Val Gardena is home to the Saslong Classic, one of the iconic Men's World Cup Downhill races.
In 1967, the International Ski Federation decided to host the 1970 Ski World Championships in the valley. The first World Cup race was held in Val Gardena/Gröden on February 14th, 1969.
The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1970 were held in Val Gardena, from February 8–15, 1970. For the only time, results from the World Championships were included in the World Cup points standings, then in its fourth season.
Since 1972 and Val Gardena become a traditional venue of the World Cup races. In 1975, Val Gardena/Gröden hosted the World Cup Finals for the first and only time.
No technical races have been hosted in the valley since then, only a Downhill until 2002, when the Downhill has been paired with a Super-G race.
Last season Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won the Super-G and the Downhill in Val Gardena.
Once again the Norwegians confirm their tradition in Val Gardena placing two athletes on the podium of Friday's Super-G. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was the fastest on the course set by the Austrian coach, claiming his second victory in Val Gardena.
Kilde attacked as usual throughout the whole course and thanks to a flawless run, he was able to finish 0.12s ahead of Swiss Mauro Caviezel.
Kjetil Jansrud, who was very fast in the first two sections of the race, joined the Norwegian party, finishing third (+0.21s) and claiming a record seventh podium in the Italian venue. The Norwegian ace finished on the podium six times in the last seven races held on the legendary Saslong.
The day after winning the Super-G Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won also the Downhill in Val Gardena. The Norwegian skied again very aggressively and managed to be the fastest man on the course.
Kilde had already won the Val Gardena Downhill in 2018 and now becomes the second man after Aksel Lund Svindal to win both the Super-G and the Downhill in the same year in the Italian venue.
The second spot on the podium went to Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who finished only 0.22s behind the Norwegian. It was his first World Cup podium.
Beat Feuz finished third, 0.54s behind the Norwegian.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde also won the Super-G (II) and the Downhill in Beaver Creek, the last two speed events this season.
Kilde has won eight World Cup events, four in the Super-G and four in the Downhill.
Since the start of 2018, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde is the only Norwegian man to have won a World Cup Downhill event: Val Gardena in 2018 and 2020, and Beaver Creek in 2021.
After his comeback, it only took him three races to impressively find his way back to the winning path to win a Super-G and a Downhill.
He also finished in third (2015) and second place (2016) in the Super-G in Val Gardena.
Kilde can become the second man to achieve three successive World Cup wins in the Val Gardena Downhill, after Franz Klammer from 1975 to 1976.
Franz Klammer (4), Kristian Ghedina (4), Peter Müller (3), and Steven Nyman (3) are the male skiers to have won more than two World Cup Downhill events in Val Gardena.
Kilde could join Aksel Lund Svindal (2012-2013 and 2013-2014) as the only skier to win the Val Gardena Super-G in successive World Cup seasons. Svindal (5), Kjetil Jansrud (2), and Michael Walchhofer (2) are the only men to win this event multiple times in the World Cup.
Norwegian skiers won seven of the last nine World Cup super-G events contested in Val Gardena, with the only exceptions wins by Germany's Josef Ferstl in 2017 and Austria's Vincent Kriechmayr in 2019.
Beat Feuz finished in third place in the last Downhill in Beaver Creek.
The Emmentaler has been the best and, above all, the most constant Downhill skier in the World Cup for years. He has won the Downhill Crystal Globe in each of the last four World Cup seasons. He became the second male skier to win four successive Downhill titles, after Franz Klammer from 1974-1975 to 1977-1978.
After Beaver Creek's third-place Beat Feuz holds the podiums record for World Cup Downhill races, with 42. He broke the previous record held by Franz Klammer and Peter Müller (both 41).
Feuz finished on the podium in each of the last six Downhill events held in the World Cup.
He won the Super-G in Val Gardena in 2011 and finished in third place in the Downhill in 2018 and 2020.
