This week, Val Thorens will be welcoming the world’s best snow gladiators for the tenth time in a row, as it hosts the first stage of the Ski Cross World Cup. This young discipline has most definitely found its mecca, right here at an altitude of 2,300 metres. Our local boy and famous champion will be defending his title against internationally renowned competitors on the «Jean-Frédéric Chapuis» Ski Cross stadium, named after him. And this year the Ski Cross run has had a revamp, enabling competitors to reach higher speeds and jump over more modules. It’s sure to be a breath-taking show!
Watch the athletes carry out their runs amongst the frenzied crowd of spectators by the arrival zone. At the foot of the Péclet funitel, fan zones have been set up with large screens so you can watch the competitors go head to head, and also experience the finish of each race for real… Unless of course you get a little distracted by the crazy fun atmosphere! Don’t be surprised if you hear Savoyard bells chime, or if you come across partygoeing spectators dressed as animals or super heros. They’re here to support their favourite skiers. So what will this year ‘s event have in store for us… ?
The lucky ones amongst you will have the good fortune to watch from your balcony, or terrace; taking in the first stage of the Ski Cross World Cup in the peace and quiet of your hotel, chalet or apartment, far from the crowds. Make sure you have a glass of something nice and refreshing, a few nibbles…then sit back comfortably on your deckchair, warmed by the mountain sun. Make sure you get a copy of the race programme, so you can follow your favourite skiers, and don’t forget your sunglasses as the weather looks set to be amazing!
But if you want to get a little closer to the action, I’d encourage you to take the Deux Lacs chairlift. From here, you can enjoy exceptional views over the starting gate zone. Sat on the chairlift, you’ll have a front row view, with nobody in your way; you’ll feel the tension and hear the silence just before the start. Breathe in the smell of freshly waxed skis ... See the tight-lipped faces of the skiers, as they focus on their goal. Ready for the off, the racers grip onto their poles, their muscles taut; without even realising it, your hands and fingers will tighten around the chairlift safety bar. And just then, as the race begins, you’ll find your mouth dry and a lump in your throat, as if it was you who was taking part in this first stage of the World Cup!
So there you have it, now all you need to do is take your pick.
Each to their own viewing style!