Ski Racers Focus On ‘The Skiing Part’ As International Travel Gets Complicated
Everyone in the international ski race community is aware that several scenarios could derail their season. But at the moment, such thoughts lie at the back of the mind for many. In spite of lockdowns and restrictions throughout Europe, ski training and race preparation is moving ahead with a feeling of relative normalcy for athletes.
“To be honest, the whole COVID fear and chaos, you don’t see it happening where we are,” says Paul Epstein, coach at Global Racing. “How everything is displayed in the news is different than how everything plays out in reality. I can’t say the pandemic has impacted us negatively at this point in terms of our ability to train. It’s just a bit of uncertainty. We are planning on coming back to Italy, so now it could be that Italy shuts down the mountain here in South Tirol. But at this point, we haven’t missed any training.”
The Global Racing team is training a few kilometers from Soelden, Austria, where the 2020-21 World Cup opener went down as planned, albeit without a live audience.
“There basically was no crowd. Spectators were not allowed. There were a few VIP in the stands. I saw like 10 people,” Epstein said. “To be honest, it was kind of nice … more low key. Soelden can be chaotic and difficult to move around in a normal year.”