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- Kitzbühel, Austria
- JAN 20, 2012 at 12:00 AM
- JAN 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM
The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup is one of the top international ski competitions in the world. Second only to the quadrennial Winter Olympics, it was launched back in 1966 and soon backed by International Ski Federation (FIS) president Marc Hodler. It became an official FIS event in the spring of 1967 and the first World Cup ski race was held in Berchtesgaden, West Germany, on January 5 that same year.
Races are held primarily on Alpine ski resorts in Europe, with regular additional stops in Scandinavia, North America and east Asia. Competitors attempt to achieve the best time in four disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, Super G, and downhill. The fifth event, the combined, employs the downhill and slalom. The racer with the most points at the end of the season is declared the World Cup champion, and inherits the coveted 9kg crystal globe trophy. Many consider the World Cup to be a more valuable title than the Olympics or the biennial World Championships, since it requires a competitor to ski at an extremely high level in several disciplines throughout the season, and not just in one race.
The Austrian resort of Kitzbühel is situated along the Kitzbühel Ache River, in the region of Tyrol. The area's first documented settlers arrived sometime between 1100 BC and 800 BC, when the Illyrians of northern Greece arrived in search of copper. In modern times the town has become one of Austria's best known winter resorts, situated in the valley between the Hahnenkamm (1712m at its peak) and the Kitzbühel Horn (1996m at its peak) mountains. The actual ski race takes place on the Hahnenkamm Mountain, and includes one of the circuit's most important events, the downhill race on the famous Streif slope, which is considered to be one of the hardest slopes in the downhill world cup.