The best skiers of the world, one of the most suggestive and challenging slopes surrounded by the Dolomites and an enthusiastic audience of ski fans: all the ingredients for a great show are given.
The Ski World Cup race in Alta Badia is a classic and the most popular race of the international alpine skiing world. Every year sports fans from all over the world meet in Alta Badia to support the athletes a few days before Christmas.
Since 1985 the Gran Risa has been the place where exciting challenges and races full of adrenaline occur and where the best athletes compete to win. All this was possible thanks to the engagement of the organizers, who wanted and were able to make out of this stage a highlight of the international tour in alpine skiing. Actually, the history of the Gran Risa with more than thirty exciting years, has its beginnings already before 1966, as Erich Kostner tells us.
“The Gran Risa slope has its beginnings on 3rd November 1966, only one day before South Tyrol was hit by a disastrous flood. On 3rd November 1966, my counterpart Alessandro Canins and I finished the works on the Gran Risa, the slope which would have become the new major attraction for everyone visiting our ski area. The local construction company Kofler located some excavators and the machinery in the finish area of the slope. After the last inspection of the slope, they decided to leave the machinery there for a few more days in order to complete works in a perfect way. Only the next day, Val Badia road was surprisingly hit by a flood, causing interruptions and many drawbacks on 60 parts of the street. The opening of the winter season was put at risk, as Val Badia was not reachable from Brunico. By working day and night, the local workers, supported by the armed forces, were able to ensure the access to Val Badia through Val Badia road for the Christmas period.
Fortunately, the flood did not really affect the still clay-rich track and the slope did not move at all. You can imagine the concern of our cableway society when thinking of a possible landslide on the slope, after months of hard work and continuous moving of the machinery.
If translated literally to English, Gran Risa means “the great split”. In history, a split in the forest was used from local people for the timber transport during the cold winter season. Through the split, they were able to transport the timber from the top of the hill down to their houses, in order to heat their homes during the coldest months of the year.”