Lauberhorn ski race cancelled owing to Covid-19 fears

The coronavirus pandemic has put paid to this year's Lauberhorn ski race. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Organisers of the iconic Lauberhorn ski race in Switzerland have performed a U-turn and pulled the event in the face of coronavirus uncertainties. It was due to take place this weekend and had only been given the green light on Sunday.

This content was published on January 11, 2021 - 16:34

On Monday the International Ski Federation (FIS) said it had been advised by the health authorities in canton Bern to cancel the Lauberhorn races after all.

“The cancellation of one of the most prestigious race weekends in the World Cup calendar makes the heart of every ski fan bleed,” said Bernhard Aregger, CEO of Swiss-Ski. “However, it is our job to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

Competitors had been due to start arriving on Monday and take part in downhill training from Tuesday. The races originally scheduled for the weekend of January 15-17 included the legendary Lauberhorn run, the oldest and longest race on the FIS Ski World Cup.

Organisers say their insurance policy covers the financial losses incurred by this year’s cancellation.

The number of new Covid-19 infections in Switzerland has remained stable in recent weeks, even falling slightly. On Monday some 6,523 new cases were reported Swiss-wide over the previous 72 hours. Canton Bern, where the Lauberhorn is staged, reported 164 new cases from the past 24 hours, below the average of the past few weeks.

But the cantonal authorities called the race off after analysing the results of tests around the precise area where the race was due to take place, the village of Wengen in central Switzerland.

The Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA also reported increased fears of variant strains of the virus being detected in Switzerland. The number of people infected by the British or South African strains has risen from 28 last week to 88 on Monday. In a further 29 cases, unknown mutations of the virus were detected.

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