FIS PISTE MAP
THE BLUEPRINT FOR OUR FUTURE
The FIS Piste Map is the blueprint for the future of our organisation and a framework to create an exciting and rock solid present and future for our sport and athletes, upholding the highest standards of inclusive and transparent governance.
I pledge to work with and on behalf of every FIS member National Association to deliver a FIS Piste Map that will evolve us into a global movement for world skiing and snowboarding.
You know me for my energy and drive. You know me for my deep knowledge and experience working with you, the National Ski Associations and Stakeholders in our sport, alongside the
Olympic Committee and Olympic Family, the Associations and governmental institutions pivotal to our existence, and my life-long commitment to our sport.
You know me for my dedication, which has always been in the best interests of our sport.
You can count on me - I believe we can make a real difference together to create a better future, defining our pathway ahead together and making this happen.
FIS has considerable untapped potential for revenue growth across its disciplines, with its unique range that appeals to diverse interest and participation groups. Now is the time for FIS, the National Associations and rights holders to review opportunities - here is a snapshot:
EMERGING WINTER SPORT ECONOMIES
NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
VISIONARY ADVISORY GROUP
FIS has relied on outstanding loyal long-term partnerships for many decades. The key to future stability and growth is to support these relationships and secure partnerships across the disciplines that have a profoundly positive effect on our sport and our athletes.
Developing our sport digitally is vital for unlocking opportunities for growth through commercial activities with partners who see the wide spectrum of FIS disciplines as open to innovation.
Leveraging digital media by partnering with rights holders and broadcasters to master content across multiple channels, massively expanding exposure and building connections with fans is key.
Driving stronger fan experiences with new and immersive technology, such as augmented and virtual reality, and effective use of the latest social media and audio-based platforms to create intensely exciting engagement experiences, would really take our disciplines to the next level, as well as drive loyalty and fan relationships.
By expanding eSports across the FIS disciplines, we will connect with new and different audiences, growing our community and integrating partners with a rapid growth market that has accelerated hugely during the pandemic.
We have many outstanding athletes and former legends, who are keen to be involved as well as give back to the sport they love through promotional activities, events and in the media.
FIS could be leveraging a wide range of opportunities - from guest appearances at key events, to live debates on the future of our sport, to sponsor-related athlete ambassador initiatives, to helping our athletes from developing National Associations, championing a whole range of areas from sports psychology to physical training to anti-doping and safeguarding athletes - really throwing the media and fan spotlight on our athletes.
Involving the many well-known personalities and leaders of industry who are skiers further expands our presence more widely throughout society by featuring not only on sports pages, but in lifestyle media and on other mainstream media platforms.
Viewing habits have changed and these have been accelerated as a result of the pandemic. By further harnessing the power of data in its storytelling, FIS can give a real showcase for snow sports innovation and athlete performance.
Future fans of snow sports will be attracted by our use of impressive sport-specific metrics, such as the athletes’ efficient use of potential energy, ability to minimise friction and aerodynamic drag, maintaining speeds, choosing the optimal trajectory, competition tactics, specialist equipment and its technology, along with course insights.
Increasing the visibility and thereby the status of the sport will elevate the value of FIS commercial rights which is key for all our flagship events, including the World Cups and Championships, as well as elevating the promotion of Classics Events to increase their global iconic status.
It is time to adapt the commercial model specific to the sport, its culture and the athletes.
For example in Snowboard, Freestyle and FreeSki there are many high profile stars and these sports can best evolve through partnerships with action sport specialists to grow a new model together. Each FIS discipline offers a huge opportunity.
A new FIS Licensing Programme for relevant winter sport industry products and services could provide an important revenue stream to support our National Associations and athlete-centred strategies and further extend our sport’s visibility and connection with stakeholders in the sport.
Harnessing the significantly increased interest of emerging winter sport economies, such as the Chinese winter sports industry where the ski resorts have just experienced an excellent 2020-21 season, presents another opportunity to broaden the revenue base from its traditional roots.
The private equity investment model, implemented by a number of international sports federations, represents another potential opportunity for FIS with the National Associations organising top level events to bring in new resources to help grow our sport - working with a true partner who is looking to invest in growing the commercial value as well as the assets for the benefit of our sport.
Support and insights from a newly created Visionary Advisory Group, comprising highly experienced leaders from the media, digital, commercial, marketing, sports business, winter sport tourism and snow sport industries, would benefit us - the group would contribute to the FIS decision-making bodies in an advisory capacity on overall marketing, media and commercial strategies to help accelerate the power of our sport’s revenue streams.
