Matterhorn Alpine skiing World Cup downhills canceled

Matterhorn
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Four World Cup downhill races over the next two weeks that start in Switzerland and finish in Italy were called off due to a lack of snow on the final 300 meters of the course following an unseasonably warm fall and an unfavorable weather forecast.

Two men’s downhills this weekend and two women’s downhills Nov. 5-6 were canceled on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively.

Added to the calendar this season, the Zermatt-Cervinia downhill against the spectacular backdrop of the Matterhorn was set to become the first cross-border event in Alpine skiing’s World Cup history.

The International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) said the men’s races had to be canceled “due to the lack of snow and the safety situation on last section of the race track” and will not be replaced. The women’s races will also not be replaced.

FIS Secretary General Michel Vion said in a statement on the federation’s website on Saturday that the cross-border downhill was “a new and unique project that we continue to believe in.”

Earlier Saturday, the season-opening giant slalom of the women’s World Cup also had to be called off because of unfavorable weather conditions on the glacier in Austria.

The 4-kilometer Gran Becca course starts in Zermatt at an altitude of 3,700 meters and finishes in Laghi Cime Bianche above Cervinia at 2,835 meters.

While parts of the course are covered by over a meter of snow, mild temperatures in recent weeks hindered snowmaking for the lower section.

FIS usually carries out its snow control two weeks before a World Cup event but last week postponed its decision on the races to give organizers more time.

Vion said local organizers “achieved great things in the past few days. It was certainly not their fault that the men’s races could not take place.”

The new downhill is a signature event for FIS President Johan Eliasch, who labeled it “iconic.”

“I have been there, inspected the race course, and it is truly phenomenal,” Eliasch said the day before the event was canceled.

The introduction of the race was meant to give the speed racing season an early start, closing the gap between the traditional season-opening giant slalom in Austria in the third week of October and the downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek in late November and early December.

However, FIS men’s race director Markus Waldner said after Saturday’s cancellation that from next season the Zermatt-Cervina downhills might be moved to a later slot in the calendar.

“For the future, we absolutely need to review the dates because we need to have more guarantee,” Waldner said. “We have to observe the nature. We have this climate change, we had a very extremely warm summer, extremely warm autumn, also. These are signals and we need to respect this.”

Earlier, some racers voiced concerns over the project, which brings the speed season forward by a month with a demanding, high-altitude race.

“It’s not really a normal downhill, it’s a long one. And it’s also on 4,000 meters in the first downhill race of the year,” Norwegian speed specialist Aleksander Aamodt Kilde told The Associated Press in a recent video call.

“So, it’s not really an easy start, so that’s what I’m most concerned about,” Kilde added. “It’s really annoying to get injured in the first race.”

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2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

Ilia Malinin
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The Grand Prix Final, the most exclusive figure skating competition of the season and a preview of March’s world championships, airs live on Peacock and E! this week.

The top six per discipline from the six-event fall Grand Prix Series gather in Turin, Italy, at the Palavela, the 2006 Olympic venue. It’s the first Grand Prix Final in three years after the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. qualified skaters in all four disciplines for the first time since 2007, led by the world’s top-ranked man. Ilia Malinin, who turned 18 last Friday, has been the story of the season, becoming the first skater to land a quadruple Axel in competition.

Malinin, the reigning world junior champion, won both of his Grand Prix starts and posted the best total score among all fall events, edging world champion Shoma Uno of Japan. Malinin and Uno will go head-to-head for the first time this season at the Final.

Isabeau Levito, a 15-year-old world junior champion, is the youngest American at a Final since Caroline Zhang in 2007. She qualified in fifth place. The favorites are Japan’s Mai Mihara and Kaori Sakamoto and Belgian Loena Hendrickx.

The U.S. also qualified two pairs’ teams — world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and Emily Chan and Spencer Howe — and two ice dance couples — three-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.

For the first time, the Final has no Russian skaters. They are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. For the first time in 25 years, there are no Chinese skaters. China’s top pairs’ teams did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Grand Prix Final Broadcast Schedule
All TV coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Thursday Pairs’ Short Program 1:20-2:15 p.m. Peacock
Men’s Short Program 2:35-3:20 p.m. Peacock
Friday Pairs’ Free Skate 11:35 a.m.-12:40 p.m. Peacock
Rhythm Dance 1:50-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Short Program 3:05-3:50 p.m. Peacock
Saturday Men’s Short Program* 6:30-7:30 a.m. E!
Men’s Free Skate 7:30-8:30 a.m. E!, Peacock
Women’s Short Program* 8:30-9:30 a.m. E!
Free Dance 1:40-2:40 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Free Skate 3-3:55 p.m. Peacock
Sunday Highlights* 4-6 p.m. NBC

*Delayed broadcast.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde sweeps Beaver Creek World Cup races

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Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde held off Swiss Marco Odermatt for a second consecutive day to sweep World Cup races in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this weekend.

Kilde won Sunday’s super-G by two tenths of a second over Odermatt, one day after edging Odermatt by six hundredths. France’s Alexis Pinturault took third as the podium was made up of the last three men to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

This season’s overall figures to be a two-man battle between Kilde, the 2019-20 champion, and Odermatt, the reigning champion, and could come down to March’s World Cup Finals. They’ve combined to win the first five of 38 scheduled races.

The top American Sunday was River Radamus, who finished an impressive 16th given his start number was 57. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the Olympic super-G silver medalist, and Travis Ganong, who was third in Beaver Creek last year, both skied out.

The men’s World Cup heads next weekend to Val d’Isere, France, for a giant slalom and slalom.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

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