Whether your idea of fun is hurtling down the mountain side at break neck speeds or not there are few sporting events quite as thrilling as watching the experts at work. TV coverage is all very well to but to experience the buzz that cuts through the frozen air like a hot knife through butter you need to be there in person. If you planning on getting off the couch and onto the piste the Alpine Ski World Cup finals at Meribel are just around the corner.
Between the 18th and 22nd of March 2015 the elite members of the skiing world will take to Meribel’s competitive Roc de Fer slope to thrill viewers across the globe with their daring exploits. This will be the first time this prestigious event has ever been held in Meribel and this premier French resort has gone all out to make it a week to remember. It is the biggest event to take place on these pristine slopes since the 1992 Winter Olympics at Albertville. It is also the first time a French resort has been given the honour of hosting the World Cup Finals, making Meribel THE place to become March.
The World Cup Finals is the culmination of the highly competitive ski season and is the one everyone wants to win. The top 25 skiers who have excelled in each of the 4 disciplines will be taking part in one final competition hoping to lift the highly coveted crystal globes. Competitors from 20 countries will be taking part in the downhill, slalom, giant slalom and Super-G and after one of the most exciting seasons is recent times competition has never been so fierce, or the field so open.
Considered to the blue ribbon event, the downhill will start near the summit of Roc de Fer with the other disciplines starting from progressively lower points. Every competitor will cross the finish line at la Chaudanne, slap bang in the centre of the resort and those lucky enough to secure a prime spot will experience both the elation and the disappointment as each competitor checks their times on completion. This is also the best view point to catch the best of the action for the team and slalom events where there will be both giant screens and grandstands.
If you want to see the best of the downhill and the Super-G then you want to head for the Cherferie tunnel which is the point where the piste on the Roc de Fer crosses over the Gelinotte piste. This viewpoint allows you to get close to the action and see part of the course. Meribel have also said there will be giant TV screens at this point, commentary via loud speakers and a bar to give you Après–ski par excellence.
The programme kicks off on Wednesday the 18th March with both the men and the women’s downhill. The next day is dedicated to the Super-G for both sexes and the team events take place on Friday 20th. The weekend is taken up with the men’s giant slalom on the Saturday and the last day, Sunday 22nd, sees the men’s slalom and women’s giant slalom bring the event to a close.
If you want to combine your winter break with the World Cup Finals then the good news is that although there are an extra 70,000 visitors expected (the resort has predicted) the competition will have little impact on recreational skiing. The Roc de Fer actually only accounts for a very small amount of the actually ski area on offer at Meribel and thanks to its enviable position at the heart of Les Trois Vallées there is still more than enough space to partake in your favourite sport.
- 85 Million potential viewers
- 10 live TV broadcast on Eurosport international, ORF, ZDF, RAI Sport, NTV Plus, RTV Slovénie, SRF, SVT 1, RSI, Eurosport Asie
- 9 World Cups in one week
- 25 of the best men and ladies athletes from each discipline
- 70 000 spectators expected throughout the week
- 400 volunteers
- 300 media accreditations
The Full Programme
- Wednesday 18th : Descent Ladies & Men
- Thursday 19th : Super-G Ladies & Men
- Friday 20th : Team event
- Saturday 21st : Slalom Ladies / Giant Slalom Men
- Sunday 22nd : Slalom Men / Giant Slalom Ladies
- Name of the course : “Roc de Fer” downhill
- Orientation : the top part faces East ; middle part East-North/East ; final part East
- Starting gate : « Sous le Petit Col », altitude 2150m
- Finish line : Plateau de la Chaudanne, altitude 1432m
- Vertical drop : 718m
- Length : 2355m
- Slope : maximum inclination 58% ; minimum inclination 7% ; average slope 30%
- Access : the lower part of the course is accessible using 2 chairlifts: Plan de l’Homme (capacity : 2400 pers/hr) and Roc de Fer (1500 pers/hr) and the start of the downhill by the Olympic Express (1500 pers/hr). Above the Super G start, a 50 m tunnel allows tourists and spectators a safe circulation
- Start area: « Sous le Petit Col », 200m North and below the top station of the Olympic Express chairlift
- Finish area: Chaudanne plateau. Around the racers’ finish area, separate easily accessible positions have been prepared for the press, radio and TV commentators as well as for the public