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Alpine World Cup Starts A Week Early This Year To Work Around COVID-19

While competitive events all over the world have been canceled due to issues with COVID-19, it seems that one series is going to be able to start early to work around the pandemic. It has been announced that the Austrian Ski Association, along with network and local organizers, is going to start the season in Sölden a week ahead of schedule.

"After successful discussions with Host Broadcaster ORF and all media rights owners, as well as the active support of the mountain railways and the Sölden ski club and Ötztal Tourismus, there was also approval from the International Ski Association for an advance. The competitions within the scope of the AUDI FIS Ski World Cup Sölden will, therefore, be held one week earlier than originally planned on October 17th and 18th." - Ski Austria News Release (Translated via Google)

The idea here is to get the racers, their staff, and a reduced number of spectators into the area before the area becomes loaded with tourists. This will allow for organizers and visiting teams to adhere to local safety guidelines for COVID-19.

"By moving it forward, it will be possible to use the Rettenbachferner glacier area largely exclusively for the World Cup competitions, to separate the participants, officials, and employees from tourists and to arrange the accommodation for the teams according to needs and regulations. The primary goal for the organizer and his partners in Sölden is to ensure that everyone involved in the Ski World Cup has the best possible and safest conditions at the start." - Ski Austria News Release (Translated via Google)

As of right now, both Men's and Women's GS will be taking place on the weekend of October 17th and 18th, with the women racing on Saturday and the men on Sunday. For those looking to watch the race, check with local and online broadcast outlets for exact viewing times. For those that will be onsite, make sure to check, and double-check, all regulations and guidelines for viewing the race live, as well as times for the events. 

Photo: A past World Cup event in Sölden - Credit: Manuel Bierbauer [CC BY-SA 2.0

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