top of page
  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Alpine Ski World Cup Downhills in Zermatt-Cervinia Cancelled

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Zermatt, Matterhorn Peak
Matterhorn / Cervino. Picture: Ski Paradise

After the snow control on Tuesday, October 25th on the «Gran Becca», the two Women's downhill races scheduled for November 5th and 6th have been cancelled due to the warm weather conditions.

The Men's Downhill races of the Matterhorn Cervino Speed ​​Opening were also cancelled last Saturday after the final snow check by race director Hannes Trinkl and assistant Raimund Plancker.

Like the Men's Downhill, the two Women's races will not be rescheduled. Like in previous years, the start of the speed season will take place at the end of November in Lake Louise.

The slope on the glacier is still in perfect condition but the lower part is too soft and the safety of the athletes cannot be guaranteed to the races.

"We hoped, together with the organizers, for better news until the very end. Unfortunately, the cancellation of the women's races is unavoidable. We would like to thank the organizers for their great commitment and appreciate that every effort was made to be able to hold races on the "Gran Becca". We continue to believe in this unique cross-border downhill project", said FIS General Secretary Michel Vion.

The organizers in Zermatt and Cervinia are already working on making the premiere of the Matterhorn Cervino Speed ​​Opening in late autumn 2023 a reality. "We have been able to learn a great deal in the past few weeks and months and are still convinced of our idea and our strategy. The innovative and unique Matterhorn Cervino Speed ​​Opening is an added value for everyone - for the sport, for the athletes, for both regions, for tourism, for the winter industry. That is why we will continue to work hard so that we can experience spectacular downhills at the foot of the Matterhorn next year", explains OC President Franz Julen.

So, we will have to wait until next year to see the first races of The Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening, the first Downhill and cross-border race in the history of the Alpine Ski World Cup.

The event was meant to be the greatest novelty of the season and should inaugurate the speed season with four Downhill races.

After the International Ski Federation (FIS) confirmed last January that the Downhill races in Zermatt-Cervinia will be part of the World Cup season, The Grand Becca will join, together with The Streif in Kitzbühel, the Lauberhorn in Wengen, and the Stelvio in Bormio, the group of legendary Downhill courses in the Alpine Ski World Cup.

The Downhill races were planned to take place after the World Cup opening in Sölden to give speed athletes the opportunity to start the season a month earlier than before.

With this new stop in the World Cup calendar, FIS want to fill a gap in the race calendar, strengthen the speed disciplines, and round off the season. The event will give speed athletes an earlier start to the season and the Alpine World Cup a season without interruptions thanks to the two additional race weekends.

Gran Becca. Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill Racecourse. Zermatt-Cervinia
Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening. Gran Becca Racecourse. Zermatt-Cervinia.

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.

The course is embedded in the unique scenery around the iconic Matterhorn-Cervino. The name of the racecourse comes from the local dialect. In Valtournenche-Cervinia and in the whole Valle d'Aosta region, on the Italian side, the Matterhorn is often referred to as "Gran Becca" – the big peak. The shape of the "Gran Becca" will be visible on the entire race course. The name of the new race course is a reminder of the affection the residents of Valtournenche have developed for the Matterhorn over the decades.

With the new 3S cable car from Testa Grigia to the Klein Matterhorn, which will connect Cervinia and Zermatt all year round, completed in spring 2023, the race will be able to start from the highest point. The race track was designed by Didier Défago, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion. Covering 935 meters of altitude over four kilometers, with skiers reaching a maximum speed of around 135 km/h. Racers will deal with three jumps called "Matterhorn", "Furggen", and "Cime Bianche". Other key locations of the "Gran Becca" are "Sérac Traverse" towards the border, "Muro Ventina", "Spalla di Rollin" and the "Plateau Rosa Schuss".

Men and Women will tackle the same piste, with a lowered start line for the Women. That makes the Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening not only the highest downhill race in the World Cup calendar but also the first ever Alpine Ski World Cup on a glacier.

"At 3800m of altitude, embedded in a majestic panorama, La Gran Becca has the highest start of all world cup races. The course is drawn on the Swiss and Italian territories, mostly on glacier. Between crevasses and stunning rocks, the downhill is complete, composed of pure gliding parts, big and fast downhill curves, and more technical parts with high speed and varied jumps. Its 935m difference of altitude, the altitude itself, its 4km of length, the combination of natural and artificial snow - this all will bring additional challenges to the athletes", Didier Defago.

Zermatt, the village at the foot of the Matterhorn, probably the world's most famous mountain and the most photographed mountain in the world, is a municipality in the district of Visp in the German-speaking section of the canton of Valais in Switzerland.

The Swiss ski resort can be included in the selected group of international destination resorts that attract skiers from all over the world. For them, Zermatt epitomizes their image of Switzerland: high-alpine, awe-inspiring and original.

Zermatt is a car-free resort and mountain village surrounded by an incredible landscape of mountains and glaciers. Almost one-third of the 4,000-metre mountains in the Alps are grouped around this world-famous health resort, which has been visited by mountaineers from all around the world since the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.

At an altitude of around 3883 meters between Zermatt and Breuil-Cervinia lies the highest ski area in Europe, the Matterhorn Ski Paradise.

The ski domain is made up of six interconnected areas: Rothornparadise (3,103m), Gornergrat (3,089m), Matterhorn glacier paradise (Klein Matterhorn) (3,883m), and Schwarzseeparadise (2,583m) on the Swiss side, joined by Breuil -Cervinia and Valtournenche on the Italian side. All together they represent a ski area of 313 kilometers of marked slopes and 38 kilometers of ski itineraries, with a vertical descent of 2,260 meters and a piste that reaches 22 kilometers in length.

Zermatt has a whopping 21 km of summer skiing on its Theodul Glacier accessed by the Klein Matterhorn cable car. Zermatt is Switzerland’s only year-round ski resort and one of the two remaining glaciers in the Alps to open 365 days a year. The summer ski area is shared with Cervinia in Italy, so you can ski over the border for lunch.


bottom of page