The FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships 2012 will take place in Roccaraso, in the province of L'Aquila, in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. From February 29th to March 9th, Abruzzo wil welcome about 1500 athletes representing more than 60 different nations. With competitions in all the FIS Alpine World Cup events (giant slalom, downhill, slalom, super G and team event), the winners gain not only a gold medal, but also a ticket to the World Cup finals in Schladming.
Despite its southern location, Roccaraso boasts good snow conditions on the courses that are located at a relatively high altitude. The start of the GS is situated at an altitude of 1,950m, while the SL start is at 1,770m, with the finish area for both located at 1,570m. By comparison, the downhill start is located at 2,030m and the finish area -- common for both speed events -- at 1,430m. The competitions will be held in three different locations, all of them close to each other: The Direttissima in Monte Pratello (Rivisondoli) for the downhill and Super G races, the Lupo in Aremogna for the giant slalom and the Gran Pista in Pizzalto for the slalom and the Team Event. Everything will be coordinated by Valerio Ghirardi, who most of you might remember as the trainer of the Italian downhill Ladies team, then as the personal coach of Isolde Kostner and afterwards of the Spanish Ladies.
Roccaraso is at the heart of the largest ski area in the Mediterranean, the Alto Sangro area, which features 160 km of slopes and 36 lifts. The first ski race there was held in 1910 and the first ski lift on Mount Zurrone was built in 1936. The host of several European Cup events from 2004 onwards, Roccaraso is already busy preparing to welcome the young ski racing talents. The final test events for the Championships were to be carried out as part of the men’s European Cup in early March 2011, but had to be cancelled due to heavy snowfall and inclement weather. Nevertheless, the pre-event preparations for the European Cup served as a good organisational test for the Organising Committee headed by Giulio Rossi.