Alpine skiing World Cup season opener cancelled due to bad weather
Soelden, Austria — Rain and snowfall wiped out the first women’s race of the Alpine skiing World Cup season Saturday and made the men’s event for the next day doubtful.
Wet snow on the Austrian glacier affected the visibility on the softened course and made a safe race impossible.
Organizers initially delayed the planned start time of 10 a.m. by one hour but decided to call off the race soon after as conditions didn’t improve.
“This was the worst-case scenario — but this happened exactly,” FIS women’s race director Peter Gerdol said. “We had a couple of hours of rain tonight and then this wet snow around five or six o’clock this morning, so the surface was actually too soft to guarantee a safe race.”
The giant slalom will likely be rescheduled at another venue, to be confirmed “in a few days,” according to Gerdol.
Weather conditions were expected to improve in the afternoon, allowing organizers to start preparing the course for the men’s race on Sunday.
Chief of race Rainer Gstrein said they might need to use water and salt to make the weakened course suitable again for a World Cup race.
“It’s going to be a major effort,” Gstrein told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
It is the first time since 2006 that the women’s race of the traditional season-opening weekend in Austria was canceled. The men’s race was most recently called off in 2017 and 2018.
“Well, we’re trying. We’re all ready to go, everything’s been packed up,” Mikaela Shiffrin said in a video posted on her Twitter account.
“But the race has been canceled because, unfortunately, it’s really, really, really wet outside. But air smells fresh and that’s nice but we won’t be racing today.”
Shiffrin won the traditional season opener on the Rettenbach glacier last year and the American went on to win the overall World Cup title for a fourth time.
In a similar scenario, Marco Odermatt triumphed in the men’s race and the Swiss skier became overall champion for the first time last season.
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