When and where to watch the Hahnenkamm 2019?
The Hahnenkamm is, for many, the absolute highlight of the ski world cup calendar. The best of the best flock to Kitzbuhel, caught up in the race fever, to participate in the most notorious downhill race on the Streif. An insane run with more twists than a hurricane, blind drops that will make your stomach hit your jaw and jumps that would make Eddie the Eagle cower to an incredibly unforgiving gradient. It's nail curling and blood biting stuff, the athletes are not just winners but heroes. Each gondola on the Hahnenkammbahn features a winners name and four-time winner Didier Cuche once said "I congratulate all who are here who made it down with me. I think we are all crazy!"
I wholeheartedly agree with him given the gradient at it's steepest is 85% and skiers reach 140kmh - that's punchy on the motorway let alone in a skin-tight suit with a pair of razor-sharp skis strapped to your feet. If you're thinking it doesn't look that bad on TV then consider this; the biggest jump sees you in the air for up to 80m, that's the equivalent of falling from a 24 story building. Now that is insane. Luckily this is not 80m from the ground but total length in the air. And if you hate the thought of a piste with patches of ice this course could give you nightmares being made from polished ice, one massive patch of the stuff. To be honest I'm starting to think the participants are real-life superheroes.
The Hahnenkamm starts on Monday 21st January with the crescendo of affairs being over the following weekend 25-27th January 2019. The atmosphere is electric with the bars and clubs in full swing each evening. It's the best weekend of the year to visit Kitzbuhel (unless you like your skiing calm and quiet that is) with parties left right and centre as the celebrities flock into town.
Streif, One Hell Of A Ride - Kitzbühel Tourismus
Here are the ins and outs of the 2019 weekend with a few pointers along the way:
Friday 25th January
- 10:30 hrs - Entertainment at the finish area
- 11:30 hrs - HAHNENKAMM SUPER-G at the Streifalm
- 18:00 hrs - Draw Downhill at the finish area
- 18:30 hrs - Prize giving ceremony for the Super-G at the finish area
Saturday 26th January
- 10:30 hrs - Entertainment at the finish area
- 11:30 hrs - HAHNENKAMM DOWNHILL on the Streif
- 14:00 hrs - KitzCharityTrophy at the finish area
- 18:00 hrs - Draw for the Slalom at the finish area
- 18:30 hrs - Prize giving ceremony Abfahrt at the finish area
- Followed by fireworks "Hahnenkamm-Rennen 2019"
Sunday 27th January
- 09:30 hrs - Entertainment at the finish area SL
- 10:30 hrs - HAHNENKAMM SLALOM - 1st run on the Ganslern
- 13:00 hrs - Entertainment at the finish area SL
- 13:30 hrs - HAHNENKAMM SLALOM - 2nd run on the Ganslern
- Followed by the prize giving ceremony Slalom at the finish area SL
How do I get a ticket and what will they set me back?
Tickets are available in unlimited supply at all race access points on race days so there's not missing out on that front. You'll need a ticket to enter any of the race viewing areas including the event/finish area. These tickets can now only be bought at the gates on the day. No current online sales are partners of the Kitzbuhel Ski Club and are not official. Though you can order VIP tickets.
If you're lucky enough to be born in 2002 or after you get free admission - just bring some form of ID along to prove it or you may be made to pay (well your parents will).
Prices depend on which race you fancy watching:
- Super-G - 20€
- Downhill - 30€
- Slalom - 25€
For groups of ten or more, group discounts are available (around 10% off each ticket).
Can I Still ski in Kitzbühel?
You can still ski the entire Kitzbühel area during the race week, only the Streif and Ganslern racecourses are closed to the public. You can still ski down the family Streif (with a valid admission ticket) to see some of the action or watch the preparations.
Where's best to watch the races?
At the finish area, there is an extensive event ground, a great spot to catch the final 35 seconds of the race as the skiers fly down from the Hausbergkante. There are also seven video walls and scoreboards to keep you up to date with race developments and entertainment.
You can also watch from the starting line and the 'Mausefalle' at the top of the Hahnenkammbahn cable car if you fancy watching the racers fling themselves down the steep opening stretches.
Or if you've brought your skis without you can make your way down beside the Streif to numerous viewpoints to see different sections of the race. You will still need to have an admission ticket to the race as well as your lift pass.
What else is going on?
If you don't fancy shelling out for a race ticket then there's always the fan zone in town. It promises to be a party atmosphere with a particularly Tyrolean theme. All manner of sausages will be sizzling their aromas making you salivate all day long and we've been promised the prices will be reasonable. There's five video walls and stacks of entertainment planned from local radio stations including live acts and DJs. There's also cashless zones if you can’t stand cash points and love tapping away.
Looking for a party to end all parties?
Friday night sees the famous Kitz'n Glamour Party rear its head at the Club Take Five. This is glamour at its finest with international stars and a red carpet show. And Saturday is home to the Playboy Afterrace Party at the Kitz Galleria and you can follow the crowds to the after after parties later on.
You'll need tickets to both so get scouring the interweb if you're interested.
So there you have it, I hope you're slightly more informed than before. Happy Hahnenkamm.
Here are a couple of facts on the race:
- The first Hahnenkamm World Cup event was in 1967 though the race dates back to 1931.
- The downhill course starts at 1,665m on the Hahnenkamm mountain and ends at 802m on Rasmusleitn almost in the centre of town – a vertical drop of 860m.
- The course is 3,312m in length.
- The steepest section is 85% at the top of Mausefalle (“mousetrap”).
- The longest jump is 80m – down the Mausefalle.
- Maximum speeds of more than 140kmh are reached in the Zielschuss Compression.
- The course record of 1:51:58 mins is held by Fritz Strobl from Austria (1997).
- Rare four-time winners of the race are Franz Klammer and Didier Cuche.
- The HKR has been cancelled three times due to lack of snow, in 1964, 1968 and 1993. The Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel installed a snowmaking system along the entire length of the course in the summer of 1993.
- More than 8,000m of barrier fences, 1,400m of slip fencing, 1,100m of high safety nets, 3,000m of stopper fences (2m high) are installed for the race.
- More than 1,450 people are involved in the staging of the race.
- The average number of spectators for the downhill race each year is 45,000.
- The total prize money available to winners in 2019 is 550,000 euros.
Take a look at Red Bull's historical figures article if you fancy learning more about some of these mental men.
Un-cut version of Hahnekamm Kitzbuhel Downhill 2013 - Graham Bell