After a hiatus of 3 years, one of the fastest and most exciting ski races returns to the slopes of Les Houches in the Chamonix valley.
Bringing the best ski racers in the world to our little town, the Kandahar World Cup is more than just a race, it is a celebration that turns the quiet village of Les Houches into an outdoor festival.
The race takes place on the Piste Verte, starting at 1871m near the Prarion sector of the Les Houches ski area. The course plummets 870m in altitude and covers 3343m to finish near the base station of the Bellevue cable car – the best racers will manage this in under 2 minutes!
Today’s races take place at 10:30 (downhill) and 14:00 (slalom) with the prize-giving taking place in Chamonix town centre at 18:00.
Saturday’s race is the infamous Kandahar downhill, taking place at 12:15, with the prize giving taking place 14:30 at the finish line.
The finish line will be packed out with spectators, cheering and clanging their cowbells, as results and updates are posted live on big screens.
There are plenty of vantage points beside the race course that you can hike up to for a close-up view of the action as the racers speed by – they are the areas marked in green on this map. One of the most exciting place to watch from is the “Saut de la Route” just before the last big bend, where the skiers take off and fly through the air at high speed!
The pisteurs have been hard at work preparing the piste for several weeks now, smoothing it down to flat perfection and spraying it with water to cover it with a fine sheen of ice that will make the racers go even faster.
Skiers to look out for include Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud from Norway, Alexis Pinturault and Victor Muffat Jeandet from France, Marcel Herscher from Austria, and Erik Guay from Canada. Alas, American ski star Ted Ligety is out of the running due to a recently torn ACL incurred during training in January.
We’ll be cheering for local boy Guillermo Fayed from Chamonix who has been doing really well in training, you can see him checking out the course here:
Getting to Les Houches is easy by public transport; just catch bus number 1 or 15 from Chamonix, free with your ski pass or carte d’hôte guest card – there will be extra buses laid on to deal with all the extra passengers. We do NOT recommend trying to drive there as you will struggle to find anywhere to park and some of the roads will be closed to traffic. You can find more information on accessing the race site here.
If you can’t make it in person then you can follow the race live with the Vogo Sport app, you can even choose which camera angle you want to view and zoom in on your favourite racers, it’s as close as you can get to being on the race course alongside them. There will be live race results posted on the FIS website and the highlights will be shown on Ski Sunday.
Perfectly located at the finish line, the Kitsch Inn will be getting the party going with live music from 4pm and as well as their usual scrummy menu they’ll also have the amazing Le Savoie Faire team outside serving burgers, sausages & chips as well as warming, homemade vin chaud & spiced apple juice, soft drinks and snacks from their funky van.
If you want to learn to ski like Guillermo and the rest of the team then ski lessons are a great place to start! Whether you’re looking for group or private ski or snowboard lessons we have a great team of instructors ready to get you flying down the slopes, just contact us for details and booking.