What is the main difference between ski training and ski competition? “It adds a stopwatch and volunteers scattered around the track.”
At the end of the line, Daniel Paul Lavalle got it all right. The general manager of Ski Québec Alpin didn’t sleep overnight. The tightening of sanitary measures, announced on Thursday evening, brought cold waters to the regional union and its members. The CEO has written to every public body imaginable to try to save the start of the season for young skiers in Quebec. without result.
In the face of the sudden rise in COVID-19 cases, Legault’s government has decided to unleash the sport, but by banning the organization of competitions or tournaments. However, matches between two indoor sports teams are still allowed, provided the number of participants is less than 25.
This measure is expressly intended to limit or even ban gatherings. However, they fall into the same category of sports whose realities have absolutely nothing in common.
For example, hockey or basketball matches or even indoor football matches can be held. But skaters will be limited to training.
However, Mr. Lavalle insists: “The context of training and competition is 90% the same. Banning competition is incomprehensible.”
He continues: “Imagine a giant meandering track that is 250 meters long and 45 meters wide.” The path is closed from the top and the bottom. There are safety nets. The gate entrance and access area are controlled. There are no more than five or six athletes at the top at the beginning, no more than one at the end, and no more than three athletes on the course due to safety periods. We are talking about 10 athletes in an area equivalent to 20 football fields. Abroad. While everyone is vaccinated. ”
easy to manage
Even if competitions can bring together a hundred athletes, Mr. Lavalle adds, it is a mistake to think that they are all in the same place, at the same time. When a skier is not in the competition area, he “becomes a customer of the ski resort.”
“If there is anxiety because of the spectators, we just have to decide that there will be no anxiety! It is very easy to manage,” adds the CEO.
Mr. Lavalle has felt a “soup heat” in recent days, as the number of coronavirus infections surged in the county and rumors of new restrictions swirled in the air.
He said he felt his complaints were heard in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, which oversee sports. In Deputy Minister Isabelle Charest’s office, they claim to have given “representations” to senior positions, but ultimately, the Public Health Office and the Prime Minister’s Office have decision-making power.
To a question written from Journalism Regarding the state of alpine skiing and outdoor sports, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Services replied that “the procedure is general for all sports because it is important to raise the level of infection control.”
Repercussions until the Olympics
Ski Quebec Alpine insists that the desire to reconnect with the competition is not a whim.
After the 2020-2021 season dedicated exclusively to training, the absence of competition in 2021-2022 may prompt many skaters to abandon the competitive component.
“These young people are the generation of Olympic athletes for 2026 and 2030,” Daniel Paul Lavalle recalls. We discourage them. It will have consequences for a long time. ”
To advance, elite level athletes over 16 years of age must participate in competitions endorsed by the International Skating Federation (FIS), in order to collect ranking points. “When you improve your score, you get a better starting bib in your next race…they have to do FIS races if they want to progress,” the GM explains. The window for development for skaters is so small, they can’t waste another year. ”
Already, in the wake of recent government announcements, four races that were due to start next season next week in Saint-Sauveur and Mont-Tremblant have been cancelled. We have stopped organizing these events, while volunteers were scheduled to begin building development on Friday. Participants from the United States or other Canadian provinces were also warned to stay home.
Daniel Paul Lavalle stresses that the federation will spare no effort to save the event at the last minute if Quebec announces a relaxation of outdoor sports. Because he insists competition is “a basic need in alpine skiing”.
“Even at the club level, at the grassroots level, the youngsters train with one goal, which is to shop. And not just to line the offspring.
“Evil thinker. Music scholar. Hipster-friendly communicator. Bacon geek. Amateur internet enthusiast. Introvert.”