Sunday, October 27, 2019

Alexis Pinturault Wins World Cup Opening GS in Sölden

Alexis Pinturault kicked off his 2020 winter in the best possible way on Sunday, taking the men’s Giant Slalom in Sölden, Austria, and showing that he will be the man to beat this year in GS.
Pinturault led after the first run and managed to battle through dark conditions in the second run to extend his lead and take his 24th career World Cup victory over his French teammate, Mathieu Faivre, who finished 0.54 seconds back in second. Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec rounded out the contested podium in third.
It was Pinturault’s 12th career Giant Slalom win. For Faivre, it was his best finish since last December and his seventh career podium.
All eyes were on Pinturault entering today’s race. After finishing in second place in last year’s Overall race (third in 2014, 2015 and 2016), he was dubbed one of the favorites to fill the footsteps of now-retired Marcel Hirscher.
The Frenchman wasted no time in the season-opener setting the tone as he held the lead after the first run, albeit by a slim 0.02 seconds margin ahead of Faivre.
"It was really fantastic", Pinturault said after the race. "I had two solid runs. It was really hard on the second run we couldn’t see anything on the piste".
The second run proved to be tough for a handful of athletes, including young Swiss rising star Marco Odermatt, who sat in third place after the first run but slipped to 13th after a costly mistake. Taking advantage of Odermatt’s misfortune was Slovenian Zan Kranjec, who landed on the podium 0.63 seconds off the winning pace.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Alice Robinson Wins World Cup Opening GS in Sölden

17-year-old New Zealand sensation Alice Robinson stole the show at today’s Audi FIS World Cup 2019/20 opening race in Soelden as she edged defending Overall World Cup winner Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) by 0.06 seconds to claim her first-ever World Cup win. She is also the youngest winner in Sölden ever.
Teenage skier charmed the alpine world last year when at the Season Finals in Soldeu Grandvalira she claimed a second-place finish, behind Shiffrin, after earning the qualification spot for the Finals as the Junior World Champion.
"You could see it already last year that she is going t be a really strong skier", said a complimentary Shiffrin after the race. "I really like the way she skis and I think it’s exciting that she won today".
The World Junior Giant Slalom Champion picked up in Soelden right where she left off last year in Soldeu, skiing nearly flawlessly under perfect conditions and blue skies.
The New Zealander herself was clearly emotional after today’s win saying through tears, "It’s like a dream for me and I’m still in shock. To be honest, I won by such a small margin against Mikaela, I still feel really lucky to stand here".
Already in the first run, Robinson was challenging Shiffrin. She was the only one who managed to stay within striking distance, ending only 0.14 behind the American ski star.

Tessa Worley (FRA) rounded out the podium taking third place 0.36 seconds off the pace thanks to a strong second run that saw her improve three places to get on the podium. Aside from Mikaela Shiffrin, she is the only other woman to come within a half-second of Robinson’s total time.

Norway’s Maria Therese Tviberg, who started at the back of the pack, wearing bib 58, was able to break into the top 30 on her first run. She then laid down the fast second run time of the day and finished in sixth place – her career-best.
It was nearly a dream start to the season for the women’s Audi FIS World Cup. The only dark spot came in the second run when Bernadette Schild (AUT) had to be airlifted off the course after a crash. The diagnosis revealed an ACL tear in her right knee, which means the premature season ending for the tech specialist.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Ski Racing Podcast By Ed Drake. S2. E2. Sölden Preview

The Alpine Ski World Cup in Sölden

In three days, the 2019-2020 winter season kicks off in Sölden with the first world cup races.
It's been a long summer of preparation and now finally the waiting is over and everything is ready for an extremely exciting weekend of racing.

The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup is the top international circuit of Alpine Skiing competitions staged annually. It is considered the premier competition in alpine ski racing together with the quadrennial Olympic Winter Games and the biennial FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Some experts even consider winning the World Cup to be athletically a more valuable title than winning gold at the Olympic Winter Games or the World Championships, since it requires a competitor to ski at an extremely high level in several events throughout the season, and not just in one race. Today, the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup races are held primarily at famous ski resorts in the European Alps, along with regular stops in Scandinavia, North America, and Far East Asia.

