Poor snow causes Squaw Valley to cancel March 4-8 FIS World Cup event | nnbw.com

Poor snow causes Squaw Valley to cancel March 4-8 FIS World Cup event

Kevin MacMillan
kmacmillan@sierrasun.com

Squaw Valley Olympian Nate Holland earned a bronze medal in the X Games snowboardcross finals in January.

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Squaw Valley has canceled a week of World Cup skicross and snowboardcross races in early March due to poor snow levels at the resort.

While Squaw received more than two feet of snow in a wet storm that hit the Sierra a week ago, the amount needed to build the World Cup courses is significant, according to a Friday U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association statement, "and the resort has chosen to allocate its resources to focus solely on the guest experience."

The USANA Health Sciences International Cross Cup FIS skicross and snowboardcross World Cup schedule for March 4-8 will not be re-sited in the U.S., according to USSA.

"Squaw Valley has done an amazing job preparing for this event," Calum Clark, vice president of events for the USSA, said in a statement. "And while skiing and snowboarding is good now with the new snow, we respect the decision and know that it would not have been possible to organize for the World Cup event."

Squaw Valley has recorded 140 inches of snow so far this winter at its 8,200-foot summit; on average, the resort sees 450 inches each winter.

It's become the latest in weather-related closures or cancellations this year as the Truckee-Tahoe region endures its fourth-straight mild and much-drier-than-average winter.

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"A preeminent factor in this decision was our need to create and provide for the best possible conditions for our guests across the mountain while still building a viable venue for this event," Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth said in a provided statement Saturday. "Over the past weekend it was becoming increasingly clear that, in the outside chance we even had the opportunity to put a venue together with our friends at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team and Snow Park Technologies, the event would simply usurp too many resources — resources that really need to be focused on all of our guests, particularly given the circumstances."

It was the first time a World Cup-level event was scheduled for Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, since 1969.

The competition was expected to feature the top global stars in the sport, including Squaw Valley Olympian and seven-time X Games champion Nate Holland, as well as Olympic SBX champion Seth Wescott, Olympic SBX medalists Alex Deibold and Lindsey Jacobellis, and World Cup skicross winner John Teller of Mammoth.

Cross racing pits athletes against each other in head-to-head racing down a course packed with jumps, bumps and berms.

"We're disappointed that athletes like world champion Lindsey Jacobellis won't have an opportunity to showcase their talent in front of the home crowd," Jeremy Forster, USSA Snowboarding and Freeskiing Director, said in a statement. "Our athletes have had great results at both X Games and World Championships, and we look forward to the remaining events on the FIS World Cup tour in March."

The next snowboardcross stop of the FIS Snowboard World Cup is slated for March 13-15 in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, with the last Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup March 14-15 in Megeve, France.

Further, USSA's Hole Shot NorAm and U.S. Revolution Tour skicross and snowboardcross scheduled for March 9-13 at Squaw Valley has also be canceled, according to USSA. A new site is being sought.

"By way of our conversations with the U.S. Ski Team, we are confident that we will be once again be welcoming world class athletes and events to our mountains," according to Wirth's statement.

Snowboardcross made its Olympic debut in 2006, while skicross debuted in 2010. Both events were among the top spectator events in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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