Leading global figures with successful track records and extensive networks are ready to contribute to the Visionary Advisory Group.
FIS has achieved many milestones since it was established at the heart of the first Olympic Winter Games in 1924.
We are now the beacon for winter sports after reaching our biggest milestone in Olympic history with six of the 15 disciplines and 55 of the 109 events on the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games programme dedicated to the disciplines governed by FIS.
Leading with authority and integrity into 2021 and beyond into the second centennial, with a renewed structure, inclusiveness throughout all levels of the organisation, transparency, and a responsible financial approach to ensure an equitable system that encourages, rewards and supports activity, FIS would better serve its members and operate more effectively.
Here are a number of key areas to be considered together with the National Associations, as part of the FIS Piste Map strategic plan:
INCREASE GENDER DIVERSITY
MOVEMENT & KEY ORGANISATIONS
COUNCIL & COMMITTEE EXPERTISE
PRIORITISE ATHLETE WELFARE
DEVELOP MARC HODLER FOUNDATION
INDEPENDENT INTEGRITY OVERSIGHT
2021 will see FIS elect its first President of the 21st century, and the fifth President since FIS was established 97 years ago.
As part of a package of governance reforms at FIS, this is the time to assess the appropriateness for term limits of the FIS President and FIS Council Members with a view to introducing a limit of three election terms.
This would comply with the recommendation of the IF Governance Review, adopted by the IOC and most leading International Federations, and thereby strengthens the democratic process at FIS to enable it to stay nimble in the fast moving world of sport.
The tremendous experience of long-serving officials would importantly be retained in the system, as mentors to their successors and next generation, as well as serving as part of specific advisory commissions.
The introduction of a Remunerations Commission to determine compensation levels of the FIS President, Leadership and Management would serve to provide transparent information to our National Associations and stakeholders about the use of resources - this is another important point highlighted in the IF Governance Review.
I will renounce on a presidential salary, both on the basis of my personal belief that the elected President representing its members should serve the sport, but also to enable extra resources to be redirected into supporting other areas of the organisation, such as the National Ski Association’s current financial challenges as a result of the pandemic, and other areas to strengthen the organisation.
The FIS disciplines are relatively gender balanced and there are now female athletes participating in all disciplines. The leading athletes enjoy a similar media profile as their male counterparts, which is a perfect position to be in as the world's biggest brands and sports organisations champion women in global sport. By continuing to improve the diversity of our sport participation, and building more platforms for our female athletes as role models, we can perpetuate this diversity for generations to come.
There are no barriers for participating in sport, and this must also be true for its governance. Quoting UN Women: “Leaders need to represent the people they serve to best understand their wants and needs.” At FIS however there is no doubt about it - we stand out among International Federations currently with an all-male Council, excepting one of the Athletes Commission representatives being female. The status in our National Associations is also far from balanced with a small minority pioneers having female Presidents, while the majority are vastly under-represented in their Executive Boards too.
Advancing diversity proactive measures within the FIS leadership structures is vital for our future, and with talented female executives and officials already in our world of snow sports and rapidly emerging, we have the opportunity to change this.
An option to accelerate this process immediately would be to enable our leading National Associations to submit a candidate of each gender for the Council - sharing one vote.
“If you can see it, you can be it”: identifying committee chairs, members, officials and athletes to mentor and coach for future roles is also vital.
Reviewing the entire FIS governance structure against the IF Governance Review 2020 report to align financial support with fulfilling governance requirements would ensure that FIS conforms with best practice.
Appointing independent members from the wider international sports governance community to the FIS Ethics Commission would also demonstrate good governance to outside scrutiny.
Just like elite sport, the administration of FIS and its support of the membership requires the best available talent, with back-up structures and professional development coaching, to ensure FIS can continually evolve to meet increasing demands. Specifics include media training and crisis management, division of responsibilities and collaboration between the elected leadership and professional staff.
The credibility of FIS as the leader in global winter sports governance is of the utmost importance.
FIS requires a strong presence at the highest levels with the International Olympic Committee. Nurturing relationships with the Olympic Games Organising Committees, National Olympic Committees and the Association of National Olympic Committees is equally important.
Over the last 26 years at FIS, I have built strong working relationships with the IOC, its Leadership and throughout the Olympic Movement, and all major institutions in our sport including AIOWF: the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations, GAISF: the Global Association of International Sports Federations and SportAccord.
