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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Kvitfjell Men's World Cup Speed Weekend Preview

Updated: Feb 15

Kvitfjell Super-G Podium 2022.
Kvitfjell Super-G Podium 2022. Picture: GEPA Pictures / HEAD ski

Next weekend, February 17-18, 2024 Kvitfjell will host two events of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup: a Downhill and a Super-G in the Olympiabakken.

Kvitfjell has been a regular stop on the World Cup circuit since March 1993, hosting men's speed events late in the season. The Downhill racecourse, the challenging Olympiabakken, was designed by Bernhard Russi for the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games.

Kvitfjell was the Olympic arena for Downhill and Super-G for Women and Men. The Downhill piste was by many experts characterised as one of the world’s most challenging. Downhill is skiing’s “Formula 1”, and a demanding piste in this discipline was important when applying to host the Games. Lillehammer’s application specified that the Downhill event would be held on a new piste, and after Lillehammer was chosen to host the Winter Games, the final location was decided in close cooperation with FIS advisor Bernhard Russi. The Men's Downhill piste had a length of 3035 metres and a fall of 838 metres. The start area was 1020 metres above sea level, and the finish area was 182 metres above sea level. The piste had several spectacular sections with 70-meter jumps and directional changes of up to 80-90 degrees. The maximum slope was 64%, and skiers often reached speeds of over 130 km/h at the finishing area.

February 17th Downhill / Men 12:00 CET

February 18th Super-G / Men 12:00 CET

Kvitfjell World Cup. Olympiabakken
Kvitfjell World Cup. Olympiabakken

In 2022, the first of two Downhill races held in Kvitfjell brought two new winners in the World Cup. Swiss Niels Hintermann and Canadian sensation Cameron Alexander surprisingly shared their first Downhill victory in the World Cup. It was the first Men's Downhill joint first place since 2018 in Are when Matthias Mayer and Vincent Kriechmayr shared the first position.

The second of two Downhill races in Kvitfjell brought a well-known name to the top of the podium. Dominik Paris claimed victory with an unbeatable performance, edging Aleksander Aamodt Kilde by +0.55 seconds. Niels Hintermann and teammate Beat Feuz shared the third position +0.81 seconds behind Paris.

In 2022, the Super-G last race before the Finals in Courchevel brought the best discipline skier to the Top of the Podium. In a tight race, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde edged by a mere +0.07 seconds Canadian James Crawford. Matthias Mayer, second in the discipline standings finished in third place +0.12 seconds behind Kilde.

Kvitfjell is a ski resort in the municipality of Ringebu, Norway, 58 kilometers north of Lillehammer. Kvitfjell was built for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games, and it is probably best known for hosting the Alpine speed events (Downhill and Super-G). The technical alpine events of the Olympics (Giant Slalom and Slalom) were held at Hafjell. Since the Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games, it has become one of the best and most modern ski resorts in Northern Europe. Kvitfjell is located just 2.5 hours north of the Oslo Airport.

The Kvitfjell Alpine facilities were opened to the public in December 1991. After the Winter Games, the resort has developed tremendously. Now the facility extends over 3 mountain sides.

Downhill Preview

Of the 18 races he competed this season, he won 10 and finished on the podium in 6 more (three second places and three four places). A seventh place in the Val Gardena Downhill and a fourth place in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Super-G were his worst results.

Odermatt won his first Downhill race in Courchevel to claim the World Champion Crown at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships thanks to a near-perfect run, especially on the technical sections of L'Eclipse racecourse. He finished ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Cameron Alexander.

Odermatt became in Wengen the first male skier to win a Giant Slalom, a Super-G, and a Downhill World Cup race in a single season since Didier Kuche achieved this feat in the 2009-2010 winter season.

Odermatt failed to finish in the Top-10 in each of his six World Cup starts in Kvitfjell. His best result in the Norwegian ski resort was 13th place in the Downhill on March 5, 2022.

Marco Odermatt comes into Kvitfjell as the leader in all Men's World Cup standings except for the Slalom (Overall, Downhill, Super-G, and Giant Slalom). With just two World Cup Downhill events to go (in Kvitfjell and the Alpine Ski World Cup Season Finals in Saalbach), Marco Odermatt (516) and Cyprien Sarrazin (510) are separated by only six points in this season's World Cup Downhill standings.

Sarrazin also won the Downhill in The Stelvio in Bormio and finished in second place in the two Downhills held in Wengen. He also won the Super-G in Wengen. Before Bormio, his two previous podium finishes were a victory in the parallel slalom in Alta Badia in 2016, and a second place in the Alta Badia Giant Slalom in 2019.

Cyprien Sarrazin was the first French skier to win a Men's Downhill World Cup race since Adrien Théaux won in Santa Caterina on December 29, 2015.

He became the first Frenchman to win multiple Downhill World Cup races in a single season since Antoine Dénériaz won two in 2002-2003.

Sarrazin can become the first male skier to win three consecutive World Cup Downhill events since Dominik Paris won three in a row in January-March 2019 (including a win in Kvitfjell).

Jean-Claude Killy and Luc Alphand are the only two French male skiers to have won as many as three successive World Cup Downhill events, with Killy winning the first-ever five in 1967 and Alphand securing three victories in a row in 1995.

