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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Alpine Ski World Cup Parallel Races in Lech Zürs am Arlberg Cancelled

Alpine Ski World Cup Parallel Race 2021. Picture: Erich Spiess, Ski Club Arlberg

After the Men's race in Sölden and the cancellation of the races in Zermatt-Cervinia, due to the fact that the snowfall and cold weather during the last days were unfortunately too late, the Alpine Ski World Cup Parallel Races in Lech Zürs am Arlberg (Austria) scheduled on 12-13 November are cancelled. There will be no rescheduling of the events.

The Parallel discipline was incorporated into the Audi FIS Ski World Cup calendar in Alta Badia, in December 2015. The dual, head-to-head format has taken different formats since its apparition in the WC including the Parallel Slalom (PSL) and Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS). Now the discipline is simply named "Parallel". The race will be conducted as a Parallel Race with a qualification. The best 16 ranked competitors from the qualification are qualified for the Parallel Race. The decision to cut the qualifying racers from the 32 of previous seasons to 16 was taken basically answering to TV broadcaster requests, as 32 racers made the race too long to air for TV audiences. After numerous complaints, especially after the events in Sestriere and Chamonix, each heat between competitors consists of two runs. The two competitors change courses for the second run.

Flexenarena in Zürs. Racecourse. Picture: Erich Spiess, Ski Club Arlberg

The Flexenarena in Zürs. Racecourse facts:

  • Start Elevation: 1,820 m

  • Finish Elevation: 1,718 m

  • Vertical Drop: 102 m

  • Length of race track: 365 m

  • Average gradient: 29 %

  • Steepest section: 50 %

Lech-Zürz Winners:

2021 Andreja Slokar (SLO) / Christian Hirschbuehl (AUT)

2020 Petra Vlhova (SVK) / Alexis Pinturault (FRA)

The Women's Parallel event will be contested for the fourth time in the World Cup. Clara Direz won in Sestriere on 19 January 2020 the first Parallel.

In 2020 Petra Vlhova won the Parallel event in Lech Zürs after defeating surprise finalist Paula Moltzan in the Big Final. Paula Moltzan skied very consistently throughout the whole evening, eliminating Marta Bassino on her way to the big final.

Lara Gut-Behrami topped Sara Hector of Sweden in the Small Final. Hector missed the final by only 0.01 sec.

Marta Bassino and Katharina Liensberger shared the win in the parallel event at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

The first and only parallel race of the 2021-2022 ski season became Andreja Slokar's surprising first World Cup victory. Under the lights and an intense snowfall in Lech Zürs, the 24-year-old Slovenian coped best with the conditions in Vorarlberg to win the Parallel race, beating Norwegian Thea Louise Stjernesund in the Big Final.

Another Norwegian, Kristin Lysdahl beats Marta Bassino in the Small Final.

The Men's Parallel will be held for the ninth time in the World Cup. The first five editions were staged in Alta Badia before the event moved to Chamonix and Lech-Zürs.

The eight previous Men's Parallel events have been won by eight different skiers: Kjetil Jansrud (2015), Cyprien Sarrazin (2016), Matts Olsson (2017), Marcel Hirscher (2018), Rasmus Windingstad (2019), Loïc Meillard (2020), Alexis Pinturault (2020), and Christian Hirschbuehl (2021).

Mathieu Faivre earned a gold medal in the 2021 Parallel World Championship debut. Faivre defeated Croatia's Filip Zubcic in the final by 0.48 seconds.

Last season Christian Hirschbuehl won the Men's Parallel in Lech-Zürs. He beats teamate Dominik Raschner in the Big Final. It's the first WC podium for both Austrian racers.

Hirschbuehl's best result in the World Cup was 4th place in Wengen in the Slalom.

Atle Lie McGrath rounded out the podium in third place after beating Henrik Kristoffersen in the Small Final.

Alexis Pinturault (2) is one of four men to have won multiple World Cup events with a knockout format (parallel, city event), alongside Hirscher (3), Ivica Kostelic (2), and Ramon Zenhäusern (2). The Frenchman won the city event in Moscow on 21 February 2012.

Henrik Kristoffersen is the only male skier to have appeared in multiple finals of a World Cup Parallel. He finished runner-up to Olsson in Alta Badia on 18 December 2017 and to Pinturault in Lech on 27 November 2020.

Kristoffersen is one of five men to have recorded multiple World Cup podiums in the Parallel, alongside Pinturault, Jansrud, Hirscher (all one win and one-third place), and Alexander Schmid (two third places).

Alexander Schmid finished in third place in Chamonix (2020) and Lech-Zürs (2020). These and a third place last season in Alta Badia Giant Slalom are to date his only World Cup podiums. Schmid can become the third German man to win a World Cup event with a knockout format (parallel, city event). Felix Neureuther won the city event in Munich on New Year's Day in 2013 and Linus Straßer the city event in Stockholm on 31 January 2017.

Lech. Picture: Lech Zürs Tourismus, Bernadette Otter

Arlberg's legendary status is rooted in the history of Alpine Skiing. The cradle of Alpine skiing is located in the heart of a vast mountainous area between Tyrol and Vorarlberg. This region of Austria, one of the snowiest in the Alps inspired daring young ski pioneers at the beginning of the 20th century. Their inventiveness and ingenuity both shaped and influenced the sport of alpine skiing.

No one better embodies this local pioneering spirit better than Hannes Schneider. Born in Stuben am Arlberg, he founded Austria's first ski school in St. Anton in 1921, thereby revolutionizing skiing with his ‘stem christie’ technique.

When a village with just 1,500 inhabitants has four Olympic champions in Alpine ski racing, who have won five Olympic gold medals, such as Trude Jochum-Beiser (Gold in the Combined Event in 1948 in St. Moritz, and in Downhill in Oslo in 1952) Othmar Schneider (Gold in Slalom in 1952 in Oslo), Egon Zimmermann (Gold in Downhill in1964 in Innsbruck), and Patrick Ortlieb (Gold in Downhill in1992 in Albertville) its reputation as a skiing mecca is well deserved.

Since being founded in 1901, Ski-Club-Arlberg athletes have won 83 combined medals at the Olympic Games and World Championships.

The 2016-2017 season marked a turning point in Arlberg's history with the creation of the largest interconnected ski area in Austria and one of the five largest ski domains in the world: the Ski Arlberg.

With 88 lifts and cable cars, 305 kilometers of pistes, and more than 200 ski itineraries Ski Arlberg offers infinite skiing possibilities to experience the legendary Arlberg in all its facets and immerse yourself in a unique winter paradise. From St. Anton, St. Christoph - a must-see is the legendary Hospiz Alm -, Stuben to Zürs and Lech to Schröcken and Warth.


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