Schladming is a small town in the Styria region of Austria, which has become very popular with tourists. The town is located in the centre of Austria and is situated 706m above sea level. Although the town was originally a mining settlement, in modern times winter tourism has become the main industry.
The area's first settlers date back to the 12th century, however the town itself was founded in 1322, as a result of the growth of the mining industry throughout Europe.
The skiing region of Schladming is known as the "4 mountain region". The region includes the Planai and Hochwurzen mountains. The Planai is the main peak, reaching a height of 1906 meters. The region is nestled in the heart of the Styrian Enns valley.
Schladming has been a fixture in the men' alpine skiing World Cup for over 30 years. The first race was held on the 22nd December, 1973. Since then 31 events have been held at the Austrian resort and the host nation has unsurprisingly been the most triumphant, boasting 14 of the 31 winners as well as having had 37 medal winners and 91 skiers finish in the top 10.
Benjamin Raich and Hermann Maier have been the most successful athletes for Austria, with Raich winning on four occasions and Maier emerging victorious from three events.
Swiss skier Pirmin Zurbriggen was the second most successful competitor in Schladming, picking up three wins and finishing in the top 10 on six occasions and his success has made Switzerland the second most successful nation in Schladming, having won on a further two occasions. However, no Swiss skier has won in Schladming in almost 20 years. In fact, the last Swiss athlete who stood on the top step of the podium was Zurbriggen, on 12 of January 1990.
The third most successful nation is Italy, having won twice, 10 podium finishes and 42 athletes breaking into the top 10. Alberto Tomba has so far been Italy's most successful skier, being the only Italian to have won the race and having made it into the top 10 on another two occasions. The second most successful Italian to date has been Manfred Moelgg with four top ten finishes, including two on the podium.
The fourth most successful individual in Schladming is Kalle Palander, who won the race twice, first on the 28th January, 2003 and then again on the 24th January, 2006. Kalle, the only Finn to have made it into the top10 at the Austrian venue, also made it onto the podium on one other occasion as well as another two top ten finishes. Meanwhile, the most successful Swedish individual has been Ingemar Stenmark, who won both Swedish victories as well as a further two top 10 finishes.
In 1998 Schladming joined the Club 5+ (formerly known as the Club 5), an association of the leading Alpine ski race organizers from all over the World.
Launch of new Schladming stadium
In conjunction with the 2010 Schladming Night Race held on Tuesday night, the plans for the new Schladming stadium were revealed. Not only will the new facility serve as the heart of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 2013 but it will also be the core of the Night Race in the future.
"The goal is to build the best stadium seen in the ski world so far and a landmark for the entire community of Schladming," said President of the Austrian Ski Association Peter Schröcksnadel at a press conference.
The new stadium is scheduled to be available for the 2012 Night Race. The purpose-built arena will have a capacity from 20,000 to 25,000 seats, mostly consisting of temporary tribunes. The construction of the basic elements will begin in April 2010, continuing in the spring of 2011 with the sub-urban elements underneath the finish. The "Arch of Triumph" or a "Gate of Champions", a visionary gateway to the finish which will also provide facilities for the TV and VIP guests will be realized in the third step in 2012.