Sarrazin can become the first Frenchman to win more than three Downhill World Cup races in a single season, after Killy in 1966-1967 (5) and Alphand in 1996-1997 (4).

He finished on the podium in his last five World Cup Downhill starts (1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st).

Dominik Paris won the second Downhill held in Val Gardena-Gröden. It was the 22nd career World Cup victory for the 34-year-old Italian skier. It was the first victory for Paris in Val Gardena Gröden.

With 18 victories in Downhill, Dominik Paris is the active male skier who won the most Downhill events in the World Cup. Only Franz Klammer (25), Peter Müller (19), and Stephan Eberharter (18) have won as many World Cup Downhill events among Men as Paris.

Dominik Paris holds the record for most World Cup Downhill wins in Kvitfjell (2016, 2019, 2022). He can become the first man to win successive Kvitfjell Downhill events since Daron Rahlves won two consecutive races in March 2000.

Vincent Kriechmayr recorded nine of his 17 World Cup wins in Downhill. He is yet to record a Downhill podium finish this season. His best positions this season were two 5th places in Bormio and Wengen. Kriechmayr recorded World Cup Downhill podium finishes in each of the previous six seasons (2017-2018 to 2022-2023).

Kriechmayr finished in second place on the Downhill standings last season. He was the only man besides Aleksander Aamodt Kilde to win a World Cup Downhill event last season. Kriechmayr won in Val Gardena (15 December), Bormio (28 December), Kitzbühel (20 January), and Soldeu (15 March) but failed to finish on the podium in the other six Downhills.

For the first time since 1967, no Austrian climbed onto the podium in the first five Downhill races of the World Cup season.

Niels Hintermann won in the first of the Downhills held in Kvitfjell on March 2022. He shared the first place in the podium with Cameron Alexander. He is the only Canadian man to win a World Cup Downhill race in the past eight seasons.

Bryce Bennett won the first Downhill race in Val Gardena-Gröden and placed third in the second race. Bennett has achieved his best results in the Dolomites ski resort: two victories, one-third place, and two-fourth place.

James Crawford finished in fourth place in the Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill standings in the 2022-2023 winter season. The 26-year-old Canadian skier claimed three podium finishes in World Cup Downhill events but has yet to win.

Florian Schieder recorded two podium finishes in the World Cup, two second places in the Downhill on the Streif in 2023 and 2024.

Super-G Races Preview

The 26-year-old Swiss Ace is also the fourth man to win at least 12 World Cup Super-G World Cup races, after Hermann Maier (24), Aksel Lund Svindal (17), and Kjetil Jansrud (13).

He finished on the podium in 13 of the last 14 Super-G World Cup races (8 wins, 3 second places and 2 third places). The exception was a fourth place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on January 27.

Odermatt leads the Super-G standings 121 points ahead of Vincent Kriechmayr with only two remaining races. He will win this season's super-G Crystal Globe if he finishes first or second in Kvitfjell.

Odermatt can become the first male skier to win the Super-G Crystal Globe in successive seasons since Kjetil Jansrud won in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. The only Swiss man to have won the Super-G Crystal Globe more than once was Pirmin Zurbriggen (four times).

Kvitfjell can become the 10th different resort in which Odermatt wins a World Cup Super-G event. Only Hermann Maier recorded World Cup Super-G wins in 10 different resorts.

Kriechmayr can win more than one World Cup Super-G event in a single season for the fourth time, following 2017-2018 (2), 2019-2020 (2), and 2020-2021 (2).

Vincent Kriechmayr has won eight World Cup Super-G events, second-most among Austrian men, behind Hermann Maier (24). Last season he only finished on the podium in the Super-G once, in Bormio on December 29. The 32-year-old Austrian skier has been the mark of consistency in the discipline. He has finished Top-3 in the Alpine Ski World Cup Super-G standings in each of the last six seasons.

Cyprien Sarrazin won the Super-G race in Wengen. The Frenchman celebrated his first victory in Super-G in his 13th participation in a World Cup race in this speed discipline.

Nils Allegre achieved in Garmisch his first win and World Cup podium. In a race full of surprises, the 30-year-old French skier set the fastest time on the Kandahar slope in the first Super-G held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, beating Italian Guglielmo Bosca by 0.18 seconds. Bosca also achieved today his first podium in the Alpine Ski World Cup.

Cyprien Sarrazin and Nils Allègre can join Luc Alphand (2) and Franck Piccard (2) as the only French skiers with multiple World Cup Super-G wins. The best result by a Frenchman in the Kvitfjell Super-G in the World Cup is a second place by Alphand in 1996.

Raphael Haaser achieved in Garmisch his third podium in the Alpine Ski World Cup, the third in Super-G. The two previous podiums were two-second places in Bormio in 2021 and 2023.

James Crawford became world champion in the Men's Super-G at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel on February 9, ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (silver), and Alexis Pinturault (bronze).

22-year-old Franjo von Allmen recorded Top-10 finishes in three of the four Super-G World Cup events he started, including a third place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on January 28, 2024.

Loïc Meillard finished in third place in the first Super-G held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on January 27, 2024. Meillard has recorded 16 World Cup podium finishes, two of them in the Super-G.

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