The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s (USSA) Center of Excellence has had its share of VIP visitors this summer. Among them was German Ski Association President Alfons Hoermann, who took time from his USA holiday to visit with USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. In addition to meeting with his colleague on the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) governing board and touring the Center, it was an opportunity to talk about Germany’s excitement to play host to the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships this February in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Hoermann was elected to the 17-member FIS Council following the death of longtime leader Fritz Wagnerberger. He was impressed with what he saw as Marolt gave him a tour of the new USSA national training and education center.
“I was very impressed with the fascinating Center of Excellence,” said Hoermann. “On a high professional level it shows all the elements of a future-oriented association for competitive sports. The management of the association and the Center are organized in an exemplary manner, which has been unique for me so far.”
One of the overarching elements of the location of the Center of Excellence is that it’s designed to take full advantage of the neighboring training and competition sites from the 2002 Olympics and the enthusiasm of youth stemming from Games over eight years ago. “It was great to see that all the facilities are still used and that it is integrated into the strategy of the ski association after eight years,” he said. Chidren and teens are still using the facilities which shows how the Olympic legacy should work. Salt Lake City 2002 is a great example for the future of the Olympic Games.”
Hoermann’s nation has its own opportunity coming up in February with the 2011 World Championships in Garmisch. The hometown of noted ski racers Maria Riesch and Felix Neureuther, which last hosted the event in 1978, is gearing up for a fantastic championships for athletes and fans, according to Hoermann. The event will kickoff with a spectacular opening ceremony on Feb. 7 utilizing unique new video projection technology and a live TV broadcast for the first time ever.
Two competition finish arenas will be used including Kandahar Arena for downhill, super G, giant slalom and the nations team event. The slalom and super combined will be held in the nearby Gudiberg Arena. Awards and celebrations will be held in the World Championship Park in the heart of the city.
Marolt and Hoermann also talked about the successful candidacy of the USA in bringing the 2015 World Championships to Beaver Creek/Vail. “I was also deeply impressed with the plans for the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek and Vail just a few weeks after being awarded,” he added. “It’s a good marketing direction and it should help the organizers achieve success for such a huge sporting event.”