There will be no fans present in Sölden this year ©Getty Images

The opening weekend of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Ski World Cup season in Sölden is to take place without spectators because of the coronavirus crisis.

The season's curtain-raiser has already been moved forward by a week over the pandemic.

"This protective measure is important," organising Committee chief Jakob Falkner said, as reported by Le Journal du Jura.

"It is a wish of the FIS and the ÖSV [Austrian Ski Association]."

Two giant slalom events are planned in Sölden, with the women's race timetabled for October 17 before the men's takes place on October 18.

Alice Robinson was victorious in Sölden last season ©Getty Images
Alice Robinson was victorious in Sölden last season ©Getty Images

France's Alexis Pinturault and Alice Robinson of New Zealand won the men's and women's contest at the resort last year.

The 2020 event was moved forward so that the Rettenbachferner glacier area can be used solely for the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, with competitors and officials separated from tourists.

Yesterday, the FIS announced that the Alpine Ski World Cup will not visit North America this season because of the pandemic.

Five women's races and five men's contest were planned in Canada and the United States.

It is hoped that those races can be staged at European venues already on the Alpine Ski World Cup calendar.