Thursday, 6 January 2022

Men's Slalom Snow Queen Trophy Canceled Again due to Sljeme Conditions

January 6, 2022 - The men's slalom Snow Queen Trophy on Sljeme has been canceled for the second consecutive day.

The first run started at 1 pm, but after 19 skiers and several interruptions due to track repairs, the race was ultimately canceled, reports HRT.

Only 19 of the 61 skiers went down the track on Thursday, and the International Ski Federation (FIS) decided to cancel the race. Representatives of the Croatian Ski Federation and the Croatian national ski team agreed that fighting against unfavorable weather conditions was not possible.

Unlike Wednesday, when there was not enough snow due to the south wind, the Wednesday to Thursday evening was attacked by more than enough snow, which created holes in certain parts of the track. All of this led to four interruptions in the space of an hour during the first run.

Norwegian Sebastian Foss-Solevaag, the leading slalom skier in the World Cup, opened today's race and took the lead. In second was Swiss Ramon Zenhäsern 49 hundredths of a second behind Foss-Solevaag, and in third Frenchman Clement Noel who was 58 hundredths of a second behind.

After 14 skiers started, the race was briefly interrupted to fix the track. Swede Kristoffer Jakobsen then went down the track, holding the leading position in the slalom standings with Foss-Solevaag (140 points), but reached the finish line only tenth (+2.22). A new break followed before the best Croatian skier Filip Zubčić started, who reached the finish line after a big mistake and a lag of 4.93 seconds.

Several more interruptions followed, and ultimately the final cancellation of the race.

The Sljeme slalom is the third race in this discipline for skiers. Sebastian Foss-Solevaag and Kristoffer Jakobsen led with 140 points each. Zubčić came fifth with 75 points.

In the first slalom of the season in Val d'Isere, Clement Noel won ahead of Jakobsen and Zubčić, while in Madonna di Campiglio, Foss-Solevaag won, and Zubčić took 16th place.

After Zagreb, the caravan of skiers moves to Adelboden, where the giant slalom and slalom will be held on Saturday and Sunday.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Snow Queen Trophy Day 2 Canceled Due to Challenging Weather on Sljeme

January 5, 2022 - Poor track conditions, especially in the lower part with strong winds, forced the World Ski Organization (FIS) to cancel the Snow Queen Trophy day 2 on Sljeme.

For now, the possibility of moving the race to Thursday is being considered, though it is questionable considering that the giant slalom in Adelboden is already on Saturday.

The organizers tried to postpone the start of the race, but in the end, they decided that they would not be able to go on. 

No matter how much effort the organizers put in to keep the ground solid, the exceptionally high temperatures over the past few days have taken their toll and jeopardized the race, and eventually, its cancellation.

The latest information about the Sljeme race was revealed to HTV by Vedran Pavlek.

"FIS representatives did not support the organizers' efforts from the early morning; they came very negatively in the morning. We did everything possible; the trail was in excellent condition. The wind stopped exactly around 12 or 1 pm; around 2:15 pm, the northeast wind started. We were looking for patience. When we started number one, the track was already 10 inches harder. The trail was getting firmer, but they did not want to accept what was there. The race is planned for tomorrow, the first run at 1 pm, the second at 4:10 pm. Snow is coming tonight, and it'll be -2; it should be freezing. We need to find time, but we are on the right track," Pavlek believes.

He pointed out that the FIS representatives did not have the patience:

"There was not enough patience. We grew up on this mountain. The forecast for five days showed a rapid drop in temperature. It just took patience and confidence."

What are the odds of racing tomorrow?

"Plan B is quite safe; we have the support of the FIS, they gave us the green light, now it's just a matter of television companies. Representatives of the national teams gave excellent support; some were negative. But that's not the topic; you don't need to ask the coaches about it; slalom is not dangerous, it's not downhill, lives are not in danger. We are working on plan B, and I believe we will succeed. See you tomorrow," concluded Pavlek.

This was supposed to be the 13th edition of the men's slalom for the Snow Queen Trophy. Depending on the weather and the conditions on the track, we will see if the men's slalom race will go on at all this year.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Snow Queen Trophy Day One: Slovak Skier Petra Vlhova Celebrates on Sljeme

January 4, 2022 - Day one of the Snow Queen Trophy was held on Tuesday for the women's World Cup slalom, in which Slovak skier Petra Vlhova celebrated!

Slovak skier Petra Vlhova celebrated the Snow Queen Trophy World Cup slalom on Sljeme in Zagreb on Tuesday. Croatia's best skier Leona Popović finished seventh for the best result in her career, reports HRT.

Leona Popović was 14th in the first run and reached the first top 10 in her career in the second run, 3.05 seconds behind first. The 24-year-old from Mrkopalj placed 14th in Levi as the best result of her career until now. 

