World Cup giant slalom defies warm Swiss weather

GRAHAM DUNBAR (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

ADELBODEN, Switzerland (AP) -- Ted Ligety and Marcel Hirscher's latest World Cup giant slalom duel is set to go ahead Saturday despite unseasonably warm weather in the Swiss mountains.

Adelboden race chief Hans Pieren said Friday that temperatures reached 20 C (68 F) on the course the previous day, as Europe experiences warmth while North America freezes.

''It will be like spring, with water splashing up from the snow on your legs,'' Ligety, who won the GS race here last year, told The Associated Press.

Team coaches were told Friday that Adelboden had recorded its hottest January temperature since it was a venue in the debut World Cup season of 1967.

''We have tried everything we can and we have enough snow,'' Pieren said.

Sunshine and temperatures of at least 6 C (43 F) are forecast Saturday for the two-run race, staged over fields which are cow pasture in summer.

Ligety, the world champion and World Cup title holder in giant slalom, and Hirscher, the Austrian two-time defending overall World Cup winner, have combined to win all four races in the discipline this season.

They have been joined on the podium by Alexis Pinturault of France in five of the past seven World Cup GS races, since Ligety's victory here one year ago.

Austrian head coach Mathias Berthold suggested the soft conditions could open up the race beyond the dominant trio.

''It might be a little easier for the others to catch up,'' Berthold said. ''It's kind of hard to predict.''

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