After extended discussions between U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the Canadian Snowsports Association, FIS, and the local organizing committees in Canada and the U.S., all parties have come to the joint decision that the alpine skiing World Cup tour, for this season, will remain in Europe in late November.
Canceled events include:
- Lake Louise FIS Ski World Cup in Lake Louise, CAN, Nov. 28-29 & Dec. 4-6, 2020
- HomeLight Killington Cup in Killington, Vt., USA, Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
- Xfinity Birds of Prey FIS Ski World Cup in Beaver Creek, Colo., USA, Dec. 4-6
“Yes, those races are now going to happen for the men in Val d’sere and St. Moritz for the women,” said Therese Brisson, CEO of Alpine Canada. “Essentially they’re re-aligning those schedules. As you can imagine with COVID and all the challenges it has presented, I would have to say this news wasn’t unexpected, we’ve been preparing for this possibility for quite some time. It’s really a season of preparing to react.
“There are so many fans of ski racing who would join me in thanking the organizing committee in Lake Louise for all their outstanding work,” she added. “They provided great health and safety plans to prepare for this, they were fully prepared to host the races but ultimately the logistics involved with travel between Europe and Canada and U.S. and the current travel restrictions that are in place and the quarantine restrictions involved has created an unpredictable situation for competition and that’s what lead to this decision.”
The Vail Valley Foundation, which serves as the LOC for the Xfinity Birds of Prey races in Beaver Creek, and which has hosted annual World Cups for decades, and led the hosting of three Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek in 1989, 1999, and 2015, said the decision came after careful consideration with partners: US Ski Team, Vail Resorts and FIS.
“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. 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,” said Mike Imhof, President of the Vail Valley Foundation.
“Each year, the North American leg of the World Cup tour is a time for our alpine skiing community to shine, not only because of the incredible achievements of our athletes, but in the work of our organizers, our course-builders, our staffers and our volunteers, who never fail to put on spectacular events,” said Tiger Shaw, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “We look forward to the time when we can do that again, but our team, our athletes, know that their fans are still behind them, cheering for them all the way during this difficult time.”
The adapted calendars, to be approved in late September, involve the rescheduling of the alpine North American competitions at European sites.
These will include events in December, with Val d’Isere (FRA) adding two events for the men. The planned giant slalom races will be moved up one weekend to Dec. 5-6, making room for an added downhill and super-G on Dec. 12-13.
The women’s tour will add a downhill to its traditional weekend in St. Moritz (SUI) on Dec. 5-7. Additionally, Courchevel (FRA) will host a two-race technical weekend in December.
“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 Alpine calendar,” said 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, Organizers and resorts to step up, alter their schedules and plans, shows that we truly are a united ski family that is working toward the common goal of carrying out a full and successful season.”
The World Cup is expected to return to the North American sites for the 2021-22 season. Decisions for all other FIS World Cup events will be made independently and based on an assessment of each unique set of circumstances, including the risks and travel requirements related to each event and host country, said the federation, as well as time needed between competitions to accommodate for COVID-19 protocols.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard has created an organizational COVID-19 task force, as well as sport-specific committees, made up of staff with representation from membership at the regional and national levels, in order to address and inform what the 2020-21 season will look like.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard remains hopeful for the 2020-21 World Cup competition season across other sports and continues to work closely with its domestic freestyle, freeski and snowboard World Cup venues in order to host domestic World Cups in those disciplines.