LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (Reuters) – The first alpine skiing World Cup super-G of the season was cancelled on Sunday as snow and high temperatures wrecked havoc with the opening speed races on the calendar.
The world’s top speed skiers were left idling in the Canadian Rockies for much of the weekend with bad weather also forcing the cancellation of Friday’s downhill.
Organisers did manage to get off a downhill on Saturday, won by Austria’s Matthias Mayer, before snowfall returned overnight forcing another cancellation.
“Due to last night’s snowfall, the current weather conditions on the course and the forecast, the jury together with the OC (organising committee) have decided to cancel today’s SG (super-G),” said the FIS, alpine skiing’s governing body.
The men now head to Beaver Creek, Colorado next week for a packed schedule of races that includes the cancelled Canadian downhill.
The Birds of Prey layout will stage super-Gs on Thursday and Friday with downhills going Saturday and Sunday.
The women will move into the Canadian resort next week for their first speed races with a downhill double-header scheduled for Friday and Saturday, wrapping up with a super-G on Sunday.
Further disruptions to the calendar would create a headache for the FIS, with skiers desperate to get in races and secure coveted spots for next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.
Teams will be hoping for better conditions in Beaver Creek to get something out of what has so far been a challenging trip to North America where skiers, staff and spectators have dealt with strict COVID-19 protocols.
There is also growing worry about the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The variant has surfaced in Italy where the men have a number of races scheduled in December.
Omicron is potentially more contagious than previous variants, although it is unclear whether it causes more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains.
The FIS did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment if it would tighten COVID-19 protocols when the World Cup swings back to Europe.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Lake Louise. Editing by Toby Davis)