Lauberhorn ski races

Coordinates: 46°35′35″N 7°55′30″E / 46.593°N 7.925°E / 46.593; 7.925
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Lauberhorn - Downhill
Lauberhorn - Downhill is located in Switzerland
Lauberhorn - Downhill
Lauberhorn - Downhill
Location in Switzerland
Coordinates46°35′35″N 7°55′30″E / 46.593°N 7.925°E / 46.593; 7.925
Vertical1,028 m (3,373 ft)
Top elevation2,315 m (7,595 ft) 
Base elevation1,287 m (4,222 ft)
Wengen is located in Alps
Location in the Alps of Europe

The Lauberhorn ski races (Lauberhorn World Cup alpine ski races (German: Lauberhornrennen) (downhill, slalom, and combined) are among the highest-attended winter sports events in the world, attracting around 30,000 spectators each year. An established attraction is the airshow by the Patrouille Suisse, the aerobatic demonstration team of the Swiss Air Force. The 2016 races were held 15–17 January (super-combined, downhill, and slalom).

The races in Wengen in the Bernese Oberland are held in mid-January, usually the week prior to the Hahnenkamm, in Kitzbühel, Austria, another classic downhill race run since the early 1930s.

The Lauberhorn is a mountain in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, located between Wengen and Grindelwald, north of the Kleine Scheidegg. Its summit is at an elevation of 2,472 m (8,110 ft) above sea level.

The downhill course is the longest in the world; its length of over 4.4 km (2.7 mi) results in run times of two and a half minutes (about 30–45 seconds longer than standard downhill races); top speeds approach 160 km/h (100 mph) on its Haneggschuss, the highest speeds on the World Cup circuit.

The Lauberhorn downhill run is surrounded by the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau above the Lauterbrunnen valley. It is known for run arrangements such as the Hundschopf, a signature 40 m (130 ft) jump over a rock nose, the Kernen-S (passing over a bridge at around 80 km/h (50 mph) and the Wasserstation tunnel (underpassing the viaduct of the Wengernalpbahn).

Races are held on two famous courses "Lauberhorn" (downhill) and "Männlichen / Jungfrau" (slalom).

Key sections[edit]

Map of downhill and slalom

Many of the named portions of the course are due to historic falls or crashes by racers. The best known sections of the Lauberhorn downhill, or Lauberhornrennen,[1] race are the following (in descending order):[2][3]

  • Russisprung (Russi jump), named after Swiss Olympic champion Bernhard Russi, in the upper treeless part of the course
  • Hundschopf (dog's head), the Lauberhorn's signature jump over the rock nose, about a third of the way down the course
  • Minsch-Kante
  • Canadian Corner, a long fall-away right turn
  • Alpweg trail, very narrow and only 3 m (10 ft) in width
  • Kernen-S (formerly the Brüggli-S), consecutive right-left 90° curves separated by a small bridge), which reduces speed considerably; exit speed very important as the slower Langentrejen flats are next.
  • Wasserstation (water station), a small tunnel underpassing the local railroad Wengernalpbahn
  • Langentrejen where the slope becomes significantly flatter, now ends with Super-G turns
  • Haneggschuss, a pitch after the flats where top speeds approach 160 km/h (100 mph)
  • Silberhornsprung (Silberhorn jump)
  • Österreicherloch (Austrian hole)
  • Ziel-S (finish-S) which is endurance challenging and finally a finish jump (reduced in recent seasons)


Karl Schranz in 1966, winning his third of four Lauberhorn downhills, beneath the Mönch

One of the first reports of skiing from the Lauberhorn to Wengen was in 1912 when the Roberts of Candahar Ski Challenge Cup was offered.[4] By 1927 it was just known as the Lauberhorn Ski Cup.[5]

