IPC Alpine Skiing and the International Ski Federation (FIS) have announced that young Para alpine skiers will race at six FIS able-bodied youth competitions for the first time in 2017.
Events in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Italy, France and Canada are on the calendar between February-April, including the world renowned 46th Criterium Internazionale Giovani FIS on 8-9 March. Around 25 athletes from 10 countries aged between 10-17 are expected to compete.
Separate races for Para athletes in sitting, standing and visually impaired classifications will take place within the overall competition schedules.
Sir Philip Craven, International Paralympic Committee President, said: “This collaboration represents a huge step forward for young, aspiring Para alpine skiers and means that they will have a dedicated circuit to compete in.
“They will be able to ski against each other at some of the best youth races on the calendar, and be exposed to high-level competition like never before. In addition able bodied teams from all over the world, and spectators, will get to experience Para snow sport.
“We are grateful to FIS and the Organising Committees for their cooperation in making this happen, and are confident that this is the start of a great legacy for Para alpine skiing”
“FIS is proud to be able to add this Para series to its calendar for the first time ever,” said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. “This will give a very important group of young skiers a competitive circuit to pursue their goals. It will be great to see the results this winter, and beyond.”
The first FIS youth race in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on 11-12 February will be immediately followed by an IPC Alpine Skiing Europa Cup on 13-14 February. This will offer young Para alpine skiers the chance to compete alongside some of the more established and experienced athletes.
Zagreb-Sljeme, Croatia, will then host the next edition of the FIS and Para alpine skiing youth races on 14-15 February.
Competitions in Mokra Gora, Serbia, round off the month between 21-22 February.
The 46th Criterium Internazionale Giovani FIS takes place between 8-9 March, gathering the world’s best young alpine skiers in Folgaria, Italy.
Athletes will gather in Val d’Isere, France, and Whistler, Canada, for the last two youth races on 6-7 April and 13-14 April, respectively.
All events will feature slalom and giant slalom, except for Folgaria where giant slalom and a team event will be contested and Whistler, where only slalom is scheduled.
The inclusion of young Para athletes onto the FIS circuit builds on the past activities of IPC Alpine Skiing. In 2013, the European Para Snow Sport Youth Circuit provided opportunities for skiers to compete against each other at various locations. Training and development camps were also held in 2006 and 2012, leading to the discovery of athletes such as France’s now 11-time world champion Marie Bochet.