Beaver Creek Downhill Trails to Merge This Season
Beaver Creek’s World Cup downhills will be quite different this year as both men and women will race the top half of the new women’s course and the bottom half of the men’s Birds of Prey track.
“There was no way we could get both downhills prepared that early in the year,” said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, organizers of both the World Cup and the upcoming 2015 World Championships. “Had we stuck to the original calendar, it would not have been a problem.”
The women’s test event on the new downhill course was to run in the second week of December, but Peter Schrocksnadel, president of the Austrian Ski Federation, complained that having the test event so late in December kept the European teams in North America too long. Schrocksnadel prevailed and the consequence is the use of a merged downhill.
None other than Hans Pum, the sport director of the Austrian Federation that had demanded the change to begin with, did not like the use of both downhill courses.
Provided that the weather cooperates Beaver Creek may try to put enough snow down on the bottom of the women’s course to allow its use from top to bottom for the ladies. “The temperatures will have to be really cooperative,” Folz said.
Either way, barring stunning snowfall and frigid temperatures, The brink, Talon Turn and the Maier Panel will not be a factor for the men this December. They will race the top of the women’s course and cross over to their normal Birds of Prey route from there.
“We will have all of the men’s jumps, Screech Owl, Golden Eagle, Harrier, and Red Tail,” Foltz said, noting that the top half of the new women’s track was somewhat similar to the normal men’s course.
Kikkan Randall will chair the FIS Athletes Commission
America’s first lady of cross-country skiing, Kikkan Randall, will chair the new FIS Athletes Commission that was elected by the athletes this spring. Randall, who was reelected, has been a member of the commission for the past four years.
“This first meeting was exploratory,” Randall said. “We needed to get to know each other and to hear the concerns the members had.”
Randall was very active in getting the FIS Council to approve an athlete as a voting member to each disciplines executive committee. The proposal was approved at the FIS congress in Kangwonland, Korea last spring.
The newly elected body wasted no time in making itself heard. On the half of the commission, Michael Janyk, a newly elected member from the Canadian Alpine team, voiced the athletes concern regarding the awarding of World Cup slalom points for city events. Men’s World Cup Race Director Gunther Hujara indicated he would bring the concern forward to the alpine executive committee.
Besides Randall, the alpine members of the commission are Veronika Zuzulova Velez, Czech Republic; Michael Janyk, Canada; Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, Sweden; and Julien Lizeroux, France. Members from other disciplines were not listed on the FIS website.
One-run slalom and GS?
The concept of one-run technical events was suggested by the World Cup Alpine professionals as a solution to be used in the event weather interferes with the completion of a slalom or GS. Hujara noted the cancellation of last year’s giant slalom at Solden when fog enveloped the course with only six racers left at the start of the first run as reason to consider the new proposal.
As put forward, the option for a one-run technical event would only occur at the World Cup level. The proposal deliberately stated that one-run technical events would not be possible at any other FIS level of competition. The FIS Council will take any decision, as the proposal is controversial.
“The rule could be subject to misuse,” according to a highly placed official in the AFIS who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Most likely the rule will be remanded to the rules and control committee of the FIS and will be reexamined at the fall meeting in Zurich.
USSA will bid for the 2017 Alpine World Cup finals, Event Vice President Calum Clark announced at the World Cup Committee meeting. Clark did not name a site but indicated that the association was interested in hosting the event. The Canadian Ski Association also announced that it was interested in hosting the 2017 event in Le Massif, Quebec being the site. The selection will take place at the upcoming FIS Congress in Barcelona next June.
The Austrian Ski Federation announced it would bid for the canceled Moscow city race, with Innsbruck being the site. There was some concern because of the winter Olympic calendar at Sochi and the travel time needed to get to the games from central Austria. Should the Federation get the go-ahead nod from the FIS, the format would possibly be a Nations Cup dual slalom.