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Alpine skiing World Cup to balance speed, technical events

Alpine Skiing World Cup

ARE, SWEDEN - MARCH 17: Mikaela Shiffrin of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Finals Women’s Slalom on March 17, 2018 in Are, Sweden. (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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The 2021-22 Alpine skiing World Cup has the same number of speed events and technical events after unbalanced schedules with more tech races in recent seasons.

The World Cup is scheduled to have its traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria in late October.

Races will go through the World Cup Finals in Courchével and Meribel, France, in late March after a break for the Olympics in February.

The men and women each have 18 speed races, 18 tech races and two parallel events, according to the International Ski Federation on Wednesday.

There will be no combined events on the World Cup for a second consecutive season, but the combined remains on the Olympic program. Mikaela Shiffrin won the combined at last season’s world championships, and it has become her best event.

The World Cup also returns to North America after staying in Europe during the coronavirus-impacted 2020-21 season. Shiffrin is expected to headline a giant slalom and slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Thanksgiving weekend.

Having the same number of events in speed (downhill and super-G) and tech (slalom and GS) comes after last season’s World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, was impacted on the women’s side by an unbalanced schedule.

Petra Vlhova became the first Slovakian to win the overall, prevailing by 160 points over Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through to one point for finishing 30th (though only the top 15 earn points at World Cup Finals).

Seventeen tech races (Vlhova’s specialties) were held last season versus 13 speed races (Gut-Behrami’s better events). At the World Cup Finals, the downhill and super-G were canceled due to weather early in the week, while the slalom and GS were able to run on the final weekend.

Gut-Behrami would have won the overall had there been an equal number of downhills, super-Gs, giant slaloms and slaloms, and each skier maintained her average finish per discipline.

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