Now that the Streif, the world’s most dangerous downhill slope, can rest for another year, we take a look back at last weekend’s Hahnenkamm Race in snowy Kitzbühel, Austria.
Last weekend, for the 72nd time in history, daredevil ski racers, notorious glitterati and more than 40,000 supporters crowded the legendary Tyrolean skiing mecca Kitzbühel to witness the Super G, Slalom, and of course the Downhill on the famous Streif.
Announced with thundering media drum rolls and watched by millions on TV, this year’s edition of the ski race to end all ski races was overshadowed by the overwhelming attendance of one mighty guest: the snow. Due to intense dumping, the Super G on Friday had to be cancelled and the Downhill’s normally icy and bone hard 3.3-kilometre course had to be shortened to 1.9 rather fluffy kilometres.
Didier Cuche, at 37 already the oldest skier to win a World Cup race, overtakes Austrian great Franz Klammer who won the downhill in Kitzbühel four times in 1975, '76', '77 and '84. Didier's time on the Streif course was 1 minute 13.28 seconds in heavy snowfall to beat Austrian pair Romed Baumann (below in white and pink overall) and Klaus Kröll by 0.24 and 0.30 seconds. Cuche was obviously moved by his fifth victory over the majestically cruel Streif. “I really couldn’t wish for a better ending,” he said. Klammer was among the first to congratulate the Swiss from Neuchåtel: “He’s now the emperor of Kitzbühel”.
“Crazy Canuck” Eric Guay (+ 0.63) came in 11th while fellow Red Bull athlete, Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal (below) had to content himself at rank 14 (+ 0.67).
Considering the dense tumbling of snowflakes, various indoor activities had to be tried instead of fresh air entertainment to while away the time between the races. Lively Frenchman Luc Alphand, who has enjoyed a fair deal of Streif in his life, got involved with the traditional Alpine pastime of banging nails into a log of wood with an inverted hammer. Gladly, Luc was not all by himself in doing so.
Yet, Luc still had time to hang out with Dani Pedrosa and took his own gondola up the Hahnenkamm Mountain. Dani seems aptly impressed by the personalised (and heated!) vehicle. Also in place were Dani's buddies Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo (Top photo).
These two gentleman are verified Kitzbühel veterans. David Coulthard and Cyril Despres have been seen partying, snow mobile racing, skiing, putting on a snowball fight and participating in all kinds of cool to cold entertainment. Both took part in the “KitzCharityTrophy“ ski race which raised almost 130,000 Euros for the Austrian Mountain Farm Aid.
While the ex-Formula 1 racer and the most recent winner of the Dakar Rally showed their skills in “Movement on snow in an upright position”, the two characters below stuck to the four wheels they are most commonly associated with: Bernie Ecclestone and Niki Lauda, braving the blizzard of Kitz.