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Alpine skiing World Cup proposes schedule changes due to climate change

Alpine Skiing World Cup

SOELDEN, AUSTRIA - OCTOBER 23: A general view during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Giant Slalom on October 23, 2022 in Soelden, Austria. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Due to climate change, Alpine skiing World Cup organizers proposed pushing the start of next season back one week, as well as the World Cup Finals, and also scheduling the first speed races later into the fall.

A meeting was held Friday to outline the 2023-24 World Cup schedule with proposals made that are subject to approval at an International Ski Federation council meeting on May 24.

Climate change has become an increasing topic of discussion, especially after several early season races last fall were postponed due to weather. The season usually starts in late October with men’s and women’s giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

Last season, the first speed races that were to take place, for the first time, amid the backdrop of the Matterhorn were canceled due to lack of snow. Those were scheduled for the last weekend of October (men) and first weekend of November (women).

A proposal announced Friday has those races being scheduled for later in November next season.

Also proposed: changing the one-week format of the season-ending World Cup Finals, traditionally in mid-to-late March, to cover two weekends. The first weekend would be technical races of slalom and giant slalom. The second weekend would be the speed races of downhill and super-G.

With no world championships in even years, the World Cup Finals in Saalbach, Austria, will be the most prestigious competition of next season.

As previously reported, the women’s World Cup schedule proposal includes dropping the traditional December speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta. They would be replaced by races in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Friday’s press release did not mention the fate of men’s speed races in Lake Louise.

Lake Louise held at least one Alpine World Cup race every year from 1993 through this past season, save 2020-21 when the tour did not visit North America due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2018, the resort announced that its downhill run would be renamed “Lake Lindsey Way” after Lindsey Vonn, who earned 18 of her 82 World Cup wins at Lake Louise in 44 career starts there.

Vonn was so successful there that, in the middle of her career, the venue started unofficially being called Lake Lindsey.

Mikaela Shiffrin and Bode Miller earned their first World Cup downhill and super-G victories at Lake Louise. Picabo Street‘s first World Cup downhill win also came there.

A team combined event, where a nation uses a different skier for the speed run and slalom run, is also proposed to debut for men and women.

The combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988, has not been held on the World Cup in the last three seasons. More parallel events have been phased in instead.

The IOC said last June that the combined was being provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, subject to further review with a final decision expected this spring. The team parallel event that was on the Olympic program in 2018 and 2022 has been dropped for 2026.

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