Skiers go head-to-head in downhill training at Worlds

Two training runs got the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships underway in Tarvisio, Italy. 24 Jan 2017
A visually impaired skier takes a bend

Tarvisio 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships

ⒸPh. Andrea Carloni

“Yesterday there was definitely a bit to work with, just trying to get the light figured out because it’s [the track] very in and out of the sun."

Skiers are ready to take on the opening races of the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, having completed two downhill training runs on Monday and Tuesday (23-24 January).

The first world titles will be awarded on Wednesday (25 January) in downhill, after a series of world and Paralympic gold medallists showed their form.

France’s defending champion Marie Bochet will be happy with her return to competitive skiing in the women’s standing. The 23-year-old has been injured for the whole of the build-up to the worlds, but led both training runs.

Germany’s Andrea Rothfuss and the Netherlands’ Anna Jochemsen were second and third respectively on both occasions.

Austria’s Paralympic champion Markus Salcher also sped over the finish line in first on Monday, following up 24 hours later with the same result.

Switzerland’s Robin Cuche, nephew of Olympic champion Didier Cuche, was second on Monday, followed by Australia's Mitch Gourley. On Tuesday, Gourley improved to second ahead of Canada’s Kirk Schornstein.

In the women’s sitting, Germany’s Paralympic champion Anna Schaffelhuber went head-to-head with Austria’s world champion Claudia Loesch.

Schaffelhuber emerged on top on both occasions, with Loesch finishing second.

On Monday another German skier, Anna-Lena Forster, was third fastest. Japan’s Momoka Muraoka was in better form on Tuesday, claiming the last of the top three places.

Japan’s World Championships bronze medallist Taiki Morii and the USA’s Andrew Kurka battled it out in the men’s sitting.

Kurka finished 0.62 seconds ahead of Morii on Monday. But the pair registered exactly the same time of 1:12.90 on Tuesday.

Canada’s Kurt Oatway was third fastest in the first run, before crashing out on Tuesday. That left Japan’s Akira Kano to take third.

Great Britain’s Millie Knight proved herself to be the main contender in the women’s visually impaired, posting the two fastest runs in both training sessions with guide Brett Wild.

Slovakian Paralympic title holder Henrieta Farkasova and guide Natalia Subrtova were just a whisker behind on both days, managing to bring the gap down to 0.36 seconds on Tuesday.

Knight’s teammate Menna Fitzpatrick and guide Jen Kehoe occupied third place on Monday, whilst Belgium’s Eleonor Sana took it on Tuesday with guide Chloe Sana.

Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus posted the fastest time in the first men’s visually impaired training with guide Maros Hudik.

Canadian world champion Mac Marcoux led in the second, guided by Jack Leitch.

The pair are making their World Championships debut as an athlete and guide team in Tarvisio.

“Yesterday there was definitely a bit to work with, just trying to get the light figured out because it’s [the track] very in and out of the sun. But it felt good,” Marcoux said.

Spain’s Jon Santacana Maiztegui was second quickest on both days with guide Miguel Galindo. Italy’s Giacomo Bertagnolli, guided by Fabrizio Casal, was third on Monday. Haraus completed the top three on Tuesday.

The downhill will be contested on Wednesday (25 January). More than 110 skiers from 30 countries are in Tarvisio to compete for world titles in the last major competition ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

All races are being shown live, alongside live results, at

The competition can also be followed on World Para Alpine Skiing’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@ParaAlpine).