DILLON US Ski & Snowboard announced Friday morning that International Freeski Ski Federation and Snowboard World Cup events scheduled at Copper Mountain Resort from December 17-19 have been canceled due to the current, dynamic situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado.
Copper Mountain Resort spokesman Taylor Prather wrote in an email that the resort made the decision to cancel the holding of the event because the main priority of the resorts is to protect the welfare of the copper community.
We think it’s the right decision for our local community and is in line with our Operation Stay Safe plan wrote Prather. Copper is currently scheduled to open its elevators to the public on November 30th.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard officials said the organization is working closely with the International Ski Federation and other local resort partners to find replacement locations for the first U.S. Grand Prix stop as well as the major air event that was also planned for copper.
The cancellation of the Grand Prix comes as Copper Mountain is currently hosting American club and ski race training alongside the U.S. Alpine Ski Championship a replacement event for the national championships canceled in the spring due to COVID-19.
Prather said Copper is confident in the resorts’ ability to continue holding ski race training because existing protocols follow all local and state public health guidelines, such as on-premises and bus monitoring capabilities, cleaning and disinfection, checking of employee health, physical distance, face covering and ensuring separation between teams inside and outside the mountain.
Snowboard World Champion Chris Corning of Silverthorne on Friday morning described the news as a mistake. The 21-year-old added that athletes like him became more hopeful that the Grand Prix would take place in Copper next month because the International Ski Federation is hosting a freeski World Cup event in Stubai, Austria, this week.
Always honest in the game with big air and big air snow he said he felt the race could have been easily held due to the outdoor nature, distanced from freeski and snowboard events.
Basically, when you do a contest, you talk to three people, and out of it, Corning said. All that keeps your mask off … has not been a case of the mask off and the virus spreading through someone. It just does not happen. But if you are within 6 meters for 15 minutes, you can get it. Once sucked.
Just tell people, don’t talk. Do not get too close to anyone. Just like we did for a long time out, Corning said. Judges may be the hardest part, but they are making it work in Europe.
Knight-based U.S. Pro Summit Pro Chase Blackwell said the news puts everything in the air. That said, Blackwell said he thinks Snowboard and Copper of the U.S. have athletes and guests for the best interests at heart.
At this point, with rising numbers and what not, it is probably the safest call, Blackwell said. But I hope to hope for a few more races this season and look forward to the copper tube opening. Once they have opened the tube, be able to get on the tube and exercise.
Corning also expressed concern that the news of the cancellation of the Grand Prix could be a sign of things to come, citing the possibility of closing local ski resorts, a development he fears in terms of ramifications for people living and work in ski towns.
Unfortunately, with everything that is going on with the government and things like that, they are wanting to shut everything down again, Corning said. If they end up blocking the mountains and all that stuff again, they were all dead. We would not succeed. All Vail, everything of the Summit will disappear. No one will have a job. Many people living here can not afford this. The amount of money we lost last time would not be half as much as we would lose this time because this is the current season.
Despite the copper news, U.S. Ski & Snowboard President Tiger Shaw added that the organization remains hopeful and confident in its ability to work with its resort partners on the domestic events of the 2020-21 US World Cup .
Shaw said decisions about all those other domestic events of the FIS World Cup will be made independently and based on an assessment of each unique set of circumstances at each stop. Shaw said it includes the risks and travel requirements associated with each event, host county and host state.
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