A World Cup snowboard cross event in South Korea was cancelled Monday by FIS officials after athletes and coaches said the course was too dangerous and too difficult.
FIS and Korea Ski Association officials held an emergency meeting Sunday night after competitors said the course at the Yongpyong ski resort was too steep and had too many turns.
Event spokesman Ma Seung-woo said, “ski officials and competitors decided to halt the planned snowboard cross because the athletes’ safety is the top priority”. He added the competitors had concerns about injuries, calling it an “unprecedented” example of athletes and coaches asking to half a competition.
Canadian team coach and former snowboard cross champion Drew Neilson said the course at the Yongpyong resort was too steep and the top and very fast at the bottom. “The turns were very tight, on a very steep pitch. With the speed involved, if there was an accident, there would be nowhere for anyone to go. What we do is dangerous. It’s a dangerous sport”.
Officials said the snowboard cross, the fourth event in the FIS World Cup season, will be rescheduled at another venue. The parallel slalom event will go on as planned on Wednesday, said Ma.
Neilson added that snow conditions were fine and praised the local organizing committee in hosting the event, but blamed International Ski Federation officials for picking the wrong slope.
“We all came to the agreement that we wouldn’t compete to show FIS that they have to do a better job in preparing for the event. They made a mistake”, he said.
The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Evaluation Commission will be in South Korea inspecting PyeongChang’s bid February 16 to 19. Instead of YongPyong, the bid committee has proprosed Bokwang Park for the snowboard events; YongPyong would serve as an alpine skiing venue where World Cup events have been successfully hosted.
PyeongChang’s competitors for the 2018 Winter Games are Annecy and Munich. The IOC inspection team will be in Annecy February 9 to 12, and in Munich March 1 to 4.