It all started on November 30, 2019 in the afternoon at Plan Maison above Cervinia. The exponents of Cervino S.p.A. and Zermatt Bergbahnen AG met at the beginning of the season for the annual exchange of ideas. One of the topics discussed was the new 3S lift from Testa Grigia to the Klein Matterhorn, which connects Zermatt and Cervinia all year round and represents the highest Alpine Crossing. During the discussions, the Italian representatives spontaneously suggested that after the completion of the 3S lift, a World Cup downhill run could be organized from Gobba di Rollin across the border down to Laghi Cime Bianche. 

A visionary project with great potential

Franz Julen, Chairman of the Board of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG and a profound expert on the skiing scene, immediately recognized the potential of this unique cross-border project. He presented the idea to the international ski federation FIS, the national ski associations of Switzerland (Swiss-Ski), Italy (FISI) and the most important service partners in Zermatt and Cervinia. Everyone was enthusiastic, and so it was decided to realize this innovative event as soon as possible.

From spontaneous idea to reality

Step by step, the vision of a cross-border World Cup race was turned into reality. First of all, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion Didier Défago set to work as piste builder. The two national ski associations Swiss-Ski and FISI, the two cable car companies Zermatt Bergbahnen AG and Cervino S.p.A. as well as the two tourism associations Zermatt Tourismus and Consorzio Cervino Turismo founded the association "Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening". The association entrusted the organization of these World Cup races to a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) under President Franz Julen, Vice President Marco Mosso and CEO Christian Ziörjen.

Passion and a shared vision as the driving force

Each of the six partners has a clearly defined task mandate. In addition, the LOC of the Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening can count on the profound knowledge of a team of experts from Val Gardena/Gröden, who have the necessary experience in the Ski World Cup with the organization of the annual ski races on the Saslong. So behind this unique and challenging project is a wide network of cooperation and passionate people with completely different cultures and backgrounds, but all with one and the same vision and with a single goal in mind: to make speed racing on "La Gran Becca" a reality as soon as possible.



The driving forces behind this innovative and unique project with pioneering character are, in addition to the International Ski Federation FIS in close partnership, the two national ski associations Swiss-Ski and FISI (Federazione Italiana Sport Invernali), the two lift companies Zermatt Bergbahnen AG and Cervino S.p.A as well as the two tourism associations Zermatt Tourismus and Consorzio Cervino Turismo.

"Reduction of the FIS carbon footprint"

«The inclusion of the races strengthens the speed disciplines and offers special sporting moments for athletes and fans thanks to the historic routing with start in Switzerland and finish in Italy. The fact that the teams have the opportunity to train locally all year round could also reduce travel to long distance venues in the southern hemisphere and help FIS reduce its carbon footprint.»

Johan Eliasch
President of FIS

"Ski associations look forward to new challenge"

«For years, the wish has been expressed for more speed events in the World Cup calendar in order to create a balance between speed and technical races. With the Speed Opening at the foot of the Matterhorn, we can now meet this request faster than we had hoped.»

Urs Lehmann
President of Swiss-Ski 

"Milestone in the history of the Alpine Ski World Cup"

«This transnational World Cup event is a milestone in the history of the Alpine Ski World Cup. The fact that the premiere can already take place at the beginning of the coming season is a great challenge, which we are happy to accept.» 

Flavio Roda
President of FISI

"Concentrated know-how as a guarantee for success"

«With Swiss-Ski, the FISI, the team of experts from Val Gardena/Gröden responsible for the sporting organization of the races, Didier Défago as piste planner and Pirmin Zurbriggen as advisor and ambassador, as well as the key people on the local organizing committee, we have the necessary experience to organize a top event over the upcoming months.»

Franz Julen
President of Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening

"A downhill run that leaves nothing out!"

«In addition to the unique panorama, the unspoilt nature and of course the view of the Matterhorn, the course itself is also impressive: we have created a downhill run that has everything – from jumps to long turns and gliding sections to speed elements, it doesn't leave anything out.»

Didier Défago
Race Designer

"A dream comes true"

«I appreciate being able to contribute my knowledge and experience to such a visionary and innovative project. The World Cup races in Zermatt and Cervinia are a dream come true.»

Pirmin  Zurbriggen
Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening Ambassador and Advisor