Skiing: confinement or not, Val d’Isère is ready for its Critérium

Like a lighthouse in the night. A light which, on its own, could warm the atmosphere enveloping the icy peaks that surround it. Val d’Isère will play the leading role in a few days, charged with a heavy mission, that of awakening the world of skiing in France. While, like her, all her little sisters have been closed since the start of the reconfinement, the Savoy resort is opening the ball by welcoming the Criterium of the first snow in just over two weeks. It is in Savoie that most of the World Cup events will take place in December during a season which must be crowned by the World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo (February 8-21) in Italy.

Three competition weekends are planned in Val d’Isère. The men’s giant on December 5 and 6, then the speed with the downhill and the men’s Super-G (December 12 and 13). The women will start with the giant in Courchevel on December 12 and 13, then go to Val d’Isère for three speed races (downhill on the 18th and 19th, super-G on the 20th).

“We depend on the health situation”

“Our World Cups are not called into question because they are major international events and they are linked to TV rights”, insisted Michel Vion, the president of the French Federation. The latest rather favorable indicators of the evolution of the Covid-19 epidemic in France tend to strengthen this perspective even if Ingrid Jacquemod, the director of the Val d’Isère Sports Club, at the head of the organization of the events , remain cautious. “We have known from the start that we depend on the health situation,” explains the former champion. We prepared ourselves knowing that cancellation was always possible at the last minute. Either way, all races will take place behind closed doors, even if the station were to reopen to the public. “

No such indication has been provided by the government. The date of December 1 remains the one envisaged for a reduction in containment, but nothing says that the stations will receive the authorization to welcome visitors at that time, or even during the Christmas holidays for that matter. “Everyone is asking this question,” emphasizes Ingrid Jacquemod. We are ready to open as soon as we can. There are economic issues, even if we are concentrating, with the Critérium de la première neige, on the sports field. “

Which is already not easy. Between the skiers, the staff and the organization, nearly a thousand people will be present. They will have to be fed, at a time when restaurants will still be closed. “We are working on it, we are finalizing, it will be done”, smiles Ingrid Jacquemod. Sanitary protocol requires, the budget of the Critérium was increased to 2.8 million euros, or 1 million euros more than usual. “We are in balance but it is very fragile, I hope that we can have financial support,” concludes the director of the Sports Club.

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