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Lack of snow in Europe has FIS scrambling

Events cancelled, searching for new venue



By Andrew Mitchell

The lack of snow and warm weather at European resorts is wreaking havoc on the World Cup tour this year, forcing the cancellation of events through the month of December.

Federation Internationale du Ski officials had offered the United States Ski and Snowboard Association the opportunity to host additional Alpine events this weekend after the cancellation of men’s and women’s races in St. Moritz, Switzerland and Val d’Isere, France. However the USSA declined when it was unable to raise sufficient American sponsorship money and European sponsors were not interested.

Inquiries were also made of Alpine Canada, but after three consecutive weeks of World Cup and Nor-Am races at Lake Louise course workers were stretched to the limit.

As a result of the cancellation of this weekend’s races at Val d’Isere, the men’s World Cup circuit will move to Reiteralm, Austria Sunday, Dec. 10 for a super combined consisting of a super G and a one-run slalom.

The outlook for the men’s races at Val Gardena, Italy, scheduled for Dec. 15-16, is now positive. FIS officials decided Wednesday that there is enough manmade snow on the downhill course and in the spill zones. Low temperatures are also forecast this week, which will aid snowmaking.

A final decision on Val Gardena will be made by Saturday.

The final decision on a women’s downhill and super G scheduled for Val d’Isere Dec. 16-17 will also be made on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Elsewhere on FIS World Cup circuits:

• The World Cup cross-country event at Val d’Aosta scheduled for Dec. 8 was postponed to Dec. 13. However, Cross Country Canada is keeping athletes at home until the New Year. “With the status of the other pre-Christmas World Cups in jeopardy, the NST coaching staff made the decision that it would be better for our athletes considered for this selection to stay in North America for the period leading up to the final Tour de Ski selection on Dec. 17,” Cross Country Canada said in a release. As a result of the cancellation, the team will be chosen based on Nor Am results from Sovereign Lakes and Canmore.

• The Canadian Alpine Ski Team delayed its departure to Europe and instead participated in Nor Am events this week at Lake Louise.

• The world juvenile alpine races scheduled for Livigno, Italy this week were cancelled due to lack of snow. A quick look at the FIS calendar revealed cancelled FIS-level races throughout Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Norway and France.

• A ski jumping event planned for Harrachov, Czech Republic, this Saturday, Dec. 9 has been cancelled.

• A snowboard halfpipe event in Switzerland was cancelled due to high winds, and a big air event in Paris, France was cancelled. A parallel giant slalom at Sainte Viglio di Marebbe, Italy has been postponed, parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom races in Spindlreuv Mlyn, Czech Republic, have been canceled, and a parallel slalom and snowboardcross in Bad Gastein, Austria have been delayed from Dec. 12 to Dec. 18, and could be cancelled.