Race Course Rettenbach Glacier, Sölden

The race course in Sölden with its impressive steep slope is the first challenge for the athletes every year.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Alpine Ski World Cup Kicks Off in Sölden

The 2019-2020 Audi FIS Ski World Cup season is just around the corner. After 7 months of waiting, the Alpine Ski World Cup will be back next weekend. Sölden (Tirol, Austria) again will host the first FIS Ski World Cup Races of the season. As every year, the Women's Giant Slalom opens the new World Cup season.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Alpine Ski World Cup Starts in Ten Days in Sölden

In less than ten days, Sölden (Tirol, Austria) again hosts the first FIS Ski World Cup Races. As every year, the Women's Giant Slalom opens the new World Cup season. The traditional Ladies' and Men's Giant Slalom are confirmed on 26th – 27th October 2019 on the Rettenbach Glacier.
On Saturday the FIS World Cup opens with the Women’s Giant Slalom on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden. The FIS Women's and Men's Alpine Ski World Cup is held for the 24th time in the Tyrolean ski resort.
Since the 2000/2001 season, the yearly held men’s and women’s Alpine Ski World Opening has been taking place on Sölden’s Rettenbach Glacier.
This morning, the official snow control took place in Sölden. FIS race director Markus Mayr and the chief of the course Isidor Grüner gave the green light for the first ski races of the season. As excitement is building up, the greatest alpine ski racers in the world are getting ready to return to the Rettenbach glacier for a weekend of thrill, where they will find perfect snow conditions.
"The slope preparation took us a very long time. Luckily we have had good temperatures for snow-making and at the moment we have great conditions for the training. Now we will work subtly with water to create ideal and fair racing conditions for Saturday and Sunday" said Isidor Grüner.


26.10.2019 Women's Giant Slalom
27.10.2019 Men's Giant Slalom

Starting times:

10:00 am: 1st run
13:00 pm: 2nd run

The competition promises to be very interesting with Mikaela Shiffrin eager to defend her title against giant slalom veterans such as Tessa Worley, Viktoria Rebensubrg and Federica Brignone. On the men’s side, it looks even more exciting with many competitive athletes willing to fill that empty left by Marcel Hircher after his retirement.

Sölden is a municipality located in the Ötztal valley of Tyrol, Austria. With tourist bed nights running at over two million per year, the municipality is second only to Vienna as an Austrian tourist destination. The main village of Sölden is located at 1,368 meters above sea level. The highest peak is the Wildspitze which is at 3,768 meters the second highest mountain in Austria after the Grossglockner. Sölden is a very popular ski resort.
The first FIS Alpine Ski World Cup race of the year traditionally takes place on the slope located on the Rettenbach glacier, a high-quality icy track with the starting gate situated over 3,000 meters in altitude.
Sölden offers the marvelous BIG 3, Austria's only ski area with 3 mountains higher than 3,000 meters which are accessible by lifts or gondolas. From November through May thanks to the ski area's high-Alpine location (1,350 - 3,250 m) and the modern snowmaking system (covering all slopes lower than 2,200 m) snow is guaranteed in Sölden.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Calendar Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup 2019-2020

This is the calendar for the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup 2019-2020.

Sölden (AUT)
October 26th Giant Slalom / Ladies
October 27th Giant Slalom / Men

Levi (FIN)
November 23rd Slalom / Ladies
November 24th Slalom / Men

Lake Louise (CAN)
November 30th Downhill / Men
December 1st Super G / Men

Killington (USA)
November 30th Giant Slalom / Ladies
December 1st Slalom / Ladies

Lake Louise (CAN)
December 6th Downhill / Ladies
December 7th Downhill / Ladies
December 8th Super G / Ladies

Beaver Creek (USA)
December 6th Super G / Men
December 7th Downhill / Men
December 8th Giant Slalom / Men

St. Moritz (SUI)
December 14th Super G/ Ladies
December 15th Parallel Slalom/ Ladies
Val d'Isere (FRA)
December 14th Giant Slalom / Men
December 15th Slalom / Men

Courchevel (FRA)
December 17th Giant Slalom / Ladies

December 20th Super G / Men
December 21st Downhill / Men

Val d'Isere (FRA)
December 21st Downhill / Ladies
December 22nd Super G / Ladies
December 22nd Alpine Combined / Ladies

Alta Badia (ITA)
December 22nd Giant Slalom / Men
December 23rd Parallel Giant Slalom / Men

Bormio (ITA)
December 28th Downhill / Men
December 29th Super-G / Men
December 29th Alpine Combined / Men

