U.S. Ski Team Departs for Europe; Formulates Strategy for International Travel
As the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team heads over to Europe, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Tiger Shaw, and Alpine Director Jesse Hunt, caught up with Ski Racing Media's Karina Schwartznau about the effort it took to get athletes to Europe safely in the midst of COVID-19.
In an article published on August 29, Karina wrote,
While the U.S. Ski Team athletes were hard at work with on-snow training at Mount Hood in Oregon this summer, U.S. Ski & Snowboard staff were busy finding ways to get many of those athletes into Europe for training this fall.
The European Union closed its borders to all travel when COVID struck. Those restrictions had prevented any travel into Europe, but in June, as the infection rate was deemed under control, restrictions for professional athletes and individuals with critical work were loosened in certain countries. While most travelers from the U.S. remain banned, the ski team jumped at the opportunity, and many of its athletes departed for Europe this week.
“If you are a professional athlete and can make a compelling case to the border police right when you land in the EU, they have the ability to say you’re allowed in,” said Tiger Shaw, president and CEO of USSS. “Now if you catch the border police in a bad mood, they may say turn around, get back on the airplane and go back to the United States.“
National team athletes expect to be able to make a compelling case, especially those traveling to train before Soelden. If the ultimate goal is to have the best athletes in the world and the highest level of competition in Soelden, it’s certainly in Austria’s best interest to allow the likes of Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin into the country to train and prepare for the race; however, each team member will make their own case when reaching border control in Europe.
“We will try to alert the border patrol through the American consulate when they are landing,” said Shaw. “They may or may not be able to give a heads up to the board police to help them.”
Upon entering the country, quarantine and COVID testing is guided by local health officials. Some countries require quarantine, whereas others allow a quick test, and if the results come back negative, quarantine ends after 24 hours.
Currently, the men's and women's speed teams, as well as the women's tech team and men's development team are in Europe.