Looking forward to the new Ski Cross season

The 2020/21 Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup season kicks off with an exciting double header in Arosa, Switzerland on the 15th and 16th of December. Like all of the disciplines ski cross has suffered due to the ongoing situation with Covid 19. The traditional pre-Christmas races in Innichen/San Candido have been cancelled since October. The Ski Cross team at FIS deserve credit for their work in re-arranging the schedule following the postponement of the Montafon on the 11th December, a new date has quickly been arranged for the 15th January.

In order to buy a little more time the traditional curtain raiser in Val Thorens has been shifted to the dates vacated by the Innichen San Candido races. An additional race has been added to the Idre Fjall schedule in January and the race in Arosa which was originally scheduled for just one event, has had second race added. Follow? Whilst the situation is still fluid and further changes may yet come, it’s great to see the ski cross tour and the venues being flexible and accommodating to offer as full a programme as possible.

Let us take a look at what to expect in Arosa. Well, Arosa is what we call a “Sprint” ski cross. The highly technical course runs to around 28 seconds and this makes the start critical. With one long left footed negative turn giving racers an opportunity to take the a variety of lines to make a crucial pass and get into the all important top two spots to progress in the heats.

It’s a course that seems to suit the Swiss men having had Lenherr and Detraz take wins here in the past but with the quality of the field combined with the short course then anyone in the top 32 could take the win! In the women’s event expect to see another close battle between Smith (SUI) and Thompson (CAN). We can say that ahead of every event this season and with the sad news that Sandra Naeslund (SWE) has suffered an injury whilst training in Laax then focus will shift even more towards Smith and Thompson. Naeslund won the crystal globe last season and would have been a threat again in 2020/21 but the injury may see her miss too many races to challenge for the globe this season. It is hoped that Naeslund will be back racing again in January.

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