In a wintry Central Europe, it was a packed week of FIS World Cup events.
Both the men’s and ladies’ Audi FIS Ski World Cup tours had to battle the elements as high winds, fog and snow caused delays and cancellations in St. Moritz (SUI), whilst Val d’Isere (FRA) managed to maintain the programme even with heavy snow falling over the weekend thanks to immense work by the Organisers.
The men completed both the giant slalom and slalom competitions on Val d’Isere’s ‘La Face’ course. Alexis Pinturault took advantage of his home turf and turned in the victory on Saturday, while Marcel Hirscher (AUT) showed that his injury woes are well behind him, winning Sunday’s slalom.
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The ladies weren’t as lucky with the weather in St. Moritz, as two of the three planned races had to be cancelled due to the inclement weather. Only Saturday’s super-G was completed and it was a Swiss 1-2 punch with rookie Jasmine Flury taking the surprise victory ahead of teammate Michelle Gisin and Tina Weirather (LIE).
The FIS Cross-Country World Cup presented by Viessmann was in Davos (SUI) for two days of action. In Saturday’s sprint Johannes Klaebo (NOR) continued his amazing streak of victories taking his sixth straight win of the season with a healthy lead over Federico Pellegrino (ITA). But Pellegrino had the final say of the weekend, snapping the Klaebo streak and taking the win in the 15 km.
On the ladies’ side, Stina Nilsson (SWE) picked up the victory in Saturday’s sprint ahead of Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) and Kikkan Randall (USA). In Sunday’s 10 km, Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg led a strong Norwegian contingent, which took three of the top four spots.
Norway earned its third win in as many team competitions this season on Saturday in Titisee-Neustadt (GER). But this week it was a close battle as they were a mere 0.8 points ahead of Poland and Germany after eight jumps!
In a challenging weather day on Sunday in the individual competition, Richard Freitag won ahead of Andreas Wellinger (both GER) and Daniel Andre Tande (NOR). Strong winds and stormy skies made for a long day for the athletes, but in the end, the competition was able to take place thanks to the hard work of the Organisers.
Freestyle, Freeski and Snowboard
Two FIS World Cup tours kicked off their Olympic season with the moguls and ski cross athletes in action.
Up by the Arctic Circle in Ruka (FIN), the mogul season started with some familiar faces on the podium. Britteny Cox (AUS) easily repeated her winning ways on the course where she scored the first victory of her career last season. Meanwhile, Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) made more history with his eighth-straight victory (dating back to last season).
In the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup, Thursday’s race in Val Thorens (FRA) was staged under sunny skies and Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund and Canada’s Chris Delbosco claimed the season’s first victories. Challenging weather with heavy snowfalls forced the cancellation of the second race. The tour moved onto Arosa (SUI) for a night-time sprint race under the lights which again was cancelled due to the inclement weather. A final result was rewarded based on the qualification rankings with Swedes Sandra Naeslund and Victor Andersson getting the wins.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the weather was more favourable in Copper Mountain (USA) which hosted FIS World Cup ski and snowboard halfpipe and snowboard big air competitions.
In the ski halfpipe, France’s Marie Martinod and the USA’s David Wise walked away with big victories under perfect, sunny Colorado skies.
In the snowboard halfpipe, teen sensations Chloe Kim (USA) and Ayumu Hirano (JPN) dominated the competition, with Kim leading a U.S. podium sweep in the ladies’ event.
In the season’s fourth FIS Snowboard World Cup big air, Reira Iwabuchi (JPN) and Mons Roisland (NOR) took the victories on the North American stop, which was the last FIS Snowboard big air World Cup competition before the Olympic Winter Games, and the only one of the season staged in a mountain venue.
Following the FIS Snowboard cross World Cup opener in Cerro Catedral (ARG) back in August, the tour has continued its season in the Northern hemisphere with a first stop in Val Thorens (FRA) today. Despite challenging weather conditions, Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Paul Berg (GER) took the win.