Persistent mixed precipitation, strong winds and poor visibility forced a men’s World Cup slalom to be cancelled on Sunday in Bansko, Bulgaria.
Following a considerable weather delay and deteriorating conditions on the slope, race officials cancelled the slalom after 31 competitors had taken their first run.
According to FIS, it was deemed that due to the current weather situation and the forecast for the second run, while taking into consideration safety and inconsistent conditions with visibility for the racers, the jury together with the Bansko organising committee decided to cancel the race.
The FIS Chief Race Director World Cup Men Markus Waldner said it was a difficult decision, but the cancellation was determined after consulting with the athletes and taking into account that the weather forecast for the afternoon run.
“Unfortunately, the forecast was right, strong winds, wind gusts and especially the rain – the slope was pretty ok, we salted this morning but the visibility with the wet goggles was not good enough and this also becomes dangerous,” Waldner said.
“We also checked the forecast for the second run afternoon. We have a small window and then second run we expect even worse conditions with heavy rain and strong wind, so this would not be fair and especially not safe.
“The decision was not easy – we also talked with the racers and general feedback of the racers was poor visibility and with wet goggles,” he said.
Billy Major (GBR), bib No. 31, was the final racer permitted to run down the Tomba course as conditions on the slope continued to worsen. Seventy racers representing 18 National Ski Associations were expecting to start on Sunday morning at the Bulgarian ski resort.
The race in Bansko would have been the eighth men’s slalom contested in the 2023-34 season. A slalom in Val d’Isere also had to be cancelled in December. Three races in the discipline remain on the calendar – in Palisades Tahoe (Feb. 25), Aspen (March 3) and at the Audi FIS World Cup Finals in Saalbach (March 17).
Manuel Feller (AUT) – who has taken victory in three slaloms this season – currently leads the World Cup slalom standings with 490 points. The 31-year-old Austrian veteran is 218 points ahead of Beijing 2022 Olympic champion Clement Noel (FRA).