New proposals revealed in the last week reveal that Zermatt and Cervinia are planning a new joint downhill course that would become the longest on the World Cup circuit and traverse two countries.
Highest World Cup start at 3900m
The possible route would be almost three miles long, starting at the very top of the ski area at Gobba di Rollin near Klein Matterhorn at 3899m (marked on the map below).
It would start in the Zermatt ski area in Switzerland and then drop down towards Laghi Cime Bianche at 2814m in Cervinia, Italy.
No trees would need to be felled, nor would any major structural changes be required. And of course there would be guaranteed snow!
Officials hope that the 5km course could be ready for its debut race by November 2022.
First European Downhill of the season
At present there are no European downhill races before December, but the glacier in Zermatt could mean that allow an earlier start to the season. The organisers hope that both a men’s and women’s race would take place.
The resort has made it clear they don’t see a new race conflicting with Switzerland’s iconic men’s downhill run at Wengen in January.
Wengen Downhill at risk
The famous ‘Lauberhorn’ downhill race in Wengen is currently the longest on the World Cup circuit. It usually takes about 2½ minutes for the world’s best racers to cover the 4.4km course – that’s 30-45 seconds longer than it takes for most races.
Wengen has been a fixture on World Cup calendar with races taking place since 1930. However, the future of the race is unclear as there is currently a financial dispute between the organisers and the Swiss ski federation.
“We want these races…”
Heinz Julen, President of Zermatt Bergbahnen, is clear about their ambitions:
“The organization of a Ski World Cup underlines our forward strategy – we want these races and we will do everything we can to do so.”
Races must be proposed by a national ski body and approved by the International Ski Federation so time will tell if we see what will undoubtedly be a spectacular event.