Crans Montana is to host the first women's team combined event in history

The event will bring together a female downhill skier and a slalom skier, and will make its World Cup debut on 16 February on the legendary Mont Lachaux piste.

It's been in the pipeline for a few weeks, and has now been confirmed. The first women's World Cup team combined event will take place in Crans-Montana just a few weeks after the first men's event in Kitzbühel. This means that next winter, the Haut-Plateau resort will be hosting not just the world's best downhill and super-giant slalom skiers, but also the top women's slalom racers.

“We're very proud”, says Marius Robyr, chairman of the Organising Committee. “We're honoured that the FIS has chosen Crans-Montana as the venue for this premiere, showing its confidence in us. For our part, we spontaneously accepted the proposal, although we know that there will be costs and additional work required. We'll be ready though.” The race will take place on Friday 16 February.

In practical terms, two athletes from each nation will team up, each competitor will take part in one of the heats. Their times will be added together to establish a ranking. In order to determine the number of teams taking part, the FIS has decided to use the national quotas for the downhill. This means that in the best-case scenario, Switzerland could field 9 teams in 2024, comprising of 9 downhill skiers and the same number of slalom competitors. Around forty teams are expected to take part.

The idea came from the athletes

To make the event more attractive, World Cup points will be awarded to participants, to be shared between them. A win will therefore see 50 points awarded to each athlete on the winning team. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was not happy with the image presented at the last Olympic Alpine Combined in Beijing," explains Peter Gerdol, director of the Women's World Cup. “They asked us to do something new and different. The idea predominantly came from the competitors. They were the ones who suggested this new format.”

The format has already been successfully tested at the last Junior World Championships in St. Anton. "I think it could be a very interesting and even a very tactical format, and I'm looking forward to it," says our versatile ambassador Michelle Gisin, who has yet to decide whether she will compete in the downhill or the slalom.

The OIC for its part has already confirmed that the team combined event will be on the programme for the next Olympic Games in 2026. It will also be on the programme during the World Championships in Saalbach in 2025 and, we hope, in Crans-Montana in 2027," confirms Peter Gerdol. “We’ve yet to see the initial feedback, but for the time being, it's positive.” The expert was in Valais this week to sort out final details with an FIS delegation. It was confirmed that all of the spectacular downhill and slalom pistes in the resort would be used.

The rest of the programme in Crans-Montana has also been confirmed. There will be a downhill on Saturday 17 February, and a super-G on Sunday 18. Downhill training on the Mont Lachaux piste is scheduled for Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 February. The European Cup will be stopping off on the Haut-Plateau between 8 and 11 February 2024.

Photo/Video: SkiActu