The ninth edition of the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) Tour de Ski will go ahead as planned from Jan. 3-11, according to a FIS press release on Thursday. The decision was based on the latest weather forecasts and “thorough discussions” with local organizing committees, namely the German Ski Association, Swiss Ski and Italian Winter Sport Federation.
“Until today [Thursday], mild weather has allowed only limited snow production in Obertsdorf,” the release stated of the first Tour stop in Germany. “However, the temperatures are expected to drop below zero already during the upcoming weekend.”
The Oberstdorf organizing committee planned to utilize “all available snow production resources” in order to prepare its courses for next week.
In Switzerland, the organizing committee in Val Müstair is “almost finished with the sprint course,” FIS stated.
The third venue in Toblach, Italy, currently has snow for a 2.5-kilometer loop, and more will be produced for a 5 k course.
Finally, the local OC in Val di Fiemme, Italy, has been producing snow over the last several days to prepare a 2.5 k course in advance of Jan. 10-11, and is working on connecting its cross-country stadium to the Alpe Cermis, site of the final climb. “Alpe Cermis, course of the Final Climb is covered with snow,” FIS wrote.
According to the Val di Fiemme OC, the final climb will be ready by the end of December.
“Long-awaited snowfalls due in the next hours,” it stated in a press release on Thursday. “The [2.5 k]-long track in the XC Stadium almost ready.”
“FIS Tour de Ski, what a challenge, for organisers as for world’s best cross country skiers,” the release continued. “Not much snow has fallen so far across the Alps and the four ski resorts where the World Cup series is about to take place are all strongly engaged in the production of snow.”
It explained that the Italian OC, led by Bruno Felicetti, “has been working extremely hard and struggled against the warm weather in the past weeks.” With cold-enough temperatures, the cross-country stadium can produce 30,000 cubic meters (24.3 acres) of manmade snow with 18 snowmaking machines, while the 9 k climb up Alpe Cermis can be covered with 29 snow cannons.
“The Mass Start event will not let anyone down including the skiers, assured the Fiemme team,” the release continued. “Male athletes will face 6 laps while women will run 4 of [2.5 k] each. The production of snow won’t stop from now onwards despite the fact that some good snowfalls are due in northern Italy in the next couple of days.
“In the meantime, the 9k-long Final Climb track on the Alpe Cermis is also being whitened … Part of the Marcialonga track – from the XC Stadium to the beginning of the climb – is also under the…snow bombs, and both the Tour de Ski final days, 10 and 11 January, are definitely not in danger.”
The OC also learned it has been granted rights to host the Tour’s final stages until 2019.
2015 Tour de Ski schedule
Jan. 3 (Saturday) in Obertsdorf: 3/4 k freestyle prologue prologue
Jan. 4 (Sunday) in Obertsdorf: 10/15 k classic pursuit
Jan. 6 (Tuesday) in Val Müstair: freestyle sprint
Jan. 7 (Wednesday) in Toblach: 5/10 k classic
Jan. 8 (Thursday) in Toblach: 15/35 k freestyle pursuit
Jan. 10 (Saturday) in Val di Fiemme: 10/15 k classic
Jan. 11 (Sunday) in Val di Fiemme: 9 k freestyle pursuit (final climb)