Only one of the first nine starters completed the 2.1km course,
with the gates on the final run-in to the finish particularly
troublesome as the snow turned to mush.
Pre-race favorite Gut, third in the downhill, lost crucial time
through a tricky series of turns late on to miss a bronze medal by
less than one tenth of a second.
"Down there it's water, it's not snow anymore," Gut told reporters.
"It's not much fun to ski in that. It's going to be getting bad for
the giant slalom.
"I don't know if this is the best way to show off our skiing. This
is a disaster, it was a shame for everybody."
Britain's Chemmy Alcott was in tears after slowing in the slush and
missing a top-20 placing.
"I'm gutted," she said. "In the last pitch I got on to the tropical
snow and it beat me down here. I lost tons of time."
[to top of second column]
Not all the skiers were bothered by the conditions though.
"The course was very easy," Italian Nadia Fanchini said. "At the
beginning the snow looked like soap a little bit, but at the end it
was more difficult."
Course workers have been working manfully to hold back nature and
keep the race slopes compact despite the punishment they take from
skis and the temperatures.
Using salt and injecting water into critical points has helped while
start times have been changed with Sunday's men's super-G now
getting under way at 10 a.m.
(Reporting by Martyn
Herman; editing by Patrick Johnston)
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