IOC Recognition of Ski Mountaineering!

Some great news out of Rio ahead of the start of the olympic games: Ski Mountaineering has been officially recognized the the IOC!  This is a crucial step towards introduction of Ski Mountaineering as an olympic sport, which we hope to see very soon.  The full press release from the ISMF is below, or here


It is a dream come true. Yes, we are “in”: ISMF, International Ski Mountaineering Federation, is now part of the Olympic Movement as the latest Federation to join the team. The road is still long, but there is good news for all Skimo lovers and it comes from the Tropic of Capricorn: today in Rio de Janeiro the IOC, International Olympic Committee, has decided to grant the full recognition to ISMF, during the Session that is leading through the opening of the XXXI Olympic Games of Rio, Brazil.

Lluis Lopez, ISMF vice president sport, was joyful to announce and spread the news: «We made it, now it is time to work even harder».

After the provisional recognition, granted two years ago, in April 2014, the path is now moving a crucial step forward, opening a new and important period for the ISMF. Getting the status of “IOC Recognised Federation” has been the mission to accomplish since 1988, when the roots of the ISMF message were set with the creation of CISAC, Comité International pour le Ski Alpinisme de Compétition. After that, the ISMF foundation came 20 years later, in 2008. Since then, all the efforts have been shared among the member Federations in order to achieve a common goal.

«We are very proud of this result which is also a great responsibility - says Armando Mariotta, ISMF president – and I would like to thank the whole ISMF team for the massive work that everyone carried out and the IOC Sport Department for its precious support».

The IOC has been assessing ISMF method and actions in order to check whether the Federation deserved a full recognition. «I believe – adds Mariotta – that there are different reasons contributing to this result». First and fundamental, Ski Mountaineering is a clean and sustainable sport and has always operated to remain this way. «Crucial for the recognition – explains Mariotta – has also been the contract signed with INFRONT in order to set up a media right and broadcasting plan, as well as the agreement with LGC, Le Grande Course, for the new World ranking».

All these elements, together with the attention to youngsters, the constant battle against doping, the increased numbers of athletes attending international competitions, and the sharing of the IOC Good Governance principles, have been the key elements to get this great achievement.


2017 World Championships Selection update and gear update

The 2016/2017 Ski Mountaineering season is fast approaching!  Though the final calendar is yet completed, we have formalized the two events that will serve as the qualifying events for the 2017 Ski Mountaineering World Championship, to be held in Transcavallo, Italy. 

We amended the qualifying protocols this year (full explanation can be found on the USSMA blog) to simplify the selection criteria.  Briefly, worlds selection will be based on four races held over two event weekends.  For the individual event, the top three men and women in the individual qualifier gain a spot for the individual team.  The fourth slot for men and women will fall to the highest placed individual in the second event (the team qualifier) that has not already qualified.  For the team’s event, the top 8 male and female finishers in the team’s qualifier will gain a spot on the team.  The vert and sprint spots will go to the top 4 male and female finishers in the vert and sprint qualifying event.  The relay team will be composed of the top two men and women from each of the vert and sprint qualifying events.  Please note that all qualifications must be made from results in this calendar year (previous years finishes will not be taken into consideration in team selection).

The first qualifying event weekend will be held at Brundage Mountain (McCall, Idaho) on December 16th and 17th.  The Vert qualifier will be held Friday evening, and the individual qualifier will be held Saturday.  This is a new venue for this season, but Brundage is very excited to host us and we are already hard at work preparing!

The second qualifying event weekend will be held at Sunlight Mountain (Heathen Challenge) on January 14th and 15th.  Team selections will be made from the individual event at Sunlight, and sprint selections will be made from the sprint event the same weekend. 

Athletes who qualify for the World Championship team will be notified immediately after the Sunlight weekend, and will have one week to either confirm or deny their spot on the world championship team.  Please note that in order to qualify for the worlds team, you must race in the qualifying events.  Results from previous years will not be used as selection criteria for the World championships team!

In related news, the ISMF gear rules have changed for the 2016/2017 season (these rules were put in place last season, but will only be enforced starting this season).  These are not guidelines, but formal rules that will be enforced.  Any athletes participating in ISMF sanctioned events (including World Cups, World championships, and LDT races, such as Pierra Menta) must comply with the new rules. There are three notable changes:


  1. Two antenna avalanche transceivers (such as the Pieps race) are illegal for competition use.  All racers must carry a three-antenna beacon.
  2. All race suits must have an internal zippered pocket to hold the avalanche beacon.  Older suits with flap closures are now illegal for competition use.  Beacons cannot be in the outer skin pouches.
  3. Helmets must be certified to UIAA 106 and EN 1077 standards (or the corresponding EN 12492 and EN 1077).  Many of the helmets currently used are not certified to the newer standards, and are thus not allowed for competition use.  Many of these helmets have identical newer models that do meet these standards, but the older versions cannot be used.  All legal helmets will carry a sticker stating their certification level on the interior of the helmet. 


If you plan to race in Europe this season, please check your gear to make sure you meet competition standards!


More news to come as the 2016/2017 season calendar is finalized.  I hope you are all having a great summer, and look forward to a great season coming ahead!


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