Snow, fog wipe out women’s ski races in Italy
SESTRIERE, Italy – A snowstorm and thick fog forced organizers to call off both women’s World Cup ski races this weekend – downhill and super-combined events.
The decision was made Sunday morning with 16 inches of snow having fallen over three days on the Kandahar Banchetta course. Organizers already postponed the downhill, which was originally slated for Saturday.
The women’s circuit now has four races to make up because giant slalom and slalom races were postponed due to warm weather in Maribor, Slovenia, earlier this month.
The International Ski Federation has given no indication to when the races might be made up, but it will likely be after the world championships, which begin Feb. 8 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
“It’s probably hard to replace every single race,” said overall World Cup leader Maria Riesch of Germany. “I think they will try to replace some of the races, but which ones I don’t know.”
Riesch holds a 1,232-1,087 lead over three-time defending champion Lindsey Vonn in the overall standings with 22 of the 39 races scheduled at the start of the season completed.
Riesch has excelled in the technical events this season and is keen on getting the Maribor races in, while Vonn favors the speed disciplines and is hoping the races wiped out get made up.
“Yeah, but I want them to be fair races as well,” Vonn said. “I don’t want to race in an unsafe situation and obviously I would really love to race but you can’t force the matter, either. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. I’m hoping for a little luck in my direction, but you can’t change nature.”
The off days also give Vonn time to rest her injured left knee, which she tweaked during a strenuous recovery in a downhill in Cortina last weekend. She has a possible strained MCL.
“Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad, but progressively it’s getting better, so I’m pretty happy with it,” said Vonn, who did a few days of slalom training this week.
The injury affects the American more in downhill than slalom.
“The jumps and the vibration and the bumps in downhill seem to be what agitates it the most,” Vonn said. “The knee is funny, it responds differently to different events but it seems like it doesn’t like downhill too much.”
Former overall winner Anja Paerson, meanwhile, is heading home to Sweden to train for the worlds. She will skip the giant slalom and slalom races next weekend in Zwiesel, Germany.