Friday, October 30, 2020

100 Days to Cortina 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

Today, Friday 30 October, the beginning of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships will be just over 100 days/three months away, as it is scheduled to take place in Cortina d’Ampezzo from 7 to 21 February next year.
The countdown marks the final step for the sporting event that will bring all the major international ski champions to the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’ and will also mark the much-awaited return of men’s competitions on the Tofane’s slopes after a thirty-year absence. It also represents the beginning of the 100 busiest and most challenging days of the whole preparation process, in the midst of the current Covid-19 emergency.

"The severe pandemic situation we have been facing since March has not halted the efforts of Fondazione Cortina 2021, FIS and the Italian government to cross the finish line and celebrate this important international event – said Valerio Toniolo, Works Commissioner for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Cortina 2021 – Thanks to amazing synergy involving the whole area, Cortina is now ready to host the World Championships, having invested in sports facilities focussing on relaunching the area, urban regeneration, and environmental sustainability. There is no denying that the current emergency is forcing us to rethink our approach to large-scale events, through the use of digital support and new technologies to ensure compliance with social distancing rules, as protecting everyone’s health is the top priority and sport is instrumental to that".
"We are proud of what we have accomplished up to now: the whole community is excited and looking forward to the World Championships – commented Gianpietro Ghedina, Mayor of Cortina d’Ampezzo – We are approaching this final stage with conflicting emotions of both worry and excitement but we have the organizational skills to make both our country and Cortina proud, whatever happens".
"We are approaching these last few weeks in the run-up to the Championships with determination and confidence – stated Alessandro Benetton, President of Fondazione Cortina 2021 – We never thought we would be facing this final stage in the midst of a pandemic but we are pulling out all the stops to make sure the event is safe and to promote Cortina’s beauty and Italy’s great sporting tradition to all four corners of the world. We are constantly analyzing every opportunity, getting ready to face every situation that could arise between now and next February. So, we are ready to deal with each and everything in the most efficient and promptest manner possible. These ‘-100 days’ to the World Championships show the strength, resilience, and determination of the Cortina 2021 team and the great confidence the whole area places in this long-awaited event".

Cortina d’Ampezzo made its debut on the FIS World Cup with Men’s Downhill in 1969 and became a fixture on the Women’s Downhill tour for three years beginning in 1975. After a long hiatus, the venue has been an annual stop on the Women’s World Cup since 1993, hosting downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom, which is not on the line-up since 2011 but will be back in 2017.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the most charming ski resorts in Italy. Located near the north-eastern border with Austria, and surrounded by the imposing peaks of the Tofana, the Monte Cristallo, and the Sorapis Dolomites, Cortina is known as the "Regina delle Dolomiti". The resort is part of the Dolomiti Superski Ski Paradise. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200 kilometers of maintained pistes served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket. Cortina offers, with the purchase of a Valley Skipass, the chance to ski in the skiing area Cortina d'Ampezzo, Auronzo-Misurina, and San Vito di Cadore with a total of 140 kilometers of pistes served by 51 lifts and linked by buses. Snowmaking was increased to cover 95 percent of the slopes.
Located in the North-East corner of the Veneto region at an altitude of 1,224m Cortina is immersed in a landscape of unparalleled natural beauty, surrounded by the spectacular Dolomite mountains, recently declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Area.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the twelve resorts belonging to the European association "Best of the Alps", which get together the most exclusive and well-known destinations in the Big Five Europe's Alpine countries.
Recently, Cortina d'Ampezzo was selected as one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Alpine Ski Resorts:by the CNN.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Crans Montana and Madonna di Campiglio Joins the Club 5

On Monday, September 28, 2020 the Club 5 autumn meeting took place for the first time as video meeting with full attendance of voting members. And one of the most important points of the meeting was the admission of Crans-Montana and Madonna di Campiglio as full members of Club 5. The two candidates have been unanimously approved as full members of Club5 which now counts 18 effective members from all over the world.

The Club 5+ Alpine Classics, is a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).

After a few years, the goal of Club 5 changed into the direction of a service corporation for their members and Club 5 counts in the following years 12 more members:

1994 - Alta Badia (ITA)

1997 - Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA)

1997 - Kranjska Gora (SLO)

1998 - Schladming (AUT)

1998 - Maribor (SLO)

2003 - Lake Louise (CAN)

2004 - Adelboden (SUI)

2005 - Kvjetfjell (NOR)

2010 - St. Moritz (CH)

2011 - Åre (SWE)

2013 - Zagreb (HR)

2016 - Crans-Montana were added as Affiliated member (CH)

2020 Crans Montana and Madonna di Campiglio become effective members

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Lucas Braathen Takes First World Cup Victory

