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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Rettenbach Glacier. Sölden's Alpine Ski World Cup Racecourse

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

The 2022-2023 Audi FIS Ski World Cup season is just around the corner. After months of waiting, the Alpine Ski World Cup will be back next Saturday. Sölden again will host the first Races of the season. As every year, the Women's Giant Slalom opens the new World Cup.

Since the 2000/2001 season, the Women's and Men's Alpine Ski World Cup has traditionally been held on the Rettenbach Glacier in Sölden.

The races of the Alpine Ski World Cup Season Opener Sölden will be held on 22 and 23 October. The FIS Women's and Men's Alpine Ski World Cup is held for the 27th time in the Tyrolean ski resort.

Sölden is a very modern and popular ski resort in the Ötztal valley of Tirol, Austria. The main village of Sölden is located at 1,368 meters above sea level.

Sölden offers the marvelous BIG 3, Austria's only ski area with 3 mountains higher than 3,000 meters which are accessible by lifts. From November through May thanks to the ski area's high-Alpine location (1,350 - 3,250 m) and the modern snowmaking system (covering all slopes lower than 2,200 m) snow is guaranteed in Sölden.

With a surface covering more than 20 km² and 34.5 km of pistes, Sölden's glacier ski area ranks among the largest in Tirol and all of Austria. Located between 2675 and 3250 meters, the scenic mountain ski areas of Rettenbach and Tiefenbachferner are connected by a ski tunnel.

Eight modern mountain lifts take skiers up the glacier ski mountains. The base lift stations at the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach Glaciers can be also easily reached by car or bus via the highest Panoramic Road in the Eastern Alps.

On spectacular bends and steep ascents, you will quickly gain altitude on this connecting toll road (free of charge with a valid ski pass). An average gradient of 11% awaits drivers on the 13 km long route to Rettenbach Glacier. If you also want to visit Tiefenbach Glacier you have to cross the mountain through Europe's highest road tunnel (1,8 km), passing also the highest point of the glacier road (2830 m).

Alpine Ski World Cup. Rettenbach Glacier in Sölden.
Rettenbach Glacier. Sölden. Picture: Ski Paradise

To reach the start of the World Cup racecourse by lift you must take the Schwarze Schneid Bahn I + II, an 8-passenger Gondola lift (mono cable circulating ropeway) built in 2003. In less than 7 minutes you move from the Base station (2.673 m.) to the Top station located at 3250 meters a.s.l. The start of the course (blue piste number 33 and 32) is easy and relatively flat (Gletschertisch) until you reach the start of the big impressive steep wall, the "Eisfall" (black piste number 31, with the steepest section of 65%).

The final part (Elefantentränke) of the track is flat again, and it is at that point where the race is often decided.

Alpine Ski World Cup. Rettenbach Glacier in Sölden.
Sölden. World Cup Racecourse. Picture: Bergbahnen Solden. Markus Geisler

Not without reason, the Giant Slalom of Sölden is one of the toughest and most technical races on the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup calendar.

Race Program:

Saturday, 22.10.2022

  • 10:00 am 1st run Women‘s Giant Slalom

  • 1:15 pm 2nd run Women‘s Giant Slalom

Sunday, 23.10.2022

  • 10:00 am 1st run Men‘s Giant Slalom

  • 1:30 pm 2nd run Men‘s Giant Slalom

Facts Race Course:

  • Altitude at the start: 3,038 m

  • Altitude at the finish line: 2,668 m

  • Vertical drop: 370 m

  • Length of race track: 1198 m

  • Lowest gradient: 15.5 %

  • Steepest section: 68%

  • Average gradient: 33,1%

  • Ski racing speed: 65 – 80 km/h

  • Gates: 41–56, depending on the race track

Race Course Sections

Start to Gletschertisch via Rettenbachjoch section 232 Meter

Gletschertisch to Gletscherkante (edge) 183 Meter

Length Eisfall (icefall) 370 Meter

Length Gletscherzunge (glacier tongue) 245 Meter

Length Elefantentränke (elephant trough) 168 M

Women's Giant Slalom Race (2021):

