Is the World Cup coming to Zermatt?
Following recent news and rumors we have got in touch with many of the personalities involved in the project, first above all we got in touch with Federico Maquignaz, President and CEO of Cervino Spa. Mr. Maquignaz was the first to bring the idea to light, as you’ll find out here below in the dedicated interview.
Even though the two news are not strictly connected, here is a little background on what happened this spring on the FIS World Cup circuit!
Wengen, the Lauberhorn and Swiss Ski
Wengen has been hosting FIS and World Cup races since 1930, making it one of the oldest destination in today’s WC circuit.
The Lauberhorn piste was designed by Ernst Gertsch, who was looking for a way to promote the area as an international destination. Following the model of Murren, which made the leap forward in the tourism industry following the construction of the famous Kandahar run.
During Spring 2020, with still both parties in court, it emerged that Wengen and Swiss Ski (the national Swiss federation) could not find an agreement on budget and TV rights for the event. Following this situation Swiss Ski has decided to cancel the Lauberhorn race for the season 2020/21. At present (May 2020) the official FIS calendar only states SUI, as location for the next race.
Zermatt and the World Cup
Zermatt is one of the most, if not the most, iconic resort in the world, with the Matterhorn towering over the traditional Swiss village.
While in the past it hosted international ski events, in the last few years it has been used by many national teams as summer/autumn training destination.
The glacier, ranging from 3000 to nearly 4000 meters of altitude, is the highest in Europe reachable by cableway. The size of the skiable area and the stable snow conditions allow athletes to train the majority of disciplines, from Slalom and Giant Slalom to Super G and Downhill.
At present the Zermatt glacier is the only summer ski area able to guarantee enough terrain to set speed disciplines courses, which by definition require a much longer distance.
On top of that Zermatt also offer a summer snow park, with kickers and features as well as, in the Autumn, a full length FIS mogul field. Once again, this makes it a popular destination for national teams from all over the world, training for their last camps before the start of the racing season.
In the past few years we have been training along side all these teams on our Autumn Course to Become a Ski Instructor.
The Zermatt & Cervinia World Cup Project
We had the chance to talk with Mr. Federico Maquignaz, Director of Cervino Spa, the company that runs the ski lifts on the italian side of the Zermatt-Cervinia ski area.
Mr. Maquignaz has been the driving force of the idea, proposing his thoughts to Franz Julen, president of the lift company on the Swiss side.
Maquignaz thinks big, linking different ideas and features of the resort he knows so well:
“The idea for the new piste is for it to start from the top of the Gobba di Rolling, on the Swiss side. Then follow the Ventina run on the italian side, towards the finish line at the Cime Bianche Laghi”.
This will become the only race in the World Cup to run in two countries at the same time.
Such run would end up measuring 5 km, becoming the longest run in today’s world cup circuit (Wengen’s measures 4.480 mt).
The new run will be using the current summer slopes, made for training speed disciplines, on the Swiss glacier. This will require extensive work for the netting and securing of the slope but no need for tree cutting, as the forest line is way below the full length of the slope.
After a long steep section, athletes will need to go through a flat section, in order to “clear” the glacier and exit towards the Ventina and the italian side. There they will find gradient again, with changes of fall line and terrain all the way towards the end at Cime Bianche.
Mr. Maquignaz idea is for “a race to run in November, prior to all the other speed events in Europe. At this stage we do not have any event of this kind and we believe we can be the new destination towards this purpose”.
With the race starting at nearly 4000 meters of altitude and finishing just above 2.800 meters, Zermatt and Cervinia have been able to guarantee excellent snow conditions in the last few years, also in the Autumn season.
About the situation in Wengen Maquignaz said: “We are not looking to exchange place with Wengen. We believe the Zermatt-Cervinia world cup stage can become a unique event, with a race running for the first time over two countries and with cable ways ready to bring people all the way to the core of the action”.
Mr. Maquignaz refers to the new cable way investment brought forward to link the towns of Zermatt and Cervinia to the very top of the ski area, located at the summit of the Klein Matterhorn, 3889 mt above sea level.
“We plan to have the last part of the link completed by November 2021. By then it will be possible for walkers to reach the glacier area and it’s top from either towns, Cervinia or Zermatt” Maquignaz told us.
An incredible project you read more about in our dedicated article here.
Future Steps Forward
“There is plenty of work to do, with the FIS omologation and all the various permits and burocracy of the case. At the same time we are keen to look forward and work towards this opportunity” Maquignaz said to our Head Coach Federico Sollini.
We will keep you up to date with more news on this as the events unfold, talking directly with the protagonists involved in the project. To receive the news first drop you email address on the dedicated link on our home page here.
About Subzero Coaching
Subzero Coaching is a company based in Zermatt, Switzerland. We specialize in ski instructor education and coaches development.
All our long term courses, them being to become a ski instructor or the ISIA Level 3 & Level 4 are tailored to provide the best professional development for snowsports instructors and coaches.
To find out more about our ski instructor course follow the link here. For more about race or freestyle coaching pathways follow this link.
All courses include a broad range of subjects, allowing participants to grow not just on their technical and teaching abilities in skiing, but also to become all-round professionals in the ski industry.
We aim to provide career opportunities, through partnerships with ski schools in Zermatt and in many other resorts in the Alps and different countries in the world.
Always there, at every level. Elevating Performance.