20-year-old Norewain sensation Lucas Braathen stole the show at today’s Audi FIS World Cup 2020-2021 opening race in Soelden as he edged Swiss Marco Odermatt (SUI) by 0.06 seconds to claim his first-ever World Cup win and podium. He is also the youngest winner in Sölden ever. 
Fifth in the first run, Braathen attacked the Rettenbach slope for the second time in his career (he finished 6th with bib 40 last year) with his light-hearted and fearless attitude that enabled him to achieve his first World Cup victory after only 23 races from his debut.
The second run was crucial also for another young talent, Marco Odermatt (SUI) who conquered his first World Cup victory in Super-G last season. Odermatt was the fastest skier in the second run and was able to climb back from seventh place. 
Swiss team-mate Gino Caviezel (SUI), who was in the lead in the first run, completed the podium with a solid second run. It's also the first World Cup podium for Caviezel.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Marta Bassino Wins World Cup Opening GS in Sölden

Marta Bassino (ITA) achieved today in the World cup women’s season opener in Soelden (AUT) her second career World Cup victory. Marta stood out above all in the first run where she was able to exploit her skiing fluidity on one of the most difficult racecourses of the whole Circuit.
Marta beat her teammate Federica Brignone (ITA) by 0.14 seconds. For Brignone, it is the fortieth podium in the World Cup and for Italy, it is the first double in Sölden.
Following the Italian duet was Petra Vlhova (SVK), the protagonist of a great comeback in the second run that allowed her to recover 7 positions and finally conquer her first career podium in Sölden.

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Alpine Ski World Cup Kicks Off Next Weekend in Sölden

The upcoming Alpine Ski World Cup season will start earlier than planned.
The 2020-2021 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.
Since the 2000/2001 season, the women's and men's ski world cup has traditionally been held on the Rettenbach Glacier in Sölden.
With the aim of creating the best possible safety precautions at the World Cup Opening event in Sölden, the Austrian Ski Federation and its Organizing Committee have applied for earlier scheduling of the World Cup Opening. After successful talks with the host broadcaster ORF and all media rights holders, coupled with the active support of Bergbahnen Sölden and Ötztal Tourismus, there was also approved for the project from the International Ski Association. The competitions as part of the AUDI FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Sölden will therefore be held on 17 and 18 October - one week earlier than originally planned.
By earlier scheduling of the Opening, it will be possible to use the entire Rettenbach Glacier area exclusively for the Alpine Ski World Cup competitions, to separate the participants, officials, and employees from tourists, and to arrange accommodation for the teams according to needs and official regulations. The ultimate aim for the organizer and his partners in Sölden is to ensure that everyone involved in the Alpine Ski World Cup has the best possible and safest conditions at the opening event.
According to the current situation, we assume that the races will be carried out without a large number of spectators as a precautionary measure with a view to optimum COVID-19 prevention. Further details about the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Opening in Sölden and corresponding event guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, will follow in the coming weeks.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Calendar Freeride World Tour 2021

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 in the Verbier Xtreme.
As autumn begins to quickly spread through the high mountains, the moment to announce the Freeride World Tour (FWT) 2021 calendar has finally arrived, and the world’s best Freeriders will be back again soon charging hard for the world title in a brand-new format.

Date: January 23-30, 2021; Location: Hakuba, Japan
Date: February 8-13, 2021; Location: Kicking Horse, Golden, British Columbia, Canada

Date: February 22-27 2021; Location: Vallnord Arcalis, Andorra
Date: March 6-12, 2021; Location: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria

Date: March 20-28, 2021; Location: Verbier, Switzerland

The FWT has revamped the championship format. These exciting changes will ensure the world’s top Freeriders get the best opportunity to compete for the world title and continue to push the progression of the sport into new realms. This year will see four pivotal changes:

1. Athlete qualification will occur at the third stop (instead of the fourth), making the Ordino Arcalís Andorra ‘crunch time’ for the athletes. The same numbers still go through as 2020 (best 2 results out of 3 events counts): 13 ski men, 6 ski women, 6 snowboard men, 4 snowboard women – totaling 29 riders.

2. Two runs in Austria. After a successful test last year with snowboard men, riders this year will get two runs in Fieberbrunn and keep their single best score.

3. The FWT Finals in Fieberbrunn and Verbier will be rolled out after the cut, where for the last two events, the points will be weighted 1.5. This means the winner will take 15,000 points, compared to 10,000 for the first three stops.

4. World Champions will now be crowned for their best three results out of five.

Calendar Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup 2020-2021 (Update 4 October)

On Friday, October 2nd, during the Online Meeting of the Alpine Committee the proposals for the Men’s and Women’s 2020-2021 World Cup calendars were presented. One day later they were officially approved by the Council. The main focus of the new calendars for the upcoming season is to deliver a safe and fair competition.

