Every other year, the champions of Alpine skiing challenge one another at the World Cup to take the gold medal in their favourite discipline home. This year, from 7th until 21st February, around 600 athletes from 70 different countries will be competing in Cortina d’Ampezzo to claim the world title in the downhill, giant slalom, special slalom, Alpine combined and, for the first time ever, parallel slalom competitions.
This is the 47th edition of the World Ski Championships, an event that returns to Cortina d’Ampezzo after two previous editions, the first in 1932, the second in 1956, because the 1941 edition was cancelled due to World War II.
“For Cortina, the return of the World Cup has been a sort of reawakening, as if a sleeping beauty had awakened with everyone’s contribution,” explains Alessandro Benetton, chairman of Fondazione Cortina 2021, the event’s organising body. “What has happened is what I like to call the snowball effect, something that started out slowly, but then gradually grew and involved everyone, which also led to the awarding of the 2026 Olympics. A team of young people have gained substantial experience in managing the local territory, new facilities have been created, and built to stand the test of time, while safeguarding the landscape. In fact, many facilities were renovated while taking into account environmental and social sustainability”, continues the chairman of the Foundation.
The event was tailored specifically to Cortina, a place where sports, families and the environment come together. Plenty of attention has been paid to sustainable mobility, thanks also to the support of partners such as Audi, Enel and Pirelli. By restyling the slopes, areas such as the old Druscié have been enhanced and connections have been created with the centre of town so that they can be used both in summer and winter.
Here are the main slopes set to host the World Cup:
This slope plays host to the downhill competition, the Super G and the Alpine combined men. The name suggests the difficulty of the slope, which starts at the altitude of 2400 metres of the Pomedes refuge and reaches a maximum slope gradient of 61%. The arrival is a thousand metres below, near the El Camineto refuge. All three specialities will descend along the fearsome Canalone, straight after the Vertigine jump, which leads to the Schuss and the Canalone traverse. Immediately after, skiers will tackle the Ghedina jump, in honour of the famous local champion, and then race down to the Pale di Rumerlo and from there to the finish line.
Olympia delle Tofane
This is the venue for the women’s disciplines, the Alpine Combined, the Super G and the downhill. The run starts at the Pomedes refuge and the finish line is near El Camineto, but the women’s downhill run, unlike the men’s, goes in another direction. It doesn’t descend towards the Vertigine jump, but rather the Duca d’Aosta which then equally leads to the Pale di Rumerlo and then to the finish line.
This run hosts the men's giant slalom race. The slope starts at the Duca d'Aosta refuge and ends at El Camineto, leading through the Pale di Rumerlo too. The characteristic points are the initial Gran Curvone and the passage over the Tunnel. The maximum slope gradient is 55%, while the average slope gradient is 34%.
The starting point is not very high, at around 1700 metres and the arrival is around 300 metres further down. Its average slope gradient of 40%, which is very high, the bumps and very frequent changes in slope gradient make it the ideal setting for the special slalom, the most technical discipline in Alpine skiing. Both men’s and women’s competitions are held on this run.
This is the final stretch of the slope that men and women ski down during the downhill competitions, and is in fact the point where the Vertigine joins up with the Olympia delle Tofane. The Alpine combined slalom and the women’s parallel slalom races will take place here, thanks to the constant slope gradient.
CALENDAR OF RACES
- 7th February – Opening ceremony at 6 pm
- 8th February – Alpine Combined Women: 11 am, Olympia delle Tofane slope
- 9th February – Super G Women: 10:30 am, Olympia delle Tofane slope
- 9th February – Super G Men: 1 pm, Vertigine slope
- 10th February – Alpine Combined Men: 10 am, Vertigine slope
- 13th February – Downhill Women: 11 am, Olympia delle Tofane slope
- 14th February – Downhill Men: 11 am, Vertigine slope
- 16th February – Parallel giant slalom qualifications - Women: 9 am, Lino Lacedelli slope
- 16th February – Parallel giant slalom qualifications - Men: 9 am, Lino Lacedelli slope
- 16th February – Parallel giant slalom - Women: 2 pm, Rumerlo slope
- 16th February – Parallel giant slalom - Men: 2 pm, Rumerlo slope
- 17th February – Alpine team parallel: 12:15 pm, Rumerlo slope
- 18th February – Giant slalom qualifications - Men: 10 am, Lacedelli slope
- 18th February – Giant Slalom Women: 10 am, Olympia delle Tofane slope
- 19th February – Slalom qualifications - Women: 10 am, Lacedelli slope
- 19th February – Giant Slalom Men: 10 am, Labirinti slope
- 20th February – Slalom qualifications - Men: 10 am, Lacedelli slope
- 20th February – Slalom Women: 10 am, Druscié A slope
- 21st February – Slalom Men: 10 am, Druscié A slope