Zermatt-Cervinia Women's Downhills Preview
Updated: Nov 17
After the cancellation of the Men's races due to weather conditions -a meter of fresh snow fell in the last few days-, the Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening will launch the Alpine Ski World Cup season for the Women Speed specialists.
The first Downhill in Zermatt-Cervinia is scheduled to start on Saturday, November 18 at 11.45 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".
Women will not compete on the Swiss side of the border in the Matterhorn Speed Opener. The shortened race will only be held on Italian soil after the FIS and OC decided to move the start below the Matterhorn jump for safety reasons.
Once again the main favorite to win the Downhill Crystal Globe is Sofia Goggia.
Sofia Goggia claimed the 2022-2023 Downhill Crystal Globe. She also won the discipline Globe in 2017-2018, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022. She is the first woman to win the Downhill Globe in three successive seasons since Lindsey Vonn won six in a row between 2007-2008 and 2012-2013. Goggia joins the five women group to have won the Donhill Globe at least four times: Lindsey Vonn (8), Annemarie Moser-Pröll (7), Renate Götschl (5), Michela Figini (4) and Katja Seizinger (4).
The 30-year-old Italian speed Queen won five of the nine women's Downhill World Cup races last season (Lake Louise I and II, St. Moritz, Cortina d'Ampezzo, and Crans Montana). She is the first woman to win at least five in a single season since Lindsey Vonn achieved that in 2015-2016.
Goggia was on the podium eight times, five wins and three second places. The only time she did not finish in the Top-3 was in the second Downhill held in Cortina d'Ampezzo where she did not finish the race (DNF).
With 22 wins, 17 of them in the Downhill, Sofia Goggia is the Italian skier with the most victories in the World Cup. In Women's World Cup Downhill events, only Lindsey Vonn (43), Annemarie Moser-Pröll (36), Renate Götschl (24), and Michela Figini (17) have celebrated as many victories as Goggia.
Slovenian Ilka Stuhec won the last Downhill of the season at the Finals in Soldeu, her fourth podium of the season, and finished in second place in the Downhill standings. Stuhec confirmed in Andorra her come back at the very top of women’s Alpine Downhill skiing. The 33-year-old and double Downhill World Champion at St. Moritz 2017 and Are 2019, become the oldest winner in a women's World Cup Downhill race since Lindsey Vonn won in Åre on 14 March 2018 at age 33.
Ilka Štuhec (Cortina d'Ampezzo, and Soldeu) and Kajsa Vickhoff Lie (Kvitfjell) are the only non-Italian women to win a Downhill event last season.
Kajsa Vickhof Lie became the first Norwegian woman to win a Downhill Alpine Ski World Cup when she won in Kvitfjell on 4 March. She had finished second in Cortina d'Ampezzo on 21 January.
Vickhof Lie can join the group of four other Norwegian women who have won multiple World Cup events: Andrine Flemmen (3), Ragnhild Mowinckel (3), Trine Rognmo-Bakke (2) and Nina Haver-Løseth (2).
Corinne Suter finished in third place in the Downhill standings. The Swiss Downhill Olympic Champion has won 5 races in the Alpine Ski World Cup (3 in Downhill, 2 n Super-G) and finished in the podium 24 times.
In the 2019-2020 season the 29-year-old skier won the Downhill and the Super-G Crystal Globes. In the next two seasons she finished in second place (2020-2021 and 2021-2022) in the Downhill standings.
Elena Curtoni won one World Cup downhill event last season, in St. Moritz on December 16th. Curtoni with 12 podiums (7 in SG, 5 in DH) in the World Cup and her third win (she won the Downhill in Bansko in 2020 and the Super-G n 2022 in Cortina d'Ampezzo) confirmed the Italian dominance in women's speed events.
Nina Ortlieb took silver in the Downhill at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel. The last Austrian woman to win a World Cup Downhill event was Nicole Schmidhofer in Lake Louise in December 2019.
Jasmine Flury won the women's downhill world title in Méribel on February 11. It was only her second victory in a major competition, following a victory at the Women's Super-G World Cup in St. Moritz in December 2017. Flury's only podium in the Downhill was a second place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in January 2022.
Lara Gut-Behrami has been participating in the Alpine Skiing World Cup for 16 years and has won 12 women's World Cup Downhills, the last one in Zauchensee in January 2022, for a total of 20 podiums in the discipline. She achieved in Soldeu at the Finals her only podium finish in the Downhill last season. In October Gut-Behrami won the Alpine Ski World Cup Opener in Sölden. She became the third woman to claim at least one World Cup win in 13 different seasons, after Renate Götschl (14) and Lindsey Vonn (13).
After the cancellation of the first training session yesterday, the weather conditions have allowed the second training session to be held today, Thursday.
Christina Ager set the best time in the first training session for the two Downhills of the Women's Alpine Ski World Cup in Zermatt-Cervinia.
The 28-year-old Austrian skier surprisingly achieved the best time on the “Gran Becca” 0.24 seconds ahead of her teammate Emily Schöpf, who is about to make her Alpine Ski World Cup debut.
Main favorites Corinne Suter and Sofia Goggia finished 5th and 6th respectively.
The final Training for the Women's Downhill in Zermatt-Cervinia has been canceled due to strong winds and the unfavorable weather forecast.
However, there are currently high hopes that a window of good weather will open at the weekend and that the premiere at the Matterhorn could become a reality. The organizers are confident that the Downhill can be held on Saturday and Sunday.