It is one of the oldest continuously-held ski races. The Russisprung was originally built in the spring for a television show and was incorporated into the course by organizers the following year. The Minsch-Kante is where Josef Minsch fell in 1965 and was hospitalized for weeks. The Canadian Corner is named after two of the Crazy Canucks, Dave Irwin and Ken Read, who aggressively attacked this part of the course in 1976 and subsequently fell during the race. The Kernen-S was renamed for 2003 winner Bruno Kernen after his crash in 2006 at the former Brüggli-S. The Silberhornsprung was introduced in 2003 with the pyramid-shaped Silberhorn mountain in the background for television viewers. The Österreicherloch (Austrian hole) got its name in 1954 when almost all participating Austrian skiers (including Toni Sailer) fell there; 1960s Austrian great Karl Schranz later fell there as well.

In 1991, a tragic death occurred during training for the race at the Ziel-S (Finish-S). The young Austrian skier Gernot Reinstadler was not able to finish the S-curve properly and therefore jumped into the slope boundary (because he was too far to the right), where he hooked one ski in the security net and suffered severe injuries to the lower body. He died shortly after the accident from internal bleeding. The race was not held that year. In reaction to this tragic event, the slope boundary at that place was also equipped with rejection canvas and the gates were moved upwards and more to the left.

Snowmaking was added in the mid-1990s, and the combined race has been a run as a "super combined" since the World Cup debut of the format at Wengen in 2005. The super-combi consists of a shortened downhill and with a slalom run, both on the same day, instead of three runs (one downhill and two slalom) of the traditional combined. On the World Cup circuit, the traditional combined is usually not run as separate races, but determined "on paper" from the results of the primary downhill and slalom races, which are run on separate days. (The Olympics and world championships are the exceptions, holding separate races for the combined.) At the Winter Olympics, the super-combined format replaced the traditional combined at the 2010 Winter Games.

Facts and figures[edit]

  • Longest downhill race in the World Cup circuit, with a length of 4.270 km (2.65 mi) in 2019;
    typical World Cup downhill courses for men are two miles (3.2 km) or less.
  • The course's starting elevation is 2,315 m (7,595 ft) above sea level;
    it descends 1,028 vertical metres (3,373 ft) to the finish at 1,287 m (4,222 ft) in Wengen.
  • The course record of 2:24.23 was set by Kristian Ghedina of Italy in 1997, with an average speed of 106.33 km/h (66.1 mph), an average vertical descent rate of 7.1 m/s (23 ft/s).
  • Top speeds can exceed 160 km/h (100 mph) on the Haneggschuss, a straightaway 25–30 seconds from the finish. The highest speed ever measured in a World Cup race was reached at this section in 2013 by Johan Clarey of France at 161.9 km/h (100.6 mph). Top speeds vary from year to year, depending upon snow conditions.
  • The average grade of the downhill race course is 25.3 percent (14.2 degrees).
  • The maximum grade is 87 percent (41 degrees) at the Hundschopf jump, one-third of the way down the course.
  • The largest crowd was recorded in 2012, when 38,000 observed the Lauberhorn downhill race.
  • Ten miles (16 km) of security nets are set up at the border of the downhill run, surrounded by around 1,000 m (3,300 ft) of high security nets and 800 m (2,600 ft) of rejection canvas.
  • The course was one of several featured in the 1969 movie Downhill Racer, starring Robert Redford and Gene Hackman.
    Redford's character challenges his rival teammate to a dual race at the end of practice on the Lauberhorn downhill course.
  • The record holders for the most wins are Karl Molitor of Switzerland, who won six times between 1939 and 1947, and Ivica Kostelić of Croatia, who won the slalom race 4 times between 2002 and 2012, and the combined event twice, in 2011 and 2012. Unlike most of the other major ski races, the Lauberhorn in neutral Switzerland was held during World War II; all of the events were won by Swiss racers. In the post-war era, the most notable multiple winners are three Austrians: Toni Sailer with four straight (1955–58), Karl Schranz with four (1959, 1963, 1966, 1969), and Franz Klammer with three consecutive (197577). Switzerland's Beat Feuz has also won three times (2012, 2018, 2020)
  • Austrians have won 31 times; Swiss racers have captured 29 victories (although 14 of these came before 1946).
  • The first non-European to win the race was Ken Read in 1980, the sole Canadian, followed by four other North Americans (all U.S.). Lasse Kjus of Norway was the first Scandinavian champion in 1999, joined by Aksel Lund Svindal in 2016, as Norway swept all three events.
  • The first American winner in the downhill was Bill Johnson, in 1984 on a shortened course; other U.S. winners include Kyle Rasmussen (1995), Daron Rahlves (2006), and Bode Miller (2007 & 2008). Miller and Marco Sullivan made the podium in 2009, taking second and third. Miller won the combined event in 2010, the second American to win the combined at Wengen and first in 52 years (Buddy Werner in 1958). Phil Mahre is the only U.S. racer to take the slalom event at Wengen, in 1982.
  • After heavy snowfall in 2016, the start was lowered to shortly before the Hundschopf jump. The course length was reduced 1.74 to 2.682 km (1.08 to 1.67 mi) and the vertical drop was 729 m (2,392 ft), a reduction of 299 m (981 ft); Svindal's winning time was under 1:49, more than 47 seconds less than the previous year's. The start was similarly lowered in 2020, with a vertical drop of 738 m (2,421 ft), a course length of 2.950 km (1.83 mi), and Feuz's winning time was under 1:43.
  • In 2021 races were cancelled because of COVID-19.

