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Lebanon is participating in the 44th edition of the “Scara” event in Val d’Isère, France. Since its inception in 1981, the “Scara” has been a gathering of future champions, bringing together the best young skiers aged 12 to 16.

A Glimpse of the World Cup

Often likened to a Youth World Cup, the “Scara” serves as the premier international competition for U14 and U16 skiers, uniting 1,500 young athletes at the close of each season, alongside the champions of tomorrow.

Initially exclusive to male participants, the event saw Luc Alphand triumph in its inaugural edition, clinching victory in both the slalom and super-G disciplines for juniors. Subsequently, it showcased the emergence of prominent figures in contemporary French skiing. From Joël Chenal to Jean-Baptiste Grange, Frédéric Covili, Patrice Bianchi, Antoine Dénériaz, Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin, Cyprien Richard, Johan Clarey, and more recently Clément Noël, these French athletes have all claimed victory in Val d’Isère on a day in early April.

Foreign champions such as Anna Ottosson, Carolina Ruiz Castillo, Anja Pärson, and Janica Kostelic have also left their mark on the event before ascending to success at the global stage.

While competition remains at the forefront, the “Scara” has retained its festive spirit for youngsters, with a parade of nations lending it an Olympic ambiance and an unforgettable award ceremony featuring podiums along the main street.

The Avaline Event, held at La Daille, has been the backdrop for numerous memorable tales, including the Alphand family saga. Estelle Alphand mirrored her father “Lucho’s” success by claiming victory in both slalom and super-G events in 2008, 27 years after his triumph. Her siblings also left their mark: Nils secured second place in super-G in 2009, while Sam emerged victorious in super-G and slalom in 2013.

Reflecting on cherished moments, one recalls the incident involving a minibus in which Ante Kostelic and his children, Ivica and Janica, were resting. Despite the vehicle once breaking down on the ascent to Val d’Isère, the young Croatians, destined for greatness in the “Cirque Blanc,” went on to dominate the competition! Additionally, the slalom and super-G victories of Hugo Geraci and his sister Romane stand out as enduring narratives etched on the slopes in early April.

The Lebanese Delegation

Over the course of four days, more than 1,500 competitors from 100 clubs representing 32 nations, including Lebanon, will vie for victory on the renowned Oreiller-Killy piste (also known as the Piste O.-K.). This red alpine ski run, situated above the hamlet of La Daille, has been a fixture in the Alpine Skiing World Cup since 1966.

The Lebanese contingent at this event comprises Salim Kayrouz, Vice President of the Lebanese Ski Federation, along with Walid Daher and Charbel al-Najjar as coaches. The skiers include Pedro Abi Ramia, Labib Akiki, Andrea el-Hayek, Luca Sakkal, and Silvio Mama, while Lea Estephan and Maya Maria Estephan will represent Lebanon in the skiing events of slalom, giant slalom, and super-G.