A record number of 77 nations (per 10 January 2019) have entered teams to race at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2019 in Åre. By contrast, the first ever FIS World Championships held in Mürren, Switzerland back in 1931 were contested among the Alpine nations and, perhaps surprisingly, Great Britain. At that time, there were a total of 20 participants representing Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain, nine of them women and 11 men.
It took until the combined Olympic Winter Games and FIS World Ski Championshipsat Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956 for the number of competitors to exceed 100 and the number of nations to pass 10. The growth only began in earnest in the 1990s. From Salbaach (Austria) 1991 to Morioka (Japan) 1993, the number of nations grew from 17 to 38 and has continued to grow ever since.
Entering a team does not necessarily mean that a nation will be at the start in the National Arena. Those who do not directly qualify based on their FIS points will need to compete in the so-called qualification race for slalom and giant slalom in Duved. Unfortunately, most of the racers will not advance. And to race for the medals in the downhill and super-G, there is no qualification race but instead sufficiently low FIS points are required to start.
– The requirement for a certain FIS point level is based on safety considerations. To race in the World Championships speed races, a certain technical ability is required and FIS points are the measure we use for that, said Åke Moänge, Race Office Manager at Åre 2019.
For a sport it is important to have many participating nations. Having a broad-based and culturally diverse alpine skiing family where everyone feels welcome, can develop and learn from each other is a prerequisite for the sport’s future growth. Having a record number of participating nations also fits well with the vision of Åre 2019 which is “to inspire the world to ski”.
– The FIS World Ski Championships are all about a community, about showcasing the sport and demonstrating that it is possible for anyone to ski. Any nation wanting to compete is welcome to Åre 2019. We are looking forward to seeing what the small nations can do and may well be surprised during the Championships, said Niklas Carlsson, CEO of Åre 2019.
Among the nations that have submitted their application are Jordan, Thailand and Tajikistan, none of which has participated in a World Ski Championships before the 2019 Championships.
Facts and Figures – Qualification Races and FIS Points
In both technical events for ladies and men (i.e. slalom and giant slalom), everyone not qualified based on their FIS points or World Cup results must compete in the qualification race in Duved to participate in the medal event.
A total of 100 racers will be at the start in the National Arena. The best 50 will qualify on the basis of their results in the World Cup or FIS points. The remaining 50 will be based on the results of the qualification race. In the medal events in Åre, the best 60 racers from the first race will qualify for the second run.
In the speed events (super-G and downhill), a racer is required to have less than 80 FIS points in each respective event. To start in the alpine combined, a maximum of 140 FIS points in the alpine combined rankings are allowed in addition to a maximum of 80 FIS points in the downhill.
The FIS Points are calculated so that the lower the points, the better the racer. 0.00 equates to the highest ranking. As of 10 January 2019, the male with 80 FIS Points in Downhill is ranked 511thin the world.
Selected participating nations
Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Great Britain, Haiti, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malta, Morocco, Nepal, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Thailand, Timor, Uzbekistan, Venezuela
For the complete list of entries (nations), click here and go to Participating Nations.