FIS Race Directors Waldner and Trinkl inspect the Saslong in midsummer
It is a set date which is an indispensable part of the Val Gardena/Gröden World Cup calendar: the annual midsummer inspection of the race track. Today, Monday, the time had come again. The FIS racing management, OC president Rainer Senoner and course manager Horst Demetz reviewed the past season and also discussed the relocation of the Super-G start. A move that was finally given the go-ahead.
The FIS men’s race director and South Tyrol-native Markus Waldner - he is from near-by Bressanone/Brixen - together with Hannes Trinkl praised the excellent snow and slope conditions, which the Val Gardena/Gröden Organizing Committee once again conjured despite warm temperatures on the Saslong. The FIS representatives also expressed their gratitude for the rescue of the Swiss athlete Marc Gisin, who had taken a hard fall on the Camel Humps during the downhill race. "The rescue service was handled impeccably and can be described as a model case," said Waldner.
Rainer Senoner, President of the Saslong Classic Club, then presented all the novelties planned for the 2019 World Cup with the Super-G on Friday 20 December and the downhill on Saturday 21 December. The Super-G start will be relocated to the West, in the direction of the Sassolungo, a change that the FIS approved today. "The start will be even faster and more technical, the TV pictures will be much better. Moreover, this new starting position could also be interesting for a future sprint downhill", Senoner explained the advantages of this change.
At the same time, major investments will also be made along the race track. "New snow cannons will be installed by the lift company Saslong SpA. These can produce 30 percent more snow in the same period of time. In addition, most A-nets and sliding tarpaulins will be replaced. The races will be on the calendar a week later this year. This is an advantage for the snow guarantee, on the other hand the races being so close before Christmas represents a very big challenge", said Horst Demetz, head of the race course preparation.
As far as safety is concerned, the organizers in Val Gardena/Gröden are continuing to take precautions after Gisin's fall. "Recently, the Val Gardena/Gröden OC has entered into an agreement with the Alta Badia OC and the Aiut Alpin. This agreement provides that during the World Cup races in Val Gardena/Gröden and Alta Badia, a rescue helicopter will be reserved exclusively for the event - without affecting other air rescue needs of the region or having to stop the race. We want to be prepared in the best possible way for all eventualities" concludes Senoner.
In the coming months, the Organizing Committee will prepare heavily for the race before the snowmaking of the track can begin in November.