Ski cross World Cup gets back on track

Audi FIS ski cross World Cup action gets back underway this week with a pair of races slated for Friday and Saturday in beautiful Arosa, Switzerland. …

With the races that were scheduled last week for Tegernsee, Germany, rescheduled to February 21 and 22, we remain at only three World Cup races completed at this point in the season. However, with three straight weeks of back-to-back races beginning this weekend in Arosa, the 2014/15 ski cross season is about to really kick into high gear.

However, the tour will have to do so with some notable names watching from the sidelines. Top-ranked Canadian duo Marielle Thompson and Georgia Simmerling both suffered injuries at the World Championships in Kreischberg, with Thompson out for the rest of the season with a knee problem and Simmerling a long-shot to return in 2014/15 after breaking her arm.

Thompson had won all three ski cross World Cup races up to this point in the season and building a huge lead in the ski cross standings while she was at it, while Simmerling, with two runner-ups and a fifth place result, was sitting 95 points back, in second.

With those two ladies out of the picture, the battle for the crystal globe will likely now be fought between the likes of Anna Holmlund (SWE), Ophelie David (FRA), Fanny Smith (SUI), and perhaps newly-minted World Champion Andrea Limbacher (AUT), though several other skiers remain in striking distance.

The men’s field also lost one of its heavyweights in Kreischberg, as second-overall skier Thomas Zangerl (AUT) suffered a back injury in a nasty crash and is also unlikely to return this season. Zangerl was sitting just a single point back of World Cup leader Andreas Schauer (GER) at the time of his crash and skiing some of the best races of his career, and his loss will be a significant one for the Austrian team.

Behind Schauer and Zangerl the men’s field is extremely tight, with the top eight skiers all within 50 points of each other. Add to this the fact that Kreischberg 2015 World Champion Filip Flisar (SLO) is currently lurking way down the list, along with former World Champions like Chris Delbosco (CAN) and Andy Matt (AUT), and it really is impossible to predict what the men’s leader board will look like at the end of the Arosa weekend, let alone the end of the season.

Last season Marte Hoeie Gjefsen (NOR) took the ladies’ race, followed by Smith and David in second and third, while Alex Fiva (SUI) played hometown hero in the men’s event, with the legend Tomas Kraus in second and Bastien Juell (NOR) in third. All six of those skiers will be on hand in Arosa and will be looking to recreate a little magic while they’re here.