ALPINE SKIING Preview: World Cup lands in Italy

After the two-stop North American tour, the men’s World Cup is back for good in Europe and starts a four-stop Italian tour this week in Val Gardena:

14-15 December: Val Gardena ~ Super-G and Downhill
16-17 December: Alta Badia ~ Giant Slalom and Parallel Giant Slalom
22 December: Madonna di Campiglio ~ Slalom
28-29 December: Bormio ~ Downhill and Super-G

A Giant Slalom and Slalom make-up date will be held on 19-20 December in Saalbach (AUT), so the racers are going to be busy right through the end of the year.

In terms of races and winners by discipline so far:

Downhill (2): Max Franz (AUT) and Beat Feuz (SUI)
Super-G (2): Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) and Franz
Giant Slalom (2): Stefan Luitz (GER) and Marcel Hirscher (AUT)
Slalom (1): Hirscher

Of course, Hirscher has the overall lead – going for his eight World Cup overall title in a row – with 280 points over Franz (238), with Swiss Mauro Caviezel third (227).

Look for results from Val Gardena here.

The women’s races in Val d’Isere (FRA) have all been canceled, but make-up dates for the Downhill and Super-G have been arranged at Val Gardena (of course!) on 18-19 December. The oft-neglected Alpine Combined, which held promise for American Mikaela Shiffrin, has not been re-scheduled. If it is not held, there will be only one Combined on the schedule this entire season for the women.