LAKE LOUISE – Planning for this year's Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup is moving forward amid a recent meeting that tabled multiple scenarios for the 2020-21 season including scrapping the local event.
“Optimism and a strong willingness to stage a standard World Cup season” for the world's top alpine skiers was the crucial statement from the FIS Alpine Skiing Committee’s online meeting May 21 in light of the COVID-19 virus situation.
However, a task force created by the FIS council is working on a contingency plan in case regulations restrict sporting events and international travelling restraints make it impossible to host a “classic world cup season,” which could exclude North America.
In a statement, Alpine Canada said its aware of the multiple scenarios brought forward and said its main concerns are the safety and health of its athletes and staff, preparing for the upcoming season, and ensuring that decisions made by FIS are applied based on fair and equitable criteria.
“While we would be disappointed if there were no world cup stops next season in North America, we understand that safety needs to be the number one consideration given. We, like everyone else, are eager to get back to the sport we love,” wrote Phil McNichol, high performance director of alpine, in a statement.
According to ‘FIS considers Euro-only World Cup in 20-21’ by Geoff Mintz on skiracing.com, it states of the scenarios being considered, FIS discussed travelling to every North American location as planned, but also a European-only world cup race calendar.
“No final decision is expected this week – or anytime soon. The FIS has identified a number of critical dates throughout the summer and fall that will precipitate decisions needing to be made,” the article stated.
Held in November and December, the Lake Louise event is the only Canadian stop on the FIS world cup tour. It even got the nickname "Lake Lindsey" after dominant performances by famed U.S. Olympic gold medallist, Lindsey Vonn, throughout her career.
Winterstart Events Ltd. and the Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup Organizing committee, host of the local event, acknowledged the committee's discussion surrounding the 2020-21 FIS Alpine season, but will stay course with planning the event until further notice.
“A working group will be established with all stakeholders represented keeping inline with current and future health, safety, travel, quarantine and other restrictions for athletes, teams, volunteers, communities and officials,” wrote Michelle Comeau, Communications Manager for Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup, in an email. “We will continue to be part of these discussion and hopefully will have better direction soon.”
In the event that the world cup races aren’t staged at the host ski hill, Lake Louise Ski Resort, operations at the resort would go on as normal, said spokesperson Dan Markham.
According to FIS, the task force will define “minimum requirements to host a World Cup event to ensure fairness towards all competitors and nations.”
“Nevertheless, the priority of FIS is to ensure that the world cup 2020-21 season takes place in a safe and fair environment, addressing challenges and finding solutions with extreme flexibility,” said a FIS statement.
All proposals would have to be approved by the FIS council, and some proposals were tabled until fall to have a better idea of the situation as the global atmosphere evolves.
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