Hahnenkamm above Kitzbühel, May 2005
|Elevation||1,712 m (5,617 ft)|
The Hahnenkamm (German: rooster's comb) is part of the ski resort of Kitzbühel, and hosts the annual World Cup alpine ski races, the Hahnenkammrennen. The most famous slope on the Hahnenkamm is the classic downhill course, the Streif (streak, or stripe), which is regarded as the most demanding race course on the World Cup circuit. The course features highly technical, "fall-away" turns (reverse bank), many with limited visibility. It also contains several flat gliding sections, immediately preceded by difficult turns, placing a premium on both technical and gliding skills. Run on the mountain's north face, the Streif course is mostly in the shade in January, if skies are clear. Usually overcast and often coupled with fog, the result is "flat" lighting, compounding the course's difficulty.
The Hahnenkammrennen are the annual races, held since 1931 and a fixture of the men's World Cup since its inception in the 1967 season. The races were originally held in March, and sometimes in early February (1949 & 1951). Beginning in 1953, the races at Kitzbühel have been held in mid to late January, often the week following the Lauberhorn in Wengen, Switzerland, another classic downhill.
The Hahnenkamm races are currently held in the following disciplines:
- Super-G on the Streifalm, on Friday
- Downhill on the Streif, on Saturday
- Slalom on the Ganslernhang, on Sunday
Traditionally, the winner of the Hahnenkamm race was determined by the combined results of the downhill and slalom competitions; during the World Cup era, the man most likely to be referred to as Hahnenkammsieger (champion) is the winner of the prestigious downhill race.
Because of challenging weather conditions in January at the top of the mountain, the downhill course is often not run in its entirety. In the decade of 2000-09, the Streif full course was run in only four of the ten years (2001, 2002, 2004, & 2009). Unfortunately, this often eliminates one of the most exciting jumps in ski racing, the Mausefalle (mousetrap), seconds from the top of the course. The competitors reach high speeds quickly out of the starting gate on the Startschuss and fly up to 80 m (260 ft) off the steep jump. Upon landing the racers experience a severe compression immediately followed by a sharp left turn, often negotiated unsuccessfully. Speeds entering the turn are 75–80 mph (120–130 km/h).
In 2006, morning fog at the top of the course forced race organizers to lower the start 115 m (380 ft) to the middle of the Karusell, below the Mausefalle. This shortened the length of the course by 347 m (1,140 ft). The downhill race was cancelled in 2005 and 2007.
In 2008, strong upwinds at the Mausefalle caused race officials to lower the start 50 m (160 ft), shortening the course by 100 m (330 ft). This eliminated most of the Startschuss and its instantaneous speed; the Mausefalle was accordingly altered to a speed-inducing pitch, rather than a formidable jump & compression. Though Didier Cuche won the race, the 2008 edition is likely best remembered for the high-speed crash of Scott Macartney on the Zielsprung, seconds before the finish.
The full course returned in 2009, for the first time in five years, with Didier Défago of Switzerland winning the race. In addition to having the fastest time, he also had the highest speed on the Zielschuss at 88.4 mph (142.3 km/h). It was the second consecutive downhill victory for Défago; he won the Lauberhorn downhill the previous week at Wengen to join a handful of skiers to win both classic races in consecutive weeks. It was last accomplished by Stephan Eberharter of Austria in 2002 and had been 17 years since a Swiss racer won both (1992 - Franz Heinzer). The final training run on Thursday saw the serious crash of Swiss racer Daniel Albrecht, again at the Zielsprung. It resulted in a three week coma and Albrecht's absence from the World Cup circuit for the remainder of the 2009 season and the entire 2010 season.
The full course was run in 2010 under clear skies and again won by Didier Cuche, who had also won the Super-G the previous day. The only significant crash was by former champion Michael Walchhofer, who twisted into the net fence at the final left turn, less than 20 seconds from the finish; he was quickly back on his feet. Cuche's downhill victory was his third on the Streif, his first was in 1998 on a Friday "extra" race. The Zielsprung was significantly moderated in 2010 due to the serious accidents the previous two years.
In 2011, Didier Cuche won the Hahnenkamm downhill for the fourth time to tie the record with Franz Klammer. A year later, and two days after announcing his retirement at the end of the season, Cuche claimed his third consecutive downhill victory at Kitzbühel and a record fifth total.