The leading slalom skier in the world, Vlhova, took advantage of the number one start and was the fastest to cross the first run of the Sljeme Red Slope in harsh conditions on a trail covered with leaves, high temperatures, and strong southern winds. In the second run, the Slovak skier kept the advantage and celebrated for the third consecutive time on Sljeme.

The second place was won by the four-time Sljeme winner, American Mikaela Shifrin, who just returned to the World Cup competition in Zagreb, eight days after testing positive for coronavirus. In third was Austrian Katharina Liensberger (+2.11)

Zrinka Ljutić started as the 40th in the first run, and after a very good first pass, she made a mistake and gave up, while Andrea Komšić's lag of 4.78 seconds was still too big to enter the second run. As a result, she was 32nd, only 31 hundredths of a second behind 30th. 

Vlhova leads with 480 points ahead of Shiffrin (340) in the slalom standings, while Popović came in twelfth place with 95 points. Shiffrin leads the overall standings with 830 points, 115 more than Vlhova, while Leona is 39th.

Due to epidemiological reasons, there are no spectators on Sljeme this year. 

The men's slalom will take place in Zagreb on Wednesday.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Snow Queen Trophy Ends: Zubčić Finishes 5th, Three Croatian Skiers in Top 15

January 6, 2021 - The Snow Queen Trophy on Sljeme has come to an end, in which all four Croatian representatives qualified for the second run and won points.

Namely, three even achieved the result of their careers in slalom - Zubčić finished fifth, Vidović 12th, and Kolega 15th place. Rodeš finished in 23rd place after being 18th in the first run.

After the first run, the best Croatian skier was Filip Zubčić, who was one second behind the leading Frenchman Clement Noel and was in tenth place. Zubčić reached 10th place in the first run with a big mistake in front of the finish line and avoided relegation.

Istok Rodeš was 18th in the first run with the starting number 33, 1.90 seconds behind the leader, and the Croatian celebration was completed by Matej Vidović, who started with number 52, and Samuel Kolega, who started with 53.

In very demanding conditions on the Red Slope, Vidović managed to ski as if the track was in ideal condition, and 2.05 seconds behind, he reached 21st place. At the same time, Kolega was 45 hundredths of a second slower, just enough for 30th place and starting number 1 in the second run.

The second run was brilliantly opened by Kolega, whose placement improved by 15 spots. He had the second result of the second run, behind Michael Matt, and the third result of the second run was the work of Vidović, who thus advanced by nine.

Zubčić rode the first part of the second run phenomenally, but lost the advantage in the lower part and finished only one hundredth behind Matt. He was followed by Strasser, eighth in the first run, and took the first place by riding without a mistake. In the end, he kept it until the end and reached the first victory in his career. Of the five from the first run, Slovenian Hadalin finished 16th, Foss-Solevaag finished 13th, and Noel, who was leading after the first run, finished the race in seventh place. 

Strasser finally celebrated with 10 hundredths ahead of Feller, 16 ahead of Schwarz, and 47 ahead of Zubčić. Vidović was 77 hundredths behind, Kolega 97, and Rodeš one second and 91 hundredths behind.


To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Sunday, 27 December 2020

Emmanuel Couder of FIS Gives Green Light to Snow Queen Trophy on Sljeme

December 27, 2020 - The famous 'Red Slope' (Crveni spust) on Sljeme officially received the green light for the Audi FIS Ski World Cup "Snow Queen Trophy" 2021.

HRT reports that this was confirmed today by Emmanuel Couder, director of the FIS World Cup for technical disciplines for men, who checked the quality of the Sljeme slalom track, mandatory for all organizers of FIS World Cup races.

Thanks to the efforts of the organizers and employees of the Sljeme ski resort in charge of preparing the track, the Red Slope this year was ready for FIS control at the beginning of December, or the earliest in the Snow Queen's history.

Emmanuel Couder's go-ahead to the races beginning on January 3, 2021, was therefore just a formality, and the control served to agree on the final details around track preparation.

"There is enough snow on the Red Slope for official confirmation of the races. For the next two days, additional amounts of snow will be worked above the start, along the track, and below the finish line to have spare amounts of snow in case of need. A decision on the final preparation of the track, as well as water injection, will be made in the next few days depending on the weather forecast," Couder said.

There are currently 50-80 centimeters of compacted snow cover on the Red Slope, which is enough to withstand the eventual south wind. Also, if the temperatures are in the minus long enough, there is a possibility that the Green Descent can serve as a warm-up track.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and strict epidemiological measures have made the organization of this season's Snow Queen races more logistically demanding than in previous years, but the weather has really served us and made the preparation of the track easier. The Red Slope is in excellent condition, and the Croatia national team is training and preparing on it again, both for the upcoming races in Semmering and for the Snow Queen. We are only sorry that this year when everything was ready at the beginning of the month, the citizens could not enjoy skiing on Sljeme due to epidemiological restrictions. We believe and hope that soon, they will also get the opportunity to ski at the local ski resort above the city," said the director of the Organizing Committee of slalom races Vedran Pavlek.

