World cup slopes for you and me

01/02/2012

The winter season is in full flood, you’re probably used to your new skis and maybe you’ve improved your skiing technique during a ski course. As regards practice, fitness and power, at the moment many passionate skiers are in high spirits. So why don’t you venture to tackle a very difficult slope, where usually Lindsey Vonn, Ivica Kostelic & Co. strive for new speed records?

In any case you should give serious thought to the acceptance of this challenge. In defiance of all warnings ski runs such as Planai, Kandahar or Saslong strongly appeal every enthusiastic skier. Of course we know the slopes from television. Nevertheless we don’t really know them until we’ve scouted out steep slopes, jumps and key sections on our own.

And we can do it, because after the ski circus’ departure most of the legendary world cup slopes in the Alps are open also for hobby sportsmen. For the “normal use” some pistes are slightly defused, but they still evoke hurting calves, irregular pulse and good muscle aches.

Here we present you the most important and notorious world cup slopes passable for hobby skiers:

  • Planai in Schladming (A): known above all for the night race, 3,150 m long, 1,010 m of difference in altitude, many icy, hard sections, very steep finish section, speed record 111.22 km/h made by Franz Klammer in 1973;
  • Saslong in Gröden (I): from the cable car Ciampinoi to St. Christina, 3,446 m long, 839 m of difference in altitude, maximum gradient of almost 57%, famous for three bumps in the middle section called camel’s back;
  • Kandahar in Garmisch (D): considered to be one of the most difficult and challenging world cup slopes, 3,300 m long, 920 m of difference in altitude, maximum gradient of up to 92% (so called free fall), important sections are Trögl slope, Olympia bend, Panorama jump and ice slope;
  • Lauberhorn-Abfahrt in Wengen (CH): longest slope of the ski world cup, 4,455 m long, 1,028 m of difference in altitude, maximum gradient of 93%, top speed of circa 185 km/h, important passages are amongst others the Hundschopf jump and the narrow entrance to the bends Kernen-S;
  • Olimpia delle Tofane in Cortina d’Ampezzo (I): 2,822 m long, 768 m of difference in altitude, important sections are the very steep Tofana slope, the two walls and the bend called La grande S;
  • Streif in Kitzbühel (A): famous Hahnenkamm race, as well one of the most difficult and dangerous ski runs, 3,312 m long, 860 m of difference in altitude, maximum gradient of 85%, extremely steep start section, key section is the so-called mousetrap;