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How to hit 100mph in skiing's oldest, longest, fastest race

The Wengen downhill is the oldest, longest and quickest at the males’s International Cup circuit, and a type of titles coveted by means of the rate freaks, like a grand slam in tennis or a big in golfing. Its honors board is a who is who of downhill daredevils through the years.

The historical race, which returns Saturday, is a two-and-a-half minute plunge down the Lauberhorn mountain within the shadow of the notorious Eiger and neighboring alpine giants the Monch and the Jungfrau.

The beginning is top above car-free Wengen, which in flip sits on a sunny shelf above the Lauterbrunnen valley within the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland.

Town is chock filled with timber-clad chalets and grand 19th century motels, reached by means of a rack railway from the valley flooring.

“Wengen is like one thing from a chocolate field quilt, it is simply so atmospheric and magical. There may be nowhere else moderately love it,” says Getty Pictures photographer Clive Rose. “It is my favourite position to shoot ski racing.”

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The educate trundles on as much as Kleine Scheidegg, the place vacationers educate telescopes on climbers at the Eiger’s north face, or exchange trains to adventure up in the course of the mountain itself to achieve the Jungfraujoch top above the huge Aletsch glacier. It is also the leaping off level for ski racers heading to the beginning hut at the Lauberhorn at 2,315 m (7,595 toes).

The Lauberhorn race weekend, which additionally features a slalom and a blended match, first happened in 1930 and often draws crowds of 35,000 for the downhill by myself.

It historically precedes the blue riband Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuhel, Austria. The dual classics are highlights of the alpine wearing calendar, but when Kitzbuhel is the gold same old, Wengen represents a undying diamond, the quintessence of downhill derring-do.

“There are a large number of stunning issues, a large number of particular issues,” stated Italian Christof Innerhofer, who gained in 2013.

“It is the quickest downhill, the longest downhill, with a lovely landscape. Even going as much as the beginning at the educate — it is very particular to have gained right here.”

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The respected racetrack is a 2.Eight-mile plunge down three,373 ft to the tree-lined end in Wengen, with heart-stopping speeds of just about 100 mph reached at the Haneggschuss directly in the appropriate prerequisites. France’s Johan Clarey clocked the perfect velocity ever recorded in a International Cup ski race of 161.nine kph (100.6 mph) there in 2013.

The route options some notorious options such because the Hundschopf, a blind 130 ft leap via a slim hole. Then there is the Canadian Nook, the website online of dual crashes by means of two of the “Loopy Canucks,” Dave Irwin and Ken Learn in 1976, and the Kernen-S, named after a 2006 spill by means of Swiss racer Bruno Kernen, and the Minsch-Kante, which hospitalized Josef Minsch for a number of weeks in 1965.

The technical completing turns and a leap adopted by means of a compression into the road leaves many racers with not anything left of their legs, leading to an ignominious forestall within the crash mats.

“It is a actual route and a large take a look at,” provides Rose. “You spot world-class athletes with their legs going, somewhat like a marathon runner on the finish, and so they simply can not rise up.”

The downhill has additionally been tinged by means of tragedy. In 1991 a 21-year-old Austrian named Gernot Reinstadler crashed into nets close to the end and later died of his accidents.

“Wengen is indisputably a novel race,” American nice Bode Miller, who gained in 2007 and 2008, advised the In Seek of Pace TV display.

“It is like 4 downhills all caught in combination on one. There is not any different downhill as bodily taxing or as taxing technically. To win that race it’s important to have each aspect of downhill snowboarding utterly dialed in.”

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Native legend Karl Molitor holds the file with six victories between 1939 and 1947 — he went directly to run the race for years and his identify lives on in a Wengen ski store, began by means of his father Fritz in 1912.

Austrian greats Toni Sailer, Karl Schranz and Franz Klammer have been additionally more than one winners and all accomplished the celebrated Wengen-Kitzbuhel double in the similar season. The closing skier to win the double used to be Swiss Didier Defago in 2009.

The massed house fanatics love not anything greater than a Swiss winner and Beat Feuz earned his 2nd identify in 2018 to take Switzerland’s tally to 27 wins, 3 in the back of arch rival Austria.

The legend of the Lauberhorn lives on.

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