13th FAI World Para Ski Championships, Gosau, Austria - 1st March 2011

Early start from the Hotel this morning, with competitors taking the opportunity - much needed - there was a surprise gate just over a rise - to walk the course.

By 11.00 the last competitor had skied the qualifying course and the results were available to create the jump draw.  Team Slovenia Elan in 1st place followed by Austria Red, with one of their team members getting 0 points with the fastest time of 37.97.  Russia 1 was in third place.  After a competitors briefing, the first team to board the aircraft to start the competition in accuracy was the mixed team of Netherlands/USA.

It was all going too well - the winds were almost nothing, when, it seemed suddenly, the flags were flying from the flag poles, and a technical hitch was discovered with the wind-recording computer, and no wind speeds had been recorded.  This resulted in the need to fix the computer and award re jumps to two teams and two individuals.  Unluckily for Henricus Wiggers and Jon Christian Chandler this was a re jump of their re jumps awarded due to a pad failure on their first jump!  The computer was sorted, and a 15 minute call given, the wind-drift load emplaned and the second technical hitch of the day was the failure of the helicopter to start.  A new part was ordered (or an alternate helicopter), and jumping was called for the day.  It gave us time to prepare for the opening ceremony.

This was held in the area by the landing zone - central to this town of snow - so called because it has snow for 11 months of the year (due to its altitude of 800 meters (745 actually, rounded up).  After marching into the central area behind plaques bearing the names of all the countries represented by competitors, carried by the local small children, speeches of welcome were made by the Mayor of Gosau,  Local Tourism Manager, and an Austrian General - when praise and thanks were given to the organisers and sponsors.  Graeme Windsor then left his place behind the Australian plaque (as a competitor) and assumed his other role, as the IPC President - he also thanked all the competitors who had come, some from a long distance, and the judges and officials who gave their time to help make this all possible.  He also thanked the organisers and all the local support and the dignitaries for making us all so welcome. The 13th FAI World Para Ski Championships was then declared open.

There was a short and explosive firework display to close the opening ceremony.

First Ski race is at 10.00 tomorrow morning, with the course open at 9.0 for competitors to walk it.  Accuracy begins again at 12.00.