FIS together with Swiss-Ski and the Italian Winter Sports Federation (FISI) will hold the first-ever cross-border competitions in Audi FIS World Cup history as Zermatt/Cervinia will host downhill and super-G races for both men and women.
The races will take place after the World Cup opening in Soelden and give speed athletes the opportunity to start the season a month earlier than before. The planning is already in full swing and these speed opening races could be integrated into the Audi FIS World Cup calendar as early as the 2022/23 season.
FIS President Johan Eliasch said of the new venue, “I am very excited that we can embrace ideas that bring our sport forward and offer new possibilities. The concept of Zermatt/Cervinia as host is innovative. It will not only allow us to implement the World Cup season from October until March without interruptions, but it will also strengthen the speed disciplines in our race calendar. This will benefit our National Association, athletes, stakeholders and fans equally.”
Eliasch continued: “Another positive development is that Zermatt/Cervinia have offered to open training on an equal standing for all athletes three weeks prior to the race. This is a great first step towards ensuring equal training opportunities for all athletes. It will also contribute to reduce long distance travel to access training locations with a corresponding reduction of our carbon footprint.”
FIS Secretary General Michel Vion said, “These new Alpine speed competitions around the iconic Matterhorn/Cervino will be an attractive addition to the World Cup circuit. The course will be a great test for our speed athletes. I am looking forward to the first race.”
The course is embedded in the unique scenery around the iconic Matterhorn/Cervino. Designed by former Swiss Olympic champion Didier Defago, it will start on Gobba di Rollin above the Klein Matterhorn in Switzerland and finish in Laghi Cime Bianchi in Italy.
Swiss-Ski President Urs Lehmann said, “The desire for more speed races in the calendar to have level playing field between speed and technical events has been addressed for years. Thanks to the altitude, Zermatt/Cervinia can host speed races early in the season and we can finally meet these demands. As we are also planning to organize European Cup races, young athletes will benefit from these races too.”
“Both federations will play an active role in planning and implementing the event. We are not competing with other organizers but are able to fill a gap in the race calendar and round off the season,” added FISI President Flavio Roda.
“This FIS decision guarantees us planning security. Zermatt/Cervinia has offered perfect training conditions for years. Together with FIS and the Swiss and Italian federations, we are now very pleased to get the chance to organise an exceptional World Cup event and to make available training opportunities for all athletes,” said Franz Julen, designated President of the Local Organising Committee.