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20 Януари 2012 - 20:46
Hahnenkamm-Races: Snow Train
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ALPINE SKI. Snow is a prerequisite for a successful season at any mountain resort. Kitzbühel loves piles of the white fluffy stuff to cover the countless groomed slopes, and back country routes. By contrast an overnight dump of wet snow that continues rumbling through the day like an interminably long freight train is as disruptive as it gets for an event like the Hahnenkamm-Races. "It's been a pain," understated Michael Huber, President of the Kitzbühler Ski Club at a gathering of Hahnenkamm Legends and former winners at the Rasmushof Hotel this afternoon.

With the cancellation of today's scheduled Super-G, for the skiers and their technicians another frustrating day of apparent inactivity. Not so, with each pair of skis requiring around three hours work to perfectly prepare the bases, the ski rooms in converted garages around Kitzbühel rang to sound of wax being applied, scraped and polished to achieve the desired finishes for the 72nd Downhill race which remains scheduled for tomorrow at 11.30 CET.

Despite or in spite of the weather, the organizers have every intention of running a race tomorrow, as Günther Hujara FIS Race Director remarked at the Team Captains Meeting, "It's a challenge, but we will work the whole night through."

Old meets new
The undisputed legend of the Hahnenkamm-Races is, without question, Rolex Testimonee Hermann Maier. A four-time medallist at the Winter Olympics, including two golds; a six-time medallist at the Ski World Championships and a four-time winner of the overall Alpine World Cup, he is one of Austria's all-time greats, Maier is not in town to relive his past-glories, a mere six wins on the Hahnenkamm, he feels at home in Kitzbühel. This despite an uncertain start, "For me as an Austrian it is special here. It's an outstanding race where I had great success, even though at the beginning it was not too good. The first time I pulled out, because I was preparing for the Olympic Games. The second time I went into the netting. It took some time to find my real relationship with the race. Now that I have finished my career, it's much easier."

One of Maier's fellow Rolex Testimonee is the young Swiss Carlo Janka, who in his fledgling career has already won Olympic gold, a World Championship and the Alpine World Cup overall. When the two met last night in the Tennerhof Hotel, there was a clear bond. Not just as skiers, not just members of the Rolex family. These are sportsmen who understand the commitment to excellence required to achieve at the highest level. Both assert that there is much, much more than luck necessary to win at marquee sporting events such as Kitzbühel. According to Maier, "luck is a part, but it is not the biggest part. If you are lucky, you may win one race or even two, But, if you work really, really hard, and fight a lot, then luck will come as if it is just a part of training. It is more important that you concentrate on the work and have a real passion for this life, for skiing. If you are really good, you do not need luck."

Janka acknowledges this too, pointing out that it takes time and experience to do well in sport, particularly on the hardest of pistes, the Streif, "It is the most difficult ski race in the world. It is a big honour to win here and the goal of every downhiller. Every year I learn a bit more and make a little step towards it. The goal is to do the slope like Hermann or Didier Cuche in the past few years, but it is a process and a lot of years go into it. I hope I can go on taking steps towards doing it one day."

The two could have talked all night, but Janka had an appointment with the Streif today. An appointment that requires reverential preparation, as Maier explains, "It is such a special feeling in the start house here, it is more silent than at other downhill races. You have to be so concentrated. One mistake and maybe your career is over."

Prior preparation
Part of that reverence is the treatment of the skis. Each competitor here has behind him a support team. The least visible, often most unsung, but certainly critical is the Service Technician. Hidden away in garages around Kitzbühel, these diligent, meticulous individuals are usually the first up in the morning and the last to bed. Rolex Testimonee Carlo Janka's ski man is Stefan Viehauser from Atomic.

Born in Kleinarl (home to female skiing legend, Annemarie Moser Pröll), a former ski instructor, but self-confessed bad racer, Viehauser loves skiing. This is his fourth season with Janka. When Janka does well he celebrates, when he does not Viehauser lives the disappointment. "It is personal," he says. With Janka, or "Janks" as Viehauser calls him, competing in the Downhill and Super-G, the garage is full of skis. "At an event like Kitzbühel he has twenty pairs of skis for the Downhill and Super-G, around 10 pairs per discipline. He needs this number because the skis are different models with different tuning, different sidecuts, and different grind pattern on the base."

At this point, the process for selecting which skis Janka will use rests firmly on the young shoulders of Viehauser. "We do a lot of testing with different models in the summer, and in the winter I know which ski to choose for each Downhill. I have two pairs of skis for tomorrow, with different base grinds and different wax. Tomorrow morning I choose which skis to use for the race."

The choice of skis and final adjustments may be left "until five minutes before the start", but this would be an exception. "Normally, we do all the work in the ski room and there is nothing to do at the start except fit the skis to the boots." This suggests an easy race-day morning. Far from it, "First thing tomorrow we'll start final preparation of the skis. We get up at 7 o'clock and information about conditions starts to come at 8. We go for track inspection with the team, and get the snow and air temperature from the trainers on the course. Then we do the last bits of work."

Like an aircrew for a fighter ace, Viehauser rarely sees his pilot in action, "Most time we have no television in the start area, so we usually see just the first 100 metres of the race." His reward is a successful return. "It's great working with Carlo, he has won a lot of victories. It is cool working with an Olympic champion, a World Champion and an overall World Cup winner." Like Maier and Janka, Viehauser's methods are not based on luck. Commitment to excellence and achievement, passion for the sport motivates extensive and proper prior preparation. Tomorrow's result on the Official Rolex Timing is the only measure.

Living Legends
Kitzbühel is more than just the alpine skiing event of the year. It attracts the great and good of Austrian society, along with a select group of international A-list celebrities. For the ski fan, the true collection of A-listers had gathered at the Rasmushof Hotel, within a shout of the Zielhaus and the finish of the Hahnenkamm Downhill course. Amongst those present at this celebration of dedication and accomplishment were Downhill winners: Fritz Strobl (1997 current Downhill course record /00), Anton 'Jimmy' Steiner (Combination1984), Stephan Eberharter (2002/4), Ludwig Leitner (1965), Fritz Huber (1950), Kristian Ghedina (1998), Luc Alphand (1995) &, of course, Rolex Testimonee Hermann Maier (01).

For detailed information about the 72nd Hahnenkamm-Races including entrants and results please visit the event website:

January 20, 2012


изпрати на приятел Printer friendly версия  

Дидие Кюш с рекордна пета победа в спускането в Кицбюел – 21 Януари 2012 - 14:59
Теса Уорли спечели гигантския слалом в Кранска гора – 21 Януари 2012 - 16:08
Победи в спринта за Ковалчик и Колоня – 21 Януари 2012 - 18:15
Грегор Шлиренцауер спечели втория ски скок в Закопане – 21 Януари 2012 - 22:25
Кирхгасер триумфира на слалома в Кранска Гора – 22 Януари 2012 - 15:09

Камил Щох спечели първия ски скок в Закопане пред родна публика – 20 Януари 2012 - 20:44
СуперГ-то в Кицбюел се провали заради лошото време – 20 Януари 2012 - 12:38
Партньорството между FIS и Ауди продължава до 2018-та година – 20 Януари 2012 - 12:28
Почина канадската фрийстайл скиорка Сара Бърк – 20 Януари 2012 - 12:19
Hahnenkamm-Races: Snow News, But Not No News – 20 Януари 2012 - 11:15

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