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Question and Answer


with Ken Read
Prior to the FIS Congress week in Barcelona, FIS took the opportunity to sit down with former Alpine racer Ken Read, Chairman of the FIS Youth and Children Sub-Committee to talk about the major items on the agenda.

Coming into the Congress how do you view the health of youth snow sports?

I have never been more excited about the future of snow sports. We are seeing more countries and athletes participating and this can only build greater interest. The Sochi Games profiled many new events, new personalities and energy which reach youth wherever there is snow.

The so-called “traditional” events also are enjoying increased interest. I had the opportunity to attend the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships 2014 in Jasna (SVK), where we had athletes from more countries than ever participating. To add to the excitement, the Championships featured junior athletes who competed at the Olympic Winter Games and World Cup who were keen to attend not only because of the high level of competition, but also to be with their friends. It was a great festival.

At our annual FIS Youth Seminar, held annually during the FIS Autumn Meetings in Zurich (SUI), record numbers of countries attended.

From amazing performances on the snow, to enormous interest in the new events, to an ever-wider audience wherever there is snow – indoor halls, river valleys, smaller resorts to the traditional alpine resorts – the enthusiasm to get out in the snow is growing.

At the Congress which meetings and topics are you looking forward to addressing?

Everyone is passionate about the snow and keenly focused on building, especially my fellow Chairs for the respective Youth & Children Coordination Groups – Harald Haim (Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined), Satu Kalajainen (Cross-Country) and Denis Giger (Freestyle Skiing/Snowboard).

Some of the most important topics we will discuss in Barcelona are:

Athlete retention: keeping athletes both young and old participating
Age-appropriate regulations for competition rules and equipment
To ensure we have safe competitive environments
Knowledge transfer to build the athlete pipeline
Meeting with future Organisers for Junior World Championships

On a personal level, I want to see my favourite event – downhill – continue to be a thriving part of alpine ski racing: ensuring we have challenging, safe venues; good progression from FIS to Continental Cup to World Cup; and a robust environment with good coaching and well-trained officials which encourages young athletes to be excited to race speed.

FIS SnowKidz twin project World Snow Day has successfully reached its first set of goals. The Congress will see the next set of goals defined. What will they be?

World Snow Day has given the entire snow sport community a day to celebrate winter snow sport activities. It’s really great to see so many NSA’s, clubs, events, ski resorts and industry join in. I’m a great believer in building – we need to continue this momentum, encourage more media profile of events and get the message out – be active! Winter is the best season of the year and what better way to celebrate nature, the mountains or hills, action in the snow and especially for families – a great way for mom, dad and your children to burn off all that energy in a fun, positive way.

Let’s encourage every NSA member of FIS to take up at least one project on World Snow Day. Let’s run an event in every FIS discipline on that day with the added goal of bringing out newcomers for an experience of a lifetime to meet a champion and learn a new sport.

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