Sections of the Streif downhill course include:
- Mausefalle (mousetrap) - jump & compression
- Karusell (carousel) - S turns
- Steilhang - (steep slope) - technical entrance to the flats
- Brückenschuss & Gschöss - gliding flats
- Alte Schneise (old glade)
- Seidlalmsprung (jump at Seidlalm) - introduced in 1994
- Lärchenschuss - gliding among larch trees
- Hausberg (mountain house) - jump & sharp corner
- Querfahrt (traverse) - a rough sidehill of glaring ice
- Zielschuss (with compression & jump) - speeds over 140 km/h (87 mph)
- Rasmusleitn to the finish (Ziel).
Facts and figures
|Streif - Downhill|
Finish area (Ziel) in 2011
|Vertical||860 m (2,822 ft)|
|Top elevation||1,665 m (5,463 ft)|
|Base elevation||805 m (2,641 ft)|
- The length of the Streif course is 3.312 km (2.06 mi).
- The starting gate is at an elevation of 1,665 m (5,463 ft) above sea level;
the Streif vertically descends 860 m (2,822 ft) to the finish at 805 m (2,641 ft).
- The average grade of the course is 27 percent (15.1 degrees).
- The maximum grade is 85% (40.4°) at the Mausefalle; minimum is 2% (1.1°) 
- The record for the full 3.3 km course was set in 1997 by Fritz Strobl of Austria at 1:51.58, an average speed of 106.9 km/h (66.4 mph), and an average vertical descent rate of 7.7 m/s (25.3 ft/sec).
- The first non-European to win a downhill race at Kitzbühel in the World Cup era was Ken Read of Canada in 1980. Previously, the only non-European champion was Buddy Werner of the U.S., who won in 1959 at age 22. Canadians won races four consecutive years from 1980-83; the only non-European winner since 1983 is Daron Rahlves of the U.S., who prevailed on an abbreviated course of 2.0 km (1.2 mi) due to fog in 2003.
- Three victories have gone to Scandinavians, all from Norway. Atle Skårdal was the first in 1990 and Lasse Kjus won twice, in 1999 and 2004. Both of Kjus' victories were "extra" races, held on Friday and Thursday, respectively.
- The Streif course was one of several featured in the 1969 movie Downhill Racer, starring Robert Redford and Gene Hackman. It was shown as itself and later as the Olympic course.
- The Streif course was first used in 1937; eight years without Hahnenkamm races followed (1938–45) until the return in 1946.
- Since returning in 1946, the downhill races have been run in all but eight years: 1952, 1964, 1970, 1971, 1988, 1993, 2005, & 2007.
The following is a list of Hahnenkamm downhill winners, with their winning times:
- 2013 - - Dominik Paris - 1:57.56 
- 2012 - - Didier Cuche (5) - 1:13.28 - snowing - shortened to lower 60% of course - 2.0 km
- 2011 - - Didier Cuche (4) - 1:57.72 
- 2010 - - Didier Cuche (3) - 1:53.74 
- 2009 - - Didier Défago - 1:56.09 
- 2008 - - Didier Cuche (2) - 1:52.75 - start lowered 50 m to top of Mausefalle, due to upwinds 
- 2007 - no downhill or Super G races held - lack of snow, warm temperatures 
- 2006 - - Michael Walchhofer - 1:46.75 - start moved to the bottom of the Mausefalle due to fog/safety 
- 2005 - no downhill race held - snow/rain - safety 
- 2004 - - Stephan Eberharter (2) - 1:55.48
- additional race (Thu) - Lasse Kjus (2) - 1:58.78
- 2003 - - Daron Rahlves - 1:09.63 - shortened due to fog - lower 60% of course - 2.0 km 
- 2002 - - Stephan Eberharter - 1:54.21
- 2001 - - Hermann Maier - 1:56.84
- 2000 - - Fritz Strobl (2) - 1:46.54 - shortened
- 1999 - - Hans Knauss - 1:54.18
