Skier Riesch suffers nasty fall during downhill training

German skier Maria Riesch, currently second in the women's World Cup overall standings, suffered a nasty fall during a training run for the downhill event at the World Ski Championships in France on Wednesday.

Skier Riesch suffers nasty fall during downhill training
Photo: DPA

German women’s speed coach Mathias Berthold said Riesch had brusing to the face and spine, and most likely damage to the anterior ligament of her left knee.

Slalom specialist Riesch, who was due to take part in the super-combined in Val d’isere on Friday, returned to her hotel on foot before being driven to hospital for further tests after an initial examination by German team doctor Wolfgang Vogt.

“We don’t know exactly what the consequences of her fall will be for her carrying on in competition,” said Berthold. “But I think there won’t be any problem with her taking part. A great champion must show character in these cases and know how to overcome this type of problem.”

Back on the slope, Swiss teenager Lara Gut clocked 1min 30.41sec over the 2,135-metre-long Rhone Alpes piste, which has a vertical drop of 691 metres. Briton Chemmy Alcott was initially given a time 0.20sec faster but was later disqualified.

Fancied Italian Nadia Fanchini was second fastest, with Austrian Andrea Fischbacher, bronze medallist in the women’s Super-G on Tuesday, in third and Super-G silver medallist Marie Marchand-Arvier in fourth.

All downhill racers must race at least one of the three training runs to be eligible for either the super-combined, on Friday, or Saturday’s downhill.

American Lindsey Vonn, a big favourite for the speed event especially after picking up the Super-G crown, ranked 39th out of 60 runners with a time of 1:37.71, 7.3sec off Gut’s time.

Experienced Swede Anja Paerson, who will be seeking to bounce back from her disappointment at crashing out of the Super-G, posted 1:32.81 for a 19th place. The second training run takes place on Thursday and the third and final on Saturday.


Austria avalanche kills three

An avalanche in the Salzburg region killed three people and injured two while they were skiing off-piste, Austria's Red Cross said Saturday.

Snow and avalanche protection fences seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria
Some mountains in Austria have snow and avalanche protection fences, like these seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria. ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP

The accident happened Saturday about 2,400 metres (7,800 feet) up in the Lungau district, soon after 1:45 pm local time, Red Cross spokesman Anton Schilcher told the APA agency.

The snow buried eight of the group up to 4.5 metres deep, local emergency response official Christoph Wiedl told local media.

Two of the victims were already dead when their bodies were recovered, while the third died after being airlifted to hospital in Klagenfurt.

The two injured skiers were taken to hospital in the town of Tamsweg.

The skiers caught in the avalanche were from a group from the regions of Salzburg and Upper Austria.

In recent years, an average of around 20 people a year have been killed annually by avalanches in Austria.

The last two seasons were less deadly as the coronavirus pandemic reduced the number of skiers overall.

Avalanches killed four people in western Austria’s Tyrol region last February.