Note: This article has been updated to include Friday’s announcement from the International Ski Federation (FIS), that Davos will host next weekend’s World Cup races as well, after the freestyle races in La Clusaz, France, were canceled because of a lack of snow.
The upcoming World Cup races in Davos, Switzerland, have been scaled back due to lack of snow — but it’s still better there than La Clusaz. On Friday, the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced that next weekend’s canceled races in La Clusaz would instead take place in Davos.
For the next two weekends, racers will compete in individual 10- and 15-kilometer distances and freestyle sprints in Davos. The Davos Nordic Organizing Committee, in conjunction with Swiss Ski and FIS, had already shortened the originally scheduled Davos races from the men’s 30-kilometer classic and women’s 15 k classic on Saturday, to a men’s 15 k classic and women’s 10 k. Freestyle sprints will take place Sunday.
Next weekend, Davos will host 10/15 freestyle individual starts and a freestyle sprint.
American Holly Brooks was among the flocks of skiers training in Davos this week before she headed to slightly higher grounds in Livigno, Italy, for her first marathon of the season at La Sgambeda on Friday.
“Davos, like much of central Europe, is having one of the driest early winters on record,” Brooks wrote in an email on Wednesday.
She provided a few photos to illustrate the scene, one of which (see above) showed a truck dumping snow in front of a PistenBully, which then spread it across the World Cup course.
“The organizing committee in Davos is blowing snow at a mountain pass above (where it is cold enough) and trucking it down to cover a 5 k loop for this weekend’s upcoming World Cup,” she explained. “The effort and $ going into this project is incredible. I feel very luck that just over the mountains in Livigno, the site of my marathon, there is enough snow to hold the races on a larger, 35 k loop.”
According to FIS, the Davos Organizing Committee (OC) produced snow high up on Flüela Pass — some 2,380 meters (7,800 feet) above sea level — where temperatures were cold enough to make it.
As of Tuesday night, the organizers has spent more than 70 hours bringing it down to the race course. They did so using PistenBullies, which also pushed natural snow down the nearby mountainsides. That snow was then collected and transported down to the Davos World Cup trails in trucks.
“After two tough weeks with many difficult decisions, we are very happy to present the athletes our tracks,” Adriano Iseppi, head of the Davos OC, said in a press release. “Even if we were able to produce snow only for one night on the competition area, we made the impossible possible. Many thanks to all the helpers up in the mountain and out in the tracks who have been working day and night.”
A local alpine skiing legend, Paul Accola, who now owns a forestry company, also donated his time and equipment for three days to help the organizers move snow.
Hippolyt Kempf, a Swiss Nordic-combined gold medalist (1988 Olympics) and current head of Swiss Cross-Country, was complimentary of Davos Nordic.
“They did an amazing job working all day and all night long to make sure that the cross-country track in Davos will be ready,” he said in the release. “We are convinced that athletes alike visitors can expect stunning competitions.”
While Davos assumed responsibility for hosting next weekend’s World Cup freestyle races as well, start times had not yet been set for Dec. 20-21.
Davos World Cup schedule:
- Saturday, Dec. 13
- 11:15 CET women’s 10 k classic
- 13:30 CET men’s 15 k classic
- Sunday, Dec. 14
- 12:30 CET women’s and men’s freestyle sprint prologue
- 14:30 CET women’s and men’s freestyle heats
- Saturday, Dec. 20 (moved from La Clusaz; times TBD)
- women’s 10 k freestyle
- men’s 15 k freestyle
- Sunday, Dec. 21 (moved from La Clusaz; times TBD)
- women’s and men’s freestyle sprints
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.