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SNOWBASIN, Utah (Feb. 25) – It was a case of another day, another race cancellation Sunday as a World Cup downhill was weatheredout for the third straight day on the 2002 Olympic course at Snowbasin.
It was also another day of outstanding conditions for powder skiers and snowboarders, but unfortunately, World Cup racers willhave to wait until next year to compete on the Grizzly course. A forecast full of snow, winds and fog again forced organizers to calloff the Chevy Truck Grizzly Downhill.
The weather woes started Friday as a makeup race from Wengen, Switzerland was nixed due to snow. Saturday, the same conditionsprevailed, forcing the postponement of the Grizzly Downhill to Sunday.
Officials made an annoucement Sunday at 7:15 a.m. MST to move the race start time from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. However, afterreviewing the forecast with weather experts, it was decided to call the race altogether.
“It’s very disappointing for us,” said Herwig Demschar, the alpine director of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. “I’ve been in thissport for quite a while and for me maybe it’s easier to take it because I know how it goes. The weather’s just stronger than all ofthe people, you cannot fight it.”
About 450 volunteers were on hand all week, making sure that if there was a slight chance to get the race off, it would happen withthe best preparation possible. Course crews spent countless hours removing new snow from the Grizzly and trying to render thecourse raceable, but the constant inclement weather would not let up.
“I can tell you, and this is also the feedback from the coaches and also from the International Ski Federation, they confirmed thatwe did everything here that was possible to have the races, but the weather did beat us,” said Demschar. “I’m disappointed for thepeople that were working hard, but I also have the positive feelings seeing the race organizers doing a great job, in my opinion anoutstanding job.”
At the very least, two solid training runs happened on Wednesday and Thursday. It was the first time a majority of the World Cupskiers had run the Grizzly as this weekend was its debut on the World Cup tour.
One downhill will be made up next week as the World Cup stops in Kvitfjell, Norway. That schedule will consist of downhills onFriday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 and a super G on Sunday, March 4.
U.S. Ski Team competitor Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) won back-to-back downhills last season in Kvitfjell.
Following Norway, World Cup Finals will be held March 7-11 in Are, Sweden.