The six villages of the Alta Badia region are Colfosco, Corvara, La Villa, San Cassiano, Pedraces and La Val. Surrounded by the awe-inspiring scenery of the Dolomites, the Italian resort is a regular fixture in the World Cup circuit.
The Gran Risa slope is distributed over 1,255 mt. with a maximum gradient of 53 per cent and is one of the most renowned ski courses. A breathtaking descent in the heart of the woods which begins just under the fork of the black and red slopes. After passing the wall, a sharp curve diverts the descent into a narrow and steep passage, which then widens out after a second marked change of direction towards the finish line.
In the summer of 2001, ‘La Stretta' was modified on the Gran Risa course, in order to guarantee complete safety and security for the racers. This course entails all the technical characteristics required for a Giant race, and can even put the most qualified championship players under immense pressure. An exciting run which can leave you holding your breath from start to finish.
1985 saw the opening of the start gate for the first time. Having won the GS ahead of Hubert Strolz of Austria and Italy's Riberto Erlacher, the legendary Ingemar Stenmark wrote the first chapter in the history of Alta Badia. A year later, the Italian team fulfilled their dreams, by leading a first, second and third ‘blue' sweep.
Tomba claimed four wins, in 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1994. In addition to two second places in 1986 and 1993 and a further two third positions in 1992 and 1996. He was seen as a hero in his home town of Bologna. He attracted as many as 25,000 fans from all over the country.
Other big names entered the Alta Badia book of legends.
Five-time World Cup Championship Marc Girardelli, won twice, both in 1985 and 1992. Swiss specialist Michael Von Gruenigen also won twice in 1996 and 1998. Bode Miller triumphed here in 2002, while Finn Kalle Palander was a three-time winner in 2003, 2006 and 2007. Surprisingly Austrian aces Hermann Maier and Benjamin Raich have collected only a few podiums on the 'Gran Risa' slope but have never managed a win.
The Italian skiers had a starring role after the end of the Tomba era. Davide Simoncelli took his first World Cup win in 2003 and Massimiliano Blardone crossed the finish line with the best time in 2005. Since 2006 the Italian site has also hosted a Slalom.
Swedish Markus Larsson sealed a win in 2006 and French Jean-Baptiste Grange took his maiden win in 2007, dominating both runs. The women have only competed on two occasions in this race. Italy managed to win on both occasions with Sabina Panzanini in 1994 and Denise Karbon in 2003.