Today marks the 50th anniversary of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, first won in 1967 by one Jean Claude Killy of France and Nancy Green of Canada.
Since those early days an illustrious group of skiers have joined those two greats as Overall World Cup Champions, the likes of Lyndsey Vonn, Hermann Maier, Janica Kostelic providing this generation with many breathtaking moments.
To celebrate such a monumentous occasion the organisers of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in Zagreb, Croatia have created a 200 metre log ski slope through the streets on which 18 legendary World Cup Champions from past and present with compete in an exhibition race.
Last night local favourites the Kostelic siblings raced, along with such legends as Alberto Tomber, Annemarie Moser-Proell, Renate Göstchl, Michaela Dorfmeister, Pernilla Wilberg. Current Champions Marcel Hirscher & Tina Maze will also be joining the celebrations.
To demonstrate how technology and equipment have changed over the years, slalom poles from 50 years ago will be used and participants will wear some of the equipment from their time.
The evening event also included the draw for the men’s Slalom World Cup race to be held the following day, at Mt Medvednica, in the Sljeme Ski Resort. The Worlds Top 15 slalom skiers took on the mini street piste to determine their starting order for Friday’s race.
“The participation of so many great champions and outstanding Organisers from the past 50 years at the FIS Ski World Cup 50th birthday celebrations in Zagreb has underlined the true global impact the series has made over the past five decades. This is a special moment for the sport to be proud of its achievements, and also exciting to look ahead to the next 50 years and creating new history”, said Sarah Lewis.
The race was broadcast live at 7.45pm CET by Austria’s ORF, Switzerland’s SRF, Sweden’s SVT, Eurosport, the BBC and Japan’s J Sports.