The 2021/22 Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup season was a success on all levels. All scheduled races took place (except for the back-to-back competitions in Russia cancelled due to the outbreak of the war in Ukraine), making for 12 individual competitions and one mixed-team event on the season. As always, it took an incredible effort from organisers, teams, athletes and officials to make it all come together, but in the end, it was a very stable and highly entertaining season.
The FIS Junior World Championships had originally been planned to take place in Valmalenco, Italy, though those had to be cancelled due to a lack of snow. Fortunately, the host of the ski and snowboard cross World Cup finals in Veysonnaz (SUI) were able to jump in at the last minute to provide a venue for the 2022 JWCs. Big thanks to the organizer and to Swiss-Ski for giving this opportunity to our next generation athletes!
2022 Spring Committee Meeting decisions and issues:
For 2022/23, expect to see less ski and snowboard cross World Cup competitions taking place on the same weekends at the same venues, as difficulties in preparing the course for the different disciplines and in finding satisfying compromise which suits both has put exceptional strain on organiser resources in the past. While synergies can be found for both ski and snowboard cross, the actual competitions will need to be on separate weekends so that both sports can have races at the highest levels pf quality.
For ski cross there is a singular rule book (ICR) and new FIS-point system already in place allowing a larger focus on the discipline alone.
As for the most relevant rule change proposals for ski cross, it has been decided to propose to the Council the elimination the rule limiting the number of skis each athlete is allowed to have access to at SX World Cup competitions, since it is an antiquated rule and does not seem relevant anymore.
Another item going to congress is an appeal for the addition of the mixed-team event of ski cross for the Olympic Winter Games Milano-Cortina 2026.
Work on the flour ban for ski and snowboard wax was once again discussed. FIS is prepared to fully enforce the ban at the start of the 2022/2023 winter season. Working with Bruker, a leading manufacturer of high-performance scientific instruments and maintaining a close collaboration with the International Biathlon Union (IBU) through a joint working group, an effective testing method using the Alpha II device was developed. The device provides reliable testing to ensure fluor-free competitions, which will help guarantee fair competitions and a level playing field. The rules regarding the fluor wax ban will be defined at the upcoming FIS Congress, which will then be implemented at the start of the winter 2022/23 season.
Last season 15 races rook place in 5 resorts in Austria, France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, which made for a solid number of competitions.
Overall, the goal is to improve the quality and level of ski cross racing. For the upcoming season, it is planned to have 22 races in 10 different venues. The increase of competitions shall give the younger athletes the opportunity to get as much racing experience as possible, before entering the World Cup level.
2022/23 World Cup calendar draft (to be approved by FIS Council):
The World Cup calendar for next year looks very promising, and will begin earlier than usual with a November visit to a just-announced new venue at Les Deux Alps in France. In total, a hugely robust calendar currently includes 22 races and two, possibly three, new venues.
In December the tour will consist of a pair of races in Val Thorens (FRA), two night competitions in Arosa (SUI), and one competition in Montafon (AUT), before we then move to the annual pre-Christmas races in Innichen/ San Candido (ITA). Additionally, we’re looking forward to a newly-introduced, exceptionally exciting double pack of races set to take to Italy’s Alleghe resort just before New Year’s Eve.
It is planned that 2023 will kick off with back-to-back races at the Crosspark Reiteralm in Austria, followed by a double pack of competitions in Idre Fjall (SWE), and two races in Megeve (FRA).
While first weekend of February is still open on the calendar, discussions are in place with Germany to step up and host a competition during that period. Following that, the main focus in February shifts to the FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships in Bakuriani (GEO), which will take place from February 19 until March 6 with the ski cross World Champs going down on February 24 and the World Championships premiere of the mixed-team event on February 25.
It is planned to have double competitions early in March in Veysonnaz (SUI), but there are also considerations and discussions to have races in the USA at some point following the World Championships.
As for the scheduled back-to-back races at the World Cup finals in Craigleith, Canada, the goal is to make a rule adaption, in order to protect the 16 best men and 8 best women men, who have a secure spot for the finals and the rest of the field would be able to still qualify for the World Cup finals on that penultimate race day. That way, more athletes will have the possibility to go to the final two races of the season in Canada.