On Monday, race officials were forced to cancel the opening event of the 2021 Alpine World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo due to heavy snowfall. The women’s alpine combined event, slated to kick off the World Championships on Monday, Feb. 8, has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 15.
Peter Gerdol, chief race director for the women’s races in Cortina, explained that the heavy snowfall made it impossible to guarantee safe course conditions for the super-G portion of the women’s alpine combined event.
“Yesterday it snowed quite a lot—wet, heavy snow. It stopped snowing around 2 o’clock in the morning, but then it started again around 3 o’clock in the morning and we got another 20-25cm of snow. It’s not that much, but it was impossible to re-prepare the course in time to guarantee fairness and safety on a speed course like a super-G. The decision was difficult, but it was quite obvious that due to safety issues, we cannot have a race today.”
In other big news, American Mikaela Shiffrin has announced that she will be competing in the women’s alpine combined and super-G in Cortina.
Shiffrin has not started in any speed events on this year’s World Cup circuit, choosing instead to focus on training and racing the technical disciplines given her long hiatus from racing after the unexpected death of her father in February last year. The last super-G event Shiffrin competed in was in Bansko, Bulgaria in January 2020, which she won.
Shiffrin announced that she will start in four disciplines at this year’s World Championships: the women’s alpine combined, super-G, giant slalom, and slalom.
Shiffrin is the deafening World Champion in both super-G and slalom, but she’s made it clear that she is not entering this World Championship with the mindset of deafening her titles. Since the death of her father, Shiffrin has struggled to return to the same winning mentality she once had.
“This World Champs really is a different position. It’s really about me getting in a state of mind to put my most aggressive skiing out,” Shiffrin told NBC in an interview.
“It’s such a rollercoaster. Some days I feel so inspired, and some days I really really don’t. The fire is there. It’s not a raging inferno, but we’re stoking it.”
Nevertheless, after two weeks of focused training leading up to the races in Cortina, Shiffrin feels ready to get back on her speed skis.
“I feel comfortable on the skis and it’s super fun, so I’m really going into the speed section of the World Championships with the intention of trying to take it as an opportunity for training,” Shiffrin told the Denver Post. “Obviously it’s a race and it’s the World Championships, so I’m going to be trying to ski as fast as I can and think that I’ll be able to have a pretty good result.”
Follow SKI’s coverage of the 2021 Alpine World Championships on the Competitions and Events page.