I hope this letter finds you safe and healthy. It is no secret we are living in unprecendented times. While there are many unknowns, three things are clear:
- The pandemic is not over; case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths are rising daily
- COVID-19 is a serious disease with unknown long-term effects; medical research indicates organs can be permanently damaged even when symptoms are mild and individuals are young
- The majority of Canadians will not be vaccinated before the end of the 2021 race season; until we are vaccinated, safety measures can only reduce, not eliminate, the risk.
After careful consideration of hosting large-scale events, we have cancelled all FIS-sanctioned cross-country ski events for the 2020-21 season in Canada. This includes FIS Regional Cups, World Championship Trials, and Canadian Ski Championships.
This does not mean we sit back. With this decision, we remove uncertainty and shift the focus to what we can do to return to the start line stronger and faster in 2021-2022. Resources that were directed to domestic FIS events will be redirected to achieve the same objectives in other ways. Exciting and innovative alternatives to national racing will be shared soon.
Athletes, coaches, clubs, organizing committees and Divisions may also now shift their plans, remaining focused on long-term development while training at home under a “Do Local” banner. Where it is safe to do so and at the discretion of the Division, local racing may continue.
Internationally, the 2021 World Para Snow Sport Championships will be postponed to January 2022; International Paralympic Committee World Cups are unlikely to proceed.
In an effort for Canada to continue to improve on the FIS Nations Ranking List that is critical for future FIS World Cup and Olympic quota spots, Nordiq Canada plans to send small, competitive teams to the 2021 FIS Nordic Junior/U23 Cross-Country World Ski Championships, 2021 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships and the following World Cup races:
- January (P3) – Ulricehamm, SWE; Lahti, FIN; Falun, SWE; Reserve weekend (TBC)
- February – Nove Mesto, CZE
- March – Oslo, NOR; Test event CHN (tentative)
These trips will only proceed if we believe it safe to do so and, for each trip, the risk is outweighed by the reward. Teams will be up to a maximum of five men and five women.
In the absence of a trials race, Nordiq Canada will evaluate the fairest method to select the most competitive Canadian teams. Amended criteria are likely to focus on the FIS 8th Cross Country List 2019/20 and proven international performances. Nordiq Canada intends to have shared revised criteria and possibly announce teams by December 7. In order to remain eligible for selection, you must have an active FIS license.
The decisions in this letter are guided by:
- Nordiq Canada’s long-term goals, which emphasize deep, internationally competitive Olympic and Paralympic programs by 2026 and development opportunities for all members no matter their stage of development
- Policy restrictions outlined in the Board Policy Manual and Risk Management Policy
- Nordiq Canada’s COVID-19 Scenario Plan, drafted in the summer to help communicate our values and recognize risk level, impacts and actions
- Public health and government restrictions and guidance
- Medical advice, including from the Sport Medicine Advisory Committee
- Discussion with partners such as Sport Canada, the Candian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Own the Podium
- Community consultation including direct consultation with athletes and coaches, the Board of Directors, the High Performance Committee, Domestic Development Committee, members of the Events Committee, Division Executive Directors Committee, Division Chairs Council and Organizing Committees
Please visit https://covid.nordiqcanada.ca regularly for up-to-date information and resources. These are not easy times. Let’s work together to control what we can, and respond appropriately to what we can’t. Together, let’s find the opportunities and emerge stronger and than ever.