Given the current epidemiological situation, the races will be held without spectators and with the strictest protocols for protecting the health and safety of all participants.

The women's slalom is scheduled for Sunday, January 3, with the first run at 12.30 and the second at 16.00, while the men's slalom race will take place on Wednesday, January 6, with the first run at 12.15 and the second at 15.30.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Snow Queen Trophy Ski Race to be Held on Schedule but Without Spectators

ZAGREB, Dec 18, 2020 - The FIS international ski federation and National Civil Protection Authority have officially approved the 2021 Snow Queen Trophy, FIS World Cup Ski race on Mount Sljeme in compliance with the most stringent epidemiological measures and without any spectators, FIS announced on Friday.

In accordance with current anti-COVID measures in Croatia, the Sljeme race will be held  on 3 and 6 January without spectators and guests and according to FIS rules for this season there will not be any public draw of starting numbers that was traditionally held in Zagreb's main square.

This will be the first time that the race will be held without audience and in an effort to limit contact between competitors, additional protective mechanisms have been introduced with "balloons" separating teams, the media, organisation teams without mutual mixing between balloons.

All participants have to produce a negative COVID-19 test no older than 72 hours and monitor their health on a daily basis in their FIS COVID-19 passports.

All the competitors and their teams arriving in Zagreb will be previously tested and accommodated in The Westin Zagreb which will closed to other visitors. Hotel staff will also be tested while reporters will be accommodated in another hotel.

This is the 15th edition of the Women's Slalom race with the winner being proclaimed as the Snow Queen. The Women's Slalom race is scheduled for Sunday 3 January 2021 with the 1st run starting at 12.30 pm and the 2nd run starting at 4 pm.

The 12th Men's Slalom on Sljeme will start at 12.15 on Wednesday 6 January and the second run will start at 3.30 pm.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Snow Queen Trophy 2020 Men's Slalom Race Held on Sljeme - Clement Noel Wins

Yesterday we reported on the Snow Queen Trophy women's slalom race held near Zagreb, on Sljeme hill just north of the city. On Sunday, the men's slalom race was held, in which Frenchman Clement Noel managed to win, while Croatian skiers managed to get just one top-30 finish.

The race was held in the afternoon, as it is one of the nighttime races in the calendar of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom races. In the first run, the Swiss skier Ramon Zenhaeursen took first place, after he went down the slope first, with the no. 1 bib. Michael Matt of Germany, with bib 4, was placed second, while the third-place finish surprisingly went to Linus Strasser, who started the race with the bib number 31.

The Croatian skiers didn't really impress anyone in the first run: the best result was achieved by Istok Rodeš, who was 19th and who was the only Croatian to qualify for the second run. Matej Vidović, as well as Elias and Samuel Kolega didn't finish the first run, while Leon Nikić and Filip Zubčić got the positions 39 and 40 (out of 45 finishers). The biggest controversy of the first run was Alexis Pinturault's run. It seemed as if he had made a disqualifying mistake, however, he completed the race - and was quickly disqualified right after it. However, after the French delegation complained, his race was deemed to have not been incorrect, so his result was re-instated, and he finished the first run 14th.

In the end, French skier Clement Noel, fourth in the first run, won with 0.07 seconds in front of the leader from the first run, Zenhaeursen. Young Italian skier Alex Vintazer, eighth in the first run was third total, 0.29 seconds behind the winner. Croatian Istok Rodeš was 25th, with the final time of 1:58.78, 1.64 seconds behind the winner. Michael Matt and Linus Strasser weren't able to repeat their great performances in the second run: Matt was the only skier unable to finish it, while Strasser was 8th total. 

Former Croatian skier Ivica Kostelić, overall World Cup title winner in 2011, complained after the first run of the Snow Queen Trophy that the setup of the race was too simple and easy, as if it was made for the children's race and not the World Cup where the elite skiers compete against each other.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Snow Queen World Cup Alpine Ski Race Returns to Sljeme in Zagreb

January 4, 2020 - The Snow Queen Trophy returns to Sljeme in Zagreb on January 4 and 5, 2020. The women's World Cup alpine skiing race is scheduled on Saturday and the men's on Sunday.

HRT reports that the first to go down the track is Slovak skier Petra Vlhova, who took the first start number at the draw held at the Ice Park at King Tomislav Square in Zagreb. Vlhova took second place at Sljeme twice, in 2017 and last year. This season, she was second in the World Cup slalom twice, in Killington in early December and Lienz five days ago.