Nurturing relations with the World Anti-Doping Agency, Court for Arbitration in Sport, United Nations Sport for Climate Action, European Commission and the wider governmental and non-governmental organisations is also an important task.
With my in-depth knowledge and experience I can ensure we continue to grow key relationships from day 1 as FIS President.
FIS also needs to continue to take its rightful place as a leader in global sport at the heart of the major sports discussions by participating in select prominent sports business, influential conferences, events and networking opportunities
There is a wealth of expertise in the FIS Council and within the FIS Committees. Integrating this know-how into key functions at FIS, for example by defining the roles for FIS Council Members such as discipline oversight, marketing, commercial, legal, governance, special projects would be valuable. Reviewing the Committees to ensure we have the appropriate bodies to cover present and future areas of the sport and development.
Increasing the regularity of FIS Council interaction, from the current two meetings per year and one biannual gathering, to minimum quarterly official meetings, as a mix of in-person and online for convenience and cost reasons would also enhance the governance of FIS. Implementing regular management reporting to the Council and the Membership will optimise the alignment too.
FIS already has a successful Athletes Commission elected by the Athletes for the Athletes.
Now, in line with the representation of athletes in our sport, establishing Athletes Commissions in each of our disciplines comprising diverse representation from each individual event in both genders will further involve our athletes in the accountability and governance of their sport.
The Committees and FIS Officials would thereby have an elected athlete representative as a liaison who is discipline and event specific.
The role and involvement of the Organisers is a fundamental aspect of the sport and organisation. There are many outstanding Organising Committees across all nations and their role has significantly evolved with all World Cup Organisers employing professional specialists to carry out events, carrying high liability and financial responsibilities. Their voices at the decision-making table with the National Associations and FIS are essential.
The snow sports industry plays a significant role, investing in the sport in support of the athletes and teams. The long-term commitment of the industry has been especially underlined this season, during a period when businesses have been devastated. The industry’s integration in the discussions about the sport is a must.
The health and welfare of our athletes during and post-career is paramount.
Working in tandem with National Associations, the necessity for a FIS Medical Director should be assessed - focusing on injury prevention, wider medical conditions, mental health and overseeing the medical aspects of managing the pandemic adaptation.
FIS can also contribute to enhance the prospects of athletes careers after retirement, through education programmes, including digital coaching, training and interactive learning alongside establishing a career pathway in the ski industry and tourism, utilising the FIS Academy to facilitate programmes.
An internship programme at FIS and in partnership with leading National Associations, the ski and tourism industry and other stakeholders will give valuable work experience to athletes we can keep in the sport for their post-athlete careers.
Appointing a Sustainability Committee to implement the Mainau Manifesto 2.0 and UN Sport for Climate Action objectives, while collaborating with experts and winter sports to address the challenges including tackling climate change is a must to protect the present and future of snow sports and the global populations who call the mountains home.
The expertise is ready and at our disposal to support and guide FIS in this crucial area, to ensure sustainability is anchored through all areas and layers of FIS.
Focusing on sustainability is key for our future and has an important ripple effect, including with sponsorship partners who want to know that they are working with an organisation that takes this seriously and is implementing sustainability in a tangible way.
Appointing FIS Athlete Sustainability Ambassadors in each of the FIS disciplines as global snow sport tackles sustainability and environment challenges makes total sense - our athletes are in a perfect position to engage, inspire and be the voice, sharing views with FIS and National Associations for change.
The Marc Hodler Foundation can serve as an important cornerstone of the organisation by better activating the Foundation’s mission more effectively to “promote globally through cultural, science and other activities connected to snow sports”. In so doing we can enable FIS to focus on its core objectives of organising competitions and developing the sport.
Opportunities to develop through the Foundation alongside the social responsibility actions of the organisation by engaging with our athletes in special need, such as those who are severely injured, suffering from serious illness or hardship, include creating a platform to recognise former athletes and sports contributors - the FIS Legends.
Introducing a fundraising dimension to the Foundation through a specialist in philanthropy to sustain the activities, while complying with its non-profit mission, could also be considered.
FIS has already appointed the Court of Arbitration for Sport Anti-Doping Division to carry out adjudication of doping cases at the first instance level, Global Sports Investigations to handle ethical matters and the appointment of an Integrity Manager. The next evolution to ensure independent scrutiny of process with FIS governance would be to consider further steps, which may include further outsourcing of anti-doping control to the Independent Testing Agency.
