Chamonix ready for Kandahar

3rd February 2012, by Chris Gill

The race course in Les Houches

The race course in Les Houches

It’s race weekend in Chamonix-Les Houches, as the resorts welcome the world’s best men in Alpine downhill to the legendary Kandahar course.

Up to 40,000 spectators are expected to arrive in the area to watch the racing, which takes places on the ‘Verte des Houches’ black piste. All eyes are on French hopefuls Alexis Pinturault and Jean-Baptiste Grange – the country has not had a home win on the course since 1968. But they’ll have strong competition from World Cup leader and winner in Les Houches in 2011 Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, who is hoping for another success.

Didier Cuche will be hoping his run of success continues too, in this his final season on the World Cup circuit. Cuche won in Garmisch last weekend so is on top form for his last French descent.

The Kandahar has been a part of the international circuit since 1948, founded originally in 1928 by the British Kandahar Ski Club. This year, members of the 2014 Winter Olympic committee in Sochi will be on hand to help at the Chamonix event – an getting a feel for hosting world class races. The Verte des Houches is a 3343m long black run, which combines tactical jumps such as the Cassure and Goulet with an 870m vertical.

The weekend gets going today, Friday 3 February, with the previously postponed Val Gardena race. This is followed on Saturday by the Kandahar downhill and on Sunday with the super-combined and slalom races. During the weekend, both Chamonix and Les Houches will lay on plenty of après-race entertainment, including a live band in Les Houches-Bellevue and more fun in the Place du Mont-Blanc in Chamonix. The podium award ceremony takes place at 6pm in Chamonix on Saturday, and at 3pm on Sunday at the finish line in Les Houches.

Results just in from Friday’s racing:

1- KROELL Klaus (AUT) 2:04.22
2- MILLER Bode (USA) 2:04.23
3- CUCHE Didier (SUI) 2:04.26

Snow conditions are pretty much perfect at the moment, and it’s very cold. the sun has returned and any clear skies will ensure that the temperatures fall significantly at night.

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