If they call it “Riviera dell Alpi” there must be a good reason. And in fact it exists. In truth this is not a particularly cold December in our mountains. And it’s even not snowy. But it is true that in these times, while waiting for the twentieth ski festival scheduled …  for the last weekend of 2013, the climate in Bormio is gentle and sweet just like spring in Sanremo. But there’s snow on the Stelvio slope. Not as much as in the past, but enough to regularly host the traditional and long-awaited for World Cup downhill race of Sunday, December 29. The official OK of (and from) FIS came a few days ago when Helmut Schmalzl – who’s the FIS responsible for safety dealing with men’s downhill and SuperG races – tested the Stelvio track from start to finish line, i.e. from Ciuk to Bormio, during the traditional snow control that takes place before all World Cup races. He gave green light to the race that last year was won by Dominik Paris and Hannes Reichelt with the very same finish time. They are two champions who even in the first races in North America distinguished themselves: the Azzurro from Santa Valburga won the Lake Louise race and the Austrian from Hinterstoder was on the podium in Beaver Creek, second place in downhill and third place in super-G – this time ex aequo with Peter Fill.

Helmut Schmalzl, from Val Gardena, one of the Mario Cotelli’s Valanga Azzurra musketeers  and then appreciated team coach when Tomba was a racer, complimented for the excellent work on the Stelvio with Massimo Rinaldi, the chief of race in Bormio, and his closest collaborators, Pasquale Canclini – responsible for snowmaking – and Chicco Pedrini – for safety of the Stelvio – about ten days from the first and the second trainings scheduled on Friday 27 and Saturday 28.

In truth, the work of the organizers was absolutely excellent if more than 60.000 cubic meters of artificial snow were produced on the Stelvio from 16 snow guns at Ciuk and 40.000 (and more) will be needed this week to prepare the famous high speed slope and make it unique and perfect as always. Furthermore, snowfall are expected in Bormio from Friday – if not intense, they will at least bring lower temperatures (around four or five degrees below zero), just perfect for snow making.

Anything and everything, and let’s go on with numbers: to guarantee safety on the Stelvio – as required by FIS – the 3.200 m of one of the most prestigious men’s World Cup tracks will be protected – it’s appropriate to say and emphasize this – by over 25 km of type “A” and “B” nets along the entire track. From this point of view Schmalzl, on behalf of FIS, said he was very satisfied with the amazing work done by Massimo Rinaldi and his precious collaborators. In the meanwhile, the training of the third downhill race of the season will start on Thursday  while the race will be on Saturday on the Saslong – Santa Cristina in Val Gardena. This is the World Cup downhill podium, so far:  first Aksel Svindal (150 points), second Dominik Paris (129) , third Reichelt and Kroell ex-aequo (86). Peter Fill is fifth, just four points from the two Austrians.

Bormio will host the English Alpine Championships in February 2014, for more information about the races go to www.englishalpinechampionships.org.uk