As coronavirus closures begin to lift worldwide, ski resorts in both Europe and the United States have tentatively been reopening under strict COVID-19 restrictions, providing the opportunity for athletes to get back on snow.
Norway and Sweden have been taking advantage of glaciers in their home country since the beginning of May. To the south, the French men have been utilizing the slopes in Courchevel and Val d’Isere, while Austria has taken advantage of pristine summer training conditions in Soelden, squeezing in both technical and speed training for the men’s and women’s teams. Even the Swiss have been able to join in on the fun, Zermatt once again started spinning its lifts for the summer season on Saturday, June 6 for Swiss athletes only.
For Italy, one of the nations hit hardest by the virus, reopening has been moving a bit slower. To ensure their national athletes have a prep period on snow, FISI cut a deal with Stelvio, allowing the Italian men and women to train privately on the glacier beginning on June 1. The team holds exclusive rights to nearby Hotel Livrio, where 90 beds have been made available for athletes and staff. Also training at Stelvio is slalom crystal globe winner, Petra Vlhova. Prior to transferring her team to Stelvio, Vlhova had been training on snow in Slovakia but will take up residence in the Italian mountains for the foreseeable future.
“We thought about going to New Zealand to train with Alice Robinson, as a collaboration started with her,” Vlhova’s coach, Livio Magoni reported to Race Magazine. “We made the right assessments, but there was the risk of not finding the right conditions and having difficulties with the trip. In the end, she will return to Europe.”
The U.S. Ski & Snowboard also got back on snow this week. Ski Racing Media has confirmed members of the men’s technical team are training at Mount Bachelor, while the men’s Europa Cup team and the women’s tech team, including Mikaela Shiffrin, have been training at Copper Mountain. The national team plans to continue working with Bachelor and its official training site, Timberline Lodge & Ski Area, to coordinate summer on-snow training camp opportunities.
Below, athletes share some of their first moments back on skis after an abrupt end to the 2019-20 World Cup season.