This year's Ski World Cup Race in Gröden / Gardena will take place on Friday the 20th (the Super-G) and Saturday the 21st (Downhill Race). This year, it was decided that the Super-G would begin on Friday at 11:45 a.m., and the downhill race on Saturday, also at 11:45 a.m. For the next three years, the speed races on the Saslong will be a fixed date in the FIS racing calendar.
In 1969, a FIS Ski World Cup Race was held in Gröden / Gardena for the first time. Two years earlier, the International Ski Federation had decided to hold the 1970 Ski World Championship in Val Gardena. That's why a downhill ski slope was established. In doing so, the people in Gröden oriented themselves towards the new FIS guidelines: more technology, less risk. During its "baptism by fire" in February of 1969, the Swiss Jean Daniel Dätwyler emerged victorious, with a time of 2 minutes and 7.75 seconds.
The World Championship had a decisive impact on the valley and a beneficial effect upon tourism. Many hotels and inns doubled the number of beds they had, and numerous VIPs came here to celebrate this major sporting event.
Last year, too, Gröden / Gardena was appareled like a bride in her finest white for the Ski World Cup: Excellent weather, a large variety of other scheduled entertainments and accompanying program points with lots of interesting guests and exciting races made the World Cup week on the Saslong another unforgettable spectacle.
The Super-G ended for the eighth time with a victory by a Norwegian. "Saslong King" Aksel Lund Svindal impressed onlookers with a perfect run, beating the local racing honcho Christof Innerhofer by just a few hundredths of a second. For the experienced Norwegian, it was his seventh victory in Gröden / Gardena – no other skier was as successful here as he has been. Svindal's team colleague Kjetil Jansrud completed the podium, taking third place. The weather was more than cooperative, with magnificent sunshine and temperatures just a few degrees below freezing. The absolute highlight of last year's racing week – the classic Val Gardena downhill run – was held on Saturday, while the "weather gods" remained gracious. Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was victorious, winning by a sizable margin ahead of the Austrian Max Franz and the Swiss Beat Feuz.
And who will be standing on the podium this year? In any case, you can be sure of thrilling races on December 20 and 21.
Fotocredit "Saslong Classic Club"