In Pyeongchang, High Winds Are No Breeze for Athletes


PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - It appears the skiing world has finally found the secret to slow Mikaela Shiffrin in her marquee technical events: weather. "It's a consideration, absolutely".

Slovakia's Petra Vlhova won in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in the last World Cup race before the Winter Games, and has been a skier to watch since her junior days.

On Monday it was howling winds that forced the postponement of the giant slalom, and on Wednesday morning it was a combination of wind, light snow and poor visibility.

As winds hurled snow and debris around on Wednesday afternoon, the sky sometimes looked as if a turbulent (and very dusty) storm cloud had descended upon the earth.

The men's Super G has been switched to Friday, previously a rest day, to make room for the downhill.

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"It was a long and hard day today", said the former Norwegian racer, twice a super-G world champion.

Breitfuss will compete again on Friday, February 16, in Super Giant Slalom and will close his performance in giant slalom on Saturday, February 17, while his teammate Timo Juhani Gronlund, 30, will compete in cross-country skiing. Already facing a bit of a time crunch because of all of the weather issues, organizers kept pushing back the first run of the two-run slalom until eventually deciding to call it off about an hour after the start time. "If all I did was the slalom, I'd have so much free time I might as well get another job, too", she said.

"The No. 1 thing is safety".

Tuesday's race came one day before the 12-year anniversary of his gold medal win the combined in Turin, which he said felt like both a recent event and in distant past. Kristofic said he is "optimistic" about the weather on Thursday, saying the wind is supposed to die down and the course is in "perfect condition". The 22-year-old American is known for her calmness under pressure, but the high winds in the mountains are in danger of blowing her ambitions way off course. The women's slalom will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Yongpyong Alpine Center.

Initially a slalom specialist, Shiffrin has expanded her repertoire to become one of the best in the world in the giant slalom as well.