Kitzbühel. Downhill and Super-G Races Preview

The International Hahnenkamm Races is one of the highlights of ski racing and this season this legendary race will be celebrating its 81st anniversary.

This season also the Downhill race set to take place in Wengen will be hosted in Kitubühel. In coordination with the Austrian Ski Association, the Kitzbüheler Ski Club, as the organizer of the Hahnenkamm races, ORF, and all other stakeholders, FIS decided to reschedule the Downhill in the Austrian venue.

From Friday, January 22nd until Sunday 24th, 2021 Kitzbühel will host 3 events of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on the Streif: two Downhills and a Super-G.

Unfortunately, this year will be very different. The races and training will not have spectators. The finish area, as well as the tracks next to the Streif, will be empty. There will be no fan zones in the city, no stalls, bars, or parties.

Kitzbühel Downhill Program:

Downhill. Friday, January 22nd. 11:30 (CET)

Downhill. Saturday, January 23rd. 11:30 (CET)

Super-G. Sunday, January 24th. 10:20 (CET)

And every year the climax of the Hahnenkamm races weekend is what is considered to be the world’s most challenging downhill ski race: the Streif. Over the past nearly 80 years, this course has been putting skiers to the ultimate test and pushing them to their limits, with only the best in the world able to succeed and claim victory. For skiers, a triumph in the downhill race in Kitzbühel is like winning an Olympic gold medal.

"I would like to congratulate everybody who’s made it down this run. I think we’re all mad!", were the words of the five-time champion Didier Cuche from Switzerland, and perfectly sum up the feeling of conquering the Streif.

The race is held on the Hahnenkamm mountain (the name translates to "Rooster’s Comb"), one of the mountains surrounding the ski resort town of Kitzbühel.

The Hahnenkamm racecourse is considered one of the most demanding runs of the FIS downhill calendar: the Streif (or the "Stripe").

Hot on the heels of the Lauberhorn Races in Wengen, Switzerland – another of the great alpine ski classics and the oldest one-, the race first took place on today’s Streif course in 1937. Austrian, Thaddäus Schwabl, won the inaugural event in a time of 3:53.1 minutes. The reigning course record was set in 1997 by Fritz Strobl, who crossed the finishing line in an impressive 1:51.58 minutes Over 40 TV stations cover the race and it is a priceless event that captivates even those who do not usually follow ski racing. Only the best win on the hardest Downhill in the world. The names of past winners read like a who’s who of ski racing, from Killy, Sailer, Schranz, and Collombin, to Klammer, Read, Zurbriggen, Heinzer, Aamodt, Strobl, Maier, Eberharter, Walchhofer, Rahlves and Cuche. From the breathtaking start at 1665 meters above sea level, racers plunge down the slope’s vertical drop of 860 m at speeds up to 140 km/h, covering the 3312 meters of the course in less than two minutes before dramatically crossing the finish line in the spectator-packed finish area. Yet the Hahnenkamm-Races are more than simple statistics, and behind these numbers lies the greatest ski spectacle in the world.

The Downhill on Kitzbühel’s almost impossibly difficult slope, the Streif, leaves one continually searching for superlatives that could adequately portray it.

The simplest way to describe this drop down the most fearsome slope on the World Cup tour is simply: "The Race". What Wimbledon is for Tennis and Monaco is for Formula 1, "Kitz" is for ski racing.