The first women’s downhill racing of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup season takes place on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 November (both days from 11.45 CET) on the newly inaugurated ‘Gran Becca’ course in Zermatt-Cervinia, Italy.
All eyes will be on Sofia Goggia (ITA), the current undisputed queen of the women’s downhill.
The Italian rocket is now 31 but shows no signs of slowing, and will be deploying her thrilling, risky style as usual in an attempt to secure her fourth consecutive downhill crystal globe, and the fifth of her career.
Goggia’s racing – and life – is always high-paced and full of fun. Witness her playing the accordion, sitting on a sheep and climbing ropes recently in Austria:
As she looks ahead to adding further globes to her collection, and peaking for a home Olympic Games at Milano Cortina 2026, is there anyone in the pack who can get the better of her?
The Stuhec renaissance
Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec (SLO) seems the woman most likely: she staged a remarkable return to form last season.
Back in 2017, Stuhec had looked like the future of the sport – winning the downhill and the combined titles, finishing second in the super-G and overall standings, and topping the lot by becoming downhill world champion.
A horror ACL injury then put her out for a year – but when she retained her world championship title in 2019, and finished fourth in the downhill World Cup standings, it felt like she was back to her best.
Struggles and further injury, however, followed, as she finished 15th, 14th and 21st over the next winters in the downhill.
Last term, however, we saw peak Stuhec threaten to return. Stellar wins at Cortina and Soldeu illustrated that she is still physically and mentally capable of greatness.
The results justified her commitment to the cause. “It means a lot because this time last year I was thinking, should I go on, what do I do with my life?” Stuhec said after the Soldeu triumph.
“Then I went with my instincts and said to myself, ok, I’ll change things and move on, because I still had the feeling that I could do it, and now everybody knows.”
She has just left her Norwegian training base with “good feelings, peaceful mind, excited heart (and really cold toes)”:
At 33, Stuhec knows downhill just as well as Goggia; this veteran duel could dominate the season.
Swiss, Austrians, Norwegians and Italians look to improve
Corinne Suter (SUI) must have been fed up with the sight of bronze last season: the Swiss sensation was on the third step of the downhill podium three times in 2022/23, and also finished third in the world championships.
It was a steady performance from the supercharged star but didn’t quite capture the giddy heights of 2020, when she completed an extraordinary double, winning both the super-G and downhill globes – or indeed her 2021 world championship win and sensational Beijing 2022 gold.
Suter is positive and ready to go again, however – and, like Goggia, is always ready to take big risks to try for big rewards.
Elena Curtoni (ITA) will hope to repeat some of her excellence from last term – she triumphed in style at St. Moritz – while Kajsa Vickhoff Lie (NOR), who won Norway’s first ever women’s downhill World Cup gold last season, will aim to turn her flashes of brilliance into a sustained, season-long campaign.
On a rapid, brand-new piste, with a group of contenders ready to leave everything out there, expect thrills.