Winter Olympics: Expert believes ski-cross team ‘will face a difficult season’

Youri Stassila

European ski-cross champion Youri Stassila says the sport faces a “difficult moment” at the start of a new season.

A review of how hectic World Cup circuit is run led to a handful of competitors dropping out, and some spots being taken by younger slalom and big air Olympians.

“Of course it’s been very emotional,” the Frenchman told BBC Sport.

“It’s going to be very exciting to start, and also to learn a new nation”

The International Ski Federation (FIS) held an informal meeting with representatives from teams on Tuesday.

Seven-time world champion Stassila added: “One of the objective was to put an end to what the people find a bit un-sporting.

“The others are modernising the sport and trying to find a way to balance it all and to see where the best focus.

“Yes it was a good meeting and we saw a lot of good things, but maybe also we are re-thinking a lot.”

There were huge challenges for athletes on the World Cup calendar last season after steep scheduling changes following a rise in ski tracks built in Europe in the last decade.

The result was periods of widespread staff shortages, which had an impact on athletes’ preparation.

Stassila hopes to defend his title at the World Cup event in Italy next month, but says the hardest season he has been involved in will be ahead of him.

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