FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Alta Badia: GS course affirms itself as a menace on the World Cup tour

Alta Badia: GS course affirms itself as a menace on the World Cup tourALTA BADIA, ITALY – Alta Badia vies with Adelboden, Switzerland, for the title of most difficult giant slalom in the world.

The Italian course is steep and dark, doglegging back and forth through a dense pine forest.

The most successful racer in the history of this race is Alberto Tomba, who won the giant slalom four separate times here (1987, 1990, 1991 and 1994). Last year, Thomas Grandi of Canada grabbed an emotional first victory at Alta Badia.

Organizers hope to add a slalom to the Alta Badia schedule at some point in the future, and for that reason they built several huge mounds of earth at the bottom of the course, promising a less-monotonous slope for the future slalom, but for now serving only to throw the giant slalom racers off-balance just as exhaustion sets in.

This was the third giant slalom of the season. Hermann Maier of Austria won the first, held in Soelden, Austria, and Bode Miller won the second at Beaver Creek, a thrilling 1-2 finish with teammate Daron Rahlves that was part of a historic week for the American team.

With a total of nine giant slaloms this season, the giant slalom title race is sure to be a dogfight this season. Last year, Benjamin Raich just edged Miller to win the event’s discipline title (Miller had won it by a hair’s breadth over Finland’s Kalle Palander the year before).

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