Lienz (AUT)
December 28th Giant Slalom / Ladies
December 29th Slalom / Ladies

Zagreb / Sljeme (CRO)
January 4th Slalom / Ladies

Zagreb / Sljeme (CRO)
January 5th Slalom / Men

January 8th Slalom / Men

January 11th Downhill / Ladies
January 12th Super-G / Ladies
January 12th Alpine Combined / Ladies

Adelboden (SUI)
January 11th Giant Slalom / Men
January 12th Slalom / Men

Flachau (AUT)
January 14th Slalom / Ladies

Wengen (SUI)
January 17th Alpine Combined / Men
January 18th Downhill / Men
January 19th Slalom / Men

Sestriere (ITA)
January 18th Giant Slalom / Ladies
January 19th Parallel Giant Slalom / Ladies

Kitzbuehel (AUT)
January 24th Super G / Men
January 25th Downhill / Men
January 26th Slalom / Men

Bansko (BUL)
January 25th Downhill / Ladies
January 26th Super G / Ladies

Schladming (AUT)
January 28th Slalom / Men

February 1st Downhill / Ladies
February 2nd Super-G / Ladies

February 1st  Downhill / Men
February 2nd Giant Slalom / Men

February 8th Downhill / Ladies
February 9th Super-G / Ladies

Chamonix (FRA)
February 8th Slalom / Men
February 9th Parallel Giant Slalom / Men

Yanqing (CHN)
February 15th Downhill / Men
February 16th Super-G / Men

Maribor (SLO)
February 15th Giant Slalom / Ladies
February 16th  Slalom / Ladies

Crans Montana (SUI)
February 22nd Downhill / Ladies
February 23th Alpine Combined / Ladies

Niigata Yuzawa Naeba (JPN)
February 22nd Giant Slalom / Men
February 23rd  Slalom / Men

February 29th Super-G / Men
March 1st Alpine Combined / Men

La Thuile (ITA)
February 29th Super-G / Ladies
March 1st Alpine Combined / Ladies

Kvitfjell (NOR)
March 7thDownhill / Men
March 8th Super G / Men

March 7th Giant Slalom / Ladies
March 8th Slalom / Ladies

Are (SWE)
March 12th Parallel Slalom / Ladies
March 13th Giant Slalom / Ladies
March 14th Slalom / Ladies

Kranjska Gora (SLO)
March 14th Giant Slalom / Men
March 15th Slalom / Men

March 18th Downhill / Ladies & Men
March 19th Super G / Ladies & Men
March 20th Team Event / Mixed
March 21st Giant Slalom / Men
March 21st Slalom / Ladies
March 22nd Slalom  / Men
March 22nd Giant Slalom / Ladies

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Zermatt's IDE All Weather Snowmaker in Full Swing

With the arrival of autumn as every year, Zermatt puts the IDE Snowmaker into operation.
On September 30th, my friend and former student Alex González Asensio visited the snowmaker and sent me the photos that illustrate this text.
In 2008 Zermatt Bergbahnen was the first ski resort to order a new kind of artificial snow system: the IDE’s All Weather Snowmaker. Shortly after, Pitztaler Gletscherbahnen was the second company to order the snowmaker.
IDE Technologies is a leading global disruptor in water treatment solutions. The snow machine is the further development of a desalination system that originated in Israel around 30 years ago. From this desalination system, engineers from the Israeli company IDE constructed a large cooling plant used in South African gold mines. The waste product from this air cooler – similar to a refrigerator – is snow and ice. From here, it was no great technical step for the innovative engineers to create a snow-making system.
The Snowmaker creates a high-quality snow source in various weather conditions regardless of ambient temperatures.

Existing snow-production solutions require below freezing air temperatures and depend on climates such as humidity and below-zero temperatures. However, IDE’s VIM machine can produce more than 1,000 tons per day of high-quality snow at all ambient temperatures with very low operation and maintenance cost and the usage of almost any type of feed water. Inside the VIM freezer, water is exposed to deep vacuum conditions which forces part of the water to evaporate while the remaining water freezes forming a water-ice mixture. The mixture (ice slurry) is then pumped out from the freezer to an ice concentrator that separates the water from the ice crystals. To maintain the deep vacuum in the freezer, the water vapor is continuously evacuated from the freezer, compressed and fed into a condenser by IDE’s unique centrifugal compressor. This advanced technology generates better snow quality with much less energy consumption versus other "crushed ice" technologies.
This crystallized water is thus snow, similar to spring snow, and is used for piste preparation. A transport spiral shoots the snow out to the waiting snowcats. These then distribute the snow in early autumn.

