Strong winds cancel women's World Cup downhill at Matterhorn

LAGHI CIME BIANCHE, Italy -- Strong winds forced the cancellation of a women's World Cup downhill on the Matterhorn mountain Saturday, a week after two men's races on the same course were wiped out because of snowfalls and gusts.

The International Ski and Snowboard Federation initially delayed Saturday's program as the ski lifts could not be operated in the early morning, before calling off the race hours later as conditions failed to improve.

FIS said in a statement the jury canceled the race "due to the strong wind and the unfavorable forecast for the day."

Another women's downhill is scheduled for Sunday.

The cancellation marked the latest setback for organizers of the much-hyped Zermatt-Cervinia downhills.

The first cross-border races in World Cup history were introduced last season as the opening of the speed season. However, both race weekends in October 2022 were canceled due to a lack of snow, and this season's men's program was wiped out last week.

As a result, there has yet to be a downhill race at the Gran Becca course, which starts in Switzerland at 3,700 meters (12,100 feet) and crosses the border to finish in Italy. This weekend's women's races were given a lower start point, leaving out the Swiss part of the course.

The Gran Becca was designed by 2010 Olympic men's downhill champion Didier Defago.

It's the first women's race to be canceled this season, after a giant slalom in Austria and two slaloms in Finland took place as scheduled, with Mikaela Shiffrin leading the overall standings.

The American skipped this speed weekend to prepare for tech races in Killington, Vermont, next weekend.