Since 1937, alpine skiers have raced down the treacherous Hahnenkamm downhill course in Kitzbühel at speeds of over 140km/h, tackling steep pitches, sharp turns, and terrifying jumps. The Kitzbühel downhill is a race that has earned the respect of the world’s best alpine athletes, and for good reason. Commonly regarded as the Super Bowl of Alpine Skiing, here’s everything you need to know about Kitzbühel:
Where does this legendary race take place?
Kitzbühel is the host town, and the Hahnenkamm is the mountain where all the action plays out, with the downhill track winding down the Streif, the most famous slope on the mountain. With over 100,000 spectators filling the area to watch the event, the fan experience at Kitzbühel is unrivalled on the FIS Alpine circuit. With this year being the 75th anniversary of the event, it is a sure bet to be one to remember.
Has a Canadian ever won in Kitzbühel?
Absolutely! Not once, but four times. In a row. In fact, the first non-European to win the downhill in Kitzbühel was Ken Read, who was crowned champion in 1980. That was the start of four straight victories by the Crazy Canucks, a feat that has never been matched by a non-European team.
Are there any other events besides the downhill?
There sure are. Although the downhill is regarded as the main event, there are also Super G, Slalom, and Super Combined events held in Kitzbühel. Historically, the person most likely to be referred to as the champion of the Hahnenkamm was the winner of the combined results of the slalom and downhill races. In the present World Cup era, the champion, or Hahnenkammsieger, is the winner of the prestigious downhill race.
How many Canadians are racing in the Kitzbühel downhill in 2015?
This year we’ve got five Alpine Canada athletes on the start list for the downhill. In the first training run on Tuesday, Ben Thomsen of Invermere, BC had the 6th fastest time. The final day of training is Thursday Jan 22nd, with the downhill event on the 24th. The super-g takes place on the 23rd, and the slalom wraps up the festival in Kitzbühel on the 25th.
Good luck to all of our Alpine Canada athletes competing in Kitzbühel, and Go Canada Go!