Why their ski-racing relationship is more complicated
than it seems BY KELLEY MCMILLAN
Soelden, Austria, is an appropriate spot for the World Cup alpine opener
— and not just because Austrians know how to throw a party. Nope, as
many a ski racer knows, the sport has über-deep roots in the landlocked
country, from the Arlberg-Kandahar race held in St. Anton to the fact that
many of the best racers, top coaches, techs and ski technologies have
been born in Austria. But what’s not so obvious is that in recent times, the
tides have shifted, and another country beginning with “A” is now a major
influence on the European powerhouse.
Yes, it was a brotherhood of Austrian ski racers, led by Hannes Schneider
— a top racer from the Ski Club Arlberg and the father of modern alpine
skiing with his creation of the Arlberg technique, which allowed skiers to
go fast and control speed — who scattered across the globe and spread
the gospel of alpine skiing.
In 1928, Schneider and Great Britain’s Arnold Lunn organized the Arl-
berg-Kandahar, one of the oldest and most prestigious races on the circuit.
One of Schneider’s students, Friedl Pfeifer, helped launch the U.S. wom-