The excitement around 'la Verte' ski run in Les Houches is starting to be felt. For the last 15 days, the cold night temperatures have allowed the snow cannons to work flat out.
More than 45,000 cubic meters of artificial snow is already on the piste, more than six times that of last year at the same date when only 7,000 cubic meters had been made.
As is the custom, snow is produced first of all on the lower part of the piste before working up the slope. From the 8th of December Marc Battendier, Head of Piste Preparation, and his team leaders will commence the more detailed preparations. With 15 people on the terrain to organise the building of the spectators platforms, TV platforms, the tribunes, the installation of additional safety netting, etc. the number of people involved will steadily increase to 250 on the final day.
While waiting for the major snow falls, the conditions are normal. The cold weather and the precipitations in November have given confidence to the organising team. Moral is high.
The first two downhills of the 2005 World Cup place Antoine Deneriaz as the French favourite. The downhill at Lake Louise (27th and 28th November) gave the Frenchman Antoine Deneriaz good reason to be confident with a well-deserved second place. The following week-end at Beaver Creek, however, he finished in 15th place, putting him in 4th place in the overall rankings. Bode Miller (USA) walked away with the first two victories of the season, making him the man to beat. Without a doubt, Antoine Deneriaz, with his fan club turning out in force like last year, will be the favourite with the public at the Kandahar.
An event of this magnitude requires colossal organisation when dealing with the public. The whole of the Chamonix Mont-Blanc valley participates in putting into place suitable circulation plans to maintain security and avoid bottle-necks and raised tempers!