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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

84 Hahnenkamm Race (Kitzbühel, 2024). Downhill Races Preview

Updated: Jan 19

From Friday 19th until Sunday 21st, January 2024 Kitzbühel will host three events of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup: Two Downhills on the famous Streif and a Slalom in the Ganslernhang.

84 Hahnenkamm Race. Kitzbühel (AUT)

January 19th Downhill / Men 11:30 CET

January 20th Downhill / Men 11:30 CET

January 21st Slalom / Men 1st run 10:15 / 2nd run 13:15 CET

Kitzbühel is a medieval town and a ski resort located in the Kitzbühel Alps along the river Kitzbüheler Ache, only 95 kilometers east of Innsbruck and 120 km from Munich.

Kitzbühel has always epitomized the perfect combination of sport and lifestyle. The historic town center offers a variety of exclusive shopping opportunities ranging from international brands right through to local dressmakers.

The town is also home to more than 13 award-winning restaurants and a multitude of Tyrolean mountain huts and traditional inns serving traditional local cuisine.

The Kitzbühel / Kirchberg ski area, or Kitzski, nestles between the Kitzbüheler Horn and the Hahnenkamm, and also the Pengelstein and Resterhöhe, between 800 and 2000 meters altitude. From the legendary 'Streif' ski run to pistes ideal for beginners, the ski area around Kitzbühel has 57 cable cars and lifts giving access to 234 km of pistes, including 119 covered by a modern snow-making system, and 36 km of ski routes. As well as variety-packed pistes, countless 'gmiatliche' (= cozy) ski lodges right at the ski runs tempt you in for some refreshments.

84 Hahnenkamm Races, Kitzbuehel
International Hahnenkamm Race, Kitzbühel. Picture: Kitzski. Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel

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.

Adelboden, Wengen, and Kitzbühel are the only venues that have been part of the World Cup since its foundation in 1967.

The Streif ski run is incomparable and has all the elements of a classic Downhill race track: steep edges with breathtaking high-speed jumps, steep slopes, schuss sections, curves, gliding sections, spectacular bumps, and much, much more.

The world-famous ski slope takes its name from the Streifalm, the meadow on the upper part of the course.

84 Hahnenkamm Races, Kitzbuehel
Source: Kitzski. Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel

Streif Racecourse facts:

  • Start Elevation: 1665 m

  • Finish Elevation: 805 m

  • Vertical Drop: 860 m

  • Length: 3312 m

  • Max. slope: 85 %

  • Average slope: 27 %

Skiers start from the “Starthaus” at 1,665 meters above sea level.

The first third of the racecourse comprises three of the key sections – the Startschuss, Mausefalle (mousetrap), and Steilhang (steep slope).

After the 160-meter-long Startschuss and 51 percent gradient “Starthang”, skiers reach the “Mausefalle” in only 8.5 seconds. This is followed by the first jump, which is also the longest. skiers fly distances of up to 80 meters over the steepest section of the Streif, which has an 85 percent gradient and where speeds accelerate up to 110/120 kilometers per hour. Before entering the “Steilhang”, the “Karussell” is a key section where skiers are forced to endure centrifugal forces of 3.1 g.

The following “Steilhang” is considered to be one of the World Cup’s most technically challenging Downhill sections.

The track then enters the varied and more easy middle stretch – with the Brueckenschuss, Gschöss, Alte Schneise, Seidlalm, Laerchenschuss, and Oberhausberg sections.

From the “Gschöss”, the longest gliding section of the Hahnenkamm run, the skiers jump into the “Alte Schneise” where extremely bumpy spots and a gradient of 45% await them. The speed here exceeds 120 km/h

After an energy-consuming “S”, skiers push on and jump over the “Hausbergkante” (local mountain edge) into a compression, followed by a challenging left turn to the “Hausberg Querfahrt", before the Zielschuss, where skiers accelerate to over 150 km/h, and the Zielsprung (final jump) sections. The finish line is located at the end of the run, on the Rasmusleitn.

Last season, Austria and Vincent Kriechmayr enjoyed their third win of the season in the Streif. In a super thrilling and spectacular race, Vincent Kriechmayr beats Italian Florian Schieder by 0.23 seconds. Niels Hintermann finished in third place +0.31 seconds behind.

Kriechmayr has won all the European Downhill Classics Val Gardena-Gröden, Bormio, Wengen (twice), and Kitzbühel.

Austria has won the World Cup Downhill event on the Streif (Kitzbühel) a record 25 times.

Vincent Kriechmayr. Kitzbühel 2023 Downhill Winner
Vincent Kriechmayr. Kitzbühel 2023 Downhill Winner. Picture: GEPA Pictures / HEAD Ski

Last season, in the second Downhill held in Kitzbühel, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde claimed, under challenging conditions, his second career win on the Streif. He finished ahead of Johan Clarey (+0.67) and Travis Ganong (+0.95). The Attacking Viking put together a confident, nearly flawless run.

Kilde is one of four Norwegian skiers to have won the World Cup Downhill event on the Streif. The other three are Lasse Kjus (1999 and 2004), Atle Skårdal (1990) and Kjetil Jansrud (2015).

Kitzbühel 2023 Downhill Podium
Kitzbühel 2023 Downhill Podium. Picture: GEPA Pictures / HEAD Ski

In its long history, only one person has achieved five Downhill victories on the Streif: Didier Cuche (1998, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012). On January 19, 2012, Cuche announced the end of his career in Kitzbühel. Two days later he triumphed on the Streif for the last time.

Only Beat Feuz (7) has collected as many World Cup Downhill podiums on the Streif as Didier Cuche.

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 winners in Kitzbühel.

Franz Klammer won on the Streif in 1975, 1976 and 1977. This was followed by seven without a win - until he achieved his fourth victory with a sensational comeback in 1984.

