Happy birthday, World Cup Val Gardena!
Val Gardena/Gröden had something to celebrate this year: this was the 50th year that World Cup races have been organized in the valley. This was duly celebrated on Friday evening in the finish area. "The Saslong is like coming home for me," says four-time Saslong downhill winner, Franz Klammer. He was one of the former athletes who told of his experiences on the Saslong as part of the anniversary show. Pirmin Zurbriggen, Ulli Spieß, Herbert Plank, Franz Klammer and Gustav Thöni also talked about what the Saslong means for them on a stage, which was set up specifically in the finish area. The show was conducted by the presenter Ivana Vaccari and broadcast on "Rai Sport TV". Around a thousand spectators were impressed by the pantomime, dance groups, wizards, acrobats, singers and ski instructors. The anniversary celebration in the finish area ended with spectacular fireworks. One thing is clear, the engagement and commitment with which which the World Cup organization of Val Gardena/Gröden can look back on the last 50 years will be remembered and is leaving the audience with no doubt that the same level of motivation and passion will continue in the future.
Sensational victory in the fog
The Super-G was not an easy race due to the onset of light snowfall as well as stubborn fog banks. The race had to be interrupted several times and was ultimately cancelled after 38 racers as no weather improvement was in sight. The German Josef Ferstl claimed a historic victory of this year's Super-G. After all, the last win in this discipline dates back 26 years. Behind him placed the two Austrians Max Franz and Matthias Meyer.
There were bright sunshine and perfect condition for the downhill on Saturday, when the sun was competing with a beaming six-time Salsong winner Aksel Lund Svindal. The ski world is bowing down to a legend: Aksel Lund Svindal showed his dominance for the sixth time on the Saslong. With a lead of 0.59 seconds over his team-mate Kjetil Jansrud, Svindal placed at the top of the podium with bib number 13 - It seems as if the Norwegians have the winning recipe to be fast on the Saslong: they have claimed seven of the last 12 races here in Val Gardena/Gröden.
Last year's winner Max Franz from Austria finished third place completing the anniversary podium.
Breathtaking pictures went from Val Gardena to the whole world - the Saslong could not have wished for a better end to its 50th anniversary.