Winter Sports

Plan for freestyle, snowboard World Cup bubbles in Calgary under government review

A joint proposal from Canada Snowboard and Freestyle Canada for a World Cup bubble in Calgary is currently being reviewed by multiple levels of government. 

NHL-style proposal would see events happening in January, March

A joint proposal from Canada Snowboard and Freestyle Canada for a World Cup bubble in Calgary is currently being reviewed by multiple levels of government.

The plan would see two events occurring at the WinSport Canada Olympic Park. The first, featuring ski moguls and aerials, would take place in January. The second, featuring slopestyle, halfpipe and big air World Cups, would occur in March.

The organizations are using the NHL cohort quarantine model as their pitch. Athletes and coaches would travel only between the host hotels and ski hills, with events happening in times and spaces completely separate from the public.

COVID-19 testing would occur before arrival, upon arrival and throughout participants' time in the bubble.

Provincial and federal government, funding partners and public health authorities must still sign off on the plan.

Approval of the bubble plan would require an exemption of Canada's mandatory 14-day quarantine for incomers. The Calgary airport is serving as a pilot program allowing travellers to take a rapid two-day COVID-19 test immediately upon arrival. A negative test would exempt the traveller from quarantine.

Canada Snowboard and Freestyle Canada have not been given a timeline for approval, although both organizations are optimistic it will eventually happen, citing the success of the NHL and NBA bubbles that did not report any new COVID-19 cases as well as the prospect of rapid testing.

With freestyle and snowboard events being cancelled across the world, the Calgary World Cup races could wind up playing a major factor in qualifying for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The target is for 20 World Cups to be held between the January and March events, with the length of each mainly in the hands of the federal government. For the latter, Canada Snowboard is targeting a two-week window beginning Mar. 1, with the opportunity to extend until Mar. 21.

A minimum of one World Cup event would take place per discipline, with the potential for more depending on the timeframe of the bubble.

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