The separation of responsibilities between Ethical and Integrity governance, and the Commercial side of the organisation is an important aspect of sound best-practice governance, so there is no undue or perceived influence of commercial aspects on integrity decisions.
SNOWSPORT 2021 & BEYOND
Sports around the world have been hit hard by the pandemic, and this is continuing in 2021 with the entire snow sport ecosystem no exception.
Many countries were prevented from opening their resorts for tourism and non-elite sport the entire season.
Addressing the needs of the National Associations and their Organisers who have suffered immensely during the pandemic will be a key and immediate priority, while keeping a firm eye on addressing the future evolution of our sport.
SPORT AT THE CENTRE
WINTER SPORT TOURISM PARTNERSHIP
EVOLVE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
DEVELOPING NATIONS FOCUS
& EDUCATION PROGRAMMES
TOURISM & YOUTH ENGAGEMENT
STRONG LEGACY PROJECTS
MORE SNOW SPORTS
Reviewing the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of each of our disciplines is central to ensuring our sport is optimised for the future. This requires a 360 approach involving all the stakeholders and having courage to address hot topics too.
Creating new partnerships is central to growth, such as the tremendous opportunities to deepen relations and activities jointly with the winter tourism industry, along with focusing on promotional opportunities, connecting recreational skiers to FIS, environmental and legacy projects, youth engagement initiatives and diversity and social responsibility calls to action that make a difference for the entire snow sports ecosystem.
Working hand in hand with every developing National Association, we will jointly assess their specific individual challenges, objectives and current national support levels, and address how FIS can better support their progress. In addition to implementing effective programmes and activities through the FIS Development Programme, personalised solutions such as mentoring, coach placement schemes and a scholarship programme with established ski academies can support further development.
Evolving the FIS Development Programme through online learning programmes and courses, expanding specialist seminars, coaching workshops and programmes will also be an important part of assisting the developing nations. In addition, by collaborating with established National Association coach education systems, creating an International Coaching Programme tailored specifically for the Developing Nations will greatly enhance access to coach education.
Establishing the FIS disciplines as leading winter sports in more countries is one way of boosting growth, but first we need to support the evolution of our existing developing National Associations.
By assisting with raising their profile at home with their sports ministries, National Olympic Committees and national authorities, FIS can endorse snow sports and their role to create strong national backing.
Potential opportunities to showcase the achievements of the developing nations, such as defining the qualification races as World Championship Challenger competitions thereby raising the status of the competitions would further support their recognition. Similarly re-positioning the regional Continental Cup Series as the World Cup Challengers Tour will assist in building up the status of the sport in the eyes of their national authorities and showcase the achievements of the athletes when they finish high up the results list, which is presently difficult at World Championship and World Cup level.
Opportunities for athletes from developing nations could be greatly enhanced by collaborating further with the global National Ski Academy network, by facilitating placements and scholarship programmes along with online learning, specialist seminars, coaching workshops, mentoring with experienced nations to increase the knowledge growth of the developing nations.
Skiing, snow sports competition and winter tourism have a symbiotic relationship. This is an aspect of our sport which is relatively unique compared to most sports and provides the biggest potential catalyst to a really significant expansion of the sport and industry by working hand in hand.
Snow tourism is also key to motivating children and young adults to participate - these are our future athletes, as well as customers for the industry and fans.
The indoor snow centres that have been increasingly built in a number of countries during the past 20 years have introduced many new participants to snow sports who do not live in close proximity to the mountains. Many of our champions and athletes have also begun their careers in local and year-round snow and dry slope centres. These facilities will continue to play an increasingly important role in the future.
By working closely together with everyone in the snow sport industry we can address joint challenges and create opportunities to expand our sport and the industry - organising a biannual Global Snow Forum connected to the spring FIS Calendar Conference or autumn Technical Meeting Gathering would be extremely beneficial to us all.
Building legacies to support the communities where FIS events are staged is crucial.
Where better to start than the World Championships which present a true legacy for the community to combine sport, with the local economy, communities, social, cultural and the environmental aspects.
By engaging with social responsibility partners connected to snow sport, FIS can assist in supporting humanitarian programmes in mountain regions around the world, as well as in partnership with important global organisations such as the Special Olympics.
Interacting with other exciting snow sports, such as Ski Mountaineering, Freeride and increasing collaboration with Para Snow Sports, we can further promote the countless opportunities to experience and enjoy all forms of snow sport accessible for everyone.