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12 Януари 2011 - 11:22
Loving the Lauberhorn
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ALPINE SKI. There are a myriad of reasons why people love the classic Lauberhorn ski race held in Wengen, Switzerland every January.

The scenic setting of the course, just beneath the fabled Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks in the majestic Bernese Oberland is probably one of the major ones.

The quaint, old-world village atmosphere in this tiny pedestrians-only alpine town dotted with classy hotels and fondu restaurants is probably another.

The old fashioned cog-rail train ride up from the valley below is also probably a big draw.

The view of the Schilthorn restaurant perched on a mountain peak across the valley in Murren - the same place that doubled as the criminal lair of James Bond’s arch villain Blofeld in the 1960s film Her Majesty’s Secret Service - is also probably a big attraction to some.

But if you ask the racers, both past and present, why they love The Lauberhorn, they’ll tell you it’s because The Hundschopf - a really cool jump section named after a dog’s head.

When I asked Italian speedster Peter Fill which section of the course he liked most, he smiled and confessed the course itself, all of it, was his favourite on the entire tour.

“My favourite course IS the Lauberhorn,” Fill said with a big smile.

“It’s the nicest run that I’ve ever made. The nicest part is the Hundschopf. After you come down, you make the Minsch-Kante and you make the Bruggli-S (now called the Kernen-S), that’s the nicest part. From the other side of the mountain you have a perfect view of the course and that’s very cool.”

Fill, and other racers whose skis have graced the snow covering this holy racing site over the years admit the attraction is the scenic grandeur of the location, the unorthodox singularities and “classic” personality of a course that unlike any modern course on the World Cup tour.

“The Lauberhorn is a course I love because it’s ‘old school.’ You point your skis straight down the mountain and go all out at full speed. It’s not overly technical, it’s a classic test of skill, strength and endurance - and it’s got a sick jump called The Hundschopf - plus a train tunnel later on down the course! Ripping down a downhill course and having to go through a tunnel at high speed is pretty cool,” said Canadian Cowboy Manuel Osborne-Paradis who finished in second here last year, and also has a third place Lauberhorn podium too.

Another Canadian who has had success at The Lauberhorn is equally impressed and enamored with the track.

In 1980, a week after winning the famed Kitzbuehel, Hahnenkamm downhill in Austria, Crazy Canuck Ken Read took the top prize at The Lauberhorn. Read, who tamed the beast of the Bernese Oberland thirty-one years ago can still give racers and fans alike a textbook, blow-by-blow lesson on how to race this course successfully.

“Pacing is the key to success at The Lauberhorn. To me the section that is the trickiest, most spectacular, and probably one of the most challenging in ski racing is through the Hundschopf, Minsch-Kante and into the Wasserstation about a third of the way down the course. Coming into the Hundschopf you have a deceleration S-turn that takes you from 130km/h right down to very, very slow, because you have to go over the Hundschopf at very controlled speed because it’s like dropping into an elevator shaft. If you’re watching on TV you see the Eiger in the background and the view is spectacular,” Read said.

“Once you drop down the Hundschopf, you accelerate again into this compression roll, into the Minsch-Kante, and then go whipping around into the Canadian Corner. What’s tricky about this is the bias of the hill keeps changing so you have to be adapting your stance while accelerating. Then you go onto a narrow cat track into the Wasserstation where you have this incredibly tight S-turn that you exit at around 60km/h. As you go out, you almost feeling like standing up, like pole pushing and skating to try to get your speed up because you had such a change from so fast to so slow. It’s negotiating all that, realizing the pacing, maintaining velocity, constantly adapting your stance and being very, very technically brilliant through this section that ultimately decides whether you win or lose on this very special track.”

The Lauberhorn, and the Hundschopf section in particular, also have special meaning for Swiss alpine skiing legend Bernhard Russi (who actually has a section named after him - The Russisprung jump near the top of the course).

“The Hundschopf is my favourite section because it’s a dramatic place. You have not only snow, you have rocks, it’s very narrow, you come in from 130 km/h down to about 80km/h or something like that so that’s always a very special feeling. And then right after there are two very difficult turns which are mostly deciding the race. My first World Cup point ever was won at The Lauberhorn. At this time only the 10 best got World Cup points and I had number 73 or something like that. I remember before my run, I was watching television in the hotel room, the best guys coming down and then I went up to the start and the course was in bad shape. Shaky, holes and ruts and everything. So coming down and feeling along the course that the people are acting, the spectators were very close to the course at this time, there was no netting, nothing in 1970, and I finished tenth - that was a great memory,” Russi said.

By Michael Mastarciyan
FISalpine.com
Tuesday 11 January 2011


 

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Следваща:
First Freeride World Tour Event of the Year at Chamonix Mont-Blanc – 12 Януари 2011 - 13:26
High-value award nominations for Lindsey Vonn – 13 Януари 2011 - 10:57
Втори пореден триумф на Ивица Koстелич, спечели Супер-комбинацията във Венген – 14 Януари 2011 - 15:58
Германия с първа победа в Световната купа по ски-скок от 2007-ма – 15 Януари 2011 - 13:25
Топлото време в Марибор доведе до анулиране на гиганския слалом – 15 Януари 2011 - 14:10

Предходна:
Рийш и Путиайнен си поделиха победата от слалома във Флахау – 11 Януари 2011 - 23:43
Tudegesheva and Karl claim victory in Bad Gastein`s psl – 09 Януари 2011 - 23:09
Италиански триумф в аматьорското съревнование Rampa con i Campioni срещу световните топ ски бегачи – 09 Януари 2011 - 19:01
Моргенщерн спечели второто състезание по ски полети в Чехия – 09 Януари 2011 - 18:17
Дарио Колоня триумфира в Тур дьо Ски за втори път в кариерата си – 09 Януари 2011 - 16:30

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