Snowboarding World Cup opens week early to steer clear of tourist crowds

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VIENNA —
The season-opening races of Alpine skiing’s World Cup in October will be brought forward one week to avoid tourist crowds in the Austrian resort of Soelden and have the glacier reserved almost exclusively for the event.

The women’s race has now been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17, followed by the men’s race the next day, the Austrian ski federation said Wednesday.

About Skiing
Skiing is a means of transport using skis to glide on snow. Variations of purpose include basic transport, a recreational activity, or a competitive winter sport. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Ski Federation (FIS).

Skiing World Cup opens week early to avoid tourist crowds

About tourist
Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go “beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only”, as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure and not less than 24 hours, business and other purposes”.Tourism can be domestic (within the traveller’s own country) or international, and international tourism has both incoming and outgoing implications on a country’s balance of payments.
Tourism numbers declined as a result of a strong economic slowdown (the late-2000s recession) between the second half of 2008 and the end of 2009, and in consequence of the outbreak of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, but slowly recovered. Globally, international tourism receipts (the travel item in balance of payments) grew to US$1.03 trillion (€740 billion) in 2005, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 3.8% from 2010. International tourist arrivals surpassed the milestone of 1 billion tourists globally for the first time in 2012, emerging source markets such as China, Russia, and Brazil had significantly increased their spending over the previous decade. The ITB Berlin is the world’s leading tourism trade-fair. Global tourism accounts for c. 8% of global greenhouse-gas emissions.

According to the federation, the races “will be held without a large crowd regarding an optimal COVID-19 prevention.”

The OeSV said that the International Ski Federation and host broadcaster ORF have both agreed to the move.

Skiing World Cup opens week early to avoid tourist crowds

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new season, with most races scheduled in Europe and further stops planned in Canada, the United States and China, as travel restrictions could be a complicating factor for athletes as well as host venues.

The 2019-20 season was cut short in March as the final weeks were cancelled because of the virus outbreak, with Aleksander Aamodt Kilde scooping the men’s overall title and Federica Brignone dethroning three-time champion Mikaela Shiffrin on the women’s side.

The change of dates for the season-opener enables the Soelden organizers to create “the best possible safety environment” amid the effects of the pandemic, according to the Austrian federation.

“By moving (the races) forward, it will be possible to use the Rettenbachferner glacier area almost 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 federation said.

Organizers would want “to ensure that everyone involved in the Ski World Cup has the best possible and safest conditions at the start.”

The Alpine skiing World Cup season traditionally starts with a giant slalom for women and for men in the Tyrolean Alps.