Green Light for the First FIS Alpine Cross-Border World Cup Race at Zermatt, Switzerland, & Cervino, Italy

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
It was a stunning day today for training at the Matterhorn Ski Paradise. | Picture: Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening

The first-ever FIS Alpine cross-border World Cup race has been in the making for a while now. Last year the event had to be canceled due to a lack of snow. This year, the local organization committee used almost double the snowfarming to ensure the race would go ahead. Helped by some early season snowfalls across the European Alps, the course at the Matterhorn Ski Paradise received the green light from the ‘snow control’ 10 days ago. Officials from the International Ski & Snowboard Federation (‘FIS’) inspected the course on October 28, 2023, and gave the thumbs up for the race to go ahead.

Coming out of the starting gate, which overlooks the Matterhorn. | Picture: Head Rebels Instagram

Today saw the first of three men’s training sessions at the Gran Becca course. The training runs are timed similarly to the actual race however are not necessarily indicative of how the final race will go. Conditions today at the cross-border resort Matterhorn Ski Paradise in Switzerland and Italy were perfect.

The finish area of the Gran Becca course. | Picture: Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening
Chile’s Henrik von Appen at the Matterhorn Sprung. | Picture: Head Rebels Instagram

There had also been hiccups in the lead-up after cantonal authorities deemed that some of the course had been set outside the agreed area, forcing a temporary halt of preparations and a last-minute re-setting of the course. The course was re-set following talks with the local authority, and the men’s course now starts about 80 meters (262 feet) lower than originally planned at 3,720 meters (12,205 feet). This is also due to the length of the route and the susceptibility to wind on Gobba di Rollin. The women’s course will start at 3,505 meters (11,499 feet) now and no longer at the Matterhorn jump and will therefore be entirely in Italy and not cross the border at all. This change was made on request by the local canton for safety reasons.

Norway’s speed specialist Aleksander Aamodt Kilde remarked about the course after his training run: “What a day, dream day. It is incredible to ski here. Fast, sometimes a bit soft, but they have done an excellent job. It is a cool downhill course. It is exhausting [due to the altitude], the legs are okay. Breathing is hard, but you know that coming here.”

Germany’s Jacob Schramm flying over the Matterhorn Sprung with the Matterhorn beaming in the background. | Picture: Head Rebels Instagram

Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt agreed with the Norwegian skier’s assessment: “Just beautiful, it’s a perfect winter’s day today. The piste is very cool. From the difficulty level, it is probably not the most technically difficult course, but it is very long, and the view is simply stunning. You have to keep your speed from the first to the last gate and stay on the perfect line as there are flatter parts on the course where you can lose speed.” Odermatt admits that his training run was not the fastest today, coming in 16th place, but the Overall World Cup champion is hoping that with some adrenaline on race day and a few more training runs over the next two days, he will be within the top 10 spots.

Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt on the Gran Becca at Matterhorn Ski Paradise. | Picture: Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening

Training Run Results (Top 30):

  1. Otmar Striedinger (AUT)
  2. Benjamin Jacques Alliod (ITA)
  3. Niels Hintermann (SUI)
  4. Florian Schieder (ITA)
  5. Henrik von Appen (CHI)
  6. Elian Lehto (FIN)
  7. Sam Morse (USA)
  8. Stefan Rogentin (SUI)
  9. Mattia Casse (ITA)
  10. James Crawford (CAN)
  11. Blaise Giezendanner (FRA)
  12. Felix Hacker (AUT)
  13. Adrian Smiseth Sejersted (AUT)
  14. Daniel Danklmaier (AUT)
  15. Christoph Krenn (AUT)
  16. Marco Odermatt (SUI)
  17. Broderick Thompson (CAN)
  18. Cameron Alexander (CAN)
  19. Alexis Monney (SUI)
  20. Cyrpien Sarrazin (FRA)
  21. Bryce Bennetr (USA)
  22. Dominik Paris (ITA)
  23. Adrien Fresquet (FRA)
  24. Ralph Weber (SUI)
  25. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR)
  26. Stefan Rieser (AUT)
  27. Christophe Torrent (SUI)
  28. Nejc Naralocnik (SLO)
  29. Ryan Cochran-Siegle (USA)
  30. Romed Baumann (GER)
Canadian James Crawford on the Gran Becca course in training today. | Picture: Head Rebels Instagram

Austria’s Otmar Striedinger had the fastest time today with 2:05:93, albeit after missing a gate. Sam Morse was the best skier from the Stifel Alpine team in 7th place, while Bryce Bennett came 21st and Ryan Cochran-Siegle came 29th. The other U.S. Alpine skier results were: Kyle Negomir 49th, Jared Goldberg 50th, and Erik Arvidsson 76th.

U.S. skier Erik Arvidsson training at Matterhorn Ski Paradise. | Picture: Head Rebels Instagram
U.S. skier Ryan Cochran-Siegle on the Gran Becca course. | Picture: Head Rebels Instagram

There are two more days of training runs before the two FIS events on Saturday and Sunday, November 11 and 12, 2023. The event will be sure to draw a crowd, and tribune tickets for Saturday’s race are sold out.

Looking out of the starting area over the Gran Becca course | Picture: Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening Instagram

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