The men’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour is scheduled to make a stop in PyeongChang, South Korea, this winter to contest a super G and downhill test event for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, but a delay in gondola construction at the venue has FIS officials questioning the feasibility of those races this year.
As part of an East Asian tour this winter, the men have one downhill and one super G race scheduled at the Olympic speed venue of Jeongseon in South Korea from Feb. 3-7 followed by technical races at Yuzawa Naeba in Japan Feb. 13-14. On a recent inspection of the Olympic speed venue, FIS officials discovered to their dismay that the construction of a proposed gondola has yet to come to fruition at Jeongseon.
“No one will give us a written guarantee that the work will be completed on time,” World Cup Chief Race Director Markus Waldner told the Norwegian news outlet NRK.
While all other preparations for the World Cup races and also the 2018 Winter Olympic Games appeared to be on schedule at the resort, including snowmaking and safety installations, concrete foundations for the gondola infrastructure were not. The FIS will make a firm decision on Nov. 15 if the Jeongseon races will remain on the calendar for the 2015-2016 season, which kicked off just over a week ago in Soelden, Austria. While creative solutions could be implemented to transport racers to the start without a gondola, Waldner indicated that a resolution of that nature would be unlikely to retain the races this year.
“Anything is possible, but I doubt it. We go on skis down the mountain and not up it,” joked Waldner.
Olympic test events are important not just for organizing committees to identify and work out kinks prior to the marquee event but also for national teams traveling to the area to familiarize themselves with the venue. If the Jeongseon event fails to take hold this season, the World Cup tour will still visit Japan.