Editor's Note: While the construction of a ramp for an Alpine World Cup event would not normally be worthy of coverage on FasterSkier, I think it raises an interesting question. The amount of resources, both financial and other, to put on an event like an alpine ski race in a flat city like Moscow are massive. On the cross-country side, the running of sprints in city centers, especially those in areas with relatively low snow (Germany last year), is analogous. Should elite winter sports competitions be held in marginal winter climates? Is it possible that these resources could be used for better purposes?
Russia’s capital Moscow is actively preparing to welcome the unprecedented FIS Alpine World Cup promotional event scheduled for January 2nd, 2009. An enormous ramp is being constructed for this exciting event in the very heart of Moscow in front of Moscow’s State University’s main building. The promotional event will test the capacity of a flatland megalopolis such as Moscow to stage a unique alpine ski competition which may well set new world standards.
The ramp will truly be gigantic – it deserves entering â€œThe Guinness Books of Recordsâ€. It will be 56 meters high, 37 meters wide and 150 meters long. Last year a similar yet smaller ramp was constructed for the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle World Cup competitions. It had an elevation of 46 meters and a width from 20 to 32 meters.
The construction of this huge installation is currently underway in the Vorobyovy Mountains. The foundation of the future ramp has already been laid – the metal frame already rises up to 35 meters. So far, more than 75% of the work has been completed thanks to joint effort of several organizations – the Russian Alpine Ski and Snowboard Federation, â€œNew Leagueâ€ Sports Club, Moscowsport, Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy of the Russian Federation.
After completion of the metal frame, the ramp itself will also be installed and soon covered by man-made snow. After that, the entire installation has to be inspected and homologated by FIS experts. The plan is to have the ramp completely ready one week prior to the New Year!
It has been warmer than average in Moscow (about 3Â°C degrees above zero), and efficient snowmaking is technologically only possible at temperatures below zero. Nevertheless, the local organizers are used to Moscow’s weather surprises. Should the temperature stay warm, they already plan to bring in natural snow for the ramp from the Kemerovo region (more than 3’500 km away from Moscow). One of the best Russian ski resorts — Sheregesh — is situated there. In one way or the other, the great alpine â€˜Skiing Party’ at Moscow will definitely take place in front of tens of thousands of spectators and many special guests.