The Audi Partnership
Audi is the title sponsor of the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup. The partnership which was announced in November 2011, started with the 2011/2012 season and will continue at this stage until the end of 2013/2014. Audi has been a partner of international winter sport for several decades. By adding the Ski Cross World Cup to its portfolio, Audi has gained another fascinating sport to complement its winter sport commitment. For Audi and FIS this has meant another exciting extension of a long-standing partnership that began in the 2002/03 season when Audi became the title sponsor of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.
How did Ski Cross Develop as an Event?
Ski Cross has a basic concept: ‘let’s take this ski run and see who can get to the bottom of the slope first’. Perhaps the nature of ski cross comes from this simple game that all children on skis have played – ‘first across the finish line wins’. Ski Cross was created as the part of very early alpine ski competitions, which had the so-called ‘mass starts’. The mass start was used, for example, in the one of the first races, the ‘Inferno’ in Mürren Switzerland, developed by a group of British skiers. Modern variations of the ‘mass start’ concept were first used in snowboarding and now in skiing since the late 1990’s. Freestyle Ski Cross is an event of the FIS Freestyle Ski Discipline, with Athletes using a combination Freestyle and Alpine Skills competing head to head on a Snowboard Cross Course, all done with an attitude. Typically, each race is now limited to either 4 or 6 starters with the top half of the field moving onto the next round. In ski cross, there are series of quarter-finals, semi- finals and then final rounds. Not restricted by formal structures and formats, the ski cross event found a home in the FIS Freestyle discipline. The bulk of the competitors now come from the Alpine discipline and structures on the course have been modified from the Olympic Snowboard cross event. The ski cross course is specially designed to test all of the skiers’ skills, with different features including turns of different types and sizes, jumps of varying size, flat sections and traverses, along with rolls, banks and ridges which are constructed on a normal ski slope. Physical endurance and strength is also a key factor, since the winning skier must ski between 4 and 5 runs of 60 seconds or more.
What is the Ski Cross Course Like?
- 800 to 1200 meters long
- 150 to 250 meters vertical drop
- Ladies and Men use the same course
- Course is a series of ‘Features’
- 50% turns of varying size and speeds between the features
- 25% traverses, bumps and rollers
- 25% jumps (1 to 4 meters high) and landings
- A Drop Down Start Gate is used
- Timing System used for Qualification and High Speed Camera used for ‘photo finish’ in the Final
What Equipment is used in Ski Cross?
- Ski Equipment
- GS Skis with softer tip (no FIS regulation on length or side cut)
- Ski Boots and bindings (FIS Rules)
- No one piece Speed Suits allowed
- Pants and Jacket (two pieces) are required and they are to be ‘loose’
- Body Protector, (back, arms and hip) usually used under suit
- Helmets are required What Are the Phyisical Demands?
- Qualification (timed trail 1 or 2 runs) followed by Final Rounds
- Interval start of qualification
- 4 persons on the course at once in the Final
- Average speed; 19 meters/sec. for men (65 kms/ hour) 14 meter/sec. for women (93% difference)
- Time per round is 45 – 60 seconds
- 5 Rounds to win; 225 to 300 seconds of skiing performance in 1 hour and 15 minutes
- 50% turns of varying radius • 25% straight running, traversing and absorption
- 25% in the air or airtime off of different size jumps
How is the Competition Run?
A timed qualification run is used to seed the skiers into different heats of four skiers each. A special start device is used and when it opens the skiers start down the slope. The start and the first section of the course before the first turn is a critical part of the run, since passing can easily occur. Other passing areas are designed into the course and interference between skiers can lead to disqualification. During each heat, the first two skiers crossing the finish line move onto the next heat, while the last two skiers, get ranked based upon the qualification times. The so-called big final round, determines the places from 1st to 4th, and the so-called ‘small final’ determines place for 5th to 8th.