he Saslong piste was created for the 1970 Alpine Ski World Championships which were hosted in Val Gardena, at the very heart of the Italian Dolomites ski area.
Today the Saslong is regarded as one of the classic men's downhill ski races. Over the years, all the greatest downhill skiers have won on this famous ski slope including Peter Muller, Franz Klammer and Pirmin Zurbriggen.
For British skiers, it was the setting for the best ever result by a British skier, Konrad Bartelski. On 13th December 1981, Bartelski finished second here, the best ever finish by a British downhill racer.
Watch Konrad Bartelski on the Saslong December 1981
Saslong: The Course
The course starts at 2,249 meters just below Ciampinoi ski lift. The 3,446-meter course descends the mountain into the Val Gardena finishing in the heart of Santa Cristina village, the very centre of the Val Gardena. The total vertical drop of 839 meters has an average overall gradient of 24% and a maximum of 56.9% at the very start of the course.
From the start gate, the steep gradient accelerates the skiers towards the Spinel jump and the steepest part of the Saslong at 56.9%. The left-hand flow leads to a huge compression and slight uphill lead to the Saut dl Moro and the Looping jump. which has been scaled down due to some dangerous accidents. Then about 500 meters on a shallow gradient slope, often decisive in determining the race outcome and which leads to the Sochers jump.
The following left-right-left combination leads to the Sochers walls at 55.95%.
Here the competitors accelerate off the wall achieving top speeds of around 130 km/h ready for the most famous and spectacular feature of the Saslong course: the "Camel Humps". This series of three bumps often see competitors 'fly' over 60 meters.
Onwards to "Curva del Lago" (the 'Lake curve') the course leads to the entrance of the "Prati di Ciaslat", four very demanding curves in rapid succession each with a differing undulation.
To finish you reach the jump 'Nucia' and the ultimate glide and the final "jump of the tunnel" and the final schuss as you pass the Gardena Castle.
Saslong Downhill Statistics
- Start 2,249m ASL
- Finish 1,410m ASL
- Vertical 839m
- Length 3,446 m
- Slope max 56.9%
- Average slope 24.5%
- Gradient min 11.2%
Saslong Super Giant
Since 2002, the Saslong has also hosted the SuperG. The course uses the same piste following a different line.
- Start 2,000m ASL
- Finish 1.410m ASL
- Vertical 590m
- Length 2,365 m
- Slope max 56.9%
- Average slope 24.9%
- Gradient min 11.4%