Marco Odermatt won the first Super-G of the season in Beaver Creek. It was his third victory in Super-G. A day after he finished in second place in the second Super-G held in Beaver Creek. Odermatt comes into the Val Gardena races as the leader in the Overall, Super-G, and Giant Slalom standings.
Odermatt finished second in last season's Super-G standings. He won the final World Cup Super-G race of the season, in Saalbach-Hinterglemm on 7 March. He is the third Swiss man to win back-to-back Super-G events in the World Cup, after Pirmin Zurbriggen (twice, in 1984 and 1990) and Paul Accola (1992).
Odermatt reached the podium in each of the last five World Cup Super-G events, since the ninth place in Bormio on 29 December 2020. He could become the sixth man to achieve six consecutive World Cup Super-G podiums and the second from Switzerland after Pirmin Zurbriggen. The last man to claim six successive World Cup podiums in Super-G events was Aksel Lund Svindal from November 2012 to December 2013.
Odermatt's best result in Val Gardena was 9th place in the Super-G in 2020.
Matthias Mayer finished in second place in the Downhill in Beaver Creek. Mayer finished on the podium in each of his last seven World Cup Downhill appearances. This run began with his victory in Bormio on 30 December 2020. He is the first Austrian man to claim seven successive top-three finishes in World Cup Downhill races since Stephan Eberharter, who set a run of eight in 2003-2004. Franz Klammer set a run of 10 in 1976- 1977.
Mayer won the opening Downhill in Lake Louise on 27 November.
He finished runner-up to Marco Odermatt in the Super-G held in Beaver Creek on 2 December. It marked his 18th World Cup podium in this discipline, joining Marc Girardelli (18) in eighth place on the men's list. Compatriot Hannes Reichelt is seventh on 19 podiums. He finished in third place in the Super-G in Val Gardena in 2017.
Vincent Kriechmayr won the Super-G crystal globe in the 2020/21 World Cup, after having recorded a second place in this standings in each of the previous three seasons.
He is the first Austrian man to win the Super-G crystal globe since Hannes Reichelt in 2007-2008.
Kriechmayr can become the third Austrian man to win the Super-G globe in successive seasons, after Hermann Maier (4 in a row, 1997-1998 to 2000-2001) and Stephan Eberharter (2001-2002 and 2002-2003).
Kriechmayr completed the speed double at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo. He became the third male skier to achieve this after Hermann Maier (1999) and Bode Miller (2005).
Kriechmayr finished in fifth place in both of the Super-G events held in Beaver Creek, ending a run of four World Cup podiums in this discipline.
The Austrian won the Super-G in Val Gardena in 2019. Kriechmayr's best World Cup result in the Val Gardena Downhill was seventh place in 2015.
Dominik Paris is hoping to become the second Italian man to win the Downhill crystal globe, after Peter Fill (2015-2016, 2016-2017). Paris has already claimed the Super-G crystal globe, in 2018-2019.
Paris has claimed 15 World Cup victories in the Downhill, ranking him in joint-fourth place alongside Franz Heinzer and Hermann Maier (both 15). Stephan Eberharter (18) is in third place. Franz Klammer still holds the victory record for World Cup Downhill races. He won 25 World Cup Downhills, including four on the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel, including a string of three consecutive victories (1975, 1976, 1977), and four in Wengen. He won a total of 5 World Cup Downhill crystal globes (1975-78, and 1983).
Paris finished in Val Gardena in second place in the Super-G and third in the Downhill back in 2014.
Max Franz has claimed only one World Cup Super-G win. It was in Beaver Creek, on 1 December 2018. It was also his last victory in any discipline in the World Cup.
In Val Gardena, he finished on the podium in Downhill three times: first (2016), third (2017), and second (2018). He also finished in second place in the Super-G in 2017.
Franz's win in the Val Gardena marks Austria's only win in the last 12 years. Austrian skiers achieved a record 18 World Cup wins in the Downhill in Val Gardena.