today is Oct 01, 2022

A new Alpine Ski World Cup Race has been confirmed for this autumn, descending from Europe’s highest lift-served point on the Klein Matterhorn accessed from Zermatt in Switzerland down over the Italian border to Cervinia.

The new FIS calendar has the races staged for men and women over the weekend of October 29-30 and November 5-6 with two downhills on each weekend. The slope has been designed by Swiss racer Didier Defago with Pirmin Zurbriggen acting as a  consultant on the project.

Sölden in Austria will open the World Cup season with Giant Slalom races for women and men as usual the previous weekend. However the new Zermatt-Cervinia race brings the start of the speed skiing season forward by two months from its traditional late-November start in North America at Lake Louise, Canada and Beaver Creek, Colorado.

“For years there has been a desire to have more speed races on the World Cup calendar to create a balance between speed and technical races. With the Speed Opening at the foot of the Matterhorn, this need is now satisfied – thanks to the excellent collaboration with FIS, Italy’s FISI, as well as with the towns of Cervinia and Zermatt. For the future development of our sport, this agreement is extremely rewarding,” said Urs Lehmann, President of Swiss-Ski.

When the Zermatt – Cervinia race was first proposed several years ago it was claimed it would have the highest starting point of any on the calendar at nearly 3,900m (12,795 feet), however for the first year at least this is to be lowered to 3,700m with the finish at 2,835 meters at Cime Bianche.

This appears to be due to the delay in completion of the second stage of the new 3S cable car, which will connect Testa Grigia to the Piccolo Cervino, allowing transit from Cervinia and Zermatt all year round, that is now not scheduled to be completed until spring of 2023.

Taking place at one of the world’s two outdoor ski areas that aim to open 365 days a year, team training on the course will be open to all nations all year round.

“All teams will benefit from on-site training throughout the year. This will reduce travel to locations in the Southern Hemisphere and contribute to the FIS commitment to reduce carbon emissions,” an FIS spokesperson commented.