Alpine Canada recalls some athletes from Europe due to pandemic

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A view of Turin, Italy. (Massimo Pinca/AP)

CALGARY — Alpine Canada is recalling some of its national-team athletes from Europe because of the deteriorating COVID-19 pandemic situation there.

The organization did not identify which athletes were returning to Canada, nor would it confirm a CTV report that members of the Canadian ski cross team were ill with the virus.

"Respecting individual athletes and coaches’ right to medical privacy we will not comment on rumour or speculation regarding personal health matters," Alpine Canada chief executive officer Therese Brisson said in a statement.

"The health and well-being of our athletes and coaches comes first, always.

Alpine Canada said the COVID-19 situation in Europe has changed training plans in anticipation of World Cup races and the world championships, including relocating some teams to Canadian venues.

"Alpine Canada continues to be guided by robust health and safety protocols, reflecting public health regulations and guidance," it said.

The ski cross team has been training in Saas Fee, Switzerland, which is a popular pre-season site for many countries including Canada because of its high-altitude glacier and vast ski terrain.

Cases of infection are rising in the Valais region where the resort is located, which has prompted a recent increase in gathering restrictions and business regulations.

"Valais is currently the canton in Switzerland most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," the canton government said in a statement on its website.

The ski cross World Cup season is scheduled to open Dec. 3-5 in Val-Thorens, France.

Reigning Olympic men’s ski cross champion Brady Leman of Calgary returned to Canada last week.

He told The Canadian Press in a text he isn’t sick while he’s serving his mandatory 14-day quarantine at home.

Some members of the alpine ski team are staying in Europe.

A men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom in Lech and Zuers, Austria, scheduled for next week was postponed to Nov. 26-27 due to lack of snow and warm temperatures.

Calgary’s Erik Read confirmed he and Toronto’s Trevor Philp, as well as members of the women’s tech team, are currently training in Solda, Italy, in preparation for those races.

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