International ski and snowboard bubble planned for Calgary cancelled
Major sticking point was large number of international athletes coming into country
A proposed Calgary snow bubble is no longer going forward.
On Wednesday morning, the international governing body for skiing and snowboarding (FIS), in consultation with Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard, decided not to continue with plans to host the 2021 world championships proposed for Calgary.
Countless hours had been spent planning and putting forward proposals to host the 2021 freestyle ski, snowboard and freeski world championships, as well as a number of World Cup events, that were going to be held starting Feb. 24 and running until the middle of March.
The events were going to include dozens of athletes from across Canada and around the world — one of the sticking points was having a large number of international athletes coming into the country.
"While we are gutted, the safety and health of our athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff is, and always will be, our top priority. COVID-19 continues to evolve globally, and we believe this decision is in the best interest of our broader sport community at this time," said Peter Judge, chief executive officer of Freestyle Canada.
Canada's snowboard and freestyle organizations had been working with Canadian authorities at all levels to obtain the necessary approvals. Significant planning focusing on the health and safety of athletes, team members, host venue staff and the public had been completed.
"We were endeavouring to give our fans watching at home a much-needed respite from the current climate. But at this point — and as the situation continues to rapidly change — the right thing to do for our athletes and broader community, is to pause." said Dustin Heise, executive director of Canada Snowboard.
"While this is disappointing, we will now turn our focus to applying that work to bringing the world back to Canada next season in an effort to help our athletes fully prepare for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games."
2 Canadian snowboard delegates test positive
The announcement comes just a day after two members of Canada's snowboard delegation preparing to compete at an international event in Switzerland tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the entire Canadian men's slopestyle team to miss the event.
They have been put into isolation and will not be competing in the annual Laax Open — an event that has massive Olympic qualifying ramifications this year.
Canada's top snowboarders were there to compete in the event — Mark McMorris, Seb Toutant and Max Parrot are all part of Canada's men's slopestyle team and are in Switzerland.
They had been posting to their social media in recent days about preparing for the event. They are all now in isolation.
It's a massive blow to Canadian skiers and snowboarders, who were hoping to use these events as crucial qualifying opportunities for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
It's an especially challenging situation for Canada's men's slopestyle team, who is not only missing out on this weekend's event in Switzerland, but these events that were scheduled for Calgary as well.
WATCH | Heroux, Jones break down Calgary curling bubble:
Calgary curling bubble moving forward — for now
This all comes as curling officials and teams across the country are moving forward with events in a Calgary bubble.
As of now, health officials at all levels are allowing the curling bubble to move forward.
There are six major curling events planned for the Calgary curling bubble starting with the Scotties on Feb. 20. That will then lead into the men's national championship beginning of March 5.
Following these two events, the mixed doubles championship will take place all leading to the men's world curling championship, set to begin in early April.
The final two events held inside the bubble include two Grand Slam of Curling bonspiels.