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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Men's Speed Weekend in Val Gardena

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

The 55th Saslong Classic will take place on the last weekend before Christmas.

In 2022 Val Gardena/Gröden will host three races, two Downhills and a Super-G. On Thursday, 15th December a Downhill race will replace the race cancelled in Beaver Creek.

Val Gardena / Gröden (ITA)

December 15th Downhill / 12:00 CET (replaces Beaver Creek)

December 16th Super-G / 11:45 CET

December 17th Downhill / 11:45 CET

Training sessions have been scheduled for Tuesday, 13th and Wednesday, 14th December.

Val Gardena is home to the Saslong Classic, one of the iconic Men's World Cup Downhill races.

The Saslong course is considered one of the five "classic" Men's Downhill races, along with Garmisch-Partenkirchen's Kandahar, Kitzbühel's Hahnenkamm, Wengen's Lauberhorn, and Val-d'Isère's Criterium de la Première Neige (FRA).

Austrian Franz Klammer (1975, two races in 1976, and 1982), and Italian Kristian Ghedina (1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001) won the Downhill in Val Gardena four times.

In 1967, the International Ski Federation decided to host the Ski World Championships in the valley in 1970. The first World Cup race was held in Val Gardena/Gröden on February 14th, 1969.

The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1970 were held in Val Gardena, from February 8–15, 1970. For the only time, results from the World Championships were included in the World Cup points standings, then in its fourth season.

Since 1972 and Val Gardena become a traditional venue of the World Cup races. In 1975, Val Gardena/Gröden hosted the World Cup Finals for the first and only time.

Since 2002 the Downhill has been paired with a Super-G race, and from 1979 to 1982 a combined event was held.

Saslong racecourse Facts

Start altitude: 2,249m (DH), 2,000m (SG)

Finish altitude: 1,410m

Elevation difference: 839m (DH), 590m (SG)

Length: 3,446m (DH), 2,365m (SG)

Steepest section: 56.9%

Lowest gradient: 11.2 %

Average gradient: 24.5%

The Camel Humps represent the most spectacular section of the Saslong. They were named by the late and former Austrian FIS TD Sepp Sulzberger. Uli Spiess from Austria was the first athlete to attempt and succeed in jumping all three Humps at the same time instead of taking each jump separately. Since Spiess' premiere, skiers today mostly absorb the first jump (a.k.a. "Girardelli Line") and leap from the second over the third. The record jump belongs to Austrian skier Michael Walchhofer who leaped 88 meters reaching a height of 4-5 meters in 2003.

Last season the Downhill Classic in Val Gardena brought a surprising podium dominated by outsiders.

Bryce Bennett ended a near-five-year victory drought for American men’s Downhillers (the last winner was Travis Ganong in January 2017), earning his first World Cup podium by winning the Downhill in Val Gardena.

Bennett edged Austrian Otmar Striedinger by 0.14 seconds. Swiss Niels Hintermann (+0.32) completed the surprising podium of the 2021 Saslong Downhill.

On the previous day Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won the Super-G race. Matthias Mayer finished in second place, 0.22 seconds back. Vincent Kriechmayr was third (+0.27).

The Attacking Viking remains the dominant man on the Saslong. After his double win in 2020 he took last season his fourth victory in the World Cup Classic.

Kilde joins Aksel Lund Svindal (2012-2013 and 2013-2014) as the only skiers to win the Val Gardena Super-G in successive World Cup seasons.

Norwegians (Aksel Lund Svindal, Kjetil Jansrud, and Kilde) have now won eight of the last 10 Super-Gs in Val Gardena.

Val Gardena-Gröden is a valley in Northern Italy, in the Dolomites of South Tirol.

Val Gardena and the magnificent three villages of Ortisei, S. Cristina, and the picturesque Selva Gardena, surrounded by the scenario of the Dolomites is part of the Dolomiti Superski, a world-famous network of 12 ski areas and over 1200km of slopes in the Dolomites which you can access using just one ski pass.

The Dolomites Val Gardena / Alpe di Siusi ski area is lift linked to the Sella Ronda sector of the Dolomiti Superski pass. The Sella Ronda is probably the world’s third-largest lift-linked ski area with over 500km of lift-linked ski runs.

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