  • Turns: 45

  • Gates: 48

Men's Giant Slalom Race (2021):

  • Turns: 46

  • Gates: 48

Sölden Winners:

2021 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) / Marco Odermatt (SUI)

2020 Marta Bassino (ITA) / Lucas Braathen (NOR)

2019 Alice Robinson (NZL) / Alexis Pinturault (FRA)

2018 Tessa Worley (FR)

2017 Viktoria Rebensburg (GER)

2016 Lara Gut (SUI) /Alexis Pinturault (FRA)

2015 Federica Brignone (ITA) / Ted Ligety (USA)

2014 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) ex aequo Anna Fenninger (AUT) / Marcel Hirscher (AUT)

2013 Lara GUT (SUI) / Ted Ligety (USA)

2012 Tina Maze (SLO) /Ted Ligety (USA)

2011 Lindsey Vonn (USA) / Ted Ligety (USA)

2010 Viktoria Rebensburg (GER)

2009 Tanja Poutianen (FIN) / Didier Cuche (SUI)

2008 Kathrin Zettel (AUT) / Daniel Albrecht (SUI)

2007 Denise Karbon (ITA) / Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)

2005 Tina Maze (SLO) / Hermann Maier (AUT)

2004 Anja Pärson (SWE) / Bode Miller (USA)

2003 Martina Ertl (GER) / Bode Miller (USA)

2002 Andrine Flemmen (NOR) ex aequo Tina Maze (SLO), Niki Hosp (AUT) / Stephan Eberharter (AUT)

2001 Michaela Dorfmeister (AUT) / Frederic Covili (FRA)

2000 Martina Ertl (GER) / Hermann Maier (AUT)

1998 Andrine Flemmen (NOR) / Hermann Maier (AUT)

1996 Katja Seizinger (GER) / Steve Locher (SUI)

1993 Anita Wachter (AUT) / Franck Piccard (FRA)

Women's victory ranking (by country):

  • Austria: 5

  • Germany: 5

  • Slovenia and Italy: 3

  • Norway, Switzerland, and USA: 3

  • Finland, Sweden, France, and New Zealand: 1

Women's victory ranking

  • 3 wins Tina Maze SLO 2002, 2005, 2012

  • 2 wins Viktoria Rebensburg GER 2010, 2017; Andrine Flemmen NOR 1998, 2002; Martina Ertl GER 2000, 2003; Lara Gut Behrami SUI 2013, 2016; Mikaela Shiffrin USA 2014, 2021

Men's victory ranking (by country):

  • USA: 6

  • Austria 5

  • France: 4

  • Switzerland: 4

  • Norway: 2

Men's victory ranking:

  • 4 Wins Ted Ligety USA 2011, 2012; 2013; 2015

  • 3 wins Hermann Maier AUT 1998, 2000, 2005

  • 2 wins Alexis Pinturault FRA 2016 and 2019; Bode Miller in 2003, 2004

Youngest Winner:

  • Lucas Braathen in 2020 at the age of 20.

  • Alice Robinson in 2019 at the age of 17.

Oldest Winner:

  • Didier Cuche won in 2009 at the age of 35.

  • Martina Ertl was 30 years old when she won for the second time in 2003.

The biggest Leads:

  • In 1993 Anita Wachter won by a margin of 2.23 seconds over Sophie Lefranc-Duvillard.

  • In 2012 Ted Ligety won by a margin of 2.75 seconds over Marcel Hirscher.

The Closest Wins:

  • In 2002 there were 3 female ex aequo winners: Andrine Flemmen, Tina Maze, and Niki Hosp.

  • In 2014 ex aequo winners: Anna Fenninger and Mikaela Shiffrin.

  • In 2009 Tanja Poutianen beat Kathrin Zettel by only 0.01 seconds.

  • In 2000 Hermann Maier beat Stephan Eberharter by only 0.06 seconds, one year later Frederic Covili won the race by 0.09 seconds over Stephan Eberharter.

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