Just four days before the Red Bull Linecatcher was scheduled to begin in France, the event has been canceled due to unfavorable weather in France's Vars region. The event, which had a strong lineup of international athletes scheduled to arrive, was due to be held from Jan. 11-18.
"I feel ashamed to have to give you this news, but we are having really unfavorable weather in Vars right now," said Red Bull organizer Jean-Robert Bellanger. Rushed meetings had been held with the Vars safety guides and tourism office and with a heavy heart, Bellanger was forced to cancel the competition at this late date. "In Vars right now there is just not enough snow that has settled on the Eyssina Face. With sunshine and high temperatures ready to set in this week the decision was made that it would be too dangerous for the skiers."
There was a rumor of a potential change of location, but that was quickly put to rest by Bellanger. "There's just too much that has gone into this location, it's just not possible to change the resort at such a late date," he said.
This news comes as an additional blow to the ski industry, at a time where many American resorts are struggling to get their seasons underway. Europe's winter is off to a slightly better start, with much of eastern Switzerland and Austria getting snow, and resorts like St. Anton currently on hold due to too much snow.
Whether Linecatcher will be rescheduled for later in the season is still yet to be decided. "There is still a chance we could postpone the competition until later in the season," Bellanger said. "But for now we just had to think of the safety of the skiers."