Val Gardena/Gröden prepares for a special challenge
There is one thing for certain 40 days ahead the first downhill training on the Saslong: the 53rd edition of the World Cup classics in Val Gardena/Gröden will not be “business as usual” for all participants. Nevertheless, the organizers around OC President Rainer Senoner are confident that the last weekend before Christmas will see exciting races and that they will deliver a great product to the ski fans in their living rooms.
The organizing committee has been working for weeks on the planning for the Ski World Cup on the legendary Saslong. Races that are becoming a great challenge due to the current developments and countless obstacles in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. A task for which the organizers have a lot of respect and which they approach with even greater humility. And in which they can count on the support of their stakeholders: starting with the International Ski Federation FIS and the Italian Winter Sports Federation FISI, continuing on to the public administration - be it on a national level as well as in the three municipalities of the Val Gardena/Gröden valley - and the local tourism industry, up to the various long-term partners and the countless employees and volunteers.
"This cohesion and this lived solidarity are an essential drive for the Saslong Classic Club. Despite the Coronavirus, which is putting many obstacles in our way, we hope that the World Cup 2020 will be an international event full of passion for skiing. Because it is precisely for the sport in general and skiing in particular that we in Val Gardena/Gröden are working towards the last weekend before Christmas, when the athletes will compete for a super-G and downhill gold on the Saslong", says Rainer Senoner, President of the Saslong Classic Club.
Strict safety protocol
The Super-G on Friday, December 18 followed by the classic downhill race one day later will take place under strict safety conditions. These are partly set by the international ski association FIS, partly by the South Tyrolean government. For example, the protocol stipulates that all persons participating in the World Cup will be divided into different groups and that these groups will not have any personal contact with each other. Before and during the World Cup, all persons involved must undergo a corona test and if the result is positive, they must leave immediately or isolate themselves. Accreditations for the World Cup will only be handed out to those who can provide a negative test result.
Another part of the safety concept will be to hold the classic races in front of empty spectator stands. Nevertheless, the renowned ski sport event in the 1970 World Cup venue is expected to become a thrilling event. "We will do everything we can to provide our fans around the world with the best possible information and gripping stories via our website and social media. We will also try to further improve the experience of the TV pictures in consultation with the production team. This year, if the fans are not allowed to come to the Saslong, then the World Cup will come all the more to the fans," promises Senoner.
In the World Cup office in St. Cristina, the start of the decisive phase of preparations is already clearly underway. But a lot of work along the three-and-a-half kilometer long race track is also on the agenda in the next few days, so that last year's winner Vincent Kriechmayr & Co. will find ideal conditions for the most thrilling ski races possible on the last weekend before Christmas.