Spring melts away final Continental Cup races
The Alpine Skiing FIS Continental Cup series in the Southern Hemisphere, both the South American Cup (SAC) and the Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) , have concluded the 2012 racing seasons with several athletes earning a chance to race up North this winter.
Unfortunately, the Continental Cup series concluded with roughly 25 percent of races cancelled due to weather or snow conditions. Nevertheless, some of the world’s top male and female ski racers competed for the overall titles, with the regional winners gaining good starting positions for the 2012 World Cup that begins next month in Soelden.
The Continental Cup series have particular significance for native athletes. The winner in each event (or best-placed if an athlete from outside the home continent wins) earns a fixed starting position in that event on the World Cup for the entire season. The overall title winners are entitled to a place in all World Cup events.
The final races of the season took place Sept. 11-13 in Cerro Catedral, due to the cancellation of the planned SAC finals in Nevados de Chillan, Chile, which were scheduled for September 20-24.
For the 12th time, the SAC overall title went to the technical specialist Cristian Javier Simari Birkner, of Argentina, who collected 491 points ahead of his teammates Sebastiano Gastaldi (340) and Jorge F. Birkner Ketelhohn (219). Finland’s Andreas Romar claimed the SAC downhill title for 2012, while in super-G it was Germany’s Josef Ferstl.
On the ladies' side, Simari Birkner sisters Maria Belen and Macarena also continued their streak of domination, with Maria Belen clinching her 12th title ahead of her sister. Noelle Barahona, of Chile, took third.
Maria Belen Simari Birkner also won the slalom and giant slalom rankings, while Russia's Alexandra Prokopyeva took the downhill title. The super-G was a tie race concluding with two winners: Macarena Simari Birkner and Russia’s Anastasia Kedrina, both with 160 points.
“Down Under,” the ANC 2012 held its opening races at Mt Buller Austria in early August, before continuing to Mt Hotham and Coronet Peak and concluding at Mt Hutt, New Zealand, where half of the races were subject to cancellations.
This year's ANC overall victory was claimed by Slovakia’s Adam Zampa (416) with Johan Oehagen, of Sweden, in second place (305) and Cameron Smith from the United States finishing third (232).
Meanwhile, the ladies' ANC title was conquered by local talent, 16-year-old Greta Small (380). Norway's Rikke Gasmann-Brott (360) and Caroline Barry (215, USA) completed the podium.
Thanks to their overall wins in the ANC series, Australia’s Luke Laidlaw and Small are entitled to a place in all giant slalom and slalom World Cup events while Ross Peraudo has earned a fixed starting position in the slalom World Cup.
Following the results of the SAC series, Argentina's Cristian Javier and Maria Belen Simari Birkner are entitled to a place in all downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom World Cup events, while the same accounts for Macarena Simari Birkner in the super-G and Chile’s Noelle Barahona in the downhill World Cup.
In addition, Chile’s Henrik von Appen and Argentina’s Sebastiano Gastaldi have earned a fixed starting position in the downhill and giant slalom World Cup events respectively. -GM
Photos: GEPA Archive