Audi FIS Ski World Cup 2020 Niigata Yuzawa Naeba will be held in Naeba Resort for the first time in four years. Men’s Giant Slalom(GS) is scheduled on February 22nd(Sat), and Men’s Slalom on February 23rd(Sun). It is a great opportunity to see the World’s best techniques up close. Please come visit Naeba Resort and experience the skiing essence of the top racers.

In Japan, alpine racing is not much known as a “watching sports”, but in Europe, it is a popular Winter Event. The Hahnenkamm competition in Kitzbuhel(Austria), which is known as a sacred place for alpine racing, attracts well over 100,000 spectators during 3 days of the weekend. Also, nearly 60,000 fans visit a small village deep in the mountains to watch Schladming’s Night Slalom, even though the race starts from weekday evenings. The Alpine Ski World Cup has grown by such skiing culture. By watching close by, you will surely be fascinated by the impact.

Downhill ski race in Kitzbuhel. Skiing down with full speed towards a great crowd of spectators.
Schladming’s Night Slalom attracts nearly 60,000 spectators on a weekday evening.

Then, what are the highlights of the Niigata Yuzawa Naeba Competition?
First of all, describing the course profile, the elevation difference of the GS course is 450m. This is right up to the limit of the International Ski Federation(FIS) rule. In terms of scale, this will be one of the toughest courses in the World Cup, starting near the middle of a steep slope at an elevation of 1375m. Racers will able to ski down this steep open space slope with full speed from the start. Then, after a short gentle slope in between, jumps into the men’s risen slalom burn. The width of this course is slightly narrowed down and the slope of this section is the steepest. A technical section where a slight mistake can quickly lead to a fall. After passing the difficult sections, the course curves right to the left and traverse a gentle slope to slope ‘no.3’ located in front of the Prince Hotel. From here to the finish line, medium and gentle slopes continue. However, there are several large waves which are not easy. Probably, the course designed by the course setter will use the waves to set as a “trap”. Therefore, it is important for the racers to understand the setter’s intentions and respond appropriately, otherwise they will be trapped. Racers need not only techniques but also high strategy and judgement to determine how to make smooth turns without lifting the skis. A great highlight to see how the top racers ski smoothly and successfully pass through. The finish area will be in front of the Prince Hotel Building ‘No.6’. Alexis Pinturault(France), the Champion of the previous competition had a record of 16”45 for the first run and 1’17”78 for the second run, score total of 2’34”23.

GS course of the previous competition. Waves like this continues, needing to be fully aware and keep concentrated until the end.GS course of the previous competition. Waves like this continues, needing to be fully aware and keep concentrated until the end.

On the other hand, slalom will start from the landing area of ski lift ‘no.3’. This will soon merge with the GS course which continues straight to the finish line with an elevation difference of 200m. There are no dazzling steep slopes but as mentioned earlier, understanding how to respond to the waves will become the biggest point. It can be said to be advantageous for powerful type slalomers, but the race will depend on how the course will be designed. It will become a very unpredictable race. For the previous competition, Marcel Hirscher(Austria) was thought most likely to win, but was not able to finish his first run. Also, Henrik Kiristoffersen(Norway) dropped to 7th place resulting to an unpredictable race. Who will able to capture and respond to this season’s course most accurately? The most different point of the Niigata Yuzawa Naeba Competition compared to other World Cup venues is that the practice course used for warming up before the race is located just above the finish area.
Usually, the World Cup practice courses are located further above the starting point or apart from the racing course, so there is not much chance for spectators to watch the racer’s gate training and free skiing. However, for the Niigata Yuzawa Naeba Competition, it will be located where everyone can watch. Therefore, before and after the inspection on the race day, there will be a chance to see racer’s free skiing and gate training close by. There isn’t much chance to watch World Cup racer’s free skiing even on TV, so fans in Japan are lucky to have this opportunity. Watching them ski will provide many hints and inspirations not only for alpine racers, but also for amateur skiers.

The competition and practice courseThe competition and practice course(space surrounded by the net on the right side), looking up from the finish area

Tickets are now on sale. This time, the seats right in front of the finish area has been expanded, great for people who want to watch the races with a slightly luxurious feeling. Also, the standing seats surrounding the finish area are provided with a reasonable price. This seat might actually be better for people who want to watch the practice course much closer.
In any case, Alpine Skiing 2020 World Cup Niigata Yuzawa Naeba is filled with many highlights. Please come visit the venue and feel the excitement close by.