FIS World Cup Ruka Nordic, the Nordic skiing World Cup event in Kuusamo, Finland, will be held this year without spectators by decision of the organizing club Kuusamon Erä-Veikot. This means, that no tickets will be sold to the event.

The decision was made in order to decrease the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections at the event.

“The board discussed the matter very thoroughly, and finally, after careful consideration, we reached the decision that we think is best for both the public and the athletes. The decision is in line with our discussions with Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko and with the comments she gave us,” says Matti Heikkilä, Chairman of the Board of Kuusamon Erä-Veikot.

“Being able to hold this event despite the extraordinary situation is an important thing for Ruka Nordic’s future success and status. The choice to hold the event without spectators will hopefully allow us at Ruka to provide unforgettable experiences for skiing fans for years to come,” Heikkilä adds.

Event preparations are now being made according to the normal event schedule. Cross-Country Skiing and Nordic Combined World Cup events are scheduled for three days, while Ski Jumping World Cup events are scheduled for two. The schedule is awaiting final confirmation from the International Ski Federation FIS in week 40 in late September–early October.

“We’re so sorry that we can’t give skiing fans the amazing experience that you can only get on the ground. This decision allows us to control the number of people at the event, and we can create the safest possible conditions for teams competing in Ruka,” says Secretary General of Ruka Nordic Seppo Linjakumpu.

The decision was made in close cooperation with the Finnish Ski Association and FIS. Due to the extraordinary circumstances FIS reviews the organization of each separate event 30 days beforehand.

Responsibility in organizing events has been discussed at the Finnish Ski Association since last spring. Finland’s national guidelines are observed at international-level competitions as well.

“As the holder of the hosting rights the Finnish Ski Association respects the decisions made by the local organization to guarantee health and safety, and the planning for all competitions is moving forward so we can have as normal a season as possible. Ultimately, the season calendar will be shaped by decisions from the FIS,” says Executive Director Ismo Hämäläinen from the Finnish Ski Association.

Events team up in contingency planning

The coronavirus contingency plan for Ruka Nordic is being made in cooperation with the rest of Finland’s international World Cup organizers Levi, Kontiolahti and Lahti. Ruka also has its own internal coronavirus team, which reviews how the coronavirus will be addressed at different stages of the event and keeps track of the situation.

A key part of the contingency plan is to enable coronavirus testing during the event. The final contingency plan must be approved by Finnish authorities.

“It’s great that we can work together with other event organizers. Testing facilities are an important part of our preparations, because we want all the people involved to be able to get tested according to the guidelines set by the FIS, the event organizers and the authorities,” says Linjakumpu.

While there will be no spectators and thus no spectator services, volunteers will still be needed.

“Volunteers will be a major part of the event this year as well. Their role is reflected in all contingency planning, and we will do our utmost to make the event is as safe as possible for volunteers as well as any others involved in organizing the event,” Linjakumpu says.

 

More information:

Seppo Linjakumpu

Secretary General

Ruka Nordic

tel. +358 40 070 6433

seppo.linjakumpu@rukanordic.com

 

Ruka Nordic November 27–29, 2020. Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined and Cross-Country World Cup event in Ruka. Three days of the best winter sports in the world!

Images from the 2019 Ruka Nordic can be found on Flickr, and here are images from earlier years. The images may be used freely by the media.

Ruka Nordic is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course rukanordic.com.