It’s shaping up to be an interesting season – for all the right reasons as well as wrong ones.
The World Cup calendar 2020/ 21 is still very much up in the air and is not expected to be finalized till September or even October. That’s outside the FIS or the stage organizers’ control for the most part, given persistent info/ rumors about impeding “second wave of COVID” and all the associated restrictions on travel/ gatherings.
But the rather sudden yet resolute ban on high-fluoro in the international competitions is definitely man-made issue.
Here’s how things are shaping up as of early July:
– Contrary to previous info, the FIS appears to be pushing for the hard scenario of ban for HF use already in 2020 I.e. without transitional season or two without harsh penalties.
– All skiers’ planks would be checked before the each race and winners’ pairs , additionally after. High fluoro content detected – skier gets disqualified, no second chances.
– Presumably, that means we are back to those lovely stamps that used to grace athletes’ skis, confirming their acceptance for a specific race. Sorry, those looked ugly.
– Crucially, nobody outside the FIS has seen the testing equipment yet. Allegedly, it’s portable, handheld scanner that shows skis’ fluoro content in seconds. That would be a major scientific/ technological breakthrough: last year the conversation revolved around taking a sort smear-sample and sending it to a stationary lab for analysis.
– Second crucial point: stakeholders ( athletes, coaches, federations) haven’t as yet been told what would be a threshold for measurements: above that ban, below that you are good to go, the amount is residual, from previous use.
– Equally, nobody yet knows how to clean the old pairs in such a way that the “magic FIS wand” won’t disqualify you.
– That raises question: wouldn’t best athletes, let’s say, Top 10 (20,30?) ask or even demand that their sponsors replaced the current quiver altogether for the all-new, supposedly never coming in touch with fluoro skis? 120 pairs of skis one recent Olympic champ used to have is a stuff of legends, but 40-50 pairs is quite common.
The clock is ticking, if the season starts as usual in late November, that means less than five months to prepare & adopt. That’s leaving aside the issue that even the best & latest non-fluoro products are still no match to good ‘ole HF performance in certain weather. That certain weather with lots of fresh precipitation seems to be predominant in Europe in the last years…
All of that raising a polite question: is there a real need to rush with a hard fluoroban?