Eventually spared, Crans-Montana achieved their goal

Never has the organisation of the World Cup races represented such a challenge for Crans-Montana, which hosted the best female skiers in the world for two downhills and a Super-G in this most particular year. And the Classic did not falter. However ensuring that the races were held on the Valais Haut-Plateau required a lot of effort on all sides. 

First of all, it was a question of setting up a solid sanitary concept during an interminable global pandemic that is putting a significant strain on events all over the world. Although the races were obviously not open to the public, they were able to run smoothly. Despite the recent arrival of new Covid-19 variants in Switzerland, it was not found in Crans-Montana during the numerous tests that were carried out. All staff, the military, teams, media representatives and employees in the hotels where the teams were staying had to be tested. An operation that made it possible to provide a healthy environment. In addition, as with all winter competitions, the separation of the different groups was meticulously respected.

The weather did not make it easy for the organisers either. Although - thanks to the snow in Valais - they were able to share the fairytale scenery on televisions all over the world, the white gold didn’t only bring benefits. Several major operations had to be mounted overnight to clear the race track. Every night, the piste was covered in a thick blanket of snow, which required the work of several hundred people.

In the end, the technical Mont Lachaux piste was in excellent condition for holding the three World Cup races. The big winner over the weekend was undoubtedly Sofia Goggia, the Italian acrobat who, as usual, took all the risks, winning both downhills, and confirming her place as leader in the discipline just a few days before the World Championships, which she will be competing in at home in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Czech Ester Ledecka, who was impressive in the first downhill, finishing second, then had a big scare, which was thankfully not serious. American Breezy Johnson took 3rd place in the first race. The following day, which saw Elena Curtoni take a nice 3rd place, it was Lara Gut-Behrami who launched her comeback, pushed into second place only by Sofia Goggia. The skier from Ticino, who won two downhill races last winter on the demanding Valais piste, ended her weekend on an excellent note, by beating the competition in the Super-G. The winner of the big Crystal Globe in 2016 finished ahead of Austria’s Tamara Tippler and Italy’s Federica Brignone. Above all, she proves that she is indeed well and truly back to her best level, nearly four years after a serious left knee injury.