Marco Odermatt of Switzerland, the world’s prime large slalom skier, gained the occasion on the Beijing Olympics on Sunday, navigating an uncommon — and maybe unwelcome — coating of recent powder to earn his first gold medal.
Odermatt, 24, completed with a mixed time of two minutes 9.35 seconds, 22 hundredths of a second quicker than the silver medalist, Zan Kranjec of Slovenia. Mathieu Faivre of France took the bronze.
The race came about after heavy snow and excessive winds delayed the beginning by 75 minutes. Visibility was minimal, with skiers barely capable of see past the following gate and never capable of discern the secure terrain from the extra slick and harmful as they navigated the 49 gates on the steep, tight slope nicknamed Ice River.
Of the 89 skiers who began the race, 33 didn’t make it by means of the primary run and advance to the second. And it wasn’t simply the novices. Skiers from nontraditional snowboarding nations like Haiti and Ghana struggled. However so did Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the American who gained the silver medal in tremendous G final week. He skied out, as did the rising Norwegian Atle McGrath, and several other different prime opponents on the World Cup tour.
Skiers want to race on a tough, constant, even icy floor somewhat than attempting to combat their means by means of six inches of recent powder, which is what they have been contending with by means of the morning and into the second run in the course of the early afternoon.
“It’s robust, however we’ve raced in harder circumstances so we knew have been going to go forward with it,” mentioned Luca de Aliprandini of Italy, the second man down the mountain.
Lucas Braathen of Norway mentioned that working by means of the snow requires extra effort, and beats up the physique excess of zipping down a quick, groomed course.
“The issue is you’re in clean snow after which abruptly you’re within the tough stuff and you may’t inform what’s arising subsequent,” he mentioned.
Situations worsened and grew slower because the race wore on, which meant that beginning early on the primary run proved to be a significant benefit. However so, too, did the circumstances: One other eight skiers failed to complete their second run.
“The circumstances are the identical for each man,” mentioned Adam Zampa of Slovakia. “I don’t know whether or not to say we should always have delayed. It’s humorous as a result of day-after-day we now have been right here it has been sunny and each tomorrow it is going to be good climate.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/12/sports activities/olympics/mens-giant-slalom-snow.html How Contemporary Snow Can Be an Sudden Rival for Olympic Skiers