Beaver Creek is losing its annual men’s World Cup races this year and Mikaela Shiffrin won’t get to race in New England, a region dear to her heart, due to cancellation of North American World Cup races by the FIS in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Beaver Creek was scheduled to host downhill, super-G and giant slalom the first week in December and has been a regular stop on the tour for more than two decades. The women were set to race giant slalom and slalom the weekend after Thanksgiving at Killington, Vt. The FIS said both events will return in 2021.
Shiffrin has spent most of her life in the Vail Valley but also has New England roots. She went to high school at Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy.
“I think by now everyone probably knows that Killington is my favorite race,” Shiffrin tweeted Thursday morning after getting the news. “It’s such a pleasure to be able to race in the U.S., and race in the East Coast with those East Coast fans screaming. It’s also such a joy to see so many young ski racers in our nation there to cheer us all on. It’s been amazing, and I am going to really miss it this year.”
Mike Imhof, president of the Vail Valley Foundation which organizes the event, said the organization is “saddened” by the loss of the races that bring thousands of spectators to Beaver Creek but understood the decision.
“It is clear this decision is in the best interests of the health and safety of the World Cup athletes, coaches, technicians, volunteers, media, staff, all of the World Cup fans and the World Cup tour itself,” Imhof said.
In addition to Beaver Creek and Killington, Canadian men’s and women’s speed races at Lake Louise, Alberta, will be lost. Shiffrin has been racing there in recent years as well.
“The objective of FIS is to carry out a full World Cup competition program, protecting the health and welfare of all participants to the best extent possible,” the ski federation said in a news release. “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.”
The plan is for canceled races to be rescheduled in Europe at sites that already are set to hold races.
“The North American races are always a very special two weeks for the entire FIS World Cup tour,” said FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis, “and we are very disappointed that we could not find a way to have them on this year’s Alpine calendar.”
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