Zacher and Chapuis awarded wins in weather-shortened Feldberg SX
Feldberg, GER - The first of back-to-back Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup races scheduled to take place in Feldberg (GER) this weekend was cut short on Saturday after noon due to a winter storm that blue into the area during the competition.
Weather in Feldberg had been challenging for some time leading up to Saturday’s competition, with a qualification round scheduled for Friday already cancelled before Saturday’s troubles. While the track at Feldberg was in good condition on competition day, and local organizers had large crews on hand slipping and maintaining the course, at some point the battle against snow accumulation and the rising winds became became a losing one.
With the cancellation of Friday’s qualifiers, officials elected to go with an alternate start plan on Saturday, expanding the heat format from 32 men to 64, and from 16 ladies to 32, giving every athlete at least one run in a heat and whittling down the field to the standard format in time for televised finals on Saturday afternoon.
While these preliminary rounds were completed satisfactorily, the weather took a turn for the worse just before the start of the finals, and by the time the last men’s heat from the round of eight had completed their run, it became clear that the competition would be unable to proceed.
With at least one competition round completed officials were able to declare a result, with Germany’s own Heidi Zacher awarded top spot on the ladies’ side and World Cup leader Jean Frederic Chapuis (FRA) taking the victory for the men.
A thoughtful Chapuis summed up the sentiment of the day well as he got ready to leave the venue.
"I'm sorry for the other guys who are in the fight for the overall ranking," he said, "It's not really a win for me. But I think that the positive is that they stopped the race at a good time, before anybody got hurt. That's more important than the race."
The ladies' podium was rounded out by Fanny Smith (SUI) in second and Sandra Naeslund (SWE), while Brady Leman (CAN) and Alex Fiva (SUI) would take second and third, respectively.
Sunday expects to also see snowy conditions, though winds are expected to abate. At the time of this writing, competition officials are expecting to go with the same preliminary heat format as seen on Saturday, with those heats beginning at 10:30CET. Finals are then scheduled 12:30.
Hi-res photos (GEPA Pictures/Oliver Lerch)