Zermatt & Cervinia Plan for Longest Downhill Race on World Cup Circuit
24th May 2020
Last modified on May 14th, 2021
It could take place in November 2022 and comes as the iconic Lauberhorn race in Wengen has been threatened by a row over money.
The event would see a start on the Klein Matterhorn in Switzerland and end 5km later in the Italian resort of Cervinia.
It would have a vertical descent of more than 1,000m.
The leader of the project, Franz Julen from Zermatt, has told the NZZ Swiss newspaper it would not conflict with or challenge Switzerland’s traditional men’s downhill run at Wengen in January.
“These are hundreds of metres of glacier – you have to set up safety nets, secure the slopes, secure the crevasses,” said Franz Julen of the proposed new route.
“But you don’t have to make any major structural changes or cut down trees – that’s pure winter scenery.”
A new lift is currently being built linking Cervinia directly to the top of the Klein Matterhorn.
The Lauberhorn covers 4.4km with racers completing the course in around 2 ½ minutes.
It is the longest World Cup race.
The first World Cup downhill speed races of the season are at Lake Louise, Canada, and Beaver Creek, USA in December.
Races must be proposed by a national ski body and approved by the International Ski Federation.
Those championing the Zermatt/Cervinia race do not see it as a replacement for Wengen, which has been a fixture on the calendar since the World Cup began in 1967.
The men’s downhill held on the Saturday attracts around 30,000 spectators.
It had been looking as if the Wengen races may not go ahead in the 2021-22 season following a dispute which now appears to have been resolved – at least for the time being.
See our latest story on the dispute below:
THREAT TO THE LAUBERHORN SKI RACES LIFTED
A dispute that could have led to Wengen being prevented from hosting the famous Lauberhorn alpine World Cup in 2022 appears to have been resolved – at least for now.
A row over money between the Swiss Ski Federation and the Wengen organising committee led to the January races being withdrawn from the proposed 2021-2022 alpine calendar.
With a legal case pending at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Swiss-Ski said the races, including the men’s downhill, would be held at a yet to be determined location.
“Following a major donation and various positive signals, the Swiss Ski Federation has decided, until further notice, to withdraw its request to replace ‘Wengen’ in the 2021-2022 calendar with ‘SUI’ (Switzerland),” the Federation says on its website.
“Last weekend, Swiss-Ski learned that the entrepreneur and sponsor of Swiss-Ski Jörg Moser will give the Ski Federation a donation of CHF 300,000 in support of the Lauberhorn races in Wengen.
“The amount roughly corresponds to the structural deficit linked to the progress of the competition in Wengen. This donation saves time in order to complete negotiations and thus withdraw the request submitted last Wednesday by Swiss-Ski to the FIS committee for the World Cup – namely to replace Wengen in the long-term calendar of FIS by the provisional term “SUI” (Switzerland).”
The Federation is, however, issuing a warning for the future.
It says it cannot and will not be able to accede to the request for an additional CHF 1 million a year (€944,000/£839,000) submitted by Wengen to the Arbitration Tribunal for Sport (CAS).
“Swiss-Ski also supports spectacular races in the remarkable Lauberhorn landscape, but not at any cost,” said Urs Lehmann, president of Swiss-Ski.