The Streif, but make it even more spectacular? Challenge accepted
Ahead of the 81st Hahnenkamm World Cup Races, the Red Bull Skydive Team swept down the Streif, the world's most infamous downhill run, for a truly thrilling track preview.
Mausefalle, Hausbergkante and Steilhang are all iconic sections of the Streif, the challenging downhill run in Kitzbühel, Austria. All are names feared by even the most hardened pros of the Alpine World Cup.
Yet shortly before the skiers hurl themselves down the world-famous course for the 81st Hahnenkamm Races – held between January 22 and 24, 2021 – the Red Bull Skydive team dropped in on the slopes and somehow turned the adrenaline up another notch with a high-speed, low-level wingsuit and parachute fly-through. Check it out in the player above.
That must be just brutal to ski down – it's not the hardest race in the world for nothing!
Speeding over the legendary downhill course, the team of Max Manow, Felix Seifert, Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel executed a world-first flight over the revered track. They were all already familiar with it from watching the race, but experiencing its steepness and dramatic turns from above has seen their respect for the skiers grow exponentially.
"The fact that we were able to fly past the Mausefalle and Hausbergkante with the wingsuit shows how steep it must be there," says Fürst after the flight. "That must be just brutal to ski down. It's not the hardest race in the world for nothing!"
The skydivers dropped out of a helicopter 2,500m above Kitzbühel; the start of the Streif is at 1,665m and the finish is at 805m. The wingsuit and parachute athletes split this spectacular track inspection into two groups. The wingsuit pilots flew through steep canyons, including Mausefalle, Steilhang and Hausbergkante, while the paragliders focused their speed parachutes on the sweeping tracks of Brückenschuss, Geschöss and Alte Schneise, then shot over the Seidlalm.
"The challenge is huge. So many factors have to fit together. With the speed glider we have a bit more leeway, but with the wingsuit the jump point and angle have to fit exactly," said Waltenspiel. "We've had this project in the back of our minds for four years now and thought it would be a real burner if we could fly the Mausefalle or Hausbergkante with the wingsuit at some point."
The challenge is huge – so many factors have to fit together
Jumping from the helicopter, the Red Bull Skydivers reached 60kph in under a second, then when flying over the Mausefalle, they reached speeds of up to 250kph. The top downhill skiers in the world are actually almost as fast: they can accelerate from 0 to 60kph in just three seconds from the moment they catapult themselves out of the start house on the Hahnenkamm. Michael Walchhofer of Austria, who reached a speed of 153kph on the finish slope in 2006, holds the current speed record on the Streif.