He is a welcome guest at the races on the Saslong and would be thrilled with a victory of one of our local athletes. In the following interview, President of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol Arno Kompatscher speaks about the significance of the Ski World Cup for South Tyrol.
Mr. Kompatscher, what is the importance of the Ski World Cup races in Val Gardena/Gröden for South Tyrol?
In many respects, the races on the Saslong are of great value for our region. Val Gardena/Gröden has been organizing World Cup races since 1969 and this huge tradition speaks for itself. For once, the Saslong is a spectacular downhill track but this goes hand-in-hand with an extraordinary reliability and a perfect organization which is attracting great attention internationally. The impact on the tourist lives for Val Gardena/Gröden, the Dolomites and South Tyrol are of immense value, as the images from the valley are shared with the whole world via TV, newspapers and social media - they are certainly authentic advertising spots for South Tyrol.
… and what impact do the races have at a local level?
For the people of South Tyrol, the races are a good opportunity to experience sport at a world-class level right at their door step and especially to root for our local racers. Skiing in South Tyrol has a long tradition and is thus of great importance. Over the past decades, our country has produced many a successful ski racer including World Champions and Olympians. The Saslong offers a perfect stage for outstanding athletic achievements. The World Cup weekend is not only a major sporting event but also of social importance. Val Gardena/Gröden is a pioneer in this field and offers an extensive entertainment program. Rising audience figures are a clear proof of this.
… New this year is the South Tyrol Trophy?
South Tyrol has four World Cup races in various disciplines on four consecutive days in Val Gardena/Gröden and Alta Badia which is almost like a mini World Championship. With this trophy, a prize of Euro 20,000 and a life-sized wooden bust we want to emphasize the great athletic performance and, on the other hand, underline that South Tyrol is an important ski destination. In addition, a winning dish will be created by a renowned culinary chef for this occasion. This is highlighting the many similarities between Val Gardena/Gröden and Alta Badia and pointing out that the Dolomites are also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
... and what’s your winning tip?
South Tyrol is the home to current Downhill World Cup champion and it would be wonderful if Peter Fill could extend the great results of last year. That’s why I’m pointing to him, even though we have two more great contenders in Dominik Paris and Christof Innerhofer. Even more than a South Tyrolean victory, I would love to see an exciting race, a great atmosphere along the race course and television pictures that authentically bring South Tyrol’s dreamy landscape to the world.