Les Houches in the Chamonix Mont Blanc valley is set to once again host the famous combined downhill and slalom skiing competition – a race which first too place in 1928.
Starting tomorrow, on Friday 19 February at 10:30am, the best skiers in the world will take on each other and the clock on the formidable ‘Verte des Houches’ run in front of huge crowds and a festival atmosphere.
Contrary to its name, the Piste Verte is anything but ‘green’: the 3,343m run with 870m of vertical drop is of course black, and despite almost perfect snow conditions this weekend, is likely to push the racers to their limits over a series of exhilarating runs and jumps.
Friday will see the Combined Alpine racing, with the downhill at 10:30am, followed by the slalom racing at 2pm, and a prize-giving ceremony at 6pm.
Saturday’s racing starts at 12:15pm with the Kandahar Downhill competition, the prizes for which will be awarded in a ceremony at 2.30pm.
Big crowds and a great atmosphere are expected all weekend, with free buses from Chamonix town bringing supporters to the free-entry Kandahar race village. As well as stalls and exhibitors there, a giant-screen TV will relay every edge hold, big air and fall before the eventual winners receive their trophies followed by a fireworks display.
If you’re not lucky enough to be in Chamonix in person, then you can catch highlights of the action on BBC 2’s Ski Sunday at 5.15pm Sunday from the comfort of your own sofa.
For the full programme of events and racing see chamonixworldcup.com
For a fascinating short film about the history of alpine skiing and the origins of the Kandahar event itself in Chamonix, as well as one of its pioneers, the Brit Sir Arnold Lunn, watch this: