German women take first ski-cross world cup victory

Germany’s women skiers celebrated their first ever ski-cross world cup victory at the weekend, with Heidi Zacher taking first place and teammate Anna Wörner joining her on the podium in third.

German women take first ski-cross world cup victory
Zacher (c) and Wörner (r), with Hedda Berntsen (l) Photo: DPA

The success on the Austrian slopes in St Johann raised hopes for a successful world championship which takes place in three weeks at the American Deer Valley venue.

“This is an absolute dream and in front of this background too,” said Zacher, whose parents were there to see her win. “It was the perfect race and the perfect moment for the first world cup victory.”

Hedda Berntsen of Norway came second.

The 22-year-old came 17th in the last Olympics, where the sport was introduced to the Games. Ski-cross involves four racers competing directly against each other over a course which includes jumps, bumps and curves.

Funding for the German team has been more than doubled recently, to around €280,000, with an eye on the 2014 Olympics in Sotschi. The German ski team is hoping to collect five medals in freestyle, ski-cross and snowboarding, despite having come back from the last Olympics in Canada empty-handed.


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German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.