Alpine World Ski Championships should continue despite warm weather in the Alps

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By Gael Camba
World Alpine Ski Championships will kick off on the 6th of February in Courchevel and Méribel French ski resorts.
World Alpine Ski Championships will kick off on the 6th of February in Courchevel and Méribel French ski resorts.   -   Copyright  Euronews

The Alpine World Ski Championships will be held in 3 weeks, in Courchevel and Méribel in the French Alps. Six hundred athletes from 75 countries will compete in combined, downhill, slalom, giant slalom, Super G and Parallel Events from the 6th to the 19th of February.

This year’s warm winter which has broken records in France has not concerned the organisers who believe the competition will go ahead without a hitch.

"November’s weather allowed us to produce a large amount of snow", says Perrine Pelen, managing director of Courchevel-Méribel 2023 alpine world ski championship.

"At the end of the year, temperatures challenged us, but as you can see, conditions are now very favourable, the snow has fallen and the cold weather is back which will allow us to complete the preparation of the slopes in the best conditions," explained Pelen.

Snow is back

On the second site in Méribel, most installations are set up at the foot of the slope called “Roc de Fer”, which will mainly host the women's events. Snow cannons cover the track to give the most uniform layer possible.

Yannick Favières is in charge of this slope. He describes the unusual season he has experienced. “It was not a classic season. In mid-December, we had the same weather we have now, and ten days later it was much more complicated", says the women's slope manager.

"But there have always been struggles with some winters. We know that it is not always simple and we have to act according to the weather.”

Other competitions struggle

While the Courchevel-Méribel ski championship seems out of trouble, other competitions have been undergoing severe snow shortages. The very renowned Chuenisbärgli course in the Swiss Alps, which hosted some World Cup skiing events, suffered with a lack of snow. The slope was then covered with artificial snow.

"It was complicated for them in Adelboden even though they did a sensational job to manage to race in these conditions", said Yannick Favières when asked about the World Cup. 

"There always were competitions which have been cancelled, postponed and shifted. Obviously, we suffer from global warming like everyone else. We will have to be more and more flexible and reactive, but that's part of the game, I'd like to say," explained Favières.

When asked if low-altitude ski resorts could be less privileged for these types of worldwide competitions, Perrine Pelen says we "must avoid any generality". 

"We may have to adapt this circuit. We'll need to listen to Mother Nature to ensure that everything goes well," said Pelen.

Swiss Marco Odermatt and American Mikaela Shiffrin are the favourites for this competition. But they'll have to face French Alexis Pinturault who learned to ski right on the slopes of Courchevel and Slovak Petra Vlhová.