A conversation with President Rainer Senoner about His Role, Office and Outlook.
Since the end of May this year, Rainer Senoner has been President of the World Cup Val Gardena/Gröden along with his existing title of Race Director. The races in mid-December are the first ones to be organized under his leadership, which is reason enough for us to check in and get a feel of his state-of-mind. And more…
Mr. Senoner, President and Race Director of the World Cup in Val Gardena/Gröden all in one person: that’s no picnic…
Rainer Senoner (“R.S.”): … indeed it isn’t. Since my election as President at the end of May, everything has been all go all the time. It was necessary to make new contacts, to negotiate with sponsors and the FIS, to coordinate the work necessary on the course and to create all necessary prerequisites for the 49th Saslaong Classic.
Which was or is your greatest challenge?
R.S.: The biggest challenge is to keep an already well-trained and effective team cohesive and strengthen where we have any gaps. At the same time, it is not only the organizing committee and the many dedicated employees who are all pulling together, but the entire population of the valley. Every year, we must be able to inspire Val Gardena/Gröden for its World Cup races so that this event is seen for what it is: one more reason to be proud of this valley.
And how does it work? How do you inspire employees and the population?
R.S.: By never standing still, by continually evolving and reinventing ourselves again and again. The ski sport has evolved enormously over the past decades and we are trying to take part in this development where possible. For the first time this year, we have a vertical race in our program and we are striving to hold FIS races in fast disciplines in order to attract newcomers to this classic race.
And if you look further into the future?
R.S.: …that’s where it gets difficult. The World Cup calendar is already set for 2020/21 and Val Gardena/Gröden continues to be a fixed point in the calendar before Christmas. After that, FIS has already announced its intention to rethink the formats in order to make sporting events ever more appealing to young people. We do not exactly know how that is going to look, but given our experience as a host we will hope that our traditions and know-how are taken into consideration.
The World Cup in Val Gardena/Gröden’s big anniversary isn’t that far in the future. What’s already on the docket for the 50th World Cup season ahead?
R.S.: We are already preparing for this. After all, 50 years of World Cup races are nothing to be taken for granted and we want to celebrate that milestone: with the ski pioneers in Val Gardena/Gröden, with former and active athletes and all those friends and supporters who have been there for all these years showing us why we are putting all this effort into it in the first place. We are already looking forward to this anniversary, but we also excited for this year’s races. We can guarantee that they will also be a spectacle.