Wolrd Cup History
The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup is the top international circuit of Alpine Skiing competitions staged annually. It is considered the premier competition in alpine ski racing together with the quadrennial Olympic Winter Games and the biennial FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Some experts event consider winning the World Cup to be athletically a more valuable title than winning gold at the Olympic Winter Games or the World Championships, since it requires a competitor to ski at an extremely high level in several events throughout the season, and not just in one race.
The FIS World Cup was launched in 1966 by a small group of ski racing friends and experts formed by French journalist Serge Lang and the alpine ski team directors from France (Honoré Bonnet) and the USA (Bob Beattie). It was immediately backed by FIS President Marc Hodler during the 1966 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships at Portillo, Chile, and became an official FIS series in the spring of 1967 after the FIS Congress at Beirut, Lebanon.
Jean-Jacques "Serge" Lang had already started to study the idea for a season-long series of ski races with a points system to mathematically determine a champion-of-the-year in the mid-1960s, after being requested by former Tour de France and 'L'Équipe' director Jacques Goddet to "invent something which would help our readers to better understand the complicated ski racing alpine circuit".
In December 1965, 'L'Équipe' launched the first (unofficial) European ski circuit named "Trophée de L'Equipe", which was won by France's Marielle Goitschel and Austria's Karl Schranz. Lang, after discussing it in January 1966 with his friends Bob Beattie and Honoré Bonnet, during a downhill training session at the famous ‘Hahnenkamm' races at Kitzbühel, Austria, decided that it would become a world tour.
That same summer, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were held in August in Portillo, Chile, during the Southern hemisphere winter. Everybody was staying in the same hotel. This provided an opportunity for all the major figures in ski racing to come together and hash out the details of the proposed competition with some skiers such as Frenchmen Jean-Claude Killy and Guy Perillat and Austrian Karl Schranz.
FIS President Marc Hodler agreed to support the new series which he personally presented to the press in Chile. The first World Cup calendar and rules were soon written on a single page given out later on to the teams and journalists.
The first (still unofficial) World Cup season began the following winter with the men's competitions at Berchtesgaden, Germany, on January 5, 1967. It became a great success as top organizers and champions strongly backed it. The World Cup became officially sanctioned by FIS the following spring at its Beirut Congress. Marc Hodler became the first president of the FIS World Cup Committee, serving until 1973.
The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup originally included only slalom, giant slalom, and downhill races. During the first season, 18 races World Cup races were staged for women and men, and Jean-Claude Killy won 12 out of them! Jean-Claude Killy of France and Nancy Greene of Canada were the overall winners in the first two seasons.
Initially, only the top-10 finishers scored points from 25 to 1 and only the three best results per event were added to the overall standings. Combined events (calculated using results from selected downhill and slalom races) were included starting with the 1974-75 season, while the super-G was added for the 1982-83 season. The current scoring system was implemented in the 1991-92 season.
Today, the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup races are held primarily at famous ski resorts in the European Alps, along with regular stops in Scandinavia, North America, and Far East Asia. Competitors attempt to score a maximum of points during the season in five events: slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill and super combined. The fifth event, super-combined, was introduced in 2005 and generally consists of a shorter downhill race and a one-run slalom. Sometimes the downhill is replaced by a super-G.
At every race, points are now awarded to the top 30 finishers: 100 points to the winner, 80 for second, 60 for third, winding down to 1 point for 30th place and each race counts to the overall World Cup. The racer with the most points at the end of the season in mid-March wins the overall FIS World Cup trophy, a 9 kilogram crystal globe produced in Zwiesel, Germany by crystal specialist Joska. Smaller event trophies are awarded in the five events, each denoted by a 3.5 kg small crystal globe.
Only 44 racers (24 women and 20 men) have clinched overall titles since 1967. At the same time, hundreds of skiers have celebrated World Cup victories in over twenty countries and four continents and thousands have scored at least one World Cup point. More than a hundred resorts have hosted one of the World Cup stages in 24 countries including Croatia (Zagreb), Argentina (Las Lenas) New Zealand (Mt Hutt), Australia (Thredbo), Korea (Yong-Pyong), Poland (Zakopane) or Bulgaria (Borovetz). Additional countries such as Russia (Sotchi) are expected to soon join them.
A few 'monuments' including the Lauberhorn at Wengen (SUI), the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel (AUT), the Kandahar at Sestriere (ITA), Adelboden (SUI) or Vail (USA), which belonged to the original 1967 World Cup calendar, are still part of the international circuit. Many other great resorts joined them thereafter, such as Val d'Isère, Val Gardena, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Aspen, Kranjska Gora, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Are and Maribor just to mention a few. Nowadays, the season starts at the end of October in Soelden, Austria, and finishes in mid-March in the Alps or Scandinavia.