Switzerland's Michelle Gisin will start second and Katharina Liensberger of Austria will start third. The Snow Queen title defender, the four-time Sljeme winner and best female skier of today, American Mikaela Shiffrin, received starting number seven in the draw.

Croatian representatives Leona Popovic and Ida Stimac received high starting numbers - Popovic will start 71 and Stimac 73.

Croatian skier, 22-year-old Leona Popovic achieved 26th place and the first slalom points in her career five days ago in Lienz, Austria. 

“At this race, I surprised myself and am very pleased with the result, which is a confirmation of my work. During the ride, I couldn't gauge how well I was going, but in the end, I realized that these were great rides. The first slalom points of the season are here and I hope to achieve good rides on Sljeme,” said Popovic, who will be making her third appearance at the Snow Queen.

Ida Stimac will participate for the second time.

“I am back after recovering from an ACL injury and for me, this is an important race. A difficult period is behind me, but I feel good and after two years, I am in great shape, which gives me every reason to be happy. I look forward to tomorrow's race, in which I expect to show my best skiing, my best rides from training, and hope that I will ski well and be satisfied. The course is great, well prepared, which is important for all starting numbers,” said Stimac, who has already tallied a few podiums at FIS races this season.

On Sunday, six Croatian male skiers, Istok Rodes, Matej Vidovic, Elias Kolega, Filip Zubcic, Samuel Kolega and Leon Nikic, will participate in the men's race.

Istok Rodes, Elias Kolega and Matej Vidovic will try to repeat the great results from last year's race when all three finished in the top 20.

“After last year's seventh place on Sljeme, I do not feel much pressure. We trained for three days in Italy and before that on the Red Slope. I'm in excellent shape and it's up to me to show my two best rides on Sunday. If I can do that, I'm sure the result will be very good. I put the biggest pressure on myself and I think that's good, I handle it well and it motivates me to be as good as possible. We have six more races in January, I will go from race to race and I will do my best and believe that great results will come then,” said Istok Rodes, who finished 14th in the World Cup slalom race in Levi this season and 25th in Val d'Isere.

Elias Kolega, who placed 19th in Levi and 15th in Val d'Isere, will also perform at the Snow Queen.

“I have been training on Sljeme for years and I find that the biggest challenge is the length of the course, as the competitors can lose concentration, which is why at the back of the course, mistakes that decide the race happen. I am feeling good, I prepared for the Red Slope for a week before the race, and for the last couple of days, I’ve been riding the upper part of the course. I am satisfied with the preparation and I believe that I will prove to be at my best,” commented Elias Kolega.

Matej Vidovic finished 15th on Sljeme last year and announced this year's race with high expectations.

“For the last three days, Istok and I have been preparing in Italy, where we have had excellent conditions. Before that, we also rode the whole track on Sljeme and I am satisfied with the preparations. I'm ready, my health serves me well, and my goal is to achieve my two best rides on Sljeme. There is always a different feeling of skiing on home soil, and for me, the most important thing is to reach my maximum and ski the best I can,” said Vidovic, who was 20th in Val d'Isere.

Filip Zubcic has competed at the Snow Queen four times, and this season he finished 16th in Levi.

“I opened this season of slalom racing well, as I imagined. I am currently starting with high starting numbers, and my goal was to get the best starting position possible. I am skiing well and feel ready to race. I am at a satisfactory level for the giant slalom and slalom this season, and I'm particularly happy to be able to combine two great slalom races. I hope that I will be in the best shape in January because there are many races ahead of us and it is important to secure new points,” said Zubcic, who finished two giant slalom races among the top 10 skiers and showed good form in all technical disciplines.

On Sunday, Samuel Kolega will make his third appearance on Sljeme.

“For me, the season started great and with no injuries. I started the first part of the season the best so far, I’ve been great in FIS races, and in the World Ski and European Cup I am still trying to get better results. On Sljeme, I want to show my best skiing from training and have the best possible race,” emphasized Samuel, who announced his performance on Sljeme with a great first place in the FIS slalom race in Ladurns, Italy.

This will be the second Sljeme appearance for the young Leon Nikic.

“Preparations were a problem for me; that is, I had a minor injury that caused me to pause for six weeks. After the injury, I continued to ski great and I expect to finish the race on Sljeme successfully and prove that I can be counted on seriously,” said Nikic.

The women's slalom race is scheduled for Saturday. The start of the first run will be at 1 pm and the second at 4:15 pm. The men's slalom will be held on Sunday starting at 2:15 pm and the second at 5:40 pm. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Snow Queen Trophy: Hirscher Wins Men's Race, 3 Croats in Top 20!

The Snow Queen Trophy continued today on Zagreb’s Sljeme with the men’s race. 

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Snow Queen Trophy Kicks Off at Zagreb's Sljeme with Female Skiers!

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin is the winner of the Snow Queen Trophy on Sljeme in Zagreb!

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