Winners list[edit]


Year Downhill Slalom Combined Super-G
2023 Norway Aleksander Aamodt Kilde Norway Henrik Kristoffersen  —— Norway Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
2022 Austria Vincent Kriechmayr Norway Lucas Braathen  ——  Switzerland  Marco Odermatt
2021  ——  ——  ——  ——
2020  Switzerland  Beat Feuz France Clément Noël Austria Matthias Mayer  ——
2019 Austria Vincent Kriechmayr France Clément Noël Austria Marco Schwarz  ——
2018  Switzerland  Beat Feuz Austria Marcel Hirscher France Victor Muffat-Jeandet[7]  ——
2017  —— Norway Henrik Kristoffersen  Switzerland  Niels Hintermann[7]  ——
2016 Norway Aksel Lund Svindal Norway Henrik Kristoffersen Norway Kjetil Jansrud[7]  ——
2015 Austria Hannes Reichelt Germany Felix Neureuther  Switzerland  Carlo Janka[7]  ——
2014  Switzerland  Patrick Küng France Alexis Pinturault United States Ted Ligety[7]  ——
2013 Italy Christof Innerhofer Germany Felix Neureuther France Alexis Pinturault[7]  ——
2012  Switzerland  Beat Feuz Croatia Ivica Kostelić Croatia Ivica Kostelić[7]  ——
2011 Austria Klaus Kröll Croatia Ivica Kostelić Croatia Ivica Kostelić[7]  ——
2010  Switzerland  Carlo Janka Croatia Ivica Kostelić United States Bode Miller[7]  ——
2009  Switzerland  Didier Défago Austria Manfred Pranger  Switzerland  Carlo Janka[7]  ——
2008 United States Bode Miller France Jean-Baptiste Grange France Jean-Baptiste Grange[7]  ——
2007 United States Bode Miller  —— Austria Mario Matt  ——
2006 United States Daron Rahlves Italy Giorgio Rocca Austria Benjamin Raich[7]  ——
2005 Austria Michael Walchhofer Germany Alois Vogl Austria Benjamin Raich[7]  ——
2004  —— Austria Benjamin Raich  ——  ——
2003  Switzerland  Bruno Kernen
Austria Stephan Eberharter (Fri)
Italy Giorgio Rocca Norway Kjetil André Aamodt  ——
2002 Austria Stephan Eberharter Croatia Ivica Kostelić Norway Kjetil André Aamodt  ——
2001  —— Austria Benjamin Raich  ——  ——
2000 Austria Josef Strobl Norway Kjetil André Aamodt  ——  ——
1999 Norway Lasse Kjus Austria Benjamin Raich Norway Lasse Kjus  ——
1998 Austria Andreas Schifferer
Austria Hermann Maier (Fri)
Austria Thomas Stangassinger[8] Austria Hermann Maier  ——
1997 Italy Kristian Ghedina Austria Thomas Sykora  ——  ——
1996  ——  ——  ——  ——
1995 United States Kyle Rasmussen
Italy Kristian Ghedina (Fri)
Italy Alberto Tomba Luxembourg Marc Girardelli  ——
1994  Switzerland  William Besse  ——  —— Luxembourg Marc Girardelli
1993  ——  ——  ——  ——
1992  Switzerland  Franz Heinzer Italy Alberto Tomba  Switzerland  Paul Accola  ——
1991  ——  ——  ——  ——
1990  ——  ——  ——  ——
1989 Luxembourg Marc Girardelli
Luxembourg Marc Girardelli (Fri)
Austria Rudolf Nierlich Luxembourg Marc Girardelli  ——
1988  ——  ——  ——  ——
