Despite Violent Winds the Women Ski Team Perseveres in Andorra World Cup

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 11, 2012 11:33 am

There are some pretty intense winds blasting in Soldeu-Grandvalira, Andorra. After two and a half hours of delaying the event, conditions proved so relentless across the Pyreness that officials had no choice but to cancel the first of two Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom races. The decision was announced Friday to the dismay of the excited villagers of Soldeu, as well as the athletes.

Overnight winds were recorded at 100mph! The weather wrecked havoc on the course destroying banners and lifting finish tents into the Valira d’Orient river. This is yet another example of the impact the elements have upon the World Cup circuit as this particular race was already a make-up for the Dec. 17 giant slalom that was canceled after three feet of snow fell in Courchevel, France. It is a shame, since this would have been the debut World Cup for Andorra.

Lindsey Vonn continues to hold her third place position in the giant slalom standings, 73 points behind leading Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany. She also leads the overall World Cup standings by a whopping 482 points.

Saturday saw the giant slalom with Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Resi Stiegler and Mikaela Shiffrin starting.

Mikaela Shiffrin defied vicious winds and snow to jump from 20th to 10th in the final run of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup at Andorra.

“Oh my gosh, it was so windy. I trained a little bit yesterday after the giant slalom was canceled and it was really windy yesterday too so I was expecting it, but I wasn’t expecting how hard it was blowing. It hit me like a ton of bricks, said Shiffrin”

The sixteen-year-old rookie is having a great first season and achieved the fourth fastest second run. She achieved such a high level of performance through her dedication and resiliency.

Shiffrin speaks to the lessons learned on the slopes, “I learned to never give up today. Michaela Kirchgasser totally beefed her first run, still made the flip and just hammered her second run to jumped up as many spots as I did. She was behind me in the first run, but finished ahead of me. I learned the most from her and Marlies Schild, they’re so solid and they know it. They’re not afraid to go balls-to-the-wall. I can imagine Schild was thinking that she had to win and that was her only option. She was probably thinking, ‘I’m going to win this thing and that’s just the way it’s going to go.’”

Lindsey Vonn fell victim to the intermittent visibility and did not finish the first run. Despite the missed opportunity, she continues to hold a 458-point advantage in the overall chase.

“It was a surprise not to finish, because the hill is perfect, so I am disappointed not to have had a good result. There are a lot of children out; everyone is excited to have the race here. It was fun to ski and the crowd was great, said a disappointed Vonn.

Slovenian Tina Maze finished 11th and Austria’s Marlies Schild claimed victory for the sixth time this winter.

The giant slalom that was originally scheduled for Saturday is scheduled for Sunday with the unpredictable wind still in the forecast. Stay tuned as the action continues in the inaugural alpine World Cup weekend for this small European state.

TV Universal Sports will air the women’s slalom at noon and 9 p.m. ET

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