Downhill is a magnificent event to watch. Both the ladies’ and men’s downhill courses in Åre have undergone changes over the past few years and in March 2018, they will be tested for the first time by the best skiers in the world. The downhill events at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals will be spectacular in more ways than one.
In 2007, the Swedish alpine star Anja Pärson thundered down the ladies’ downhill and won gold. That was the last time that the ladies’ downhill has been used, until now. In 2018, the treasure will be re-opened. At the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in March 2018 the ladies’ downhill course will be raced by the very best downhill female racers of the 2017/2018 season.
The ladies’ downhill in Åre is not the steepest of downhill courses. But it is, above all, technically demanding. The course will be similar to the one that Anja Pärson mastered in 2007, with one important difference. The start is now facing the ravine below which makes the start of the ladies’ downhill more dramatic, for the benefit of TV broadcasting and athletes alike.
”It will be a more spectacular start and the athletes will have a view of the West ravine right in front of them. These changes will provide spectators and TV viewers with a better view of the fantastic surroundings,” said Assistant Sports Manager and former alpine athlete Hans Olsson.
The men’s downhill course has gone through extensive change as well. When it was first built, the men’s downhill course in Åre was one of the toughest in the world. Over time it has been leveled out, broadened and this beast of a course has been tamed. Going into the preparations for the 2018 Finals and the 2019 Championships, the Åre 2019 sports organization set out to change this.
The monster has been poked, pulled and pushed and now it looks like its original self again. The start has been moved to the top of Åreskutan, which will add 7 seconds to the athletes’ race time, and it will surely cause more soreness in the already beaten up thighs.
”We decided to make these changes to create a better arena for both the athletes and spectators. It is part of the nature of downhill racing to start at the very top of the hill. The course will be longer and more challenging for the athletes. And it will deliver higher speeds at the top”, said Hans Olsson
The Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in 2018 will provide a taste of what’s to come the year after but also a wonderful end to an exciting Olympic season. Mid-March will see a great alpine party and a preview of the event of a lifetime, the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Åre 2019.
Read more about the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in 2018 on the event website.