National Cross Country Events To Become Regional Events for 2020-21 season
The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Sport Committee has approved a plan to restructure the cross country national racing calendar into a number of regional events for the 2020-21 season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision has no bearing on NCAA competitions, which are governed separately by the NCAA. Decisions for all other U.S. Ski & Snowboard domestic event calendars will be made independently and based on an assessment of each sport’s unique set of circumstances and variables.
The events impacted include the SuperTour, U.S. National Championships, and the Junior National Championships. These events will be replaced with high-level regional and divisional competitions, at the discretion of local organizing committees and regional governing bodies.
“We recognize that cross country skiing has unique challenges in hosting national-level events that are dissimilar to other disciplines,” said Davis U.S. Cross Country Team Program Director Chris Grover. “Together with the input of clubs and regional leaders, we have created solutions that work for our national cross country skiing community pertaining to competition for the 2020-21 season.
This restructuring allows athletes to remain in their respective regions to race while allowing organizers to offer high-level competitions. Additionally, this will help organizers reduce the financial demands that are tied to hosting a national-level event, which in most cases includes attracting a significant number of participants required to balance their event budgets.
National cross country events have unique challenges related to conducting competition in a COVID-19 environment that does not exist in other ski and snowboard sports such as race format (physical distancing), lead time (early season events), host venue regulations, as well as the financial model mentioned above. These event organizers will no longer be obligated to pay prize money equal to national levels of competition, nor will they be sanctioned as National Championship-level or Continental Cup (COC) level events.
“By restructuring our national cross country events calendar now, before the race season, local organizing committees, divisions, and regions are better positioned to start planning an effective and motivational race calendar for their area, potentially sanctioning races via U.S. Ski & Snowboard and/or the FIS to attract quality competition,” Grover added. “We will also assist our SuperTour, U.S. Nationals, and Junior Nationals organizing committee partners by allowing them to suspend portions of their planning and potentially avoiding the commitment of further financial and time investments.”
Selection criteria for all international events have been modified to consider regional racing, rather than national-level racing. In addition, athletes may be considered for international trips via discretion by assessing performances from regional events. Discretionary Selection Review Committees have been established for all of these selections, as well as mechanisms to solicit community feedback from the divisions prior to many selections. This system will allow for stand-out regional and divisional competition results to be recognized and considered for international team selection. The move to utilize discretion in these selection criteria is intended as a fix during the current pandemic only, and selection will return eventually to criteria that focus principally on objective selection.