It's a wrap for the South Hemisphere's sesaon
Unbelievable but true: the season is over in the southern hemisphere! The Australia New Zealand Cup ended at the beginning of September, while the South American Cup just concluded this week, with the speed finals in El Colorado (CHI). The names of the deserving winners who grabbed their personal qualification for the World Cup 2017/18 are now known.
On the Australia New Zealand Cup, the season started as scheduled with tech events in Thredbod (AUS) followed by the same events in Coronet Peak (NZL). Unfortunately, the last events of the calendar, four SGs scheduled in Mt Hutt (NZL), had to be cancelled due to strong winds. For that reason, there will be no speed and no overall athletes qualified for the World Cup this year.
In the tech disciplines though, four athletes coming from Australia or New Zealand, managed to claim a personal qualification spot for the World Cup, by being the best athlete of those regions in the season ranking. Piera Hudson (NZL) and Adam Barwood (NZL) qualified for the slalom, while Alice Robinson (NZL) and Willis Faesey (NZL) will be on the World Cup Tour in giant slalom.
As for the top positions, the Swedish ladies took it all, with Sara Hector topping all the season rankings of the ANC. On the men’s side, Czech Krystof Krysyl was the most constant overall, while Andreas Zampa (SVK) won the giant slalom title and Stockholm’s World Cup winner Linus Strasser (GER) was the best in slalom.
The calendar was more dense on the South American Cup with not less than 30 events in all five disciplines (8x DH, 6x SG, 4x AC, 6x GS, 6x SL). This is without counting four races that had to be cancelled in Cerro Catedral (2x GS) due to strong winds and in Antillanca (2x SL) due to heavy rainfalls that led to lack of snow. After successful events in Cerro Catedral (ARG), La Parva (CHI) and Chapelco (ARG), the speed series in El Colorado (CHI) wrapped up the South American Cup.
Despite the presence of numerous World Cup athletes, the South American athletes can look back on some strong results. Especially on the ladies’ side, where Chilean Noelle Barahona topped the Overall standings, securing a personal spot in all disciplines for the upcoming World Cup season. She also placed best South American athlete in DH and SG, ranking second behind Andorra’s Carmina Pallas in downhill and Russia’s Aleksandra Prokopyeva in super-g. The Russian also topped the alpine combined ranking, where the best South American was Macarena Simari Birkner from Argentina. In the tech disciplines, two other Argentinian athletes excelled and secured their spots for the World Cup. Nicol Gastaldi won the giant slalom ranking, and Salome Bancora claimed the second place in the slalom ranking, behind Spain’s Nuria Pau.
On the men’s side, the Overall win went to Serbian Marko Vukicevic, with the best South American racer Sebastiano Gastaldi (ARG) claiming the second spot, less than 50 points behind. Chilean Henrik Von Appen locked up the qualification spots in both speed disciplines, topped by Jack Gower (GBR) in super-g and Marko Vukicevic (SRB) in downhill. The alpine combined standings went to Norwegian Rasmus Windingstad and the top South American was Cristian Javier Simari Birkner from Argentinia. The tech disciplines were both won by South American athletes; Sebastiano Gastaldi (ARG) topping the giant slalom and Tomas Birkner De Miguel (ARG) claiming the slalom ranking.