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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Zermatt-Cervinia Alpine Ski World Cup Downhills Preview

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

The Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening will launch the Alpine Ski World Cup season for the speed athletes.

The first Downhill in Zermatt-Cervinia is scheduled to start on Saturday, November 11 at 11.30 a.m CET. The premiere of the Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening will be held in the best winter conditions. Snowfall over the past two weeks and low temperatures will ensure that winter conditions prevail in the "Greater Becca".

The Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening, the first cross-border race in the history of the Alpine Ski World Cup, will be held on the "Gran Becca" course with the start located on Gobba di Rollin above Zermatt in Switzerland and the finish line in Laghi Cime Bianche above Cervinia in Italy.

Dominik Paris has won six Downhill World Cup events on Italian snow, all in Bormio. No man has won seven World Cup Downhill races in one country. Franz Klammer won six Downhill races in Switzerland and six in Austria.

Niels Hintermann was the last Swiss skier to win for Switzerland in a men's downhill World Cup. He won the first of two Downhills held in Kvitfjell on March 4, 2022. It was a victory shared with Canadian Cameron Alexander.

In the 2000s, the first Men's Downhill race of the Alpine Ski World Cup season took place in Lake Louise on 20 occasions and in Val d'Isère on three occasions (2001, 2016, 2020).

Martin Cater won the first Downhill race of the 2020-2021 Alpine Ski World Cup season in Val d'Isère, wearing bib number 41, his only World Cup podium. Previously, Cater's best result in a World Cup Downhill was a sixth place in Wengen on 15 January 2022.

Last season, Kilde won the first Downhill World Cup race in Lake Louise on November 26, 2022. The last men's skier to win the opening Downhill World Cup race in consecutive seasons was Austrian skier Stephan Eberharter who won it three consecutive times between 2001-2002 and 2003-2004.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Helly Hansen. Alpine Skiing. Team Norway
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Picture: Ski Paradise

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was the winner of the 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 Downhill Crystal Globes. Kilde and Aksel Lund Svindal, who won the Downhill title in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, are the only Norwegian skiers to have won the Downhill Crystal Globe more than once.

In the 2000s, Beat Feuz (4 consecutive from 2017-2018 to 2020-2021) and Stephan Eberharter (3 consecutive from 2001-2002 to 2003-2004) are the only male skiers to have won the Downhill Crystal Globe at least three times.

Kilde was the absolute dominator of the discipline in the Alpine Ski World Cup the last season. The 31-year-old Attacking Viking won six of ten Men's World Cup Downhill races in the 2022-2023 season (Lake Louise, Beaver Creek, Val Gardena, Wengen, Kitzbühel, and Aspen). He is the first man to have won six World Cup Downhill events in a single season since Stephan Eberharter in 2002-2003 (6). The only skiers to win more than six World Cup Downhill events in a single season were Annemarie Moser-Pröll (8 in 1972-1973), and Franz Klammer (8 in 1974-1975).

The Norwegian who had won a shortened Downhill in Wengen in 2021, proved once again that he feels right at home on the Lauberhorn racecourse. January's victory gave Kilde the Wengen double after winning the Super-G on Friday. He was the first one to achieved the double win in Wengen since Marc Girardelli in 1985.

On January 22, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde claimed, under challenging conditions, his second career win on the Streif. Now two time winner in Kitzbühel, Kilde is one of four Norwegian skiers to have won the World Cup Downhill event on the Streif. The other three are Lasse Kjus (1999 and 2004), Atle Skårdal (1990) and Kjetil Jansrud (2015).

With 21 World Cup wins, 12 of them in the Downhill, Kilde is second among Norwegian men for most World Cup Downhill wins, only behind Aksel Lund Svindal (14).

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished in second place behind Marco Odermatt in the Downhill at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel.

Kilde won the Super-G Crystal Globe in the 2015-2016, and 2021-2022 seasons. Kilde is the seventh skier to has won the Super-G crystal globe more than once, and the third from Norway after Aksel Lund Svindal (5) and Kjetil Jansrud (3).

Vincent Kriechmayr won the last Downhill of the Alpine Ski World Cup in Soldeu
Vincent Kriechmayr. Soldeu 2023 World Cup Finals. Picture: GEPA Pictures / HEAD Ski

Vincent 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 finished in the podium in the other six Downhills.

The last Austrian skier to win four World Cup Downhill events in a single season was Renate Götschl in 2006-2007 (4). Stephan Eberharter was the last Austrian man to achieve this in 2003-2004 (4).

The last skier, other than Aleksander Aamodt Kilde or Vincent Kriechmayr, to celebrate a Downhill World Cup victory was Dominik Paris, in Kvitfjell, on March 5, 2022.

Kriechmayr's victory in the Aliga racecourse in Andorra marked his 16th victory in the World Cup (32nd podium), the ninth in the Downhill.

The winner of all the European Downhill Classics -Val Gardena-Gröden, Bormio, Wengen (twice) and Kitzbühel, is an specialist in winning at the Final Races of the season. Six of his World Cup victories have come in races held in the Finals. In Are 2018 he won the Downhill and the Super-G, in Saalbach 2021 he won the Downhill, in Courchevel-Méribel 2022 he achieved again the double -Downhill and Super-G.

Marco Odermatt has won the Overall Crystal Globe the last two seasons. In 2023, with a total of 2,042 points, Odermatt broke the Men's points record in a single World Cup season set by Hermann Maier (2,000) in 1999-2000.

In 2023, Marco Odermatt won in Courchevel his first Downhill race 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, who has already won a total of 24 World Cup races in Super-G and Giant Slalom has never been on top of the podium in the Downhill. Only Heinrich Messner (7) claimed as many second places in Men's World Cup Downhill events without ever winning as Odermatt (7).

Odermatt won the Giant Slalom and Super-G Crystal Globes. He won 13 World Cup events last season (7 Giant Slalom, 5 Super-G). Only three men had also won 13 races in a single season: Ingemar Stenmark in 1978-1979 (13), Hermann Maier in 2000-2001 (13) and Marcel Hirscher in 2017-2018 (13).

The last man to win World Cup events in at least three of the traditional disciplines (Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, and Slalom) in a single season was Marcel Hirscher in 2015-2016 (Super-G, Giant Slalom, and Slalom).

James Crawford. Courchevel 2023. 47th Alpine World Ski Championships
James Crawford. Super-G Gold Medal. Courchevel 2023. Picture: GEPA Pictures / HEAD Ski

James Crawford finished in fourth place in the Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill standings.

Last season, the 26-year-old Canadian skier claimed three podium finishes in World Cup Downhill events, but has yet to win. He was third in Beaver Creek on December 3, and second in Bormio December 28, and Aspen March 3.

In the past eight seasons, the only Canadian man to win a World Cup Downhill race is Cameron Alexander in Kvitfjell on 4 March 2022.

James Crawford became World Champion in the Super-G at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel on February 9, ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, and Alexis Pinturault.

Update 08.11.2023

Otmar Striedinger set the best time in the first training session for the two Downhills of the Men's Alpine Ski World Cup in Zermatt-Cervinia.

The 32-year-old Austrian skier has claimed five podium finishes in the World Cup, one in Super-G (Beaver Creek, 2013), and four in Downhill. Two third places in Kitzbühel (2019), and Grandvalira Soldeu El Tarter (2019); and two second places in Val d'Isere (2020), and Val Gardena (2021).


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