49th Saslong Classic with Super-G and Downhill Introduced. First Time South Tyrol Ski Trophy and Vertical Race - 200 Million Viewers Worldwide.
The Saslong is covered in snow, the entertainment program is set, the organizational wheels are turning: there are still almost three weeks to go but everything is ready in Val Gardena/Gröden for the 49th Saslong Classic, which was presented today in Bolzano/Bozen in presence of local head of government Arno Kompatscher and FISI president Flavio Roda. After the Super-G on Friday, the 16th and the classic Downhill on Saturday, the 17th, there will be a South Tyrolean Trophy awarded for the first time including the rankings of the two races in Alta Badia.
250 accredited journalists, 60 TV networks, 195 million viewers all over the world (and thus an increase of 25 million compared to last year), more than 10,000 spectators along the course and 220,000 Euro prize money: the key figures of the World Cup races in Val Gardena/Gröden are impressive for the 49th edition of the Saslong Classic. For the first time, the races will be held on the "new" Saslong, after more than 15 years of dedicated work which eliminated all bottlenecks and updated all safety precautions. In October, the last remaining section of the track, the Nucia turn, has been widened and secured over a three weeks period, creating scope for a more generous course setting as well as additional providing ample space for more cameras.
Two Classic Races and a New South Tyrol Ski Trophy
Thanks to the work accomplished over the past few years, the 1970 World Championship track is once again one of the most modern and safest but also most diverse and spectacular Downhill courses in the entire World Cup circuit. Furthermore, with 2446 meters of length if is the second longest in the season. The racers overcome 839 meters in altitutde difference, nine jumps, 17 larger ripples, several steep sections and a energy-sapping flat piece. Once again this year, we’ll have a Super-G and a Downhill on Friday, December 16th and Saturday, December 17th, respectively. Start is set at 12:15 pm for both.
New this year is the South Tyrol Ski Trophy which was presented today by head of local government Arno Kompatscher. It will combine the four men’s World Cup races in Val Gardena/Gröden and Alta Badia into a single classification. The winner is not only the best speeder racer and best technician but also those all-round athletes who master the Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom and Parallel Slalom. The winner of the South Tyrol Ski Trophy takes home 20,000 Euro in prize money along with a life-size and real wood-carved bust.
FIS Races and Vertical
The dress rehearsal to the World Cup races will take place on November, 28th and 29th. Two FIS races will be hosted on Plan de Gralba above Wolkenstein/Selva, which is attracting the up-and-coming youth racers to the classic speed event in Val Gardena/Gröden.
In the next few weeks, Val Gardena/Gröden is not just holding races down the hill but also some up the mountain: For the first time, Val Gardena/Gröden is hosting Vertical Up, a climb up the course on both a long and a short distance. While the short distance is “only" 1986 meters long and 590 meters high, the long covers the entire classic Saslong course which means it is 3,5 kilometers long and 839 meters high. Registrations are open until January 14, 2017.
The impressive entertainment program at the World Cup weekend in Val Gardena/Gröden isn’t new but already a tradition. After the Super-G, the winner will be honored on Friday evening at 5:45 pm as part of a big celebration with a light-show at the Antonius Square in the heart of Ortisei/St.Ulich. At the same time, the start numbers for the Downhill on Saturday will be picked and assigned. Also back on the schedule is the Fan Club parade on Saturday before the race. The parade, with 500 fans from all over the world, will start at 10:30 am with lots of fun and music and make it’s way through the center of St. Christina all the way to the Finish stadium.
The Saslong and the VIPs
One thing is guaranteed: Saslong offers its spectators an unforgettable experience. For all those who want to make this experience even more memorable, the organizers will have some special offers: from the VIP tent at the Finish to the special Camel Hump package.
Detailed information on all ticket offers can be found at www.saslong.org/tickets.
All further information about the World Cup races on the Saslong can be found at www.saslong.org.
Picture - from left: Marco Pappalardo, Rainer Senoner, Stefania Demetz, Marcello Varallo, Arno Kompatscher, Flavio Roda, Andy Varallo