Club 5 - An important resource for the organizers

World Cup Kvitfjell has been a part of Club5 since 2005. A union that was founded in 1988, and which now consists of the biggest and most important international alpine organizers, each responsible for races all over the world on an annual basis. For Kvitfjell, this has been an important and rewarding co-operation.

Club5 was founded in 1988, and thus, this year is the union’s 30-year anniversary. Serge Lang (FRA) came up with the idea for such a union. The first few years, the co-operation was mostly about creating larger incomes for the five organizers, which was Val Gardena (ITA), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI) and Val d’Isére (FRA).

An expert organization

Srecko Medyen, from Kranjska Gora (SLO), is the president of this organization, which now has existed for 30 years: “Club5 is important for all the members and organizers because we are an expert organization. We all share with each other the positive experience and all the expertise each and every organizer possesses.”

“It is a lot easier to learn from others who have made mistakes, as opposed to each organizer making, and learning from, the same mistakes on their own. That way, we can increase the competence and knowledge of all out members to the level that FIS requires, and to the level all the members of Club5 should deliver”, says Medven.

The members of Club5 meets several times each year, some visit each other, and there are regular meetings in connection with the spring and autumn FIS meetings.
At these meetings, the FIS managers are almost always present. Sometimes they are actively participating in the discussion, other times the organizers discuss among themselves.

“We are supposed to be an important co-operative authority for the FIS, and during the last few years we have been acknowledged as precisely that”, says Medven.
“But it hasn’t always been like that?”
“No, the history of Club5 can be divided into several time periods. In the beginning, it was all about economy and TV, a co-operation to secure the organizers larger incomes and publicity. Then, we reached a period where it all became more of a social club. Now, we are an expert organization that co-operates well, both with the FIS and the members. In this round, we discussed this thoroughly, and we decided early on that we should not be, or create, a political arena, but be exclusively focused on making our product as good as it can be, according to the framework we relate to.”
“That’s why we started developing the Club5 workshop. It consists of different themes every time, and this has worked well in terms of our intentions. Also, this way a larger number of people within the organization has been able to participate.”

Precisely the same role

The future involves challenges for everyone involved in ski sports. However, Medven is quite sure that the Club5 will continue to exist, and have precisely the same role in the future, as it has today. Learning from others, requiring more skills, will never go out of fashion.
“We will consider all the new elements coming up, discussing them with all the new members in the same way we have been these last few years. Club5 is the best place to discuss new initiatives, because we are well trained, have unique and divergent skills in a lot of different areas. We can and will work hand in hand with the FIS regarding the same challenges. Together we will guard the most important issue of the Club5, securing World Cup races all over the world.”

And Medven is quite clear on one thing:
“We are continuing the work, we have to dominate within the area of technology, and we have to do this together with the FIS. The FIS makes the rules, and we will always be constructive and innovative. We will always come up with new suggestions and discuss them with the FIS to find the right way to proceed”.
“Today, there is a big competition for organizing alpine World Cup races. Do you think it is an extra advantage to be a member of the Club5, to keep one’s place in the circus?”
“Well. No, it’s not a guarantee for anyone. The organizer must deliver at the level expected of them, and if they don’t deliver at this level according to the FIS, the Club5 has no tool to protect each individual organizer. It is the FIS who ultimately decides who will be a part of the calendar, and who will not. But we are working hard to keep the rights of the organizers. This is because the rules change, and sometimes the rules change in a direction which will create an economic challenge for the organizers, or other issues. And, as long as we don’t have an open bank account, but limited budgets, we have to make sure these changes don’t have too big consequences. For example, consider the increase in prize money, which went from SFR 100 000 to 120 000 in two years. The idea was that they would be increased in one year, but we came to an agreement with the FIS that it would happen over two years instead, which made it more predictable for the organizers.”

“There are also other issues, like security, which have to be discussed before they are put into practice. And it is best to discuss with all the stakeholders, the FIS, the athletes, teams and unions, before things are implemented. Because of this it is important that the organizers stand together, alone you are weak, together we are stronger, and we will be heard”, says Medven.
“Are you surprised that organizers within other sports does not have a similar type of co-operation?”.
“That’s politics, which we don’t discuss. We have found something that works for the alpine sports”, Srecko Medven says with a grin. 

Members of Club5:

Val Gardena (ITA), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Ísère (FRA), Alta Badia (ITA), Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA), Kranjska Gora (SLO), Schladming (AUT), Maribor (SLO), Lake Louise (CAN), Adelboden (SUI), Kvitfjell (NOR), St. Moritz (SUI), Åre (SWE), Zagreb (CRO) and Crans-Montana (SUI)

Photo: Srecko Medven – President of Club5
Article by Stein B. Olsen