1987 West Germany Markus Wasmeier  Switzerland  Joel Gaspoz  Switzerland  Pirmin Zurbriggen  ——
1986  —— Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Rok Petrovic  ——  ——
1985 Austria Helmut Höflehner
Austria Peter Wirnsberger (Sun)
Luxembourg Marc Girardelli France Michel Vion  ——
1984 United States Bill Johnson  ——  ——  ——
1983  ——  ——  ——  ——
1982 Austria Harti Weirather United States Phil Mahre  Switzerland  Pirmin Zurbriggen  ——
1981  Switzerland  Toni Bürgler Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Bojan Krizaj Soviet Union Valery Tsyganof  ——
1980  Switzerland  Peter Müller
Canada Ken Read (Fri)
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Bojan Krizaj West Germany Michael Veith  ——
1979  ——  ——  ——  ——
1978  —— Austria Klaus Heidegger  ——  ——
1977 Austria Franz Klammer Sweden Ingemar Stenmark  Switzerland  Walter Tresch  ——
1976 Austria Franz Klammer
Italy Herbert Plank (Fri)
Sweden Ingemar Stenmark Austria Franz Klammer  ——
1975 Austria Franz Klammer Sweden Ingemar Stenmark Italy Gustav Thöni  ——
1974  Switzerland Roland Collombin West Germany Christian Neureuther Austria David Zwilling  ——
1973  —— West Germany Christian Neureuther  ——  ——
1972  —— France Jean-Noel Augert  ——  ——
1971  ——  ——  ——  ——
1970 France Henri Duvillard France Patrick Russel France Henri Duvillard  ——
1969 Austria Karl Schranz Austria Reinhard Tritscher Austria Heini Messner  ——
1968 Austria Gerhard Nenning  Switzerland  Dumeng Giovanoli Austria Gerhard Nenning  ——
1967 France Jean-Claude Killy France Jean-Claude Killy France Jean-Claude Killy  ——
1966 Austria Karl Schranz France Guy Périllat Austria Karl Schranz  ——
1965 Austria Stefan Sodat France Guy Périllat Austria Karl Schranz  ——
1964 Austria Egon Zimmermann West Germany Ludwig Leitner Austria Gerhard Nenning  ——
1963 Austria Karl Schranz France Guy Périllat France Guy Périllat  ——
1962  ——  Switzerland  Adolf Mathis  ——  ——
1961 France Guy Périllat Austria Pepi Stiegler France Guy Périllat  ——
1960 West Germany Willy Bogner Austria Hias Leitner Austria Pepi Stiegler  ——
1959 Austria Karl Schranz Austria Ernst Oberaigner Austria Ernst Oberaigner  ——
1958 Austria Toni Sailer Austria Josl Rieder United States Buddy Werner  ——
1957 Austria Toni Sailer Austria Anderl Molterer Austria Josl Rieder  ——
1956 Austria Toni Sailer Austria Anderl Molterer Austria Josl Rieder  ——
1955 Austria Toni Sailer  Switzerland Martin Julen Austria Toni Sailer  ——
1954 Austria Christian Pravda Austria Toni Spiss Austria Christian Pravda  ——
1953 Austria Anderl Molterer Austria Anderl Molterer Austria Anderl Molterer  ——
1952 Austria Othmar Schneider Norway Stein Eriksen Austria Othmar Schneider  ——
1951 Austria Othmar Schneider Norway Stein Eriksen Austria Othmar Schneider  ——
