Poor weather forces cancellation of men's giant slalom

ADELBODEN: Fog and rain forced the cancellation of Switzerland's classic Alpine World Cup giant slalom on Saturday.

Organisers at Adelboden — which featured in the first week of World Cup racing 50 seasons ago — said skiers' safety would be risked by racing on a poor snow surface.

"The legs of the racers are the highest priority," said Markus Waldner, race director for the International Ski Federation (FIS). "This was not possible to guarantee today."

Fog blanketed the race hill on Saturday morning after several days of rain added to problems in an unusually warm winter.

The racing track had been built only after 4,000 cubic meters of artificial snow was brought to the course by truck.

Racing was possible Friday but fog affected course preparation with chemicals to create a strong snow surface.

"The fog is the biggest problem in these conditions," Waldner said. "Too much moisture in the air and (there is) no more reaction from the salt. The crystal was totally dead."

A slalom event scheduled on Sunday is also at risk.

"It is not easy because the weather forecast is not changing," Waldner said.

Since 1967, the Adelboden giant slalom winner's roll reads like a list of men's Alpine greats.

The first World Cup winner was Jean-Claude Killy, and Ingemar Stenmark, Alberto Tomba and Hermann Maier also won here.

Adelboden has been a good venue for four-time defending overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher. The Austrian has won on the snow-covered cow pasture five times in giant slalom or slalom during his title streak.

Hirscher, who leads overall this season, tops the giant slalom standings after three race wins, and is second in slalom behind Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway.

It was unclear Saturday if the Adelboden giant slalom could be rescheduled at a different venue in the weeks ahead.