The old saying has always been: “If you want a powder day, hold a downhill race!”
After more than 50 centimeters of snow over the past two days, Sunday’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill, which was already rescheduled from Saturday, was ultimately canceled due to unsafe snow conditions.
“The course presented too soft conditions today, despite a lot of hard work from the whole organizing committee and the course crew,” explained FIS Chief Race Director Atle Skaardal. “So it’s a very sad day, but the safety is the most important and it was not possible to have a safe race today. That’s the reason why we had to cancel. If you look at the amount of snow that we’ve had over the last days, it is obvious that it is difficult to prepare a race course under these circumstances, especially in downhill of course where the requirements are extremely high in terms of safety.”
So what is a racer to do when the race is canceled? Bust out the powder skis, of course!
“Face shots are the most rewarding thing in the world, other than coming through the finish of a sick downhill!” Laurenne Ross of the U.S. Ski Team said, as a few cheers erupted from her teammates in the background. “It was so nice to get to ski powder for a couple of days in a row, because we haven’t been able to do that all year. So, I finally got to use my new powder skis and slash some turns. So it was still a lovely week.”
“I think the powder skiing is a nice compensation for missing the races, so I’m happy with that,” added Alice McKennis.
The women’s speed team moves on to La Thuile, Italy, for downhill and super G races Feb. 20-21 where Lindsey Vonn will go for World Cup win number 77. Ross also hopes to carry her momentum from last week’s fifth-place downhill finish in Garmisch, Germany, to the Italian Alps. There is only one possibility until the end of the season to reschedule Sunday’s lost race and that would be in La Thuile. Officials are checking with the venue to see if rescheduling will be possible.
“I’m bummed that it was canceled because I feel that I could be really fast on this hill, which I proved in the second training run,” said Ross, who finished third in training on Friday. “But, I’m going to take that into La Thuile, and take my momentum from Garmisch and try to send it there.”
Up next in Crans Montana, Mikaela Shiffrin returns to World Cup racing in Monday’s slalom, which was re-scheduled from Maribor, Slovenia.
“I think slalom tomorrow should be OK,” Skaardal continued. “We will probably not have really icy conditions, but slalom means of course a very different speed and it’s a different question in terms of safety. I am confident that we will have a good slalom race tomorrow.”
Release courtesy of USSA and FIS