Waldner: “Green pass, Olympics and safety: this is what the ski season will be like”

The dt of the men’s Cup: “We are focusing on the 4 disciplines, the safest giant goal, for Covid, a tight bubble and for Beijing …”

Marisa Poli

The Olympics on an untried track, green pass, no vax and the return of the public, the expected revolutions after the change of president of the World Federation. After the opening in Soelden, skiing returns to Lech at the weekend with the parallel – the only seasonal test of the specialty – and the technical director of the men’s Cup, South Tyrolean Markus Waldner, tells us about this special season. Let’s start with the return of the public. “It’s the big change, it was a big thing, otherwise the toy would have broken. Balance must be maintained. We will see different things, because it is the national authorities who decide. In Soelden there were more than 10 thousand people, it was a surprise for us too, by the end of September they must have been half. There has also been controversy, because athletes have to respect a very narrow bubble with molecular swabs, vaccine, and a few meters away is the crowded audience. In addition, this year also in the hotel there is coexistence with tourists “.

How does the cup bubble work?

“The FIS has not asked the athletes for the green pass, but in fact, to enter certain countries, the vaccine will be needed. It will happen immediately for the North American trip, then also for the Olympics in China.

To go to the start it takes a negative buffer. It is worth one week for the vaccinated, 72 hours for the others

Markus Waldner

Some have not yet decided, now let’s see, but in general to go to the start it takes a negative swab, even if you are vaccinated. The report is valid for one week for those who are vaccinated, 3 days for others. But in Beaver Creek, for example, the vaccine becomes mandatory, because otherwise they won’t let you into the United States… ”.

Two Swiss people, Weber and Kryenbuehl, said last week that they will not get vaccinated. What’s going to happen?

“The alternative is not to participate in the Cup in North America. Until 8 November you could enter with a license for high-level athletes, now the green pass has become mandatory, there is no way out. And the same will be for the Olympics. But also in Austria, where you can only enter if you are vaccinated or cured ”.

The parallel returns to Lech.

“We proposed the first draft calendar without parallel, to focus only on the 4 disciplines. Then the Executive Board with the support of Austria entered this appointment, many big names have decided not to participate. We will see in the future ”.

How did the issue of death threats received right after a parallel end?

“The culprit has been found, he is a Swiss. It ended there. I always prefer those who criticize me face to face, not those who hide behind a keyboard ”.

The choices on the calendar are clear, back to focus on the 4 disciplines: downhill, super-G, giant and slalom.

“Peter and I (Gerdol, from Tarvisio, director of the Women’s World Cup) have sent a strong message. We have the same number of speed and technical races, it will be an interesting season. We have to do the right things, create value around the product, not keep things alive that in the past have proven not to work “.

“Bringing skiing to town was a great idea, but then if there is no snow and you have to cancel every time, the toy stops. Another example: the descent in Zermatt is good, it is important to close a hole in the calendar before the North American trip, but in Europe in this period there is no snow. Then you can think of the Dome, the covered slopes, but in places not already traditional: I am thinking of the Dubai plant. We just need to have a little patience, the new Board will speak up in the coming months “.

The International Federation has a new president, the Swedish super manager Johan Eliasch, should we expect revolutions?

“He created a“ Vision Ski alpine ”working group, headed by Peter Schroecksnadel (80 years old, former president of the Austrian federation, ed). For now, concrete decisions have not yet arrived, they should arrive after the Olympics “.

In Beijing, you will compete on tracks never tested before. Worried?

“It will be a good challenge, we have never been able to try it, if not lower. Plus we have little time before the races, only 3 or 4 days. It is not easy, the speed track is demanding, very steep, sideways, with jumps. And a big question mark is the weather, it never snows, it’s very cold – and this allows us to prepare the track well – but above all there is a lot of wind, because the track is very exposed, and this brings dirt to the track. , pebbles, pebbles, yellow desert sand. It is a great unknown, also because the wind can also disturb giant and slalom, as has already happened in South Korea “.

Who do you see as a favorite for the Cup?

“Besides Pinturault, who won the last cup, I think it could be Odermatt’s moment. He is young, he does not think so much, he is a natural skier, if he does not get hurt… But several downhill skiers can also aim for it ”.

Where are we with safety innovations?

“We have had a lot of meetings, in general the industry is not very willing to change certain things. The whole ski, boot and plate package was developed without paying too much attention to the risks, just to go faster. We have introduced a ban on tracking with a rangefinder, first of all so that the tracks are more varied and less regular. Before it was known that in Soelden the gates were at 25 meters, you trained on such tracks. This will no longer be the case, this year there were doors spaced 23 meters and 31 meters apart. We did it with the giant because it was getting too fast, we don’t want it to move too far towards the super-G. Speed ​​always remains a risk factor. We hope with this decision that we will go with more arrhythmic tracking, with less aggressive tools, to reduce injuries. Our sport has a negative image in this, families watch us on TV, see who gets hurt and don’t send their children to ski “.

In addition to the airbag introduced in recent seasons, should we expect other innovations for the protections of athletes?

“There are very expensive smart attack projects, which with a built-in algorithm open when needed. But it is very complicated ”.

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Waldner: “Green pass, Olympics and safety: this is what the ski season will be like”