Women’s downhill canceled, postponing Vonn’s shot at record

Lindsey Vonn's chance to tie the World Cup wins record has been delayed after winds damaged the Austria course.  

Marco Trovati/AP

BAD KLEINKIRCHHEIM, Austria — Organizers were rebuilding the infrastructure at a women’s World Cup course after a storm destroyed the finish area and the safety fencing, forcing the cancellation of a downhill on Saturday.

The International Ski Federation said there’s still a chance a super-G can be held on the same course Sunday, though temperatures rising to above 10 degrees Celsius (50F) have been affecting the icy slope.

"Unfortunately the chance is quite big we won’t succeed," FIS women’s race director Atle Skaardal said. "It’s all really soft now. We lost five to 10 centimeters of snow over the last couple of hours. Incredible how fast it goes."

Temperatures were expected to drop again, but another storm has been forecast for Sunday afternoon, prompting FIS to bring forward the starting time of the super-G by 15 minutes to 11 a.m. (1000 GMT).

An even earlier start wasn’t possible due to other televised events, including the opening run of a men’s World Cup slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland.

An overnight storm blew away parts of the safety fencing along the course and ruined booths for TV and radio commentators as well as a temporary stage for the winner’s ceremonies, public bib draws and concerts.

"It’s pretty brutal," Skaardal said. "The storm came in at 5.30 a.m. and destroyed everything within two hours. The local organizers are very motivated to fight for Sunday’s race. We have to build up everything again and must see what’s possible."

The super-G could be Lindsey Vonn’s next chance to match the all-time record of 62 women’s World Cup wins by Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria.

"Finally I figured out this downhill course and we have a wind storm… ugh. Race is canceled. (hashtag)badtime," Vonn tweeted. "Hopefully (Cortina d’Ampezzo) can pick up the canceled DH from today. Would really love another race there. One of my favorites!"

Similar storms occurred when the World Cup last visited Bad Kleinkirchheim in 2012.

The safety netting along the course was blown away, prompting the cancellation of the final training run though the races went ahead as planned.