All North America World Cup Alpine Ski Races Axed Due to Covid-19

It is no great surprise but the racing in Canada and the USA in November and December has been called off. Other races in Europe remain under threat.

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Women’s Events

Killington (USA) giant slalom and slalom events on 28th-29th November.

The speed week in Lake Louise (CAN) on 1st-6th December.

Men’s Events

The speed weekend in Lake Louise, 25th-29th November.

The speed and tech events at Vail/Beaver Creek (USA), 1st-6th December.

International Ski Federation

The races will be held at existing events in Europe – if they can even go ahead.

These will include events in December, with Val d’Isere in France taking on an additional weekend for the men.

The races in North America have been cancelled in the past and moved to Europe.

Done so because of the weather, rather than a pandemic.

Val d’Isere to the rescue

The planned giant slalom races will be moved up one weekend to 5th-6th December making room for an added downhill and super-G on 12th-13th December to replace one of the North American weekends.

The women’s tour will add a downhill to its traditional weekend in St. Moritz in Switzerland on 5th-6th December.

The Swiss resort has picked up a downhill as part of its race weekend to compensate for the Lake Louise race.

Additionally, Courchevel in France will host a two-race technical weekend in December.

However with continuing rises in cases of Covid-19 across Europe concerns are rising.

The UK has imposed a quarantine restriction on people arriving from Austria and Scotland has added Switzerland to its list.

Quarantine remains required from France.

Birds of Prey, Beaver Creek

Birds of Prey, Beaver Creek. Image © PlanetSKI.

“The objective of FIS is to carry out a full World Cup competition programme, protecting the health and welfare of all participants to the best extent possible,” said the International Ski Federation in a statement.

Decisions for all other FIS World Cup sports will be made independently and based on an assessment of each set of circumstances.

These include the risks and travel requirements related to each event and host country, as well as time needed between competitions to accommodate for Covid-19 protocols.

Changes have already been made to the opening World Cup alpine ski races in Soelden in the Tirol.

The dates have been changed to a week earlier and there will be no spectators allowed.

Two giant slalom events are planned in Soelden, with the women’s race timetabled for October 17th before the men’s takes place on October 18th.

We reported on it on PlanetSKI on Thursday 6th August in our rolling coronavirus blog

Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

“The desire and motivation to hold these races as scheduled for all parties was strong,” said Markus Waldner, FIS men’s Chief Race Director.

“The training set-up and races in USA and Canada are very much appreciated by the teams. But ultimately, the unique logistics and situation for the early season alpine races has current travel restrictions and corresponding quarantine regulations in both directions, which led to this joint decision.”

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There have been more than 5.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the USA with 176,500 COVID-19 deaths.

Canada has  done much better with 124,000 cases and 9,054 deaths.

“The Organisers and National Ski Associations provided us with excellent health and safety plans to stage the events and were fully prepared to host the races,” echoed Peter Gerdol, FIS women’s Chief Race Director.

“But ultimately, the logistics involved with the travel from Europe and between the two countries, and the quarantines involved, made it too unpredictable to ensure that athletes could participate in the competitions.”

It is a severe blow to the US and Canadian resorts there were due to host the races.

“North America’s skiing community has tremendous spirit and resolve, and while we are saddened that, this year, we will not be able to gather in person to witness the iconic feats of athleticism that are the hallmark of the legendary Xfinity Birds of Prey, it is clear this decision is in the best interest of the health and safety of the world cup athletes, coaches, technicians, volunteers, media, staff, all of the World Cup fans, and the World Cup tour itself,” said Mike Imhof, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, which serves as the LOC for the Xfinity Birds of Prey races in Beaver Creek.

“We look forward to welcoming the world back to Beaver Creek in December 2021, and thank all of our partners for their hard work, thoughtful discussion, and unity throughout this process.”

Birds of Prey, Beaver Creek

Birds of Prey, Beaver Creek. Image © PlanetSKI.

“The North American races are always a very special two weeks for the entire FIS World Cup tour and we are very disappointed that we could not find a way to have them on this year’s calendar,” added the FIS Secretary General, Sarah Lewis.

“But if there is a silver lining, it is seeing how all of our stakeholders involved with the FIS World Cup are working together.

The willingness of several National Ski Associations, Organisers and resorts to step up, alter their schedules and plans, shows that we truly are a united ski family working toward the common goal of carrying out a full and successful season.

“The engagement and commitment shown by the North American Organisers and National Associations in the past months is continuing with both USA and Canada already focusing on preparations for their key roles with FIS Freestyle, Freeski and Snowboard events that take place later in the season.”

The revised calendars with the latest adaptations will be approved following the FIS Technical Meetings from 30th September to 2nd October for ratification by the FIS Council on 3rd October.

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