FIS’ online spring committee meetings commenced on Sunday, and among a bevy of hot topics, the federation is beginning to consider what the 2020-21 World Cup season might look like in the coronavirus era. According to multiple sources with knowledge of the meetings, all options are on the table, including a significantly more limited alpine World Cup calendar that keeps European racers closer to home.
Scenarios that have been discussed include all of the following: a typical World Cup calendar with regular stops in North America as planned, a Europe-only World Cup calendar that may also be consolidated to minimize travel, and finally a scenario that would not only limit the calendar to European sites but would also limit participation to only European racers. The latter scenario is highly undesirable but would not be off the table if, for instance, conditions prevented foreign travel into Europe.
Discussions have also centered around isolation protocols that may be exercised, including screening and quarantining athletes between races. It’s been considered that the men’s and women’s circuits could travel in tandem to ease operating complications and limit exposure.
The FIS is hoping to proceed as normal, but these contingency plans are being formulated in the event that the virus makes extensive travel impossible or unsafe, particularly between continents.
No final decision is expected this week — or anytime soon. The FIS has identified a number of critical dates throughout the summer and fall that will precipitate decisions needing to be made. Notably on the calendar is a targeted date of July 1 to make a decision, along with local organizers. If organizers are not able to commit by that day, it would be difficult for those events to move forward on the calendar, according to sources. Race directors have already been in contact with those organizers to determine their current state of preparedness.
The FIS alpine World Cup typically features an early North American swing that includes traditional events in Beaver Creek, Colo., for men, Lake Louise, Alberta, for men’s and women’s speed, and Killinton, Vt., for women’s tech.