With less than a month left until the FIS Alpine season opening in Sölden, Austria, bad news has emerged from Austrian ski brand Van Deer. The brand, founded by former ski racer Marcel Hirscher in a joint venture with Red Bull has been told this week that the new logo is also not deemed compliant and sponsored racers will be forced to again tape over part of the logo.
Van Deer had been embroiled in a clash with the International Ski & Snowboard Federation ‘FIS’ during the 22/23 season over the logo displayed on the skis. Marcel Hirscher had gone into a joint venture with Red Bull for the Van Deer brand and the skis were launched last year with much fanfare. Van Deer-sponsored athletes include Norway’s Slalom specialist Henrik Kristoffersen and British skier Charlie Raposo.
FIS however did not approve the Van Deer-Red Bull logo and deemed the inclusion of Red Bull’s logo as not FIS compliant. This resulted in the brand’s sponsored athletes being forced to cover up the logo for any and all FIS races, including World Cup events and World Championship races. Despite repeated attempts to resolve the disagreement, FIS ultimately never approved the logo as it was considered advertising for Red Bull and even threatened to withdraw an athlete’s license, if they failed to cover up the logo.
Earlier this year, Van Deer rebranded the professional race skis as “Van Deer Racing” and replaced the red bull on the skis with the stylized word ‘Racing’. The clash seemed resolved and the company went ahead launching its new design and manufacturing skis for its athletes with the new logo, but it has now been revealed, that FIS has not approved the new logo either. Apparently someone at FIS figured out that the word ‘Racing’ was written in the shape of the crimson bovine and the logo has now been deemed as not compliant with FIS rules either and will need to be taped over once again.
The International Ski & Snowboard Federation and Red Bull have been at loggerheads over several issues this years. FIS also deemed the blue and silver race helmets in breach of FIS guidelines and issued Red Bull athletes like Valentino Guseli or Marco Odermatt with a written warning ahead of the 23/24 ski and snowboard competition season. Red Bull is an Austrian company and Austrian news were quick to accuse the Swiss of foul play and discriminating unfairly against an Austrian company. Austrian company Manner, producer of a famous chocolate wafer, also received an infringement notice.
The upcoming season will show whether the issue was targeted at more than just Austrian companies, as the helmets of many athletes are shaded in their sponsor’s colors. Helvetia, Milka or Barilla all utilize their corporate colors on the entire helmet while the logo on the forehead complies with the FIS guidelines. This tradition may have ended for all racers for the 23/24 season which could have a negative impact on the amount of sponsoring athletes receive to support their sport.