Lake Louise to host women's downhill opener after warm weather wipes out Swiss stop

The start of alpine's World Cup downhill season reverts to Lake Louise, Alta., with the cancellation of European races in Zermatt-Cervinia on Nov. 5-6 due to "unseasonably warm" conditions in Switzerland and Italy.

Men's event this weekend in Zermatt and Italy cancelled earlier due to lack of snow

Lake Louise will again be the site of the men's and women's season-opening downhill events in late November and early December, respectively, after warm weather in Switzerland forced the cancellation of competitions the next two weekends in Zermatt and Cervinia, Italy. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press/File)

The start of alpine's World Cup downhill season reverts to Lake Louise, Alta., with the cancellation of European races in Zermatt-Cervinia.

Tuesday's cancellation of the women's cross-border races scheduled for Nov. 5-6 follows the calling off of men's downhills scheduled for Friday to Sunday at the same venue because of "unseasonably warm" conditions, organizers in Switzerland and Italy announced.

The next downhill races on the calendar are the men's Nov. 25-27 and the women's Dec. 2-4 in Lake Louise, which has been the traditional opener for the speed season.

The earlier cross-border downhills with the start house in Zermatt, Switzerland and the finish line in Cervinia, Italy, were on a slope tabbed to make its World Cup debut this season.

But organizers reported heavy rainfall at altitudes above 3,000 metres and dangerously soft snow on the lower section of the course.

"Nature must be respected and accepted," organizing committee president Franz Julen said.

The first men's World Cup in Lake Louise last year went from a three-race to a one-race weekend.

Heavy, wet snow forced the cancellation of one of two downhills as well as a super-G.

With files from The Canadian Press

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