ALTA VALTELLINA – A BOOK OF THE HISTORY OF SKIING
Only Valtellina boasts two true “temples” of downhill just a few kilometres from each other: the “Stelvio” slope in Bormio and the “Deborah Compagnoni” one in Santa Caterina Valfurva. They can be considered as “temples” because a victory there is just like a true “dissertation” for all jet men and you only need to see the names on the “hall of fame” to understand that history was written on these snowy mountains. Skiing – in all its manifestations – is in the DNA of Valtellina and it has always been, thanks to the beautiful mountains that shaped true champions like Deborah Compagnoni.
The mountains have always been there, but the true debut of Valtellina on the stage of world skiing dates back to 1980s, when Bormio and its “Stelvio” slope hosted the first edition of the World Series, a big event of course but that represented some kind of “general test” for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships that took place in 1985. It was a memorable edition that consecrated the Swiss legend Pirmin Zurbriggen. It was clear right from the start that “Stelvio” was not an ordinary track but a true “sample case” of all the difficulties a downhill champion racing at over 100 kph could face. To dominate this track, technique and strength are not enough: courage is needed as well, because you can’t win by chance there.
The World Cup Finals 1995 was a no less exciting event: Alberto Tomba was the winner and those were unforgettable days for tens of thousands of fans who – in Bormio and surrounding areas – lived moments of pure happiness together with the legendary and talented champion from Bologna. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2005 was an event illuminated by the American Bode Miller, the Austrian Benny Raich, the Croatian Kostelic and the Swedish Pearson. Then again the World Cup Finals 2008, which once again demonstrated to Fis the potential of Valtellina even in seasons of little snow.
The “Deborah Compagnoni” track in Santa Caterina Valfurva is a more recent one: it was built to host the women’s competition of FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2005 and is located near the historic Cevedale slope which hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1985. Two years ago, it was modified to host men’s competitions: the start is in a higher spot, all technical possibilities of mount Sobretta have been exploited and safety has been increased considering the speed reached by athletes thanks to the most recent materials. It became immediately clear that this track has highly technical and spectacular characteristics. It is a true cradle of emotions, and it is going to be this year too.