The FIS has had to take a step back. After initially announcing that the first women's team combined event would be held in Crans-Montana, the body for international skiing has decided that it won’t be going ahead as planned. The rules will be reviewed and the new discipline will not be introduced until winter 2024-2025.
The FIS autumn meetings in Zurich are not proving easy for the World Cup race organisers. The first major decision was the cancellation of the very first team combined events, which were due to be held in Kitzbühel and Crans-Montana this winter.
This new discipline had been introduced on the initiative of the Athletes' Commission, in discussion with FIS officials, and the plan was to unite a downhill racer and slalom racer from the same nation, and their times in each heat would be added together. The problem however is that lots of competitors have complained of inequalities between nations, which do not necessarily all have enough speed or technical specialists to compete. The distribution of World Cup points (half the points of a classic race) didn’t appeal to everyone either. A proposal to mix athletes from different countries to create one team has not been accepted as yet.
The FIS has therefore decided to return to the drawing board, postponing the introduction of this new combined format until the 2024-2025 season. They must however act quickly, as the IOC has already agreed that the discipline should be included in the 2026 Olympic Games, subject of course to test events being held beforehand.
The first events, scheduled for Kitzbühel for the men and Crans-Montana for the women in 2024, have therefore been removed from the calendar. The Valais resort, which was delighted to be hosting a third race on Friday 16 February in addition to the downhill on Saturday 17 and the super G on Sunday 18, is hoping, in collaboration with Swiss-Ski, to be able to host another event in place of this combined event.