"Thanks to the Snowmaker we can guarantee the route from the Theodul Glacier to Trockenen Steg from as early as the beginning of October", said Kurt Guntli from the Zermatt Bergbahnen AG
The Snowmaker is used for around 14 days in early autumn for about two to three weeks. Then it is in operation around the clock. The machine is also used systematically in winter and spring, depending on weather and snow conditions.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Soldeu El Tarter, Grandvalira (Andorra) To Host the 2023 Alpine Ski World Cup Finals.

Andorra has been chosen to host the 2023 Alpine Ski World Cup Finals. The Soldeu El Tarter sectors of Grandvalira will host the 25 best skiers in all alpine disciplines from 13 to 19 March. This was confirmed this morning at the autumn meeting of the International Ski Federation (FIS) in Zurich. Andorra was up against two other candidates for the event, both from major countries with a long tradition in alpine skiing. On the one hand, Lenzerheide in Switzerland and, on the other, Kvitfjell-Hafjell in Lillehammer, Norway.
The competition was tight, with Norway receiving six votes in the first round, Andorra receiving seven and Switzerland two. Switzerland was then eliminated, and in the second round, Andorra received the majority of the votes.
The Andorran delegation in attendance included Andorran Ski Federation (FAE) President and General Manager Josep Pintat and Carles Visa; Grandvalira-ENSISA Director and Head of the World Cup Project David Hidalgo; ENSISA Board Member Conrad Blanch; World Cup Secretary-General Marc Media; and the new Race Director Santi López.

The Finals held at Soldeu El Tarter (Andorra) in 2019 received the praise of the International Ski Federation (FIS), the technical teams and the skiers who took part in the events.
Sarah Lewis, Secretary-General of the FIS described the Soldeu El Tarter Finals as "excellent". During the last technical meeting, Lewis thanked the Organising Committee for making "the Finals the best possible event" and for "the great publicity" that the country has given Alpine skiing.
Andorra projected to the world an image of "seriousness, efficiency and professionalism" that allows the country to continue being part of the elite of alpine skiing.

Grandvalira was established in October 2003 when the management of SAETDE and ENSISA (the companies operating Pas de la Casa - Grau Roig and Soldeu - El Tarter) announced a long-awaited Merger. The physical union created the biggest ski resort in the Pyrenees and one of the biggest in Europe, with 210 km of slopes, allowing skiers with a single pass to enjoy the entire skiable area.
The World Cup is the most important international circuit-based alpine ski competition in the world, along with the Winter Olympics and the Alpine World Ski Championships.

For several years, Andorra has been hosting Alpine Skiing competitions. Andorra was the venue for the First Alpine Skiing European Cup on March 1974 at Pas de la Casa. The ski resort hosted again the European Cup the following year. After a few years, on the 1990-1991 winter season, the competition returned to Pas de la Casa to host two Slalom events. Since 2003 Andorra became a main venue of the European Cup Circuit.
In 2006 Soldeu presented his candidature to organize a World cup event and after the organizational success of the European Cup, the ski resort was entrusted with hosting the first Alpine Skiing World Cup event in 2012 at the Avet slope, Soldeu.
After hosting the European Cup Finals in 2014 and 2015 the World Cup returned to Soldeu-El Tarter on February 2016. The Super-G and Alpine Combined Events took place on the new Àliga course. The European Cup Finals in 2018 were the last test before the 2019 Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals took place in Soldeu-El Tarter Andorra last year.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Calendar Freeride World Tour 2020

The Freeride World Tour is back for another action-packed season! 5 stops across 3 continents, all culminating in the legendary face of the Bec des Rosses for the 25th anniversary of the Verbier Xtreme.
Winter is most certainly on its way with the announcement of The Freeride World Tour 2020 calendar
As autumn begins to quickly spread through the high mountains, the moment to announce the FWT 2020 calendar has finally arrived. In 2020, FWT athletes will return to five of the most challenging and pristine freeride venues the globe has to offer.

Date: January 18-25, 2020; Location: Hakuba, Japan
Date: February 6-12, 2020; Location: Kicking Horse, Golden, British Columbia, Canada

Date: February 28 - March 4, 2020; Location: Vallnord Arcalis, Andorra
Date: March 7-13, 2020; Location: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria

Date: March 28 - April 5, 2020; Location: Verbier, Switzerland