Downhill training lost to weather on 1st day of ski worlds
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) Bad weather kept Lindsey Vonn, Lara Gut, and all the women’s speed skiers off the course on the opening day of the ski world championships at St. Moritz.
Downhill training sessions for the women and men were wiped out on a blustery, overcast Monday after heavy recent snowfalls.
”There was way too much loose snow on the track and it was too windy. It was a difficult day,” race director Atle Skaardal said.
It meant American star Vonn and home Swiss favorite Gut go into Tuesday’s super-G – the first medal event on the two-week schedule – with little feel for the race hill after both crashed hard in World Cup races at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, just over a week ago.
While full training runs are mandatory before a downhill can start, just a race-day inspection of the gate-setting is needed for super-G, which tests racers’ balance and skills to adapt at speed.
Still, both Vonn and Gut are strong contenders for gold on the Engiadina course where each won a race at a World Cup two years ago.
Now 32, Vonn has three medals in super-G, one of each color, from her six previous world championships. Gut got silver in 2013 in the discipline.
Gut had first choice of start numbers on Monday, as the top-ranked super-G racer with three World Cup wins, and Swiss team coaches opted for No. 7.
Vonn will wear bib No. 11, without the advantage of an on-course report from a teammate racing before her. Laurenne Ross was drawn with No. 14 while other members of the four-racer team, Jacqueline Wiles and Breezy Johnson, will start in the 20s.
The defending champion, and 2014 Olympic gold medalist in super-G, Anna Veith of Austria will start No. 17 yet would be a surprise to repeat. Injuries have meant the former Anna Fenninger has raced little since winning the 2015 worlds title, though she placed third in super-G at Cortina.
Good conditions are forecast on Tuesday with clear skies and temperatures below freezing expected at the scheduled noon local time (1000 GMT) start.
On Monday, organizers first canceled the men’s practice then the women’s session, which took priority and had been delayed to take the men’s original lunchtime slot.
The men’s super-G is scheduled for Wednesday, and further downhill training sessions are scheduled before the marquee races this weekend; Saturday for the men, Sunday for the women.