Last weekend saw some of the World’s top ski racers compete on the Hahnenkamm in the iconic resort of Kitzbühel in Austria. It kicked off with the downhill race, on a track known as the Streif, considered to be the most challenging downhill slope in the world. Attended by 45,000 spectators, this downhill in the high end Austrian resort is the World Cup race on the tour with the highest prize money, offering €100,000 to the fastest competitor. This downhill is followed by a slalom race where Britain’s Dave Ryding made history last year, becoming the first British alpine skier in history to win a World Cup race.
This year in the slalom, Ryding produced an exceptional second run to move from 16th to 2nd place and secure a podium finish, with only Swiss racer Daniel Yule able to beat his combined time. Speaking to Eurosport after his race he explained, “I have been searching for a run like that all year, I was close to stopping believing but proved to myself to never stop believing. I had a good feeling straight away from the skis. I just went for it. I am getting better with age maybe, and Kitzbühel you need some experience.”
Ryding has been an inspiration to his team mates Billy Major and Laurie Taylor who were both competing alongside him in Kitzbuhel last weekend. Major finished in a very respectable 23rd position with Taylor narrowly missing out on a qualification for the second run. Make sure to keep following these athletes for the upcoming World Championships in Courchevel as they continue their quest to the top!
The Kitzbühel downhill begins with two training runs followed by two races on consecutive days. The World famous race requires the competitors to face extreme fear. If anyone has been on the Streif race course or seen it on TV will know that if any racer pushes out of the start gate with the intent to race, they deserve massive respect and they are considered to be a true downhiller. However, the only way to seal the victory is to push beyond reasonable limits. This was the case for the local favourite Vincent Kreichmayr, who secured the win for the first of the two downhill races of the weekend. Norwegian racer, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, took the victory on the second day having narrowly avoided a high speed crash on the previous day.
We spoke to top ranked British downhiller, Roy Steudle (pictured above), about his experiences racing the iconic downhill race last weekend.
“So the Hahnenkamm. This year was much better than last year (my first time). Last year I cried after inspection, and nearly passed out in the start of the first training. This year I felt completely confident and from the second training I was attacking every part of the course. Honestly it is now one of my favourites.
It’s the most notorious race in the world for a reason because it tests not only your physical and mental ability to the very limit, but also your character - every part of your being is put into question. You really have to ask yourself what being a downhiller means to you when you look out from the start gate into the Mausefalle. Wherever you’re lacking, the Streif will expose it.”
Make sure to look out for Roy who will be racing in the downhill for GB in the upcoming World Championships in Courchevel. Follow along his journey here!
If you would like an instructor to guide you around the iconic resort of Kitzbühel or if you will be traveling to Courchevel between 6-19th February this year during the World Championships make sure to book your lessons with us today!
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