15. Night Race Schladming
Just two weeks before the start of the Alpine Ski World Cup, all eyes this week were on Schladming (AUT). The Night Race Schladming has now established itself as a fixture in the World Cup Calendar, and was held for the 15th time this year. At the 2011 Night Race, which proved a spectacular event, athletes from over 25 nations were present at the starting line. Over 40,000 enthusiastic ski fans watched the spectacle, once again transforming the small, quiet town at the foot of the Planai into a hive of activity.
On the Planai, the world's best slalom artists competed for a place on the much-coveted winner's podium. Last year's winner Reinfried Herbst was followed this year by Jean-Baptiste Grange from France, with Andre Myhrer and Mattias Hargin from Sweden securing the other two places on the podium.
The once ridiculed "night slalom" project now enjoys cult status and attracts large crowds each year. The organizing team too now has plenty of experience, so everything about the event is well organized.
Away from the Ski World Cup, Schladming is seeking to make other improvements. In 2010, for example, a new 8-seater chairlift has been built that can carry 3,200 people per hour on comfortable "8-seater couches", and the old Planai base station in the middle of Schladming has been replaced with the large "Planet Planai" building, which is set to become the symbol of the 2013 Alpine Ski World Cup.
Schladming too naturally doesn't leave snow conditions to chance. Planai Bahnen has used TechnoAlpin equipment for years to produce artificial snow in the area, and the company currently has more than 100 snow generators in operation:
- 81 x tower mounted fan guns
- 15x fan guns mobile
- 23 x lances
This year, a new reservoir and a new pumping station will further enhance the system.
Snow cover is therefore guaranteed in Schladming for all future night races and for the 2013 Alpine Ski World Cup.