The 2020-21 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup men’s and women’s calendars will adopt a different structure due to impacts from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
After discussions among FIS, the National Ski Associations and the Local Organising Committees in Canada and the USA together with their stakeholders, all parties have together decided that the Alpine World Cup tours will not travel to North America in late November for their traditional two-weeks of competitions.
For the women, this schedule shift impacts the Killington (USA) giant slalom and slalom events on 28th-29th November, and the speed week in Lake Louise (CAN) on 1st-6th December.
For the men, this impacts the speed weekend in Lake Louise, 25th-29th November and both speed and tech events at Vail/Beaver Creek (USA), 1st-6th December. The World Cup will return to these sites for the 2021-22 season.
The objective of FIS is to carry out a full World Cup competition programme, protecting the health and welfare of all participants to the best extent possible. The temporary re-alignment of the FIS Alpine World Cup Calendar caters to this goal by focusing on athlete safety, reducing travel, and providing competitors with a detailed competition calendar. All parties jointly agreed to make this decision early to aid in developing the adjusted calendars during the next month before the FIS Technical Committee Meetings in late September.
Decisions for all other FIS World Cup sanctioned sports will be made independently and based on an assessment of each set of circumstances, including the risks and travel requirements related to each event and host country, as well as time needed between competitions to accommodate for Covid-19 protocols.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the Canadian Snowsports Association, Alpine Canada, and the Killington, Lake Louise and Vail Valley Foundation Local Organising Committees would like to express their gratitude to everyone for their dedication, planning, and collaboration in recent months. Attention to detail and thoughtfulness provided a pathway to hold the events this season, but all agreed to make this very difficult, but necessary, decision in order to prioritise the best interests of the athletes, teams, coaches, technicians, volunteers, media, staff, fans and the FIS Alpine World Cup tour as a whole. The extensive preparation work will provide a roadmap to move forward planning other potential North American events. Although the North American alpine skiing competitions will be missed this season, all parties look forward to the FIS Alpine World Cup’s return to the USA and Canada for the 2021-22 season.
“The desire and motivation to hold these races as scheduled for all parties was strong,” said Markus Waldner, FIS men’s Chief Race Director. “The training set-up and races in USA and Canada are very much appreciated by the teams. But ultimately, the unique logistics and situation for the early season alpine races has current travel restrictions and corresponding quarantine regulations in both directions, which led to this joint decision.”
“The Organisers and National Ski Associations provided us with excellent health and safety plans to stage the events and were fully prepared to host the races,” echoed Peter Gerdol, FIS women’s Chief Race Director. “But ultimately, the logistics involved with the travel from Europe and between the two countries, and the quarantines involved, made it too unpredictable to ensure that athletes could participate in the competitions.”
The adapted calendars, to be approved in late September, involve the rescheduling of the Alpine North American competitions at existing locations later in the season.
These preliminarily include events in December, with Val d’Isere (FRA) taking on an additional weekend for the men. The planned giant slalom races will be moved up one weekend to 5th-6th December making room for an added downhill and super-G on 12th-13th December to replace one of the North American weekends.
The women’s tour will add a downhill to its traditional weekend in St. Moritz (SUI) on 5th-6th December. The Swiss resort has picked up a downhill as part of its race weekend to compensate for the Lake Louise race. 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 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, Organisers and resorts to step up, alter their schedules and plans, shows that we truly are a united ski family working toward the common goal of carrying out a full and successful season. The engagement and commitment shown by the North American Organisers and National Associations in the past months is continuing with both USA and Canada already focusing on preparations for their key roles with FIS Freestyle, Freeski and Snowboard events that take place later in the season.”
The revised calendars with the latest adaptations will be approved following the FIS Technical Meetings from 30th September to 2nd October for ratification by the FIS Council on 3rd October and will be published on the FIS website at that time.