Racers test new safety gates

28th December 2009, by Chris Gill

Bormio, Italy

Bormio, Italy

The International Ski Federation will be using Bormio’s World Cup event as a testing ground for new safety gates.

The new gates feature flags that tear apart on impact and are designed to minimise collision injury. The move follows concerns over several high-speed crashes at the start of the season, including to US racer TJ Lanning and to France’s Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin.

The new flags feature velcro that should rip easily if a skier crashes into them. In Bormio, they have been installed at preselected gates considered potential trouble spots on the Stelvio course.

The World Cup downhill is scheduled for Tuesday 29 December. And Austria’s Michael Walchofer is in fine form so far. Walchofer led the way in Sunday’s training races, notching up a time of two minutes 35 seconds on the challenging course – just head of the Slovenian, Andrej Jerman. Three years ago Walchofer took the Stelvio title, winning consecutive races on the downhill course.

Switzerland’s Didier Cuche also gave a solid performance, finishing third in Monday’s training race. But two big-names that won’t be competing in Italy will be Bode Miller and Benjamin Raich: both are skipping Tuesday’s race, with Miller recovering from an ankle injury sustained in Val d’Isère a couple of week’s ago.

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