Zermatt-Cervinia Downhill Races inc. Pirmin Zurbriggen interview (Bonus Episode #30)
This bonus episode of The Ski Podcast focuses on the new ‘Speed Opening’ downhill races from Zermatt to Cervinia. Iain speaks to ‘Speed Opening’ director Christian Ziojian as well as legendary Swiss ski racer Pirmin Zurbriggen.
We discuss how this first ever cross-border race came into being, what the course is like, its place in the FIS calendar and what it will take to actually make it happen in the context of a summer of unprecedented temperatures.
- ‘Speed Opening’ will be the first cross-border World Cup race
- In 2019 the Cervinia lift company came up with the initial idea
- The ‘Alpine Crossing’ connecting Klein Matterhorn and Cervinia is due to open in spring 2023
- The first European race of the World Cup calendar is a Giant Slalom in Solden in October
- The Wengen ‘Lauberhorn’ Downhill takes place in January
- The National Snow Snow takes places at the NEC in Birmingham on 15-16 October
- The course has been designed by the Swiss ex-downhill racer, Didier Défago, who won the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010
- The final layout of the course has not yet been confirmed, but it likely to include a larger finish jump
- The glacier in Zermatt closed in July 2022 due to lack of snow after a very warm summer and a dry winter
- The Beijing Winter Olympics took place on very little snow
- The races are scheduled for 29/30 October (men’s races) and 05/06 November (women’s races)
- Pirmin Zurbriggen is one of the most successful racers ever, with four overall World Cup wins, Olympic downhill gold in 1988 and 9 world championship medal