- 1998 - - Kristian Ghedina - 2:05.49
- - additional race (Fri) - - Didier Cuche - 2:31.55 - (two shortened runs)
- 1997 - - Fritz Strobl - 1:51.58 - (record time for full course)
- - additional race (Fri) - Luc Alphand (3) - 2:12.55
- 1996 - - Günther Mader - 1:54.29 - (record: held for 1 year)
- 1995 - - Luc Alphand (2) - 1:40.97 - shortened
- 1994 - - Patrick Ortlieb - 2:00.12
- 1993 - no races held - lack of snow - snowmaking added that summer
- 1992 - - Franz Heinzer (3) - 1:56.63
- 1991 - - Franz Heinzer - 1:58.71
- 1990 - - Atle Skårdal - 2:26.20
- 1989 - - Daniel Mahrer - 1:58.42
- - additional race (Fri) - Marc Girardelli - 2:01.25
- 1988 - no races held
- 1987 - - Pirmin Zurbriggen (3) - 1:58.06
- 1986 - - Peter Wirnsberger (2) - 2:02.04
- 1985 - - Pirmin Zurbriggen (2) - 2:08.65
- 1984 - - Franz Klammer (4) - 2:02.82
- 1983 - - Todd Brooker - 2:01.96
- - additional race (Fri) - - Bruno Kernen - 2:06.68
- 1982 - - Steve Podborski (2) - 1:57.24
- 1981 - - Steve Podborski - 2:03.76
- 1980 - - Ken Read - 2:04.93
- 1979 - - Sepp Ferstl (2) - 2:04.48
- 1978 - (tie) - Josef Walcher (2) & Sepp Ferstl - 2:07.81
- 1977 - - Franz Klammer (3) - 2:09.71
- 1976 - - Franz Klammer (2) - 2:03.79
- 1975 - - Franz Klammer - 2:03.22 - (record: held for 7 years)
- 1974 - - Roland Collombin (2) - 2:03.29 - (record: held for 1 year)
- 1973 - - Roland Collombin - 2:13.32
- 1972 - - Karl Schranz (4) - 2:24.36
- 1971 - no downhill race held (to Megève - 31-Jan - 2:57.0) - - Bernhard Russi
- 1970 - no downhill race held (giant slalom - 2 runs - 3:20.7) - - Dumeng Giovanoli
- 1969 - - Karl Schranz (2) - 2:18.80
- 1968 - - Gerhard Nenning - 2:14.49
- 1967 - - Jean-Claude Killy - 2:11.82 - (record: held for 7 years)
pre-World Cup era
- 1966 - - Karl Schranz - 2:16.6 - (record: held for 1 year)
- 1965 - - Ludwig Leitner - 2:30.8
- 1964 - no races - lack of snow
- 1963 - - Egon Zimmerman - 2:20.7 - (record: held for 3 years)
- 1962 - - Willi Forrer - 2:37.6
- 1961 - - Guy Périllat - 2:29.2
- 1960 - - Adrien Duvillard - 2:26.1 - (record: held for 3 years)
- 1959 - - Buddy Werner - 2:33.4 - (record: held for 1 year)
- 1958 - - Anderl Molterer - 2:40.7 - (record: held for 1 year)
- 1957 - - Toni Sailer (2) - 2:47.1
- 1956 - - Toni Sailer - 2:57.8
- 1955 - - Anderl Molterer - 2:46.2 - (record: held for 3 years)
- 1954 - - Christian Pravda (2) - 2:47.9 - (record: held for 1 year)
- 1953 - - Bernhard Perren - 2:54.5 - January 17 - (record: held for 1 year)
- 1952 - no races
- 1951 - - Christian Pravda - 2:57.1 - February 7
- 1950 - - Fritz Huber - 3:04.3 - March 11
- 1949 - - Egon Schöpf - 3:03.0 - February 5
- 1948 - - Helmut Lantschner - 3:16.33 - March 13
- 1947 - - Karl Feix - 3:36.0 - March 7
- 1946 - - Thaddäus Schwabl - 3:04.3 - March 2
- 1945 - no races
- 1944 - no races
- 1943 - no races
- 1942 - no races
- 1941 - no races
- 1940 - no races
- 1939 - no races
- 1938 - no races
- 1937 - - Thaddäus Schwabl - 3:53.1 - March 19 - first on Streif course
- 1936 - - Freidl Pfeifer - 5:03.2 - March 7
- 1935 - - Siegfried Engl - 4:38.8 - March 23
- 1934 - no races
- 1933 - no races
- 1932 - - Walter Prager - 7:56.4 - March 19
- 1931 - - Ferdl Friedensbacher - 4:34.2 - March 28
Each downhill champion's name is affixed to a gondola car on the Hahnenkammbahn lift,
which extends from the Kitzbühel base to the top of the Hahnenkamm mountain.
