the watch of the Chairman. As a former world-class athlete himself, Vegard stepped into position with an incredible experience and passion for his position and the sport.
FIS Cross-Country sat down together with Vegard to reflect on his time as a Chairman of the Cross-Country Committee. Especially milestones such as the Sprint introduction in 2001, a renewed WSC program from 2005 and of course the introduction of the Tour de Ski were just some of the milestones set in Vegards’ Committee career.
The extended FIS Cross-Country family would already now like to thank Vegard for his tireless dedication for the work behind the scenes of the Cross-Country sport. He gave an unparalleled commitment and took over the large responsibility that comes with the job and has triggered, influenced, and managed many historic decisions. Thank you Vegard for leading the way.
For his contribution, Vegard was proposed to become a Honorary Member and will need to be confirmed by the FIS Council.