After the FIS “snow control” gives the go-ahead for the AUDI FIS Ski World Cup Womens’ Night Slalom in Flachau
Only 5 days to go until the highlight of the season in the Womens‘ World Cup calendar, the AUDI FIS Ski World Cup Womens’ Night Slalom takes place for the ninth time in Flachau in Snow Space Salzburg. Ski fans can expect two exciting slalom races and a colourful programme of events. Before the World Cup circus descends on Flachau next week on Tuesday, 8th January, and around 15,000 fans turn the winter sports resort into one a mega party zone, there’s plenty of work to be done by our organisational committee.
Along the intensive route to the actual event highlight, one important hurdle has already been accomplished:
The FIS is satisfied with the snow conditions in Flachau
Official inspection and approval of the piste, the so-called “Snow Control”, took place last Sunday, 30th December. The FIS (International Ski Federation) race committee, together with the FIS Race Director Markus Mayr, travelled to Flachau to check the current snow conditions on the World Cup slope named after one of the most famous and successful alpine skiers of all time and Flachau local Hermann Maier. I was also able to be part of this year’s snow control and believe me, it’s very reassuring to experience, how after looking at just a few metres of the piste, the FIS decided that the snow conditions here in Flachau are good enough and the piste was declared to be of a very good standard.
Piste preparation has been going on for two months now
Before the FIS gives its go-ahead for the ninth Audi FIS Womens‘ Night Slalom in Flachau, there’s plenty of work necessary on our part. Already in mid-November the first snow-making machines were put into operation. In order to ensure enough snow, the piste team placed over 50 snow canons on the World Cup piste alone. The goal was to create a perfect base of 60 to 80 centimetres of snow. This coming weekend work on the Hermann Maier FIS World Cup run goes into the final stages. Almost day and night the team of the USC Flachau, together with cable car company staff, work on perfecting the World Cup slope. Waves and transitions are prepared into the slope and watered using spray bars, so as to provide a pristine slalom piste on the evening of the race.
Stephan Tippelreither, he’s in charge of piste & snowmaking Snow Space Salzburg – Flachau, knows the secret for a perfect slalom piste: “It’s compact, firm snow with a higher water content than on public pistes, so that the piste offers ideal grip conditions”.
Up until the race itself the piste team grows steadily, so that on the 8th of January there are around 80 “sliders” and 75 run and gate marshals. They ensure the “finishing touch” and that all racers have similar conditions throughout the race.
To be honest, I can’t wait until it starts next week. Especially, as in addition to Bernadette Schild four Austrian Ski Team athletes are in best form and are ready to compete for the coveted title of “Snow Space Salzburg Princess“. Creating a real buzz of excitement at a home race, as it were.
Photo credits: Snow Space Salzburg, Audi Fis Skiweltcup Damen Nachtslalom, TVB Flachau