"This was a unique event for the international athletes as well as our own; they’ve never competed at a World Cup event in such mild conditions but the conditions are actually very similar to what they could face in Sochi next year."
Dangerous snow conditions have brought an end to the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in Thredbo with racing cancelled on the final day of competition.
Warm overnight temperatures and a lack of snowfall made for a tough final slalom run with technical officials calling the race off early this morning.
While it was not an ideal end to the first IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup ever held in Australia, organisers at the Australian Paralympic Committee say they are pleased three out of the four days of competition ran given the extensive period of warm weather in the lead up.
“Leading into this event the weather posed a massive challenge and risk for us. Temperatures were too warm, unseasonably warm, and there wasn’t a big snowfall in the Snowy Mountains this year which threatened the running of the event,” said Australian 2014 Chef de Mission, Kate McLoughlin.
“We did everything in our control to ensure the World Cup went ahead. We had to change a few things around like the course and the start times to make the most of the snow but in the end, we made the right decisions and racing went ahead. We’re really happy that we managed to get three days off the ground in a sport that is really in the hands of the weather.”
For many athletes, it was the first time they had travelled to Australia and while the snow conditions were different to what they are used to in the northern hemisphere, McLoughlin says feedback has been positive.
“They’re leaving with a really good feeling about Australia. This was a unique event for the international athletes as well as our own; they’ve never competed at a World Cup event in such mild conditions but the conditions are actually very similar to what they could face in Sochi next year. The international teams certainly recognised that,” she said.
Australia finished the week with three gold, three silver and one bronze to finish third on the medal tally behind the USA (eight gold, six silver, eight bronze) and Slovakia (eight gold, two silver, three bronze)with gold medals to Mitchell Gourley and retiring Cameron Rahles-Rahbula among the highlights.
“It was great to hear the Australian National Anthem three times this week but it was also really encouraging to see Jessica Gallagher and Tori Pendergast also make it on the medal dais,” said McLoughlin.
“There are still improvements to be made but this far out from a Games, we are on track and looking good. A solid block of training and competing in the northern hemisphere at the end of the year will be important leading into Sochi and this competition here in Thredbo has been a big part of the team’s preparation.
“The APC was committed to hosting the World Cup to give our athletes a chance to compete at home during our winter and the northern hemisphere’s off season. In the future, we will certainly look at hosting another World Cup and hopefully the event and Paralympic winter sport can grow in Australia.”
Final Medal Tally
USA: 8 gold, 6 silver, 8 bronze, 22 medals total
Slovakia: 8 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze, 13 medals total
Australia: 3 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze, 7 medals total
New Zealand: 1 gold, 2 silver, 0 bronze, 3 medals total
Italy: 1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze, 2 medals total
Spain: 0 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze, 6 medals total
Great Britain: 0 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze, 4 medals total