Economic woes lead to fewer World Cup freestyle ski events

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MONTREAL - Economic woes have forced the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association to scale back on the number of World Cup events it will host next January.

Association president Peter Judge said there will be only one aerials event — in Val St-Come, Que., on Jan. 12 — and one moguls event in Calgary two weeks later.

Normally, there are two competitions in Canada that have both aerials and moguls events. But the association no longer has any sponsors.

Deals with Bell, RBC and Canada Post have all expired and have not been renewed, resulting in a $1.4-million shortfall.

''Notwithstanding Olympic fatigue and home Games fatigue, I don't think anyone could have foreseen that we would have hit the bricks as hard as we have with this economic situation, which has exacerbated the problem even more,'' Judge said in an interview.

Judge said it is particularly upsetting that there will be no moguls event in Quebec. Skiers from the province make up Canada's moguls team, believed to be one of the best in the world.

''To not be able to ski at home is a disappointment, but we're looking at it as a short-term malady and not something that's chronic,'' Judge said.

It will be the first time since 1978 that Quebec won't have featured on the moguls calendar.

World and Olympic champion Alexandre Bilodeau understands the decision — but is still deeply disappointed.

''It's too bad,'' Bilodeau said from Zermatt, Switzerland, where is training. ''I always like competing in front of family and friends.''

Organizations: Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, RBC, Canada Post

Geographic location: Canada, MONTREAL, Quebec Val St-Come Calgary Switzerland

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