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All eyes were on Mikaela Shiffrin in Zagreb, Croatia today as the American chased her sixth consecutive win and 82nd World Cup victory to tie Lindsey Vonn’s women’s World Cup record. Alas, Shiffrin will have to wait a few more days to make headlines after race organizers were forced to cancel the second Zagreb slalom scheduled for today.
A warm southwest wind and high humidity caused five to 10 centimeters of snow to either melt or evaporate overnight, especially in the finish area. The first run was slated to start at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET).
“We just found out the race is canceled today, which is not the craziest surprise in the world considering how little snow there is,” Shiffrin posted on social media. “But the fact that they pulled it off yesterday made me feel like it was definitely going to be pulled off today. So I’m shocked. But I don’t know why I’m shocked because it’s not that surprising.”
In truth, it’s a surprise that they managed to get even one race off in Zagreb. The race hill—called the Red Slope—was a strip of white framed by green grass.
“I am especially proud that we managed to deliver a very good race in impossible conditions yesterday,” commented Vedran Pavlek, the director of the Snow Queen Trophy organizing committee. “If it had been a clear night tonight, if it had been zero degrees or a few degrees above zero with clear weather, we would not have had a problem.”
Zagreb’s Sljeme Ski Resort is not the only ski area in Europe affected by climate chaos. Most of Europe has been basking in 40-50 degree (Fahrenheit) daytime temperatures the past two weeks. The last time it dropped below freezing in Zagreb was December 19, 2022.
Now the women’s World Cup circuit moves to Slovenia for a giant slalom double-header in Kranjska Gora, where temps are forecast to hit the mid-40s (Fahrenheit) on Saturday and Sunday, with lows hovering around freezing at night. Sunday’s forecast includes a 91 percent chance of rain. But the Slovenian ski area’s webcams at least show snow covering the trails, not just strips of white falling through green grass.
It’s here Shiffrin will look to claim her next World Cup victory (or victories). Riding a wave of five consecutive wins—across three of alpine ski-racing’s disciplines—the slalom specialist had perhaps the best chance of tying Vonn’s women’s World Cup win record of 82 today with a second slalom in Zagreb. But with two recent back-to-back GS wins in Semmering in her pocket, Shiffrin could very well continue her streak in Kranjska Gora on Jan. 7. If she doesn’t pull it off this weekend, she’ll have another chance in slalom on Jan. 10 in Flachau, Austria.