BEAVER CREEK — It was a day of upsets, disappointments, smashing performances and family affairs at the Nature Valley Raptor Women’s World Cup.
You never know what will happen at a super-G race — it’s the one discipline where you’re most likely to get surprise winners and unexpected breakout performances. Saturday’s race went mostly as you’d expect from training days and the downhill race (with a few notable exceptions that we’ll get to later), but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a good dose of drama and excitement to keep the crowds entertained.
Here are some scenes and themes from Day 2 of the Raptor World Cup.
Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl put down an impressive run early on in the day that earned her second place until she was disqualified for improper equipment. As it turns out, the official review was that the width of her skis in front of the bindings was too wide.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) has very specific rules when it comes to the dimensions, weight and measurement of equipment for each event. At every World Cup, skiers can take their equipment for a check before the races to make sure it is in compliance with the rules.
After each race, usually the top-30 skiers must get their equipment checked, according to Doug Haney, press officer for the U.S. Ski Team. If your equipment is off even a centimeter, it is grounds for disqualification.
“It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen,” said Haney.
Good news for Hosp
That was good news for Nicole Hosp, also of Austria, who jumped into third place after Goergl’s DQ.
“I feel bad for her,” Hosp said of Goergl’s disqualification. “But the rules are here, and we have to be inside the rules. I was lucky today.”
Old guard versus new blood
Many of the top 10 finishers at the super-G were longtime veterans of the World Cup circuit, including Hosp, Italy’s Nadia Fanchini, Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin, Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Switzerland’s Fabienne Suter.
What’s more, most of those skiers have also overcome serious injuries in the course of their careers, and they continue to be competitive in their later years.
There’s also no denying that there’s a new crop of young skiers moving into the top ranks. Skiers like Lara Gut, the weekend’s superstar and runaway winner, are merely in the beginning stages of their World Cup careers. Super-G second-place winner Anna Fenninger, 24, is also in that camp, as is Tina Weirather, 24, who took second in Friday’s downhill race.
“We are all good friends and have known each other,” said Fenninger of the new crop of racers. “It’s very fun to compete and be fast together. We are a new generation and hopefully will continue like this next year.”
Weirather goes boom
Speaking of Weirather, the dynamo from Liechenstien blew up on the course on Saturday. She was expected to be one of the top contenders in the super-G, but in the first third of the course while zooming past a shaded gate, she hit an unexpected bump that popped her downhill ski into the air. She was unable to recover, veering sharply off the course. She was forced to come to a complete stop and did not finish. It just goes to show that anything can happen in ski racing.
Italian ski fans have cause to celebrate this weekend, with outstanding runs by sisters Nadia and Elena Fanchini. Elena took third yesterday in a surprise performance, and Nadia followed that with a fifth-place finish in the super-G. Skiing is a family affair for the Fanchinis — their youngest sister Sabrina also races professionally, but was not competing at the Raptor.
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at email@example.com.