Strong winds force cancellation of 2nd run of GS in Austria

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Cable cars are blown by strong winds during a pause of an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom, in Semmering, Austria, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

SEMMERING – A women's World Cup giant slalom was canceled following the opening run Monday after increasingly strong winds destroyed parts the finish area.

Wind speeds reached up to 100 kph (62 mph) and organizers ordered people to leave the finish area as the gusts started blowing away safety fencing and sponsor banners, leaving the area in a state of havoc within minutes.

“It's a really dangerous thing, even just staying in the finish area,” said the International Ski Federation's race director, Peter Gerdol.

The GS will be rescheduled at another venue during the season.

“But now it's too early to decide where and when,” Gerdol said.

A floodlit slalom on the same course is scheduled for Tuesday, with the runs set to start at 3.15 p.m. (1415 GMT) and 6.30 p.m. (1730 GMT), respectively.

The weather was expected to improve overnight allowing workers to start rebuilding the set-up at the bottom of the Zauberberg course early Tuesday.

“We will need the whole morning to reset the finish area,” Gerdol said.