The World Cup Finals will be the first time L’Eclipse track is used in an official competition. The racecourse has been designed and built to host the Men’s speed events at the 2023 World Championships.
The Eclipse will make its official debut on Wednesday 16 March at 10:00 am (CET) for the Men’s Downhill of the World Cup Finals.
Its dimensions already make it one of the most impressive and demanding pistes on the world circuit, alongside the Streif in Kitzbühel and the Stelvio in Bormio. For instance, the average slope of the Downhill track is 30% meanwhile The Streif has an average slope of 27%.
“We worked to create the perfect piste. We tried to imagine the position of the gates, laying them out, discussing them, and changing them in order to optimize the line”, explains Bruno Tuaire, Courchevel's Organizing Committee General Manager.
The piste starts close to Col de la Loze (2,234m), on the the ridge that separates the resorts of Méribel and Courchevel. From its summit, skiers will enjoy a panoramic view of the valley before descending on a 3,200m and 945 m of difference in altitude vertiginous slope.
This extreme and challenging piste features technically difficult jumps and alternating zones of light and shade.
After a first section in the open, skiers will pass through a dense forest with reduced light levels, before skiing back into the sunshine at Le Praz (1,290m) where the finish line is located.
The Downhill ends in the heart of Le Praz, a picturesque village of wooden chalets and narrow streets. Located at the foot of the Olympic ski jumps, L’Eclipse’s finish area is located on the roof of the Alpinium complex, which has a two-storey car park for the public and a gondola lift.
"I have discovered L’Eclipse difficulty and its distinctive features, and it is this which makes it so beautiful. The top part is not particularly steep but, on the other hand, the last wall is very steep and the spectators will be able to watch us skiing for a large part of the race. Even if we are used to this sort of profile, at Schladming or La Face in Val d’Isère for example, L’Eclipse will be one of the most technical runs of the winter", said local hero Alexis Pinturault.
Sébastien Santon, race director in charge of the Eclipse, explains this unique Downhill piste.
The Zenith Jump: the skiers have passed through four gates when they arrive on the bump. Once over the jump, they dive into the wall. At this point, there is a magnificent plunging view down the valley and Mont Blanc in the distance.
The Sound Wall: it is on the high part that the curves are the longest. The downhillers will build up a lot of speed on this wall which is rather long and with natural movements in the terrain.
The S Des Arolles: this is the signature of this part of the Downhill with curves of over 200m long. At this point, you can’t see the end of the course. It looks like the chicanes of the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. The start of the Ladies’ Downhill will be at this point.
The Jockey's Jump: this is the most spectacular and biggest jump on the course. There is a steep slope behind and in the shade.
The Black Hole: on this part, the athletes arrive with great speed. As the name suggests, one dives into the dark. It is relatively dark and the light is considerably lower than above.
The Bux Wall: here there is a triple gate with a 300m long S. This is the penultimate wall of the race. It is long and demanding. You need a lot of heart. The maximum gradient is 58%.
The Take-Off: the track passes over the Olympic jumps of Le Praz. There is a jump. You can imagine this area as a springboard before the last wall.
The Braves Jump: this is the steepest wall and is spectacular. The skiers will put their last efforts into this stretch. We are 2’ into the race after 3 km of descent and 945 m of difference in altitude. Behind it is the last schuss with a jump that ends this descent in spectacular style.
Speed Program in L’Eclipse:
16 March 2022
10:00 CET: Men's Downhill
11:30 CET: Women's Downhill
17 March 2022
10:00 CET: Women's Super-G
11:30 CET: Men's Super-G