This winter "The Critérium de la Première Neige à Val d'Isère" celebrates its 68th anniversary. Since 1968 the event is a key stop on the Alpine Ski World Cup calendar.
The Women’s Downhill and Super-G events of the Critérium de la Première Neige will be held on 16th and 17th December 2023 in the Oreiller-Killy (the OK) course at La Daille.
Val d'Isère (FRA)
December16th Downhill 10:30 CET
December 17th Super-G 11:00 CET
The Oreiller-Killy racecourse, known as the OK piste, in Val d’Isère, made its debut 57 years ago in 1966 and is named after ski legends Henri Oreiller and Jean-Claude Killy.
Oreiller-Killy (OK) Racecourse facts:
Start Elevation: 2580m (Downhill) 2408m (Super-G)
Finish Elevation: 1810 m
Vertical Drop: 770m (Downhill) 598m (Super-G)
Distance: 3037m (Downhill) 2035m (Super-G)
Average slope: 32 %
Max. slope: 52 %
Min. slope: 12 %
In 2021 Sofia Goggia made a double winning the Downhill and the Super-G in Val d'Isère.
Alpine Skiing World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic Games. Only a few ski resorts can claim to have hosted all three and the racecourses on which the events of the three competitions took place can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The face of Bellevarde, in Val-d'Isère, is one of them.
Skiing first came to the isolated village of Val d’Isère in the 1930s. Years later, in 1948, Henri Oreiller became France’s first-ever Olympic ski gold medallist securing Val d’Isère its place on the ski map of the world.
In 1955, race organiser Louis Erny and Charles Diebold, who was in charge of sport in Val d’Isère at the time, ran their first competition here. They hosted it in December, -with the first competitions of the season not starting until January, they capitalized on the opportunity to introduce a new First Snow Critérium to round off the pre-season training courses, to be the first large meeting of the skiing season, and they named it the Critérium de la Première Neige. 55 skiers took part in the first edition of the race, mainly French, with Jean Bourdaleix being named the Critérium’s first winner and local skier, Firmin Mattis, taking the lead in slalom and combined.
The long-term objective of the event was to shine a worldwide spotlight on the resort and its challenging terrain, thus turning it into a top-level alpine skiing destination.
Initially, the races took place on the Solaise before the action switched in future years to the Bellevarde for both the men’s and women’s competitions.
Since 1968, when the Critérium de la Première Neige was officially recognised as part of the FIS World Cup, no less than 180 World Cup events have been contested on the slopes of the French resort. For the past 67 years, men and women racers have given their all on challenging slopes that have earned a legendary reputation. Every year, the resort hosts two spectacular weekends of skiing, and it comes as no surprise that Val d’Isère has organised more World Cup races than almost anywhere else in the world. A great many skiing champions have hailed from Val d’Isère, and its Club des Sports has trained some of the biggest names in skiing: Jean Claude Killy, Marielle and Christine Goitschel, Firmin Mattis, Patrice Bianchi, Ingrid Jacquemod, and Anémone Marmottan. Today, Val d’Isère Club des Sports, the most decorated sports club at the Winter Olympics, is proudly represented by Victor Muffat Jeandet and Clément Noël.
Val d'Isère is an international ski resort located in the Savoie, recognisable by its charming Chalet architecture. People come to Val d'Isere with precisely one purpose in mind: to Ski. Val d'Isere offers to the skiers one of the most incredible Ski Paradises in the Alps: the Espace Killy, the Val d'Isere and Tignes combined skiing area, named in honour Jean-Claude Killy a magic skier, racing for Val d'Isere who won 3 gold medals in the 1968 Olympic games. 300 kilometres of slopes are served by 89 modern lifts. A playground for every skier with two glaciers (Pissaillas Glacier in Val d'Isere and the Grande Motte in Tignes) and 154 runs as well as some magnificent and easily accessible off-piste opportunities.
Val d'Isère became a ski resort in 1934. At the time one could only ski on the "Front de Neige" area as it would take a whole day and a pair of seal skins to reach the top of Solaise. The pioneer ski school was created two years later. The first cable car, Solaise, was inaugurated in 1942.