Screen Shot 2013-12-26 at 10.07.22 AMBormio

With all due respect to Val Gardena, regarded as one of the classic downhill sites of the World Cup, Bormio truly opens the heart of the downhill season. The Christmas break gives competitors the chance to relax among family and friends, but that break is followed closely by the annual run down the Stelvio at Bormio. It is a severe test for every skill a downhill racer needs, and it comes on relentlessly, with no chance for recovery. Think of it as a wake-up call.

The Stelvio is long, measuring more than two miles long and testing athletes’ conditioning. It is loaded with terrain, meaning it is bumpy, and it moves skiers from shadow to bring sun and back again like that was the object of a game.

The Stelvio is difficult, annually DNFing one of the biggest percentages of skiers on the World Cup circuit.

And it is fast. Last season’s champions averaged more than 60 miles per hour (a speed reached in the first six seconds) and hit a top speed that could get a person arrested on an Interstate.

All of which makes it one of the most entertaining downhills of the season for race rans. Last season it set a mark for the closest finish in World Cup history. Two hundredths of a second was all that separated fourth place finisher Klaus Kroell from the win…

This is just an excerpt — for more on the upcoming men’s World Cup venues, read the complete article in Issue 5 of our digital magazine here

Article Tags: Alpine , Top Story
Hank McKee
Senior Editor
In memoriam: The veteran of the staff, McKee started with Ski Racing in 1980. Over the seasons, he covered virtually every aspect of the sport, from the pro tours to junior racing, freestyle and World Cup alpine competition. He wrote the first national stories for many U.S. team stars, and was still around to report on their retirements. “Longevity has its rewards,” he said, “but it’s a slow process.”



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