These new calendars aim to provide a safe environment for athletes to compete and are based on the requirements to reduce numbers and costs for teams, organizers, and stakeholders. To limit interaction as much as possible, a number of events were separated to have only Women's’ or Men's’ races. Speed and technical events were also split where possible.
All races will take place in Europe. Only one event is going to take place outside the European borders, a women's speed weekend in Yanqing, China in late February. 

Men’s Calendar

The new calendar features a double weekend in Val d’Isère (FRA), with two Giant Slaloms, followed by a speed block (Super-G and Downhill). In late December, along with Sunday’s traditional Giant Slalom, Alta Badia (ITA) will host a Slalom on Monday. In January, Swiss venue Adelboden will host a long weekend with a double Giant Slalom and a Slalom. Finally, only the speed athletes will be racing in Garmisch-Partenkirchen with a Super-G and a Downhill on the menu.

Women’s Calendar

As far as the Women's calendar is concerned, there will be two Slalom races in Levi (FIN) and two Giant Slalom events in Courchevel (FRA). In the final phase of the season, the World Cup will be back in Jasna (SVK) after 4 years.
Overall the calendars feature 39 races for the men and 35 for the women, spread over 18 different venues. The highlight of the season will be the 2021 World Ski Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA) from 8 to 21 February. The season will wrap up with the finals in Lenzerheide (SUI) from 17 to 21 March 2021.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Saalbach awarded 2025 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

The FIS Council decided on the 3rd October to select Austria and Saalbach Hinterglemm as the venue for the Alpine Ski World Championships 2025. Due to the current situation, the awarding of the contract took place online. The contract was awarded 12 of 14 votes.

Saalbach Hinterglemm has shown great determination in recent years: As a partner with the Austria House at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang 2018, as a spontaneous replacement venue for the cancelled World Cup races in Sölden and Val d'Isere 2018, with only six weeks preparation time, and finally as a replacement venue for the cancelled World Cup races in China 2020 with less than two weeks preparation.

For Saalbach, it was a long and intensive journey from the application to the award of the contract. "We put a lot of energy and passion into the bid", says Bartl Gensbichler, President of the Salzburger Ski Association and President of the Saalbach Hinterglemm Ski Club. "The joy is all the greater now that we have been awarded the contract. We have used the time between the originally planned award date and today efficiently and refined our concept. Nevertheless, we are now naturally lacking valuable preparation time. But our machinery is running like clockwork, and we have already proven many times that we work well under pressure. So, I am not worried that we will make a great ski festival out of the World Championships 2025".
Peter Mitterer, Managing Director of the Hinterglemm Lift Company, continues: "We have a perfect team. Every member has the skills and know-how needed for his/her position. Everything works hand in hand, and everyone knows what they must accomplish. Of course, we face a huge workload between now and 2025. The new 12er KOGEL lift has already created an ideal training centre for the athletes, and the new Rosswald reservoir has laid a good foundation for further training slopes. The next step will be the construction of the new Zwölferkogel Nordbahn to put the finishing touches to our local mountain in Hinterglemm."
"With Switzerland (Crans Montana/Valais), Germany (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) and Austria (Saalbach Hinterglemm), three equal partners have applied to host the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2025. We are very honoured that Austria, with Saalbach Hinterglemm, has been awarded the contract. We would like to thank all our supporters for their confidence in us and assure them that we will again do everything in our power to make this World Championships, together with OK Saalbach, a true celebration of Alpine skiing. We are convinced that Switzerland and Germany are also two great organisers and wish them every success for the next attempt", says ÖSV President Peter Schröcksnadel.
"It is a great honour for us that the FIS Council has chosen us. We appreciate the trust in our competence", says a thrilled Mayor, Alois Hasenauer with satisfaction. "We are ready!"
"We are beyond happy to bring the Ski World Championships 2025 to Saalbach! The current emotions are unbelievable! Saalbach 2025. What an awesome feeling", says Heinz Fuchs, Chairman of the Tourism Board in Saalbach Hinterglemm. 

Concept: One mountain – all competitions

The Zwölferkogel in Hinterglemm is the venue for all disciplines, providing optimal conditions for the athletes as well as the entire production team. The central location, with only one finish area, facilitates the coordination between sport and visitors. The already existing infrastructure is used in the best possible way. As far as the sports facilities are concerned, they have already been tested in various races following their adaptation, based on the most recent sports data. The reconstruction of the Zwölferkogel lift, which was started immediately after the end of the season in March 2019, will give the finish area a new character and will offer considerable advantages and a reduced workload for the sport in the future.