The Audi FIS Ski World Cup in 2010 begins as 2009 ended: with ladies' slalom. All is set for tomorrow's Audi FIS Ski World Cup Vip Snow Queen Trophy ladies' slalom. It is the 5th ladies' slalom of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup season 2009/10. The first run starts at 9:45 h CET and the second run 12:30 h CET on the Zagreb's local mountain "Sljeme," or the "Bear Mountain". For the second time, Zagreb will be host of a ski festival lasting over several days.
Rainy, sloppy weather have made things difficult for the organizers. "The situation has been extreme and we still have a lot of work to do to be successful tomorrow," said FIS director Atle Skaardal at the team captain's meeting Saturday evening. In a matter of days, temperatures went from -15 to 18 celsius in Zagreb's city center.
Snowmaking has been challenging and organizers said they will work all night to make sure the finish area has snow in it.
The ladies race on 3rd January will be followed by the second appearance of the men in Zagreb on 6th January. Not even 1,000 meters high, but accessible from the city by tram, the Zagreb Sljeme slalom has become a must-see-must-be-seen-at spectacle that demonstrates that skiing events are not necessarily tied to alpine locations.
The "Sljeme" ladies' slaloms have also become famous for offering the highest prize money purse on the ladies' tour: The 2010 Snow Queen Trophy rewards the racing queens with €135,000 to split among the top 30 racers. The winner will net €50'000, the 2nd placed €25'000 and even the 30th finisher will receive €500.
There are a record 82 starters in the sixth running of the Snow Queen event. 20'000 spectators are expected on Sunday, and given her dominance in Lienz, Marlies Schild is the top favorite. As Maria Riesch last season in Semmering and Zagreb, Schild could double up. She also has four Zagreb podium places in her palmares, including two wins. Only last year, she missed the race due to injury. Of the top racers, all will be at the start, including Lindsey Vonn who will be racing with a brace and will be wearing bib No. 3 in the first run. Last year's Snow Queen, Maria Riesch, is starting No. 4.
1st run - 9:45 h CET
2nd run - 12:30 h CET
Course: Crveni spust
Course start: 978 m
Course finish: 768 m
Vertical drop: 210 m
Course setter 1st run: Christian Schwaiger (GER)
Course setter 2nd run: Anders Paerson (SWE)