The Norwegian team wins the Mixed Team Parallel, the last competition to be disputed in El Tarter
the General Director of the Andorra World Cup Finals 2023, David Hidalgo, said on Friday that, having passed the halfway stage of the event, all the feedback they are receiving from athletes and the International Ski Federation (FIS) has been "very positive." The stars of the competitions particularly appreciate the effort that is being made to ensure that the courses are in good condition despite the adverse meteorological conditions at the beginning of the week, and also all the hospitality services. David Hidalgo declared that "we have had very good feedback from the athletes, who are the experts, and this provides us with encouragement when it comes to promoting the candidacy to host the World Championships in 2029."
The head of the event acknowledged that it will not be easy to achieve this milestone, because there are highly experienced competitors, but points out that, after running for 2027, they now have more knowledge about the decision process. Additionally, for the first time there is an Andorran member on the FIS Council (International Ski Federation), which will make it easier to "promote the candidacy and to be able to explain it well." Indeed, a FIS Council meeting was held in Soldeu on Friday, a unique occasion for its members to get to know in situ what Andorra has to offer.
In parallel to the work that will begin for the hosting of the World Championships once these Finals have finished, Hidalgo said that in the meantime, "it would be an important achievement to be in the World Cup calendar every two or three years. Our preference is the technical competitions, to continue showing the world ‘the jewel in the crown’, which is the Avet course in Soldeu." For the moment, looking at next season, "all options are open because the calendar has not yet been confirmed," and added that "our commitment to the FIS is at the highest level and we will be delighted to accept whatever they award us with."
The Norwegian team wins the 'Mixed Team Parallel'
The Àliga course hosted the 'Mixed Team Parallel' competition on Friday, the last of the Grandvalira Finals competitions to take place on the course in El Tarter. The team that won in the final was Norway against Switzerland. The third and fourth places were taken by Austria and Germany.
It was the first competition that had Andorran participation in these Finals, given its role as the organising country of the event. The Andorran team were eliminated, however, in the first round when they faced the champions, the Norwegian team. Iria Medina was the first to race, racing against Thea Louise Stjernesund, and finishing 0.76 seconds behind. The second descent was done by Xavier Cornella against Timon Haugan, with the Norwegian also coming out victorious, with a difference in times of a second and a half. The third turn was by Carla Mijares against Maria Therese Tviberg, who beat the Andorran racer by 1.44 seconds. In the fourth and final descent, Bartumeu Gabriel didn’t manage to complete the course against Rasmus Windingstad.
Having finished the competition, Xavier Cornella explained that "it was an unforgettable sporting milestone” for him. The Andorran racer acknowledged that he had already felt the great atmosphere on Thursday and that having had the opportunity to race the parallel event "was spectacular." Touching on the fact that he had to compete against the Norwegians, he acknowledged that 'they are a very strong team and that makes you very respectful, but when you are at the exit your only thought is about doing the best you can.' For her part, Iria Medina explained that "it has been a unique experience that I will always remember, and I am very grateful to have been involved. I tried to do the best I could, but I was pretty nervous. Feeling the support from all the people in the country is amazing and, without a doubt, being able to compete in the Finals, I would say that it is an added source of motivation."
Study group, a visit to the different logistical areas
During this week, a delegation comprising of approx. 50 people from ski resorts and leading tourist destinations have visited the Grandvalira ski area to observe on-site the work done by the Organising Committee for the World Cup Finals. In this way, the group has studied all areas, both on and away from the slopes, detailing the work that is done in all the logistical areas in Soldeu El Tarter.
This ‘study group’ is formed, on the one side, by members of Club 5, an association that brings together leading ski resorts in the organisation of the World Cup, and was founded by Gröden/Gardena, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Kitzbühel, Wengen and Val d'Isère. Later, other stations which are also alpine competition organisers were incorporated including Alta Badia, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Kranjska Gora, Schladming, Maribor, Lake Louise, Adelboden, Kvitfjell, St. Moritz, Åre, Zagreb, Crans-Montana, Madonna di Campiglio and Jasná. On the other side, the group that has come to Andorra is also made up of senior officials and heads from the ski stations in Val Gardena, Saalbach, Kronplatz, San Pellegrino, Courchevel Méribel, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Kvitfjell, Adelboden and Narvik, as well as members of Ski Austria and the Stade Toulousain.
The action relocates to the Avet course in Soldeu
Over the weekend, the action relocates to Soldeu, where the Avet course will host the technical disciplines. On Saturday, the Women’s Slalom and the Men’s Giant Slalom will be disputed, with the Andorran Joan Verdú competing; and Sunday will be the turn of the Women’s Giant Slalom and the Men's Slalom, in which two Norwegians and two Swiss will fight for this season’s title. Regarding the final two days of competition, David Hidalgo said that "we will have acceptable weather" and that the Avet course is in good condition thanks to "months of hard work on the slopes."