With summer reaching its midway point, there has been an uptick in reports out of Europe that offer modest insight into the coming World Cup season, including potential race changes and new target dates for organizer readiness, though little is confirmed at this time.
According to a report in SkiNews, the FIS is now targeting mid-August to determine whether or not the World Cup can travel to North America. One option under consideration would be for North America to host only speed events in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek, which would spare tech athletes from having to travel overseas. This option would be in accordance with a proposition to have the speed circuit operate separately from the tech circuit, thereby eliminating combination races.
Additionally, multiple outlets, including SportsNews.bz, have reported that Schladming may take over the Wengen slalom and host back-to-back events on the Planai. The organizing committee in Wengen would then have to consider a change in events after fighting to keep the Lauberhorn race weekend alive just weeks ago. According to reports, OC President Urs Napflin emphasized Wengen’s race weekend must consist of three races for scheduling and financial reasons. Under consideration is building a shortened downhill course so that a super G could replace the slalom.
“The primary goal in the work of FIS and us organizers is that the health risks of everyone involved are reduced to a minimum and races can be carried out — with or without spectators. A winter without a race would be a horror scenario for ski racing,” Näpflin told SkiNews.
But a day later, ÖSV President Peter Schröcksnadel fired back, saying the prospect of a double slalom in Schladming may be unrealistic. “Schladming thrives on the audience backdrop,” said Schröcksnadel. “And you have to think very carefully about how you can get this one race off the stage. We are currently not thinking of a second race.”
Ideally, FIS would like to have the official World Cup calendar drawn up by the end of September, which allow room for organizing committees to adjust.
“What is certain is that we have to be extremely flexible — it will always be complicated,” FIS Race Director Markus Waldner said in the report.