Head to head: Munich parallel slalom

1st January 2011, by Chris Gill

Munich's Olympic Park

Munich's Olympic Park

Over 30 of the world’s top ski racers will go head to head in Munich on Sunday 2 January, competing in an all-new parallel slalom event.

The Munich parallel slalom will be the first of its kind to award FIS World Cup points and is expected to draw a crowd of 10,000 or so spectators to the German city’s Olympic Park. It is good promotion for Munich’s Winter Olympic bid for 2018; but also designed to promote the 2011 FIS Alpine World Championships, due to take place in Garmsich-Partenkirchen this February.

Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso will all be taking part in the event, which automatically brings together the top 15 women and top 15 men in the FIS World Cup starting list. Sponsored by Audi, the parallel slalom will also see two wild card entries from the German teams. French slalom specialist Jean-Baptiste Grange has, however, pulled out of Sunday’s event because of an injured shoulder – sustained while racing in Chamonix.

The slalom will take place on the 200m long floodlit Olympic slope, where the teams will race in heats until two remain – the overall winner will scoop 100 points onto their current World Cup series rankings, as well as a prize of $100,000. The action begins on Sunday afternoon, at 4:30pm, with the award ceremony and associated celebrations from 6:15pm.

Munich’s Olympic Park was originally built for the summer games, held there in 1972. The site has hosted parallel slaloms before, but never as part of the FIS points system.

Three times World Cup champion Lyndsey Vonn has expressed her excitement and a few nerves for her debut parallel slalom; but agreed with her fellow racers that it will be a great atmosphere. The men are more used to the duel race, a points-free set-up being held in Russia last winter.

Competition officials say the slope is excellent condition following the recent freeze-thaw weather, and has been injected this week to firm it up.

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