BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - The world championships were hit by a second weather issue in as many days as a combination of strong winds and intensifying snow forced organizers to reschedule the men’s Super-G for Thursday.
Visibility on the Birds of Prey piste was described as adequate by most of the ski racers but heavy snowfall on the track and sides of the course led to a postponement one hour before the scheduled 1 p.m. ET (1800 GMT) start on Wednesday.
The event, the first in the men’s program at Beaver Creek, has been reset for Thursday at 12 p.m. ET, officials said.
No races had initially been planned for Thursday with men’s and women’s downhill training due to take place on the Birds of Prey and the Raptor race courses.
“It’s a good thing for safety and the perception of the sport,” American speed specialist Steve Nyman, who is competing in his fourth world championships, told Reuters about the postponement.
“To have the sport on live national TV, we want to put on a good show. Races can be confusing when it’s windy, snowy and unfair.”
In-form Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud is the gold medal favourite in the men’s Super-G, though defending champion Ted Ligety of the United States will be tough to beat at one of his favourite venues in front of his home fans.
The opening event of the Feb. 2-15 world championships, the women’s Super-G, took place on Tuesday in what American ski queen Lindsey Vonn described as “not 100 percent fair” conditions.
Because of high winds, the race was pushed back 30 minutes and the start lowered before Austria’s Olympic champion Anna Fenninger won gold and defending champion Tina Maze of Slovenia finished second.
Vonn, the pre-race favorite, had to settle for third after struggling with strong headwinds over the top half of the course.
Asked whether she felt the women’s Super-G should have been postponed, Vonn replied: “I kind of expected that it would happen. It’s tough for the race organizers.
“It’s not bad enough to call it unsafe, it’s just not 100 percent fair. You’ve just got to go with it, do the best you can.”
Conditions are expected to become warmer and sunny at Beaver Creek over the next two days, with the women’s showcase downhill scheduled for Friday when 2009 champion Vonn will bid for her third gold medal at the worlds.
Editing by Frank Pingue