Alpine World Cup opens Saturday |

Alpine World Cup opens Saturday

Daily Staff Report

SOELDEN, Austria – The alpine World Cup season opens Saturday, and racers likely will be battling soft snow conditions following more storms on the Austrian-Italian border.

The U.S. Ski Team will have five women racing in the giant slalom opener and seven men Sunday in another giant slalom on the Rettenbach Glacier.

“It’s been snowing hard all day, the whole day,” U.S. women’s coach Patrick Riml said Thursday night. “But they’ve watered the whole hill, especially the steep sections. We hope there won’t be too much snow when we get back there [Friday]. We’ll have a session in the morning and see how things go. The forecast is for good weather Saturday and Sunday.”

Riml said the U.S. women starters have been reduced by one with an ankle injury suffered by Libby Ludlow, who was flying home to have the injury examined. The remaining starters: Kirsten Clark, Kristina Koznick, Caroline Lalive of Steamboat Springs, Julia Mancuso, and Sarah Schleper of Vail.

Lalive’s 2003 season ended early when she broke two ribs and tore her right anterior cruciate ligament. She was back on snow in late summer.

The U.S. men will have seven starters Sunday: giant slalom world champion Bode Miller, Erik Schlopy, Dane Spencer, T.J. Lanning – who also is returning from ACL surgery (in January), Daron Rahlves, Thomas Vonn, and Jesse Marshall, the rigning Nor Am overall and giant slalom champion.

After the season openers, the World Cup heads to North America for its traditional early season visit. The men will run giant slalom and slalom Nov. 22-23 at the Chevy Truck America’s opening at Utah’s Park City Mountain Resort. The women end their one-month hiatus Nov. 28-29 with a giant slalom and slalom over Thanksgiving weekend in Park City.

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