History will be made on the Gran Becca

Zermatt now has its own FIS World Cup Course

César Deffeyes
Gabriel Perren | Pascal Gertschen
Winter 2022-2023

The new Zermatt-Cervinia downhill course, designed by 2010 Olympic Downhill Champion Didier Défago, is centred around the Matterhorn, and has captivated the skiing world. Its length (4 km), altitude change (2,865 m), high altitude (most of the course is above 3,000 m), and jumps are sure to challenge the world’s best skiers.

The stars of the skiing world are already buzzing. Starting in 2023, they’ll be able to test their limits on the brand-new FIS Alpine Ski World Cup course known as the “Gran Becca” – the local Italian nickname for the Matterhorn. Sure to become a classic season opener, the route runs along the Theodul Glacier for 4 km between Zermatt and Cervina (Italy), making it the second longest course after the 4.5 km of Wengen. Even the most experienced skiers may be getting cold sweats just thinking about it from the start at Gobba di Rollin (3,800 m) – that’s 300 m higher than Beaver Creek! Olympic Champion Didier Défago, who designed the course, said it best: it will be challenging for athletes because at that altitude, the thin air means less oxygen for your muscles.

The finish is located 2,865 m lower at Laghi Cime Bianche. The itinerary, which includes areas with gradients over 50%, should take around 2 minutes for these athletes, with top speeds of 135 km/h.

Along the course, they’ll have to face three jumps, which will require them to defy gravity for 40-50 m. “As an active athlete, I would have dreamt of doing a run like this one. Its length and altitude represent an extraordinary challenge,” said Pirmin Zurbriggen. The former four-time World Cup Overall Champion is the regional ambassador for the Gran Becca, and the timing will be conducted by Longines, a long-time FIS partner. The Swiss watchmaker, who has been a skiing timing partner for 99 years (!), is taking advantage of the occasion to reinforce their presence in the ski resort by opening a pop-up boutique. “We share Zermatt’s pioneering spirit and loyal appreciation for tradition, elegance, and performance and are internationally-minded,” said Matthias Breschan. The Longines CEO is convinced: with the Gran Becca, the destiny of the brand and Zermatt are more connected than ever.