- YouTube video - 1981 race live - 18-Jan-1981
- YouTube video - 1981 race - crashes only
- YouTube video - Franz Klammer, age 30, wins his 4th Hahnenkamm on full course - 21-Jan-1984
- YouTube video - career-ending crash of Todd Brooker, 1983 winner, at top of Zielschuss, Friday training run - 24-Jan-1987
- YouTube video - Kristian Ghedina on full course - spread eagles at Zielsprung - 6th place - 24-Jan-2004
- YouTube video - Hermann Maier on full course - 9th place - 24-Jan-2004
- YouTube video - 2004 race coverage from ORF (Austrian Broadcasting) - 24-Jan-2004
- YouTube video - Bode Miller skis onto fence exiting Steilhang, takes 2nd - 19-Jan-2008
- YouTube video - crash of Scott Macartney at Zielsprung, takes 33rd - 19-Jan-2008
- YouTube video - crash of Daniel Albrecht at Zielsprung - Thursday training run - 22-Jan-2009
- YouTube video - Didier Défago wins 2009 Hahnenkamm on full course - 24-Jan-2009
- YouTube video - crash of Hans Grugger at Mausefalle - Thursday training run - 20-Jan-2011
Various - Vertical Up
In the evening dawn of 25. February 2011 the first Streif VerticalUp race took place with a mass start. No rules, just up the route of the ski race, but in the "rucksack-class" up the less steep family ski piste. 79 in the speed class and 116 with rucksack reaches the goal: the start booth of the ski race. On shoes with spikes, with pickel or ski sticks, snow shoes, touring or cross-country skis, whatever.
The fastest man (Urban Zemmer (ITA) 0h32:52) and the second fastest as well as the fastest woman (Barbara Exenberger (AUT) - 0h54:47) have all been in sub-class "over40" and used touring skis. See http://www.verticalup.at/ .
Notes and references
- Hahnenkamm, Kitzbühel in the Aeiou Encyclopedia (German)
- "Heuer zum 50. Mal: Kitzbühel total im ORF" (in German). ORF. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "550.000 Euro Preisgeld für Kitz-Sieger" (in German). Tiroler Tageszeitung. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-01-24.[dead link]
- "Hahnenkamm racing courses". Kitzbüheler Ski Club. Retrieved 2008-12-01.[dead link]
- "Results Kitzbühel Downhill 2006". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "Defago wins World Cup downhill on Streif". USA Today. Associated Press. 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- "Cuche wins Hahenkamm DH, pushes Bode Miller to second". Ski Racing.com. January 22, 2011.
- "Cuche wins Hahnenkamm DH for record fifth time". Ski Racing.com. January 21, 2012.
- "Dom Paris wins Hahnenkamm DH for Italy". Ski Racing.com. January 26, 2013.
- Jelusic, Ana (January 26, 2013). "Dominik Paris tames the Streif". FIS Alpine.com.
- "Racing courses overview diagram". Kitzbüheler Ski Club. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "Downhill "Streif"". Kitzbüheler Ski Club. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "Distance Records "Streif" Course record". Kitzbüheler Ski Club. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- FIS-ski.com - results for Ken Read
- "Results - Former HKR" (in German). Kitzbüheler Ski Club. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "Honor Roll - the champions, men, downhill". Kitzbüheler Ski Club. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "Results Kitzbühel Downhill 2013". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "Results Kitzbühel Downhill 2011". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
- "Results Kitzbühel Downhill 2011". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
- "Results Kitzbühel Downhill 2010". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- "Results Kitzbühel Downhill 2009". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- "Results Kitzbühel Downhill 2008". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
- "Like it or not, men prep for Kitz slalom-fest". skiracing.com. 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- "Kitzbuehel: Walchhofer wins downhill; Rahlves, Miller check in at 3-4". skiracing.com. 2006-01-21. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "KITZBUEHEL 2005: Hahnenkamm downhill cancelled for safety reasons". skiracing.com. 2005-01-22. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- "Results Kitzbühel Downhill 2003". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "Results Kitzbühel Extra Downhill 1998". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- "Athlete information BROOKER Todd". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
- FIS-ski.com - results of 2004 race
- Hahnenkamm race (English)
- Bergbahn Kitzbühel (English)
- Bergbahn Kitzbühel (German)
- Ski Racing.com - "Kitzbühel is cool" - a U.S. coach's persective - Jan-2010
- FIS-ski.com - 2013 Hahnenkamm downhill results
- Alpine Ski Maps.com - Kitzbühel area - winter
- Alpine Ski Maps.com - Kitzbühel area - summer
- Ski-Europe.com - winter map of Kitzbühel area (with elevations)