CANMORE, Alta.—The world’s best cross-country skiers are coming back for another battle on Canada’s Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, and to test their fitness in Canmore, Alta.’s spectacular Rocky Mountains for the World Cup Finals in 2019 and 2020.
Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada was awarded back-to-back World Cup Finals for the first time ever at the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) recent annual congress. Quebec City will also host the penultimate event on the World Cup calendar in 2020 – one-week prior Canmore staging the season finale.
“Each time we host a World Cup we witness the passion for cross-country skiing in Quebec City and Canmore. The Plains of Abraham and Canmore Nordic Centre are quite simply two of the most unique Nordic venues in the world,” said Shane Pearsall, chief executive officer, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada.
“The downtown venue in Quebec City brings an incredible atmosphere that cannot be matched, and Canmore has Olympic level courses, which are some of the most difficult on the World Cup circuit. Hosting the World Cup Finals at both locations, for a second time, is the ultimate way to showcase our sport, and inspire the next generation of kids lining the trails. I know 2019 and 2020 will be a show like we have never seen before.”
Both GESTEV in Quebec City and the Alberta World Cup Society in Canmore, Alta. have an incredibly successful track record while working closely with CCC and FIS over the last five years in staging safe and fair World Cup races for all nations involved.
The announcement comes on the heels of GESTEV stepping up at the last minute with CCC’s support to put on one of the most successful World Cup Finals ever last spring when the event was pulled from Tyumen, Russia. Quebec City, which saw more than 60,000 spectators line the trails inside the Old City, will once again host one sprint and two distance races during the World Cup Finals, March 22-24, 2019.
“We’re excited to be able to work with Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada, the Québec Winter sport events Corporation, our partners and the people of Quebec City to bring the world back once again,” said Patrice Drouin, president of Gestev. “An event like this reinforces our support for cross-country skiing and these remarkable athletes.”
The world will also return to the Plains of Abraham the following spring for the second-last stop on the international calendar before the top-cross-country ski circuit travels to the challenging Canmore Nordic Centre for the World Cup Finals in 2020. Dates and race details for the 2020 Finals are tentatively scheduled for March 20-22.
“We are thrilled to host the FIS World Cup Finals in Canmore in 2020,” said Norbert Meier, president, Alberta World Cup Society. “This will be extra special for our committee as it will mark the 15th anniversary of the Alberta World Cup Society bringing World Cup cross-country ski racing back to Canada. Our goal is to make this event the best one yet. We look forward to working with CCC and GESTEV in making the final two weeks of the 2020 season a celebration of cross-country skiing, and a great opportunity for Canadians to cheer on our current and future Olympians.”
The Alberta World Cup Society has played a leading role in ensuring Canada is a staple on the World Cup cross-country ski calendar. Created in 2004, the Society worked closely with CCC to bring elite international racing back to Canada in December 2005 just prior to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. World Cup races were held at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club near Vernon, B.C. and the Canmore Nordic Centre for the first time in more than one decade – giving athletes like Olympic medallists – Beckie Scott, Sara Renner and Chandra Crawford – the opportunity to race at home. The back-to-back World Cups on Canadian snow also launched a remarkable career for Devon Kershaw who was leading a young group of Canadian men down the trails they grew up on. Now targeting his fourth Olympics in 2018, Kershaw has gone on to win medals at the World Championships and World Cups over the last 12 years, highlighted by a second-place overall finish in 2012.
“All of the athletes in our national program have been inspired to pursue excellence in the sport by watching elite racing at home, which is proof, hosting events plays a critical role in our ability to promote the sport in all corners of the country in addition to providing home snow advantage for our elite athletes and additional World Cup starts for a next generation of Olympic heroes,” said Shane Pearsall. “Since 2005, international events have remained very much a part of Cross Country Ski De Fond Canada’s long-term strategic plan, and we look forward to having the World Cup back on Canada’s Nordic playgrounds in 2019 and 2020.”
The Alberta World Cup Society and CCC staged World Cups in 2008 and again in 2010, just weeks before the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Building on this successful foundation of event hosting in Western Canada, CCC extended its reach to Eastern Canada in 2012. Tens of thousands of Canadians lined the course trails in Quebec City and Canmore when the nation hosted back-to-back World Cups for the second time. Canada took things to a new level in 2016 by staging Ski Tour Canada. The eight-race Nordic journey over a 12-day period began in Gatineau, Que., then stopped in Montreal and Quebec City before travelling west to the Canmore Nordic Centre for the last four races and the World Cup Finals. Canmore also hosted an IPC Para-Nordic World Cup race in 2013, and will do so again this December.