Free Fall presented by Audi
The start to the Men’s Downhill on the approximately 3 km long Corviglia run is the sporting highlight of the Ski Championships 2017. With a gradient of 45 degrees, the steepest start in the world feels practically like a vertical fall from a great height
Even the way up to the start is adventurous: a staircase of 187 steel steps leads up to an altitude of 2840 meters. When looking down from the start, the pulse of any racer shoots up to 120. From here the athletes accelerate in a few seconds to around 140 km/h – faster than many racing cars. This speed is reached down a gradient of 100 percent or 45 degrees. The first 150 meters are almost vertical and convey the feeling of a free fall to the racers. This breathtaking start has consequently been named ‘Free Fall’, giving the Pista Corviglia on the local mountain of St. Moritz its distinctive feature. Nowhere else do skiers hurtle down such a steep rocky slope from a great height – the start to the downhill competition has become a myth on the ski circuit. Would you like to experience this unique feeling as well? From the end of December we offer regular visits! More information is available here.
This masterpiece was built for the World Ski Championships 2003. Bernhard Russi, the former Downhill World Champion and Olympic Gold Medal Winner, designed and implemented it jointly with the building professionals of the World Ski Championships 2003. When preparing the surface of the slope and the ducts for the snow canons he was supported by Paul Accola, who, as a Menzi- Muck specialist, undertook these difficult tasks in the dangerously steep terrain. Today Bernhard Russi maintains that he had the vision of a ‘Free Fall’ already during the World Ski Championships 1974 which also took place in St. Moritz.
The ‘Free Fall’ is also a real challenge for piste workers and cameramen. The cameramen for the Swiss national TV station who captures the first race meters for the spectators worldwide has to abseil more than 50 m to his platform in the middle of a rock face wearing crampons. The piste workers are also secured with carabiner hooks and rope. Even for the snow cats the rocky chute is too steep. When they prepare the race track, they are fastened to a steel rope.
In preparation for the World Ski Championships 2017 the start to the Men’s Downhill has been brought up-to-date, the starting platform and the staircase have been improved to comply with current safety standards. Apart from that, this attraction presents itself in the original form and it was used again - for the first time since 2003 - for the Ski World Cup Finals in March 2016.