World Cup final in a Sandstorm

The Grandvalira we all associate with blue sky, sparkling white snow and sunshine in abundance was played a trick by the weather. When the racers arrived to the mountain, everything was orange. What on earth had happened?

During the night, the wind had brought sand from Sahara, spreading it all over the mountain, painting a surreal planet Mars like appearance. For people living close to the Balearic Sea this might not be such a surprise, but for racers from the northern Europe, this was something out of the ordinary.

The wind was heavy already in the morning and the forecast showed that rain was likely at noon.

The racers gathering in the dressing room were initially hesitant, waiting for more information, before starting their complex tape procedures fixing their fairings and rubber suits to cover their ski boots. Some coaches went up to the start and it was reported that the track looked good with regards to the current wind. All of the racers got ready but then a message came that the S2 FIS race was cancelled. The priority was given to the World Cup final and the window of opportunity the weather forecast allowed was very tight.

When the racers gathered on the top, the wind picked up again. The race, initially planned for 930 was delayed and then a decision to postpone the start one hour was made due to the strong winds from skiers left of the track.

Some of the racers skied down to the braking area, where the sun was shining and the wind was very calm. It seemed like it calmed down on the top too.

Back on top one hour later, the wind situation was much better. The races started with the women first. Valentina Greggio was one of the first to hit the track but was struck with timing issues, and had to go back up again. After a while the race was resumed. After yet a few racers the wind started picking up in hard gusts. When Jan Farrell went down, a gust hit so hard a net fell down and the timing displayed 262 km/h. Obviously he had to go back to the start too.

The wind was closely monitored on both the start of the track and the timing zone, and the racers were sent down one by one when the wind was ok.

Some racers didn't enjoy the wind, and it seemed like not fighting the wind was the winning concept. One racer that raised to the occasion was Rauli Karjalainen who improved from 38th to 31st place in the large field of 40 racers.

Phlippe May, who was skiing cautiously yesterday, ran a nothing but perfect run today in full attack. He was very set on improving his performance from yesterday and nobody was close his performance. Philippe said that Tracie had selected another pair of skis for him shortly before he was about to start, and that normally it would be difficult to feel good about such a sudden change. He felt however completely sure about her knowledge and waxing and went with it. The skis were perfect and the run felt really good. He finished in 1st position with a speed of 185.68 km/h and more than 1 km/h ahead of everybody else.

Simon Billy finished 2nd at 184.41 km/h, a really good run in the difficult conditions showing how strong his aerodynamics is. Bastien Montes finished very close in 3rd with a speed of 184.25 km/h. He said he felt the sand at one point and then the skis were suddenly very fast again.

Klaus Schrottshammer who had injured his knee earlier this season was really finding his pace, seemingly seeking the speed all throughout his run. He improved from 7th yesterday to 4th today with a speed of 184.04 km/h, just 0.21 km/h off the podium.

Simone Origone was in a 55 point lead on Manuel Kramer after yesterdays results with Simone in 1st and Manuel in 5th place after being previously on exactly the same score. Simone's race was good but not perfect. After half of the track his left skis inside edge caught and he followed a very shallow curve on the lower part of the track. His speed was enough for a 5th position. Manuel Kramer who had to win, was not able to improve in the race and finished 9th. The result concluded the hunt for the World Cup crystal globe, which goes to Simone Origone for 2018. Simone Origone now has 10 World Cup season titles. A historic feat. He is truly a legend of the sport.

Manuel Kramer finishes 2nd in the World Cup total followed by Bastien Montes in 3rd and Ivan Origone in 4th. Jan Farrell who had to redo his run due to the timing issues, managed to claim a 6th place securing the 5th place in the World Cup totals by just 1 point. Michal Bekes who was very unsatisfied with the results of yesterday made a strong run today finishing 6th with 182.28 km/h just in front of Ivan Origone at 182.02 km/h.

Celia Martinez has long been challenging Valentina Greggio, and today she finally came out on top with a strong performance in the difficult race. 1st place in the last race of the season. Hats off for completing her mission.

Britta Backlund from Sweden who was really strong yesterday with her second place just before Celia Martinez, took second today again just half a km/h behind Celia.

Valentina Greggio was not lucky with her run. After the timing issues and starting again after all of the other racers her run was 2 km/h slower than her podium competitors. An unlucky result for her but she's undoubtedly the strongest female skier this season, winning all races but one and winning the season by 210 points.

Celia Martinez finishes 2nd in the World Cup total, and Britta Backlund finished 3rd.

The Complete results are here /Results/2018/S1/World-Cup-Race-11-Grandvalira

World Cup results /Results/2018/S1/World-Cup-Standings