VIENNA (AP) Marcel Hirscher's preparations for the upcoming season were hindered Thursday after the six-time overall World Cup champion broke his left ankle in practice during his first day back on skis.
The 28-year-old Austrian will be in a cast for six weeks, and there was no immediate prognosis when he will be able to ski again. The new season, which includes the Olympics, starts Oct. 29 with a giant slalom in Soelden, Austria.
Hirscher straddled a gate at the Moelltaler glacier at the end of a slalom run. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Salzburg but the Austrian ski federation said he does not need surgery.
Hirscher posted a video of the incident on his Facebook page and said ''the next ski day has to wait a little bit.''
Later, he also tweeted a picture of himself on a floating inflatable animal, holding two crutches and with his left lower leg in a cast, and quipped ''time for a break.''
Known for sticking to one of the toughest workout regimes on the ski circuit, Hirscher has steered clear of major injuries during his career, apart from a scaphoid fracture that ruled him out of the world championships in 2011.
Winning 45 of the 203 World Cup races he competed in and earning eight medals at major championships, Hirscher is the most successful ski racer of his generation.
In March, he became the first male skier to win a sixth overall title. A month earlier, he won gold in both slalom and GS at the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
However, an Olympic gold medal is still missing from his trophy collection. At the 2014 Sochi Games, Hirscher was beaten to the slalom title by Austrian teammate Mario Matt.
Hirscher was expected to have four chances at next year's Pyeongchang Games in February - in slalom, GS and combined as well as in the team event, which will make its Olympic debut.