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Happy Birthday, FIS!

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February 2, 1924. In the glamorous Hotel Majestic in Chamonix, representatives from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Great Britain, France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Poland, Romania, Hungary and the USA gathered for the founding of an international ski federation.

FIS wasn’t born out of nowhere. Before it came the International Ski Commission (CIS), founded in Christiania, Norway, in 1910. Yet after the turmoil of World War it had been felt for a while that a new organisation was required. As Henry Cuenot, the driving force behind the Club Alpin Francais' ski commission put it, snow sport required "a complete ski organization which will assure its most rapid expansion". Representatives of some countries were skeptical. Was a new association really necessary? In the end, though, the decision to create a new ski organization was unanimous.

First on the agenda was the federation’s name. A fierce debate took place, before British IOC member Sir Harry Brittain suggested diplomatically that since they were in France, the name should do justice to the hosts. The Fédération Internationale de Ski was born.

Though the name was French, the direction was Nordic. The first statutes stipulated that "Finland, Norway and Sweden shall have at least one representative in the management positions. The President and Secretary General must come from these lands..." Ivar Holmquist from Sweden duly became the first FIS President, Ingolf Hysing-Olsen from Norway the Vice President and his compatriot Carl Nordenson Secretary General. The priority for the newly-formed federation was clear: Nordic skiing. Alpine skiing already existed, but would remain on hold for several years...