A TALE OF TWO RACES
THE SKI RACING REVOLUTION AT WENGEN AND KITZBUEHEL BY HANK MCKEE
In “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens depicted London and Paris before and during the
French Revolution. Our tale looks at Wengen, Switzerland; and Kitzbuehel, Austria, before and during the World Cup.
The two marquee events — Wengen’s Lauberhorn and Kitzbuehel’s Hahnenkamm — have much
in common: both are major ski races that anchor the World Cup calendar; both date back seemingly
to the beginning of time in terms of alpine racing history. Both are dripping with tradition, prestige and
lore. But they are also very different. Many come to Wengen to see the natural beauty. Many come
to Kitzbuehel to be seen at one of the most celebrity-filled events of the season. Wengen measures
stamina while Kitzbuehel measures courage.
Both demand their champion exhibit the full array of ski racing skills.
At Wengen the scenery
is worth the trip.
The 82nd Lauberhorn
Super Combined, Jan. 13
In 1930 the radio and the jet engine were invented, the first World Cup soccer match was played
and Rubi Christian won the downhill, Bill Bracken the combined and Gertsch Ernst the slalom at the
In 2012, training at Wengen ahead of the 82nd annual Lauberhornrennen had drawn complaints for
snow so soft Ted Ligety pushed his poles down to the hilt through the surface. It got colder Friday for
the opening super combined.
The downhill leg of the “K” held
from the lowered start demon-
strated that beating Beat Feuz in
Saturday’s downhill would be a
difficult task. Bode Miller had put
down a terrific run of downhill, but
Feuz dusted his time by an eternity
of 0.78 seconds.
“It’s unbelieveable how he did it,”
Miller said. “He definitely separated himself from the field.” Fans flock to Kitzbuehel by train.