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World Cup Carries On with the Parallel Races in Lech Zürs am Arlberg

After Levi, the World Cup moves to Lech Zürs am Arlberg (Austria) for the Women's and Men's Parallel Races on Thursday and Friday.

The Alpine Skiing World Cup will return to Lech Zürs after 26 years. The last race took place in December 1994 when Alberto Tomba emerged victoriously.

The event will feature the following two races:

  • Thursday, 26 November: Women’s Parallel 10:00 Qualification rounds 17:45 Parallel Race

  • Friday, 27 November: Men’s Parallel 10:00 Qualification rounds 17:50 Parallel Race

This new discipline has been introduced in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in Alta Badia, in December 2015. The dual, head-to-head format has taken different formats since its apparition in the WC including the Parallel Slalom (PSL) and Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS). Now the discipline is simply named "Parallel". The race will be conducted as a Parallel Race with a qualification. The best 16 ranked competitors from the qualification are qualified for the Parallel Race. The decision to cut the qualifying racers from the 32 of previous seasons to 16 was taken basically answering to TV broadcaster requests, as 32 racers made the race too long to air for TV audiences. After numerous complaints, especially after last season's events in Sestriere and Chamonix each heat between competitors consists of two runs. The two competitors change courses for the second run.

"(Last season) The biggest criticism coming from all sides – competitors and spectators – was the unfair KO format", said Markus Waldner, Chief Race Director World Cup Men. “Even if we did the course setting with a GPS system, one run is always faster. Therefore, we did a harmonization for all events and we are using the basic philosophy of the run-rerun format. In this format, there is no more discussion about fairness. Everyone has to start in a qualification race and then the best 16 racers are qualified for the Parallel Race”.

The Flexenarena in Zürs. Racecourse facts:

  • Start Elevation: 1,820 m

  • Finish Elevation: 1,718 m

  • Vertical Drop: 102 m

  • Distance: 365 m

  • Average slope: 29 %

  • Max. slope: 50 %

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the races, unfortunately, have to be held without the public. However, the races will be broadcast live.

The Arlberg's legendary status is rooted in the history of Alpine Skiing. The cradle of Alpine skiing is located in the heart of a vast mountainous area between Tyrol and Vorarlberg. This region of Austria, one of the snowiest in the Alps inspired daring young ski pioneers at the beginning of the 20th century. Their inventiveness and ingenuity both shaped and influenced the sport of alpine skiing.

No one better embodies this local pioneering spirit better than Hannes Schneider. Born in Stuben am Arlberg, he founded Austria's first ski school in St. Anton in 1921, thereby revolutionizing skiing with his ‘stem christie’ technique.

When a village with just 1,500 inhabitants has four Olympic champions in Alpine ski racing, who have won five Olympic gold medals, such as Trude Jochum-Beiser (Gold in the Combined Event in 1948 in St. Moritz, and in Downhill in Oslo in 1952) Othmar Schneider (Gold in Slalom in 1952 in Oslo), Egon Zimmermann (Gold in Downhill in1964 in Innsbruck), and Patrick Ortlieb (Gold in Downhill in1992 in Albertville) its reputation as a skiing mecca is well deserved.

Since being founded in 1901, Ski-Club-Arlberg athletes have won 83 combined medals at the Olympic Games and World Championships.

The 2016-2017 season marked a turning point in Arlberg's history with the creation of the largest interconnected ski area in Austria and one of the five largest ski domains in the world: the Ski Arlberg.

With 88 lifts and cable cars, 305 kilometers of pistes, and more than 200 ski itineraries Ski Arlberg offers infinite skiing possibilities to experience the legendary Arlberg in all its facets and immerse yourself in a unique winter paradise. From St. Anton, St. Christoph - a must-see is the legendary Hospiz Alm -, Stuben to Zürs and Lech to Schröcken and Warth.

Picture: Lech Zürs Tourismus, Daniel Zangerl


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