Paris (AFP)

The opening of the alpine ski season, traditionally held on the Austrian glacier from Rettenbach to Sölden, is brought forward by one week to the weekend of October 17 and 18 and should take place in front of a small audience, announced the Austrian Federation. (ÖSV), Wednesday.

Bringing forward the start of the season will notably allow "the Rettenbach glacier to be used extensively exclusively for World Cup races" and "to separate the participants, officials and volunteers from tourists", explained the ÖSV in a statement.

In order to fight against the spread of Covid-19, the organizers believe that, as it stands, the races will not be able to take place "in front of a high number of spectators", added the Austrian Ski Federation. Details will be provided in the coming weeks.

The ladies' giant slalom, the inaugural race of the 2020/21 season, will take place on Saturday, October 17, with the men's giant competing the next day.

The 2019/20 alpine ski season was not able to go to an end due to the Covid-19 pandemic: the finals initially scheduled in Cortina d'Ampezzo from March 17 to 22 had been canceled, as were the races in Are (Sweden) for the ladies and in Kranjska Gora (Slovenia) for the men a week earlier.

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