Safety first in Planica, ski flying under floodlights

Seventh FIS Ski Flying World Championships is approaching. One week before the test of the flying hill the Organizing committee presented the efforts that were undertaken before the event.


President of the Ski Association of Slovenia and the OC, Enzo Smrekar
First of all I would like to thank the FIS with which we agreed to postpone the event to December and also because this is a cooperation in difficult times, which are unpredictable. You can imagine that the organization of the event in December is quite a test for the Ski Association and the OC.

The championships will be organized with a minimum number of people, with those that are truly necessary and considering the strictest prevention measures to contain the spread of infection. In these times it is vital that the competitions are maintained at the highest level. These competitions are of great importance for the sport and for the athletes. All the measures that are before us mean that there will be no spectators and they will be missed. Planica won’t be the same. But we are certain that the fans and viewers will cheer for the athletes also in front of the TV screens.

OC secretary general, Tomaž Šušteršič
For many reasons Planica will be special this time. The event will take place in December, all competitions will start in the afternoon and the athletes will fly under floodlights. It will also be special because of this extraordinary situation due to Covid-19. And it will be special and we’re very sorry for that, there won’t be any faithful fans.

Even will all these circumstances I believe we can make a special and unforgettable event, although a bit different. We have lost quite some sleep wondering if we’re going to be able to stage the event. At this point I can say that nothing can stop us now.

We hoped till the last moment that we can bring at least a limited number of fans to Planica, but this hope is diminishing with every day, since the epidemiological situation is not getting better. We were hoping that we could bring some fans to Planica to attend the event in drive-in, but the decree forbids travel between municipalities and statistical regions.

The current circumstances also affect the budget of the event. A loss of 1 million EUR was made with the cancelation of the event in March. This accompanied us to December so we can already say that the Championship fill finish in red numbers.

A special challenge was setting up of temporary lighting which was a project undertaken months ago and represents the biggest part of the budget. We believe that this years TV broadcast will be special since the competitions will take place under the lights.

Another challenge is ofcourse Covid-19. We’ve worked for months to create conditions in which every participant will stay safe. A ‘’snowflake’’ will be set up in which every teams member and every member of the organizing team will be safe from infection.

In accordance with intervention measures by the Government of Slovenia organizers of sports events that were affected by the Covid-19 had the possibility to use vouchers. It was a measure to enable liquidity. The vouchers are valid for 24 months. Those who have already exchanged these vouchers for tickets for Decembers competition will now unfortunately have to change them again for vouchers or transfer them to competition in March 2021, when the Ski Jumping World Cup will take place.

Chief of competition, Jelko Gros
We started to prepare for the event on the 12th of March when the epidemic was declared. We preserved snow under the flying hill and were left with 5000 cubic meters of snow. Some was also gathered from the snow tunnel of the Nordic center, about 1000 cubic meters and then we made another 2000.

We started to prepare the inrun in the middle of November. With the ‘’snowbox’’ we finished the preparation a week ago and now we can say that the skis will run smoothly through the inrun and athletes will only have to concentrate on their jump.

The FIS approached the start of the season very well. The athletes were taken with a charter plane from Munich to Ruka and to Nizhny Tagil and then they will be taken to Ljubljana. First, we will test them for the virus then they will go to their rooms to wait for the results and after that they will join the FIS snowflake.

The preliminary start list has 70 competitors. Tomorrow is the last day for entries and things can also change at the TCM. The athletes come from 16 different nations so I expect that there will be 10 teams at Sunday’s competition.

Chief of medical service, Dr. Robert Carotta
As a member of medical personnel I like seeing less people so that there is not much work, but we will miss Planica as we’re used to it. A positive will should guide us forward, a will to believe that Planica will soon be as it once was.

The co called green zone will host all the athletes and team members, trainers, masseurs, service people and so on and also the medical team that takes care of them. Everyone that will stay in the green zone has to have a negative, classic PCR test, that can’t be older than 5 days.

Everything else around the competition site is the grey zone, which consists of vital people to carry out the competition, more than 400 of them. They will undergo quick antigen tests which provide results in a few minutes. There won’t be any contacts between the two zones except in extraordinary circumstances.

As far as the organization is concerned, everything and more has been done so that Planica does not become a Covid-19 hotspot. This is the first mass outdoor event in Slovenia during the epidemic and will be a model for all outdoor sports events that follow.

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