“This year’s World Cup week was very exciting and especially arduous”, Stefania Demetz, the General Manager of the Organizing Committee of the Gardena/Gröden World Cup races, summarizes the last few days. Not the racers and the spectators, however, were the cause of so much excitement and trouble, but solely the weather.
The organizers had not expected the wind to be the spoil sport. Until yesterday, Friday, the organizers were kept on their toes by the snow. Before the beginning of the race week there was barely enough snow, then fresh snow fell on the perfectly prepared piste and forced the race track team to a night shift on the Saslong. About 120 men were on duty last night to clear the piste of 10 cm fresh snow. When the slope was once again ready, the wind came up and with it the cancellation of the race. Stefania Demetz had expected a very different outcome for the 50th World Cup Downhill on the Saslong. It is with mixed emotions that the OC-Manager says: “On the one hand I am disappointed that we couldn’t finish the World Cup race, on the other hand I am very satisfied with the way my co-workers did everything humanly possible to defy the difficult weather conditions and guarantee a regular race. Thanks to their enormous efforts to clear all the snow from the piste during Friday night and prepare a perfect race course, we would even have succeeded.”
The jury’s decision to cancel the race is completely justified for Stefania Demetz: “ Günther Hujara is a pro and he made the right decision. ‘Unfortunately’ it was the right decision.” Even though the race was cancelled, pictures of the snow-covered Gardena/Gröden winter scenery have gone round the world, making the race cancellation nevertheless worthwhile from a marketing point of view. “The pictures were fantastic, there were thousands of spectators all having fun, but of course the racers are disappointed that they couldn’t finish the race, and I am sorry for my co-workers. 120 people worked on the piste since 6 am this morning and with the race having been cancelled they have not been rewarded for their troubles,” Demetz says.