- Marcel Hirscher set for second straight World Cup after bad weather cancels races again
- Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal withdraws from Sunday's slalom after cancellation of super G
- Women's cancellation hands Slovenia's Tina Maze third crystal globe of season
Most sporting winners like to achieve champion status by proving their worth in the heat of battle but Austria's Marcel Hirscher had the cold to thank after he was all but guaranteed a second straight overall World Cup in Switzerland on Thursday.
A combination of snow, wind and fog caused the cancellation of Thursday's super G in Lenzerheide, just a day after the downhill was scrapped for similar reasons, all of which prompted Hirscher's chief rival Aksel Lund Svindal to withdraw from this weekend's slalom.
The Norwegian had hoped to narrow Hirscher's lead of 149 points in the two events he excels in but Svindal's World Cup hopes became decidedly frosty after these were canceled - since the Austrian is more adroit at the slalom.
"I see no point in competing in the slalom now," said the overall champion in 2007 and 2009. "It might have been a consideration had the two races not been canceled. But that has not been the case."
Svindal's decision to miss Sunday's season-ending slalom means he cannot overhaul Hirscher's lead, with only 100 points awarded to the winner of any race.
Slalom is not his strong point, with the 30-year-old having never done better than finish sixth in a World cup race in the discipline.
Disappointed by his failure to pits his wits on the slope, the speedy Svindal was nonetheless quick to praise Hirscher -- classifying the Austrian in the same bracket as some of the best skiers in history.
"He had a fantastic season, worthy of great skiers of the past like (Sweden's Ingemar) Stenmark or (Italy's Alberto) Tomba," added the Norwegian.
Even though he was disappointed by the cancellation of Thursday's races, the move did confirm Svindal as the winner of this year's super G.
The day went badly for organizers with an initial delay of over three hours for bad weather followed by another postponement after the first racer, Gauthier de Tessieres, fell in high winds.
Nine racers managed to finish despite the gusting winds before Kroell, last year's downhill World Cup winner, crashed at the same spot as De Tessieres fell before being flown to hospital after 45 minutes of on course treatment for a broken shoulder.
Hirscher told reporters it was difficult to celebrate his impending triumph on a day when his fellow Austrian, who received a tweet of support from his compatriot, had been so badly injured.
"Despite my young age, I've already learned many things. In life, being slalom world champion is not the most important thing," the 24-year-old said in philosophical fashion.
"There are things that surpass that -- such as my family, Laura (his girlfriend), my friends and being healthy."
Tina Maze was another left with mixed emotions, despite the fact that the Slovenian took her third crystal globe of the season on Thursday, adding the super G to the overall and giant slalom cups.
This came just 24 hours after she lost out on the World Cup downhill crown to America's Lindsey Vonn in similar fashion, with bad fog canceling the race with the Slovenian trailing by just a single point.
"I don't really like this kind of days when you don't get the chance to show your skills on the slope," she told the official FIS website.
"But in the end today is a good day for me, while yesterday wasn't really. I'm of course happy to secure the Super G title. I'm really proud of my season."
"I'm relieved that we didn't race today. Conditions were really tough. In my opinion speed events should be canceled before one o'clock. Waiting for too long puts you in a stressful position and the risk of accidents therefore becomes higher."
Maze can add the slalom globe to her trophy cabinet on Sunday, with the action at the World Cup finals week continuing on Friday with the team parallel racing event -- weather permitting of course.