Men's super-G race at worlds canceled by snow
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) Bode Miller has waited more than two months for a return to racing after back surgery.
What's one more day?
The men's super-G race at the world championships was postponed to Thursday because of too much snow on the course.
That means a powder day for Miller. For Ted Ligety and the rest of the American team, too. U.S. men's head coach Sasha Rearick thought about taking the squad over to nearby Vail, Colorado, for some training, but had a change of heart.
''Just to save the energy so we could be fresh tomorrow and the next day,'' Rearick said.
And the next and the next - it's a long two weeks of racing.
To make room on the docket for the super-G competition, a men's downhill training session scheduled for Thursday was scrubbed and the women's training run was moved to later in the afternoon.
Just trying to make the best of a snowy situation. The storm that was supposed to hit the area Tuesday night and clear out didn't follow that plan.
Instead, it started snowing early - big, heavy flakes, too. Workers tried to remove the snow from the course Wednesday morning, but their efforts were hampered by strong wind.
''It was impossible to have a fair and especially a safe race,'' said Markus Waldner, the men's race director for the International Ski Federation. ''No reason to wait (to see if the weather clears), because the forecast tells us this front will continue. No way for a race today.''
That allows Miller more time to contemplate his comeback. The six-time Olympic medalist had a herniated disk in his back fixed in November, and plans to race in both the super-G and downhill on Saturday.
The 37-year-old will be a favorite, too, even if he has yet to race this season. He's won here four times.
''I have the speed to be a viable threat for the medals,'' Miller said.
The forecast is calling for sun and only a slight breeze for the race.
Quite a contrast to the women's super-G race Tuesday that was held in blustery conditions. Austria's Anna Fenninger took gold and hometown favorite Lindsey Vonn finished third despite hitting a wind gust so strong that it stood her up in the middle of her run.
''You have to go with it and do the best you can,'' Vonn said of the wind.
In this case, the snow played more of a factor than the wind.
''There was going to be a less than fair race with the conditions,'' Rearick said.
Kjetil Jansrud of Norway will certainly be the skier to beat. Jansrud, the super-G champion at the 2014 Sochi Games, won the downhill training session Tuesday. He's found a fast way down the tricky Birds of Prey course.
For as good as he's been, there's one omission from Jansrud's portfolio - a medal at worlds.
''That's how it is,'' Jansrud said. ''It's going to be a major goal.''
His teammate, Aksel Lund Svindal, is improbably back in the start gate. He tore his left Achilles in October while messing around with a soccer ball in a training session, and doctors told him there was no way he'd be ready in time for world championships.
But there he was in a training session, looking like the Svindal of old - the skier who earned gold in the downhill two years ago at worlds in Austria.
His goals this week are more modest.
''I just want to have fun and feel comfortable,'' Svindal said. ''I'm trying to stay optimistic.''
Ligety is the defending in the super-G champion after winning in Austria two years ago. He won three gold medals at those championships. He's a big fan of this course, too.
''This is far and away the best super-G on the World Cup tour,'' Ligety said. ''Really, most World Cup super-Gs are kind of a joke. ... It's nice to be on a real super-G hill that actually challenges the racers, has some technical sections, some gliding sections, some jumps.
''It has everything you want in a super-G.''