Kitzbuehel Schladming KranjskaGora
Dider Cuche finds his in Kitzbuehel while Ted Ligety earns his in Kranjska Gora; Reinfried
Herbst tops Schladming slalom BY HANK MCKEE
Kitzbuehel, Jan. 22–24
The bellwether statement about any Olympic Games revolves around bringing together athletes from many different countries for sporting competition. Ski racing does that week after week all winter long and calls it the
World Cup. The height of the World Cup season, year after year, is Kitzbuehel. It is the Holy Grail of Austrian ski racing, a weekend series of races
designed to make hearts beat faster and champions overcome any doubts.
There are many good reasons for that, but chief among them is the Streif, a
nasty, scary, side-hill-heavy downhill track plunging relentlessly through alpine pastures, narrow paths, drop-offs and jumps to the streets of Kitzbuehel.
Skiers have challenged themselves and each other down this piste for 70 years
with the winners celebrated without decorum and the rest of the field in a
state of euphoria just for having completed the historic test.
The local emergency medical personnel have gotten plenty of practice airlifting mangled skiers off the flanks of the Streif and in this particular season,
when injuries have played so heavy a role, the 70th annual Hahnenkamm was