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.



The Streif Racecourse Profile:

  • Start Elevation: 1665m

  • Finish Elevation: 805 m

  • Vertical Drop: 860m

  • Distance: 3312m

  • Average slope: 27 %

  • Max. slope: 85 %

  • Min. slope: 2 %


Matthias Mayer won the last Downhill event in the World Cup, in Bormio in December. 30. Mayer claimed three victories in his last six World Cup Downhill appearances. He can become the first man to win successive Downhill races on the Streif since Didier Cuche won a threepeat from 2010 to 2012. The last Austrian to achieve this was Peter Wirnsberger who took the double in 1986.

Dominik Paris is the only active skier to have won multiple World Cup Downhill races in Kitzbühel (3). The Italian won on the Streif in 2013, 2017, and 2019. Only Didier Cuche (5) and Franz Klammer (4) have achieved more World Cup wins on the Streif than Paris.

Dominik Paris with 14 victories is the active male skier to have won the most downhill events in the World Cup (next is Beat Feuz on 10).

Beat Feuz has claimed four World Cup podiums in the Downhill in Kitzbühel, all second places (2016, 2018, 2019, 2020). No man has collected more World Cup podiums on the Streif without ever winning. Only Franz Klammer (41), Peter Müller (41), and Stephan Eberharter (38) have recorded more podium finishes in men's World Cup Downhill events than Feuz (36).

Ryan Cochran-Siegle is hoping to become the first man from the United States to win a Downhill race in the World Cup since Travis Ganong in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in January 2017. The only US man to win a World Cup downhill in the Hahnenkammrennen is Daron Rahlves in 2003.



Last season Matthias Mayer claimed victory in the Hahnenkamm Downhill. He finished ahead of Beat Feuz and Vincent Kriechmayr who were both 0.22 seconds back. It was for Mayer the second victory in Kitzbühel after his victory in the 2017 Super-G. With his victory in 2020, he scored the "double". Mayer joins Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) and Dominik Paris (ITA) among the only three active skiers to have won both speed disciplines in Kitzbühel.

Mayer became the first Austrian winner on the famous Streif since Hannes Reichelt in 2014.



In 2019 the winner was Dominik Paris. The South Tyrolean managed to claim a third win in the Hahnenkamm downhill. He finished ahead of Beat Feuz and Otmar Striedinger. Only six men have managed to win the Streif three times or more, and among them since today: Dominik Paris. With only 29 years, he could potentially join Franz Klammer (4 wins) or even Didier Cuche (5 wins) for the record.

It was also the third time for Beat Feuz. The third time in second place on the Kitzbuehel downhill podium.




Super-G


Ryan Cochran-Siegle won the most recent World Cup super-G event, in Bormio on 29 December. He became the first male skier from the United States to win a Super-G in the World Cup in 14 years since Bode Miller won in Hinterstoder in December 2006.

Vincent Kriechmayr claimed his first World Cup Super-G podium of the season by finishing second in Bormio on 29 December. Kriechmayr was the only male skier to win multiple World Cup Super-G races last season. The Austrian won in Val Gardena in December 2019 and in Hinterstoder in February 2020.

Coming into Kitzbühel, Kjetil Jansrud is one of three active skiers to have completed the speed double in the Hahnenkammrennen in the World Cup, alongside Dominik Paris and Matthias Mayer. The Norwegian won on the Streif in 2015 and on the Streifalm in 2020. Jansrud has won 13 career World Cup Super-G races, third-most all-time among men behind Svindal (17) and Maier (24).


Last season Kjetil Jansrud claimed the Super-G in Kitzbühel, thanks to an aggressive run, and topped the podium for the first time since November 2018. It was the 13th World Cup Super-G victory for Jansrud, as he continues to be the most successful active skier in this discipline. The Norwegian also becomes the eight-man ever to claim a double in Kitzbühel (winning both the Downhill and Super- G) after his former victory in Downhill in 2015.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished in second place, 0.16 seconds behind his teammate. He was not alone on the second step of the podium, he shared it with local hero Matthias Mayer who clocks exactly the same time and scores another podium in Kitzbühel. The Austrian had already won the Super-G on the Streif back in 2017.



In 2019, 40 years after his father Sepp Ferstl won the Downhill in Kitzbühel, Josef "Pepi" Ferstl became a Hahnenkamm winner himself by taking the Super-G race ahead of Johan Clarey and Dominik Paris.


The first Super-G in Kitzbühel took place in 1995. The first winner was Günter Mader (AUT). Since then it is known as one of the steepest and fastest Super-G courses worldwide.


The Streifalm Racecourse Profile (Super-G):

  • Start Elevation: 1345m

  • Finish Elevation: 805 m

  • Vertical Drop: 540m

  • Distance: 2150m

  • Average slope: 24 %

  • Max. slope: 69 %

  • Min. slope: 8 %

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