1950  Switzerland  Fredy Rubi Italy Zeno Colò  Switzerland  Fredy Rubi  ——
1949  Switzerland  Rudolf Graf Italy Zeno Colò  Switzerland  Adolf Odermatt  ——
1948 Italy Zeno Colò  Switzerland  Karl Molitor  Switzerland  Karl Molitor  ——
1947  Switzerland  Karl Molitor Sweden Olle Dalman  Switzerland  Edy Rominger  ——
1946 France Jean Blanc  Switzerland  Otto von Allmen  Switzerland  Karl Molitor  ——
1945  Switzerland  Karl Molitor  Switzerland  Otto von Allmen  Switzerland  Otto von Allmen  ——
1944  Switzerland  Rudolf Graf  Switzerland  Marcel von Allmen  Switzerland  Marcel von Allmen  ——
1943  Switzerland  Karl Molitor  Switzerland  Heinz von Allmen  Switzerland  Heinz von Allmen  ——
1942  Switzerland  Karl Molitor  Switzerland  Heinz von Allmen  Switzerland  Heinz von Allmen  ——
1941  Switzerland  Rudolf Graf  Switzerland Marcel von Allmen  Switzerland  Marcel von Allmen  ——
1940  Switzerland Karl Molitor  Switzerland Karl Molitor  Switzerland Karl Molitor  ——
1939  Switzerland  Karl Molitor Germany Josef Jennewein Austria Willi Walch  ——
1938  Switzerland  Heinz von Allmen Germany Rudi Canz  Switzerland  Heinz von Allmen  ——
1937  Switzerland Heinz von Allmen Austria Willi Walch Austria Willi Walch  ——
1936  Switzerland Hans Schlunegger  Switzerland  Hermann Steuri France Émile Allais  ——
1935 Austria Richard Werle  Switzerland  Arnold Glatthard  Switzerland  Hans Steuri  ——
1934  Switzerland  Adolf Rubi  Switzerland  Adolf Rubi  Switzerland  Adolf Rubi  ——
1933  ——  ——  ——
1932  Switzerland  Fritz Steuri  Switzerland  Fritz von Allmen  Switzerland  Fritz Steuri  ——
1931  Switzerland  Fritz Steuri  Switzerland  Hans Schlunegger  Switzerland  Fritz Steuri  ——
1930  Switzerland  Christian Rubi  Switzerland  Ernst Gertsch United Kingdom Bill Bracken  ——

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ InGerman "Lauberhornrennen", in English "Lauberhorn races" - and
  2. ^ "Race Course Overview". Verein Internationale Lauberhornrennen. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  3. ^ Brennan, Dave (January 14, 2015). "Wengen's vengeance". Ski Racing. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  4. ^ "Curling and Ski-ing at Muerren". Globe. England. 30 December 1911. Retrieved 19 June 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "The Camera as Recorder: News by Photography". Illustrated London News. England. 22 January 1927. Retrieved 19 June 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ - World Cup podium results - Wengen - (1967-present)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m A super combination was held (short downhill and a slalom).
  8. ^ The slalom took place in Veysonnaz.

External links[edit]