Winter has returned to the Vail Valley after a spring-like, mid-winter February break.
Vail was reporting 3 inches new on Thursday morning, and Beaver Creek reported 5 new. And snow showers were continuing Friday morning — welcome news for powder skiers who were up to their eyeballs in December and January.
“Snow showers dropped 3-10 inches on Thursday and Thursday night, and snow showers should continue through Friday night with another few inches for most mountains,” Opensnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz wrote Thursday morning. “Saturday will be drier, then another few inches of snow is possible on Saturday night.”
Then the first part of next week promises even more snow.
“A stronger storm should bring 12+ inches to the southern mountains on Monday and Tuesday and then we’ll see dry weather for the final part of next week,” Gratz added. “The central and northern mountains should receive at least 5-10 inches, mostly from Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning.”
Fog and snow also played a part in determining an alpine combined World Cup event in Switzerland on Friday, where Vail’s Lindsey Vonn and Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin decided the snow was too soft to safely race the super-G portion of the event.
Italy’s Federica Brignone won the race in dominating fashion, but Italy’s Sofia Goggia failed to finish the first run after the race was delayed and the start was lowered due to the weather conditions.
Goggia had been the closest active pursuer behind Shiffrin as she tries to win her first overall World Cup title, but Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec finished second on Friday, picking up 80 points. leapfrogging Goggia and closing the gap on Shiffrin to 338 points.
“It’s dangerous,” Shiffrin told Ski Racing Magazine. “I said before, coming into this series, knowing the weather was supposed to be warm with some snow and rain, that if it wasn’t good, I’m not going to race. I don’t have enough experience in speed, but to be honest it’s just dangerous. It’s so soft at the bottom.”
Vonn told the magazine she doesn’t want to risk another injury.
Vonn and Shiffrin are scheduled to race in Saturday’s super-G and another alpine combined on Sunday in Crans Montana. Switzerland’s Lara Gut had been Shiffrin’s closest competition for the overall title at just 180 points back, but the defending overall champ was knocked out for the season by a knee injury at the World Championships in St. Moritz.
“It’s a really, really big disappointment with Lara’s injury,” Shiffrin told the U.S. Ski Team. “I’m wishing her the very best. The overall, it’s supposed to be a fight. Remember Anna Fenninger and Tina Maze fighting for it? That was so exciting and nerve-wracking for them, but for all of us, it was really fun to watch.
“There are some girls—Ilka (Stuhec), Sofia (Goggia), even Tessa (Worley) — are not far behind actually. There are plenty of races still that they can make up those points. I’m definitely not changing my focus at all and just trying to finish the season strong. But I was looking forward to a fight with Lara, for sure.”
The World Cup Finals are in Aspen next month.