83 Hahnenkamm Races (Kitzbühel, 2023). Downhill Races Preview
Updated: Jan 21
January 20th Downhill / Men 11:30 CET
January 21st Downhill / Men 11:30 CET
January 22nd Slalom / Men 1run 10:30 / 2 run 13:30 CET
The Downhill race is held on the Hahnenkamm mountain (the name translates to "Rooster’s Comb"), one of the mountains surrounding the ski resort town of Kitzbühel, Tirol, Austria.
The Hahnenkamm racecourse, the Streif (or the "Stripe"), is considered one of the most demanding runs of the FIS downhill calendar.
Hot on the heels of the Lauberhorn Races in Wengen, Switzerland – another of the great alpine ski classics and the oldest one-, the first race took place on today’s Streif course in 1937.
In 2020 Matthias Mayer claimed victory in the Hahnenkamm Downhill. Mayer finished ahead of Beat Feuz and Vincent Kriechmayr who were both 0.22 seconds back. With his victory today, he scored the "double" as he also won the Super-G in Kitzbühel in 2017. Mayer joined Kjetil Jansrud and Dominik Paris as the only three active skiers to have won both speed disciplines in Kitzbühel.
In the first one, on January 22, Beat Feuz finished ahead of Matthias Mayer, the 2020 Kitzbühel Downhill winner (+0.16), and Dominik Paris (+0.56), the only active skier to have won multiple World Cup Downhill races in Kitzbühel (2013, 2017, and 2019). Feuz put the hammer down and clocked the fastest time on the Streif racecourse, 1:53.77 seconds, the fastest anyone has skied down the full course since his countryman Didier Cuche did it three-hundredths faster some 11 years ago.
The race was overshadowed by two big crashes and big delays.
First, Ryan Cochran-Siegle suffered a high-speed crash into the protective netting before the traverse below the Hausberg.
Four racers later Swiss Urs Kryenbuehl suffered a serious crash in the last jump before the finish line.
After the two interruptions, the weather started to turn for the worse with a southerly wind creating dangerous conditions and creating further delays.
After an interminable wait and once the bib number 30 Nicolas Raffort had completed the racecourse, the race jury stopped the race.
Second place went to Johan Clarey, who Feuz bumped out of the lead after topping the Frenchman by 0.17 seconds. Clarey became the first 40-year-old to earn a podium on the Streif.
Matthias Mayer, who came runner-up to Feuz on Friday, finished 0.38 behind in third.
Last season Aleksander Aamodt Kilde claimed in the first Downhill held in Kitzbühel, (in a lightly shortened Downhill racecourse. Due to strong winds in the upper part of the slope the race started from the reserve start, located just above the Mausefalle), his first career win on the Streif. He finished ahead of Johan Clarey (+0.42) and the surprise of the day, Blaise Giezendanner (+0.63).
He is the fourth Norwegian winner at the Streif. Before him, Åtle Skårdal (1990), Lasse Kjus (1999, 2004) and Kjetil Jansrud (2015) had won the Hahnenkamm Downhill.
One day later Beat Feuz won the Hahnenkamm Downhill in a 1-2 Swiss Podium. Marco Odermatt finished in second place only +0.21 seconds behind his teammate. Starting with bib number 1, Austrian Daniel Hemetsberger finished in third place +0.90 seconds behind Feuz.
Austrian skiers have won a record 24 World Cup Downhill races in Kitzbühel. Switzerland (18) is the only other country to have recorded more than five wins on the Streif.
The seven skiers to have won on the Streif more than twice in the World Cup are Didier Cuche (5), Franz Klammer (4), Dominik Paris (3), Franz Heinzer (3), Karl Schranz (3), Luc Alphand (3) and Pirmin Zurbriggen (3).
He was the fourth man to achieve three successive World Cup Downhill wins in Kitzbühel, after Karl Schranz (1969-1972), Franz Klammer (1975- 1977), and Franz Heinzer (1991-1992).
The Emmentaler has been the best and, above all, the most constant Downhill skier in the World Cup for years.
With three wins in The Streif Beat Feuz is level with Dominik Paris (3), Franz Heinzer (3), Karl Schranz (3), Luc Alphand (3) and Pirmin Zurbriggen (3) as triple winner in Kitzbühel. Only Didier Cuche (5), Franz Klammer (4), have won more times the Hahnenkamm Downhill.
This episode of the American Downhiller Podcast looks at the craziest and most dangerous Downhill on the Alpine Ski World Cup: Kitzbuhel's Hahnenkamm Races.