The Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Giant Slalom and Slalom races will take place on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 in Mariborsko Pohorje (Slovenia) a low mountain range whose highest peak reaches 1347 metres close to the city of Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city.
It admittedly feels a bit like April in Maribor, Slovenia, but there is one key area covered in snow and awaiting a wintery battle, and that’s the racecourse for the 2011FIS Audi women’s World Cup giant slalom and slalom this weekend. It will be the 47th running of the Golden Fox World Cup events, named because race winners receive the coveted Zlata Lisica – golden fox – trophy.
While the ski area, which first began hosting World Cups in 1964, is the largest in the country, the atmosphere and surroundings are cozier with more of a local community flare in comparison with bigger resorts that typically serve as World Cup venues.
Historically one of the least technical courses on the Women’s tour, the spring-like snow conditions might add a new challenge this weekend. The Giant Slalom course has a vertical drop of 412 meters and is 1,385 meters long. It starts at an elevation of 748 meters and finishes at 336. The slalom is 603 meters long, starting at 527 meters.
Organizers blew a massive amount of snow on the course throughout the winter, a consistent 70 centimeters in depth. But during the last week, temperatures have reached up to 13 degrees Celsius on the mountain and a thaw has taken hold. Though a few centimeters have disappeared, there is still at least 50 centimeters on the race hill and Friday’s free ski was canceled so crews could work feverishly to prepare the course, treating the snow to render a solid, consistent surface for race time.
On Maribor you can reach the gondola that runs from the valley to the ski slopes by city bus. The ski resort offers three ski areas: Snow Stadium, Bolfenk and Areh with 40 kilometres of pistes connected by 21 lifts (1 gondola, 4 chairlifts and 16 drag lifts) with a transport capacity of 19,200 persons/hour. Snow making facilities and careful grooming guarantee 100 days of skiing, and when temperatures remain low enough, the trails are snow-covered all the way to the valley. The area is lit for night skiing, and its illuminated five kilometer ski run is the longest in Europe.
Slovenian best known ski centers world-wide are Kranjska Gora and Maribor.