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The 21st Südtirol Gardenissima, which unfolds on Saturday, April 1 next, looks set to be even more spectacular and exciting than ever. The renowned season-closing classic has attracted a particularly impressive line-up this year. Representing the Italian Blues will be leading national skiers Christof Innerhofer and Verena Stuffer, while the large complement of athletes travelling in from abroad will include notables of the likes of Andreas Sander of Germany and Daniel Hemetsberger of Austria. Other ski legends taking part include Marc Girardelli, Peter Runggaldier, Giorgio Rocca and Paola Magoni.

Saturday, April 1, marks a truly stylish return for the annual Südtirol Gardenissima, the world’s longest slalom as Val Gardena’s pistes play host to one of the classic closing event of the 2016-2017 skiing calendar. The giant slalom course stretches over 6 kilometres from the top of Monte Seceda at 2,518 metres to the finish-line at Col Raiser via no less than 110 gates!

AN EXCEPTIONAL LINE-OUT

A total of 650 skiers will line out at the start, with 16 nations represented. There is huge excitement around the entry of Christof Innerhofer, after he was ruled out of the World Championships at St Moritz by an accident.  The powerful Alto Adige athlete was crowned Super G world champion at Garmisch in 2011 and was twice on the podium at Sochi in 2014. This time out, he’ll be going head to head with skiers from all over Europe, including Andreas Sander of Germany and Daniel Hemetsberger of Austria.

In the women’s line-up all eyes will be on both Verena Stuffer, a speed specialist who has clocked up over 100 outings in the World Cup, and promising 21 year old, Nicol Delago, who’ll be racing for G.S. Fiamme Gialle.

But it won’t just be high-profile skiing names. There is also lots of excitement about the fact that Kasete Naufahu Skeen, the first skier to represent Tonga in the alpine skiing world championships, will also be at the start-line of the Val Gardena giant slalom.

SKI LEGENDS

Today’s top skiers and up-and-coming talents will be flanked by a group of famous former skiing stars.  Marc Girardelli, winner of five World Cups and four World golds, will be tackling the run and doing battle with Peter Runggaldier, Lucas Senoner, Giorgio Rocca, Paola Magoni and Maria Rosa Quario, a former top alpine skier, journalist and mother of Federica Brignone.

MAKE WAY FOR THE YOUNGSTERS

The main event doesn’t mark the end of the action, by any means. The adults’ race will be followed the next day, Sunday, April 2, by the Südtirol Gardenissima Kids for very young skiers born between 2003 and 2010. The distance is shorter but follows the same format as the grown-up race: competitors start in pairs and do the first section of the giant slalom on parallel runs which then merge into a single one in the last section. Entries are open until March 29 for a promotional event that delivers a mix of fun and competition to attract more families and youngsters to the winter sports world.

For further information: gardenissima.eu

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