Downhill Preview

The last six World Cup Downhill races held on the Streif were won by Beat Feuz (3), Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (2), and Vincent Kriechmayr.

Austria (25) and Switzerland (19) are the only countries to have won the World Cup Downhill on the Streif more than six times.

Austrian Downhill skiers won in Kitzbühel only twice in the last 10 years: Matthias Mayer (2020), and Vincent Kriechmayr (2023).

Marco Odermatt took the double Downhill win in the Lauberhorn in Wengen. He can become the first male skier to win three consecutive World Cup Downhill races in a row in 2019 (Kitzbühel, Kvitfjell, and Soldeu).

Odermatt celebrated in Wengen his 31st World Cup win. Of the 12 races he competed this season, he won 7 and finished on the podium in 4 more. A seventh place in the Val Gardena Downhill was his worst result.

Odermatt won his first Downhill race in Courchevel to claim the World Champion Crown at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships thanks to a near-perfect run, especially on the technical sections of L'Eclipse racecourse. He finished ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Cameron Alexander.

Marco Odermatt comes into Kitzbühel as the leader in all Men's World Cup standings except for the Slalom (Overall, Downhill, Super-G, and Giant Slalom).

Odermatt became in Wengen the first male skier to win a Giant Slalom, a Super-G, and a Downhill World Cup race in a single season since Didier Kuche achieved this feat in the 2009-2010 winter season.

His best result in the Downhill on the Streif was second place on January 23, 2022. Last season, Odermatt finished 54th in the first World Cup Downhill on the Streif. He missed the second event due to a minor knee injury.

Cyprien Sarrazin won the Downhill in The Stelvio in Bormio and finished in second place in the two Downhills held in Wengen. He also won the Super-G in Wengen. The 29-year-old French skier confirmed what he showed in Bormio and achieved his sixth podium in the World Cup. Before Bormio, his two previous podium finishes were a victory in the parallel slalom in Alta Badia in 2016, and a second place in the Alta Badia Giant Slalom in 2019.

Cyprien Sarrazin was the first French skier to win a Men's Downhill World Cup race since Adrien Théaux won in Santa Caterina on December 29, 2015.

Sarrazin can become the first Frenchman to win multiple Downhill World Cup races in a single season since Antoine Dénériaz won two in 2002-2003. He can become the third French winner of a Streif Downhill World Cup, after Jean-Claude Killy in 1967, and Luc Alphand in 1995 and 1997.

Dominik Paris rounded up the podium in the Classic Lauberhorn Downhill in Wengen.

Paris won the second Downhill held in Val Gardena-Gröden. It was the 22nd career World Cup victory for the 34-year-old Italian skier. It was the first victory for Paris in Val Gardena Gröden.

With 18 victories in Downhill, Dominik Paris is the active male skier who won the most Downhill events in the World Cup. Only Franz Klammer (25), Peter Müller (19), and Stephan Eberharter (18) have won as many World Cup Downhill events among Men as Paris.

Dominik Paris has won on the Streif thrice (2013, 2017, 2019). He can become the first man to win a World Cup Downhill in 10 different years.

Vincent Kriechmayr recorded nine of his 17 World Cup wins in Downhill. He is yet to record a Downhill podium finish this season. His best positions this season were two 5th places in Bormio and Wengen.

Kriechmayr finished in second place on the Downhill standings last season. He was the only man besides Aleksander Aamodt Kilde to win a World Cup Downhill event last season. Kriechmayr won in Val Gardena (15 December), Bormio (28 December), Kitzbühel (20 January), and Soldeu (15 March) but failed to finish on the podium in the other six Downhills.

Kriechmayr can become the first Austrian man to win multiple World Cup Downhills on the Streif since Stephan Eberharter won in 2002 and 2004.

For the first time since 1967, no Austrian climbed onto the podium in the first five Downhill runs of the World Cup season.

Bryce Bennett won the first Downhill race in Val Gardena-Gröden and placed third in the second race. Bennett has achieved his best results in the Dolomites ski resort: two victories, one-third place, and two-fourth place.

James Crawford finished in fourth place in the Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill standings in the 2022-2023 winter season. The 26-year-old Canadian skier claimed three podium finishes in World Cup Downhill events but has yet to win. He was third in Beaver Creek on December 3, and second in Bormio on December 28, and Aspen on March 3.

In the past eight seasons, the only Canadian man to win a World Cup Downhill race is Cameron Alexander in Kvitfjell on March 4, 2022.

Niels Hintermann achieved the last victory for Switzerland in a Men's World Cup Downhill event. He won in the first Kvitfjell Downhill on 4 March 2022. He shared the first place in the podium with Cameron Alexander.

They were the last skiers - other than Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Vincent Kriechmayr, or Dominik Paris - to celebrate a World Cup win.

26-year-old Canadian Cameron Alexander achieved in Bormio her second Alpine Ski World Cup podium.

Cameron Alexander aims to become the first Canadian on the podium in the Downhill event on the Streif since Erik Guay finished second in 2013. The last Canadian Downhill winner on the Streif was Todd Brooker in 1983.

Last season in Wengen Italian Mattia Casse rounded out the Lauberhorn podium in third place. It's his second podium in the World Cup in Downhill. The 33-year-old Italian skier achieved his first World Cup podium in the discipline in Val Gardena in December 2022. Until then his best result in Downhill was a 7th place in Val Gardena in 2021.

Florian Schieder's only World Cup podium finish came in the Downhill on the Streif on January 20, 2023, when he finished in second place behind Kriechmayr.

These American Downhiller Podcasts look at the craziest and most dangerous Downhill on the Alpine Ski World Cup: Kitzbuhel's Hahnenkamm Races.


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