Saslong Classic Club / Gardena - Gröden
Str. Dursan, 106    |    I - 39047 St. Cristina
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codice destinatario: MJ1OYNU
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The story of Val Gardena/Gröden in the Ski World Cup

For the first time in 1969, a FIS Ski World Cup race was held in Val Gardena/Gröden. In 1967, the International Ski Federation decided to host the 1970 Ski World Championships in the valley. That's why a downhill slope had to be built: the local organizers decided to refer to the new FIS guidelines: more technique, less risk. The Swiss Janiel Danilel Dätwyler won the inaugural race in a time of 2:07.75.

The 1970 Ski World Championships not only formed an important milestone in the history of the valley but also constituted an significant stage in the organization of major sporting events. The World Cup was the starting point for new technologies, for innovative forms of advertising, but above all it offered a unique opportunity to make this valley located in the heart of the Dolomites known all over the world. At the time, the races ended in four different finish areas, namely Ronc, Ciampinoi, Cir and Saslonch.

The World Cup has decisively shaped the valley and helped it become a tourist destination. Many accommodations doubled the number of beds and numerous VIPs found their way to Val Gardena/Gröden. In terms of sports, it returned again in 1972 and has since then become a traditional venue for Ski World Cup races. In 1975, Val Gardena/Gröden hosted the World Cup Finals for the first and only time. Reminiscent of a parallel giant slalom, in which the South Tyrolean Gustav Thöni prevailed against the Swede Ingemar Stenmark winning the overall World Cup. 40,000 spectators witnessed the event.

Since then, no technical races have been hosted in the valley, but instead only downhill and since 2002 also Super G. 1980 will be remembered when the North Tyrolean Uli Spiess jumped for the first time over the Camel Humps. Not everyone was able to emulate him and many fell in the attempt. For this reason, the course conditions were changed but one of the most spectacular parts of the Ski World Cup still remains. The runners jump up to 80 meters and are up to six meters above the ground.

Endless is the list of curious events on the Saslong: In 1978, the race was interrupted due to a timing error and repeated in the early afternoon. Several years there were surprise winners in Val Gardena/Gröden, such as Markus Foser from Liechtenstein, who won in 1993 with start number 66, the German Max Rauffer (2002) and Max Franz (2016). In 2004, a small deer jumped on the track and accompanied none other than Kristian Ghedina on the way to the finish.

In recent years, the Saslong has been widened in several places, eliminating all bottlenecks and bringing all security measures up to date. The good cooperation with the lift company Saslong AG makes a significant contribution to the fact that Val Gardena/Gröden is a pioneer in snowmaking. This was especially evident in 2015 and 2016, when climatic conditions made hosting the race very difficult. In the 50-year history the start had to be canceled only four times because of lack of snow (1973, 1994, 1997 and 2000); In 2011 there was a break after 21 runners because of strong winds.

A look at the list of winners shows big names in skiing: Franz Klammer (1975, 2 times 1976 and 1982) from Austria and the Italian Kristian Ghedina (1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001) each won the classic downhill four times. Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal also scored five wins, including one in the downhill (2015) and four (2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015) in the Super G. Michael Walchhofer from Austria made two wins each in both disciplines (downhill : 2007 and 2008, Super G: 2004 and 2010). Home wins include Herbert Plank from Sterzing in 1977 winning the downhill and Werner Heel from the Passeier Tal winning the Super G in 2008.


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